I’ve got two computers here running Windows 7 Beta. They are very different computers in that one is almost 5 years old and one is absolutely cutting edge with all the latest graphics cards, etc. Both run Windows 7 Beta very well and without any errors.
The new Windows 7 Aero theme is pretty and a bit more organized and intuitive than Windows Vista Aero. Enabling the mouse gestures makes Windows 7 much nicer. An example mouse gesture that I use is to wiggle the mouse back and forth like you are scratching something off a list. This instantly clears the desktop by hiding all the open windows.
The new interface also allows you to click the thumbnails of the programs that are running. It’s a bit Apple OSX like, except not so animated and annoying in my humble opinion.
I am still concerned about compatibility issues, but even the few games I’ve run have been no problem for Window 7.
Given that a Windows 7 beta will be readily downloadable in the near future and given that the apparent quality of the release exceeds that of Vista SP2 Beta, I have to ask who will bother to upgrade to Vista SP2?
In addition to frame rate increases in games, the internet connection scores nearly 10% higher throuput. On our 1GB connections, the difference is even more noticeable.
Even if you do not have machine to test drive Microsoft Windows 7 on, you can use Vmware’s free desktop virtualization software to set up and start exploring. It’s coming fairly soon. It’s going to be good and if you work in a corporate IT department, you’ll have to support it.
To set up Windows 7 on Vmware, just tell vmware that you will be using Vista. This works well because one of the excplicit goals of Windows 7 is driver and hardware compatibility with Vista.
Installation is a breeze. It basically looks just like the Windows Vista installer with upgraded graphics.
Like all new Windows releases, Microsoft has tried to appeal to users on the current platform. The result is that there is a lot going on under the hood that has changed but that you won’t see until you’re in a support situation and relealize that some of your tried and true debugging rituals no longer work.
I think it’s wise to start preparing to support this operating system now, especially if you’ve been holding off corporate users waiting for a better version of Vista. By the time Windows Vista SP2 Beta is stable and out the door, you’ll be on the heels of Microsoft’s Windows 7 release date. At the least you should install a virtual machine on Vmware for familiarization
If you have applications that need to be tested on Windows 7, the time to start that is right now. Developers should have their beta copy very shortly
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