Sunday, January 11, 2009

Windows 7 – Looks good so far

I bit the bullet and installed the new beta. Here’s my first day impressions, written using Live Writer on Windows 7.

It’s an easy install. After freeing up and formatting a 20GB partition, I downloaded a 2.5GB ISO, burned it, mounted it and ran setup. A handful of questions and a couple reboots and it was up and running. It was fast, easy and painless compared to the typical new computer first time setup.

No crapware needed. I have a functional computer with no add-on or third party drivers. I gave up on Linux as a desktop years ago simply because of the hassle of managing hardware compatibility, and my experience with Vista indicates that removing non-essential vendor provided crud helps performance and memory utilization. Win 7’s initial impression is that a GB of memory will be adequate provided that I don’t have to load up with 3rd party drivers and utilities, and so far I don’t, so I should be OK with 1GB of RAM.

It’s fast. I dual boot Vista on this computer (a cheap 1.6Ghz T2060 dual core notebook with 1GB RAM) and there is no comparison between the two. Either it’s faster or it’s got me fooled into thinking it’s faster. Either way, Win 7 wins. Vista on the same hardware is like a two year old on the potty. A simple thing, like opening a Vista control panel app, seems like it’s a big production, with lots of effort and whining. “I donwaannaaa poop” “You can do it, just try it” “I caaann’t poooop” “Sure you can, squeeze harder” “waaaa……I caaann’t”. Eventually a turd the size of a dime comes out. “Yea! Good Job"!”. And the Vista control panel app finally opens. You feel like you need to thank it & give it a cookie for being so good.

Bluetooth A2DP works, but I haven’t been able to pair with my phone. Tethering is a must-have, and ideally I wouldn’t have to add a 3rd party BT stack to get it.

The user interface is cleaned up. It’s still got some non-intuitiveness in places, but it’s a step up from Vista. I’ve gotten a lot farther with this UI in the first day than I did with either Vista or OSx. I’m used to Vista, so it’s an easy transfer, but some of it is because it’s more intuitive.

The Resource Monitor is a step up from Vista and now includes netstat equivalent functionality, including TCP socket & ports per process.

ResourceMonitor-Network

It’s got a nifty and simple memory usage graph. You can see that after a fresh install, I’ve got about half a gig used.

Win7-Memory-bar

The Resource Monitor also includes a process explorer that shows open files handles and DLL’s.

Win7-Process

Microsoft finally is providing what I think is the minimal functionality for that type of tool. Mapping a process to file handles and network sockets is essential for troubleshooting.

And – check this out - it’s got a real shell:

Shell

(OK – I had to add the Unix subsystem to get it, but it’s there and it works)

So far – it’s a win.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting a review, Michael. I've been wondering what I'd do with my desktops after XP became unobtainable. From the repots I've read, 7 seems like a viable alternative.

    Keep us updated as you notice things. I'm looking forward to checking it out.

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  2. Maybe it's just because I've got a 3yr old and the memories are fresh. In any case, I'll never think about performance the same again! ;)

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