On October 2 I said I was going to spend a few days in Windows 7 and see how it goes. Well, that first couple of hours went great. I really didn’t hate it. Then I realized I can’t sync my iPod to it. So in spite of my best intentions, I had to get out of it and go back to my Mac. Had to.
But I have been using it off and on since then. It’s not bad. It’s almost a Mac. Almost. I’ve installed Windows own anti-virus. I’ve got Gmail on the Windows Mail program. Also installed is Live Writer for blogging. I’ve got nothing else. I don’t dislike Windows 7. It’s fairly unobtrusive.
Cool things about 7
That said, there are a couple of things that I really like about it. First, I really, really like the new search function. It’s just as fast and as useful as Spotlight. This is a huge piece of my workflow and it’s nice to see it on Windows. I can’t wait until our work computers get 7 installed. The other thing I enjoy how clean the UI is. The taskbar is cleaner than XP. Microsoft has also built some pretty nice features that help you manage your open windows so you can see what’s going on without moving everything around.
I’ve installed Windows Live Mail and Writer and am using both. It would be great to see Apple include a blog writer app in their OS. The Writer program from Microsoft is not bad at all. Just like I’d expect from a Mac program, it’s easy to set up, is mostly intuitive, and has a few nice extras for that nice touch.
Another bonus point is Microsoft has finally provided a screen capture utility that offers more functionality than the Print Screen button. It’s called Snipping Tool, and while I haven’t found any key commands to perform functions in the background, it’s nice to finally get a controlled screen shot.
Windows 7 innovations
Windows Security Essentials. It’s Microsoft’s self-made anti-virus solution for home users (and probably very small businesses). This wasn’t an innovation, but I would definitely say that it was about time for Microsoft to provide a solution to the virus empire they have built with their OS. This just seems really responsible to me and is long past due.
This is also quite the shot over the bow to 3rd party solutions like Symantec. How many people spend $30 to $70 a year on keeping their PC safe from viruses? How much money is going to be taken away from competition by providing a free solution? Time will tell as we see how this suite performs in the real world.
Not cool things about 7
Navigating folders and files is still a pain in the tuchas. I love being able to see multiple folders at the same time. After looking through several folders I can not find out how to accomplish this. Though at the top of the Explorer window you can view the contents of folders in a drop-down style.
Undoing screw ups is also a pain. Through accidentally moving the Live Writer folder to another folder and moving it back I managed to render the program inoperable. I had somehow removed the program enough so that the program manager no longer saw it. After about 10 minutes I grabbed the .exe file to run the repair utility.
Well, it’s nice to see some things never change…
Overall, I’m not discouraged by 7. It’s going to be a nice addition to my work computer, and may even keep its place on my Mac for a while (the Live Writer is nice). This is also going to be an easy sell to IT pros who are willing to try it out in a test environment. The general consensus of 7 is that it is a good OS. I can’t wait to see how it holds up to the pros.