Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Windows 7 used in anger

I’ve been using Windows 7 from the RC now on my Mac Mini for a couple of weeks. I’ve got all the usually required applications installed; Firefox, Visual Studio etc. and have been relatively impressed by the experience.

On starting my new job last week I was given a pretty powerful Dell Vostro 1720. Its hasn’t got the highest of build quality, but it is packed fully of goodies including 2.6Ghz duel core cpu, 8gb ram, 512mb dedicated graphics card with a 1920 x 1200 resolution 17inch screen which is very crisp.

Anyway, I digress … at work I’ve got an MSDN subscription which allowed be to download the released version of Windows 7 64-bit and install it. I’ve now been using it close on a week and it feels like forever. The user experience is good and it feels very natural to go to from Windows XP. I had used Vista a couple of times before and just hated it with a passion. It was just slow and clunky.

I know the user experience including the speed is down to the components in the machine, but it runs in RC on my Mac Mini at home pretty comfortably and that doesn’t have much power or ram. I’ve also seen people running it on netbooks, something you wouldn’t even think about doing with Vista. Due to being pretty impressed so far with the OS I thought I’d put together a top n things I like about Windows 7. It would also give me the opportunity to look back on it in a few months time and see if I’m still impressed by it and if its still the same things which are good.

Top 4 “likes” about Windows 7

1. Speed  - The general speed of it is good. Quick recovery from hibernation, good reboot speed, general usage gives good response time.

2. Taskbar organisation – I love the way the task bar is organised. The pinning of applications to it, keeping all the icons together, being able to drag and drop them into which ever order you like is brilliant.

3. Multiple Monitor support – Brings an all new meaning to ‘plug ‘n’ play’ support. Plug in your second monitor for the first time, configure it correctly (location, resolution etc.) and thats it; done! Un plug it, take your laptop home, come back in, plug the monitor back in and it auto recognises it, goes back to the previous setup. No pushing laptop function buttons and waiting for the screen to refresh!

4. Window docking – There are little applications out there to automatically set the active window to half the screen, move it left and right etc. but the built in window docking in Windows 7 does for me. The high screen real estate which I’ve not got makes putting applications half screen usable … just drag them over to the side of the screen you want and *poof* automatically half the screen. My only niggle about this functionality is that when you’ve got 2 monitors it acts like a single screen so you can’t dock left and right on both screens which is a bit of a short fall, but other than that all good!

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