Okay, it’s no secret I’ve been a “PC,” a Windows user, for my whole life. I voluntarily prolonged the condition upon purchasing 3 computers for myself in the past 5 years – and building myself a fourth. Since October 2008, I’ve been evaluating a pre-beta release of Windows 7, the upcoming major OS release from Microsoft. Now, for about the past week, I’ve been running the official beta release of Windows 7 (build 7000) on two of my three active machines (the other is just a media center, so I feel the upgrade there is less exciting).
It rocks. It just does. Sure, Apple fanboys may draw comparisons to the Mac OS in a few places (the new taskbar, the Aero Peek feature, and the jump lists, to name three), but the origin of some of the design features are neither here nor there. They are (nearly all) beautifully integrated, and almost all of the new UI features actually improve the user’s experience on a functional level – in other words, it’s mostly more than just mere eye-candy.
And yet, it’s the stuff you can’t see that really makes Windows 7 the significant improvement that it is. The kernel has been cleaned up, from the lowest levels, and it runs much more smoothly. It is quicker upon boot-up, and most tasks seem to run faster and more effortlessly. Hardware recognition is even better than in Windows Vista.
While it may not be 100% perfect quite yet, Windows 7 has found itself sitting among a surprising amount of praise, including specific improvements such as its ability to run on lower-level machine better than Vista and the inclusion of an awesome, troubleshooting “Problem Steps Recorder.” When the production version of Windows 7 comes out, as with Vista when it was new, I don’t necessarily recommend everyone plop down the $200-300 to buy themselves a brand-new copy. But for anyone upgrading a PC or buying a new one, Windows 7 is sure to improve their computing experience a lot.