Cool running OS
Running W7 Beta 1 for three days on a 4 1/2 year old laptop (2.8Ghz P4, 1Gb RAM).
1) It's more stable than either of the two new Linux releases I tried last year.
2) It's better looking, faster and smoother than Vista.
3) It's more intuitive to use than XP.
4) Almost everything that runs on Vista runs on W7, except Messenger, which crashes the MS Vista VGA drivers I managed to extract from Vista and install on W7 (note: Messenger is the only thing that's led to a crash so far).
5) It was really, really easy to install - it even connected to the internet through the wireless to download updates during the initial installation process!
6) It has a seperate volume control bar for Windows sounds (but this doesn't work yet - it is still only Beta 1!!!).
7) Nice check box list allows you to easily turn off unwanted process groups (eg Indexing).
8) Uses noticably less RAM than Vista.
9) Nice progress bar effect on the taskbar program group icons to show how far along a file copy process is.
10) Having open program windows grouped 'behind' the icon used to launch the software on the Taskbar is much better than seperate Quicklaunch and window tabs combination. You can close open windows by hovering over the Taskbar icon and clicking the cross next to the entry in the list that appears just above the icon. Note: seperate IE tabs appear as seperate entries in the IE list, so you can close specific tabs from the Taskbar with a single point and click. Right-clicking IE, Explorer and other icons on the Taskbar gives a history list.
11) Just transferred 250Mb of smallish files onto my flash drive at approx 4Mb/s
12) It looks like it will work well with touch screens.
I hated Vista - in fact, I sh4t all over it several times in El Reg posts - but I liked W7 the moment it started installing. It looks modern and feels snappy: you feel like you get more OS in a smaller package. Two weeks ago I was thinking of buying a laptop ASAP so that I could get one with XP on it, but now I'm going to wait until W7 comes out.
Some people have compared W7 to Win98, but this not true. Win98 bolted a load of extra stuff onto Win95 and the price was a big loss of stability. In a direct reversal of this trend, I'd be surprised if this old laptop ran Vista as well as it runs W7 Beta 1. I know the Apple and Linux fanboys, and the general M$ haters, will not like to hear this, but M$ really does seem to have listened to consumers. Most of the issues I can think of have been addressed (within reason). Sure, its more bloated than Linux... but it does an awful lot more than Linux, and it's more stable even in Beta. Yes, it takes some of the good looks from MacOS or some Linux distro's... but then Linux and Apple stole most of the nicer bits of their GUI from M$ in the first place. Remember how bland Win95 made MacOS look? OK, a new PC running W7 will not be as quick as a new Mac, but it will likely be a genuine competitor in terms of usability, speed and stability, and will still cost a lot less.
Assuming M$ doesn't mess this up, we will have an OS that can be installed and run with fair speed on single core computers with a single gig of RAM and that will be compatible with pretty much everything that runs on Vista, and a lot of stuff that runs on XP.
The big question will be what M$ do next. XP to Vista to W7 is a clear demonstration that you can't tell consumers what they should want to buy. M$ seem to have learned the lesson, but this would imply that W8 should be a refinement and update of W7, which is itself merely a new version of W6. This is the MacOS model, where OS cost is built into the price of the hardware allowing new versions to progress along a clearer path of incremental improvement. Perhaps this is a sign that M$ has realised that in the new 'computer as comodity' marketplace, the OS can no longer be presented to the consumer as a huge money-spinning, high profit margin flagship product. Innovation on upgrade pricing and on hardware tie-ins is what's really needed. Linux has recently got the jump on M$ with its Netbook tie-ins, so M$ are now playing catch-up.
Vista has been called the longest suicide note in software history. I think it will turn out to be the biggest wake-up call in software history.