Windows 7

I’m using Windows 7 for about a month now and would like to give you an impression of how it feels to me.

Windows 7 is Microsoft‘s new weapon of choice. They went back from implementing in C# (–> Vista) to pure old C, as the performance losses of this political descision were accepted with the thought that “hardware becomes faster anyways”. They didn’t think about smartphones and netbooks back then. And got hit by really bad sales. Well, I’m using this platform for about one month now, therefore I thought I should share my experiences with you.

windows 7 in VirtualBox on windows xpImage by nick see via Flickr

Speed: Its not as fast as XP, but MUCH faster than Vista. The boot process is faster, though a bug slows it down for my machine at the moment. Glad you can hibernate. You should.

Its New!: It looks shinyer than Vista. Well, its REALLY shiny. It has all the drivers. If it hasn’t got the drivers you need, you usually get an URL where you’ll find it. But a system thats new also has some few bugs. But the approximately 50 updates I got so far made everything run very stable. Atm my boot process is very slow due to a bug, and sometimes I don’t have the “txt-file” in the “create new”-context-menu, but thats about it. And as its new, it also supports features that you won’t use now, but that you may want to use in the future, such as multitouch. Homegroups make easier network-sharing possible, even if it won’t help much till other devices use the feature.

It has a good search: As I didn’t use Vista, I’m not sure if Vistas search features were good, but 7’s search is really nice and was officially stolen adaped from OSX‘es spotlight. Just type and you’ll have what you were looking for really fast. If you need something from a not-indexed location, you can declare the location as indexed and will find everything there faster next time.

Taskbar: The taskbar is now merged with the quick launch-bar. This means, you can have quick-launch-links and “open-programs” in the same bar. Well this wouldn’t be a good thing, but if you have a quick launch-program open, you just have a rectangle drawn around it. This also prevents opening programs that are already open accidentally. While you hover over open program-rectangles, you get a small preview of the windows. Shiny. O, besides, the tray: You can define which tray-icon-programs may bug you with annoying messages, and which may not. That a nice feature.

Good feeling: I especially like the gesture-stuff you can do with open windows. Especially dragging a window to the upper border of the screen to maximize it and being able to un-maximize it by dragging the window away from there is a feature I use everyday without even thinking about maximization anymore. I don’t use the “shake-window-to-minimize-all-others” and only seldomly find a use for the drag of a window to the left or right border of the screen, which makes it maximize to that half of the screen. That might be a usable feature when you don’t have two monitors, but you can’t use it on the left side of the right monitor for example – which should be fixed.

Good overview: The system-properties are pretty cleaned up and you can find everything pretty fast. Smart guesses help you finding something you might have looked for that is related to the settings you’re just seeing. Hovering taskbar items gives previews of the respective window. If you have place at the right from the windows explorer, content of chosen files gets previewed (as long as its text, pictures or microsoft-stuff like wordfiles). All pictures and music get shown up in virtual folders called libraries. The desktop widgets now can be dragged around on the desktop, as I have found out just today, when I firstly used a yellow sticky note as ToDo-list. Or am I mistaken and this is an office 2007-feature? Well, perhaps my overview here is blurred.

All in all, Windows 7 doesn’t make me freak out. Its nice, futuristic, and has got a lot of nice new stuff. Thinking about what I don’t like I only can mention that I like to define myself, which are my “my pictures” folders and such, but I don’t have any really negative points to say. Well. Make it cheaper, but I guess that doesn’t count. That said, I would definitely advise EVERYONE running Vista to upgrade. XP users who like their interface don’t need to switch by all means, but eventually, XP will be outdated some time, so wrap you head around something new. Something shiny.

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, Posted Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 under Privat.

6 comments

  1. Two things: Vista wasn’t implemented in C# and Windows 7 is essentially Vista with an overhauled desktop and some tweaking (Vista is Windows 6.0, 7 is Windows 6.1).
    Ok, two more points: If you didn’t use Vista how do you know 7 is MUCH fast than Vista? And I would recommend everyone using XP to upgrade for security reasons.

  2. Yeah indeed – I wasn’t too exact on that. Okay, to complete this and become more technical:

    All Windows-Versions use the horrible Windows core that’s entirely C (including Vista and 7). Since Vista they used .NET intermediate language (managed code) for the visuals – which was a lot slower a first, for political reasons, as they were trying to push their .NET framework for developers and thought that computers would get faster anyways. Well, then came netbooks and Vista was too slow. .NET means it could be programmed in C#, C++ or some other languages – but thats just the syntax thats compiled into the intermediate language afterwards anyways, I picked C# because it’s the language you usually think of when you think of .NET.

    It is rumored that they used more C in Windows 7 in places they relied on .NET for the visuals and interfaces, but I guess it were just behind-the-scenes-improvements on the Windows Presentation Foundation (this is the .NET managed code that’s reponsible for all the flashy effects of Win Vista and Win 7) and some optimizations to the uses of the old C-Windows core that they didn’t have enough time for when they were late on scheudule with Vista.

    I know Windows Vista, as colleagues, my girlfriend, my brother and my father use it. I also used it at work for one month on my programming machine before switching to 7 – and it IS faster. It might be posible that Vista has become faster since it was released (mostly due to upgrades to .NET and WPF), but it surely has not reached the speed of Windows 7.

    Windows 8 is said to be the first Windows that doesn’t rely on the old Windows Core anymore and that shall be only managed code. I’m really looking forward to that, as working with the WinAPI is hard enough and I’m sure working with the core directly must be a horror for Microsoft.

  3. I have to disagree. .NET isn’t like the Java Runtime Environment, which compiles to byte code which is then interpreted. .NET compiles to MSIL but before execution that is always compiled to native code, no interpreter involved. There are even cases where managed code is faster than unmanaged. .NET is just one way to program visuals in Vista (or XP or 7), but it’s not the only and not all visuals of Vista are created with .NET. I wouldn’t know of any slowdown of Vista itself due to .NET (those old pre-Vista rumors its GUI would be completely implemeted in .NET didn’t come true).

    C is used for the core as it offers the most common denominator to interface with other programming languages and models – the same reason unix and linux are written in C. I don’t think that this will change any time soon as it will break too much applications realying on this. Though I’d prefer an OOP based OS myself.

    I’ve used Vista the last years (for quite some time even on my 1.8GHz, 1GB Ram developement machine) and am now using 7 – I haven’t seen any noteworthy speed improvements – I tend to like the new desktop features of 7. Taskbar has really improved. 7 has definitely more bells and whistles regarding usability and visuals. I don’t know the situation with netbooks – there 7 could well be faster than Vista as 7 is said to be not as ressource hungry as Vista. Vista was created for modern computers and not for old, limited hardware (since thats what at least atoms are: refurbished old technology with less power consumption – but hey, there’s nothing wrong with that except the expectation to run cpu, ram or visual intense software on it).

    woah – I got carried away somewhere – didn’t mean to bash you in any way – it’s just that the whole .NET and Vista thing is such a typical misconception – what’s important in the end is that the user likes his computing experience, whatever OS he uses

  4. Well thats true of course. All that I wrote are no “facts”, its just what has been rumored all the time – inlcuding that the use of the .NET and WPF-stuff slowed the system down to some degree. Maybe I was also mis-stating “speed” for “less recource hungry on not-so-fast PCs”. Btw. Windows 7 lets you turn off the resource-hungry features that are just turned on per default. From practical experience I have to say that .NET is always slower than its C counterpart – no matter if in theory that shouldn’t be the case.

    Thanks for the comments – well appreciated!

  5. Anyone who knows anything about computing knows that Vista wasn’t coded in C#.

    I’ve read a number of your blog posts, both here & your utopia blog. I have to say that you really don’t know much about coding at all. Its very amusing listening to you ‘big yourself up’ using incorrect information.

    I think your blogs are created for your own amusement since they certianly don’t really give anything useful their readers.

    PS. Please spend at least another 10 years working with computers before trying to tell / teach anyone else.

  6. Yes, you’re right – I should have edited that out earlier. Thanks for your time, and bye ;-)

    And btw. yes, I’m only coding for a few years now and I’m really looking forward to learning more. These blogs are no teaching institutions, I only write what I think about, this is not meant to impress anyone.

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