MSN as Vista
To get MSn in the taskbar properly (like in xp vista...) just tell it to run in Vista mode instead.
The verdict is in: Windows 7 is a job well done. Yes, there will be a few Windows XP diehards and those who've fled to OS X and have no intention of returning, but overall Windows 7 is more responsive, prettier, and more usable than Windows Vista. That said, it is not perfect, and Windows 7 comes with its own set of annoyances …
1. The task list is much shorter
2. Start-up is great
3. It uses less memory than Vista
4. The Vista task manager actually shows you the command line, so you can see what all those "rundll" processes are
5. It works fast even on J-Micron SSDs! (I don't know how they pulled that off)
1. Hiding the menu bars on all apps
2. The new start menu sucks. Grouping by vendor was the problem. The work arounds now include hiding infrequently used programs, constraining the start menu to a tiny part of the screen, and finally adding search so you can hopefully find your shit now. All of these are work arounds, the real answer is to categorize programs like Ubuntu.
3. Real search is gone. Indexing service still slows it down to much, and you can never quite be sure what has been indexed, or what it was indexed as. Sometimes you want to search for text in an .exe, or .vbs, you know? Nothing beats real search.
4. File extensions still hidden. Really, lets have "mime type" in the alternate-data-stream of the file, and finally kill the file extension, not just hide it.
5. Common tasks are even more hidden. Regardless of what MS thinks, everyone needs to edit their TCP/IP settings from time to time. Why must this (and other common tasks) get buried deeper with each iteration of the OS?
6. I'm sure the trusted-computing stuff is still in there, and file copy can still be dog slow because of it.
7. UAC is still there, though less annoying. The *really* annoying thing is that MS is battling itself yet again. They tried to make sure all code was deployed in program files and all documents in the user's folder. But now Silverlight installs itself into your documents folder! MS is insecure because they erode their own security, just like the messenger thing in the article.
Its as fast as XP, maybe faster, so it is usable. In most other ways they've just added to the kludge of their legacy OS. Although it is a step in the right direction, they really need to look at cleaning it up, not just trying to put duct tape over the holes.
Admittedly it was introduced in Vista, but the new start menu is horrible!
I'm a tidy person and I organise my start menu, I like it in XP as when I mouse-over "All Programs" the menu pops up, and when I mouse-over "Games" I get a nice sub menu filling the height of my screen showing me all of my games. In 7 (and Vista) I get an annoyingly small window in which I have to scroll to find what I want. It's like viewing a 1000x1000 pixel image in a 300x300 window, it doesn't make sense when there's plenty of room on my screen to show me the whole thing!
Yes, I know the the idea is to search (windows key+type, or worse *click* then type) but sometimes I don't know what I want to do, what game I want to play, so it's nice to see all my options. Imagine a take-away menu with two items per page, pointlessly annoying.
if those are the worst you could come up with I think MS have done a great job. I myself have found it hard to fault Windows 7 apart from some small niggles here and there but if someone writing an article and actively looking for issues only found those then I'm impressed!
Mr.Anderson. Are you living in the same world as the rest of us?
You have been able to show/hide notification icons since XP. Try right clicking on the task bar & choosing "customize...". I like the notification area clean up as many software vendors "spam" this area with pointless icons.
MS is attempting to declutter with menu hiding but this is no problem for me because my keyboard is fitted with an ALT key - this amazing invention has been the shortcut for getting to the menu since what Win 3? Before that? Press it and wait for it... a menu appears.
If you're going to pick annoyances, how about the dumb "wide screen close button" which seems to be 50 pixels wide and 2 pixels tall? Or the fact that the resource monitor doesn't seem to remember it's window location & size? Or the over zealous "program not-responding" notifications when an application is just thinking hard?
Or... my personal hate... WHERE'S MY DINOSAUR CURSOR SCHEME GONE?!! Mwaaaaaaa,
I have a Mac Pro with Leopard and the Snow Leopard upgrade is $29. Maybe it's only a "service pack", but it's only $29.
I also have a Dell Vostro with Windows Vista Business. MS wants $199 to upgrade to Win 7 Pro. And we know that Win 7 is really Vista SP2, plus a little.
Fortunately that Vista license came with XP downgrade rights, and that's what I'll continue to use. Having been suckered once with Vista, there's no way I'm paying $199 for an UPGRADE.
That's just insane.
Win7 is certainly what Visa should have been. The current announced costs to upgrade are too high. All those who have hung on to XP will be wondering if they can wait a bit longer; and those who took the plunge on Vista will not be happy upgrading again so soon.
The fact that this is essentially a "rewrite" of Vista, with a small number of improvements, and as per Apple, it should be $29 for existing Vista users, and free for existing Ultimate users. The only people who should pay the full upgrade price (which from any version of XP to 7 ultimate should be $169 or less) are people who never took the leap to Vista.
There should also only be 3 real versions: Basic (for netbooks and low power devices), Ultimate, and a corporate edition. That's it.
You mention us XP diehards. I'd love to have Windows 7 on my machine, but the price is prohibitive, what with our household being on a very low income and tight budget. Surely they know that this is going to be on the vast majority of desktops, millions of them, so why not sell it as a loss-leader? It looks like we'll be sticking with XP at least until someone gives me and my missus a job!
All of the same people saying "Windows 7 is great" are the same people that said Vista was great. Vista 7 will be the same as every other Windows they've ever released:
* Billed as "the most reliable and stable version of Windows ever"
* Touted by the Microsoft-funded and Microsoft-grassrooted press as "this one is really good"
* In reality, it will be unstable, unusable, and the usual pile of Microsoft garbage.
I agree with the three missed opportunities( lack of full multi-touch support, notification area oddness, confused explorer file and directory presentation) but there are two bigger concerns.
First, the lack of support for older hardware. I'm not expecting a driver for a 15 year old modem but support for my two year old D-Link USB WiFi connection would be expected but it is not supported.
Second, the basic flaws of Vista still haunt W7. Copying large numbers of files still takes forever and often fails. Linux, UNIX, BSD all do this faster and faultlessly and can recover if a file is locked by an application. Windows still crashes the copy if a single file fails to copy.
I'm sure others can come up with more and possibly worse problems that Microsoft failed to address given the time and ample resources they have.
One more thing: Is it my imagination or did all of the work done to the look and feel of W7 make the desktop a great deal like an Ubuntu clone?
M$ half-arsed support for MultiTouch or even single Touch doesn't surprise me in the slightest. They just dont get it.
Its like the designers took one look at that video by Jeff Han at Ted.com, and hundreds of others, and didn't grasp the paradigm changing aspects of it all.
They didn't even bother looking back at Windows Mobile and wondered that perhaps people wouldn't want to have to be in possibly time critical real world situations with their handhelds, and have to pop the stylus out just to tap the titchy up/down number control.
If it were true multitouch, then the Windows interface would have to (mostly) disappear too, and I doubt M$ would even want that to happen. Microsoft wants their 'stamp' on everything, even if it means coming up with a UI that is clunky and awkward, but apparently its okay cos it looks funky.
And oh look, Win 7s UI is clunky and awkward! But looks pretty. Thanks.
BTW I can name about a hundred Windows 7 Missed Opportunities. If you just remind yourself of all those concessions you had to make for all previous Microsoft Operating Systems, then you'll see them all again too.
The staple of every support technician, the Run command on the start menu, was present in the beta but appears to have been disabled by default again in the RTM. WHY? It's essential for over-the-phone diagnosis and so on. I know it can and will be enabled through group policy in corporate environments but it's just another step to talk a home user through to get the damn thing back where it belongs.
Other than that I <3 Windows 7
I'm in agreement with most of this. I much preferred the fact that Vista treated us like adults by removing the 'My' from Pictures, Documents etc.
Luckily there's an easy workround for the Windows Live (which 99 per cent of people still call MSN) Messenger issue. Just run it in compatibility mode for Windows XP. It'll then minimise to the notification, AKA tray, area as before.
Am I alone in not liking the new taskbar behaviour? In particular the mess you get when you have a combination of applications pinned to the taskbar and open programs. After several weeks I can't decide whether this is harder to use than 95/98/NT4/XP/Vista or just different. WIth earlier versions I always disabled the grouping of similar buttons but with 7 I quite like the fact that you get multiple previews by hovering over the taskbar. It's also handy to be able to close windows from their previews.
I'm still undecided as to whether to stump up for the final version. I can't help feeling that bv the time the preview period is over next year, my PCs will be sufficiently advanced in age for the expenditure not to be worth it. I upgraded to 98 and XP when they appeared without resenting the cost too much but that was in the days when I happily spent £1500+ on a new PC. The combined cost of my current two desktops was less than half this so any expenditure on updating the OS seems disproportionate.
I'll grant you that with extensions hidden, changing the file typeis difficult. I use the command line whn I need to do it and that's asking too much of 'regular' users, there should be an easier way. However, users should be free to rename their word files or whatever without suddely having Windows forget what file type because of a mistyped backspace!
How often do people really need to change extensions anyway? Not one of the non-geeks I know has ever asked how to do it, or presented a problem for which that was the solution.
This is a geek problem with at least two geek solutions that are in Windows already. Visible extensions went out with Windows 3.1; let them go.
Sounds like Win7 is just a bunch of tweaks on an otherwise working OS (WinXP - never used Vista, I'm not into necrophilia). Since the OS is supporting cast, not main star, in my daily work I can't see the point in upgrading. No payoff, you know. Just like there's no payoff in going Linux.
And don't get started with the glitter. That's usually one of the first things I bin when I reinstall my machine...
"It is the best Windows yet".
That's a big fat negatory.
You seem to have forgotten windows for workgroups 3.11... that was a good operating system. Started very quickly, responsive, customisable, etc, etc.
And when it did occasionally fail, you'd go back to DOS and just run 'win' to get back into it.
I just wish modern software would run on it!
Of course the other version that's better is called ubuntu.
A few Windows XP diehards? You mean like, every business in the land?
Let's face an inconvenient truth for a moment: it's an operating system, the floor beneath all your furniture. Whether you stick with XP or spend your way to 7, your applications won't change and neither will you when you sit down to use them. Your web browser and email client will look and feel no different. Neither will Excel or Word, nor that cheating bastard version of Hearts. Same goes for pretty much everything else bar a few trinkets made deliberately off-limits to the rest of us.
While it's nice to see you taking Microsoft to task over some of the more idiotic aspects of Windows, you appear to think any of it actually matters. Like millions of users, and millions of IT departments, I'll be sticking with XP - and this despite Windows 7 looking so splendid and Microsoft doing so much to tempt us out of it.
Why? Because it's like replacing a perfectly good toaster. A new one isn't going to make the bread taste any different - blame your choice of loaf, not the mechanism for cooking it.
Being able to have a blank password is a mistake as well. Even if you don't want to bother with a log in password being able to make dramatic changes to windows by just clicking yes on UAC is a mistake as well. The OSX model of asking for a password for any big changes even if you don't use a password to log in is much better
I can see why the menus are hidden 90% of users never use them the other 10% should know how to activate them when needed
The hidden extensions, Microsoft don't think this is a problem, they are wrong but that is their opinion.
There are things about OS X I find annoying , the same with windows . The perfect OS is still not here
Whilst Windows Vista will certainly soon be forgotten, so will Windows 7; it's really little more than Vista SP2. Admittedly it has many of the rough edges smoothed away, but Vista had so many of these that it is hardly surprising some improvement has been made.
XP may be ugly as hell, and 7 may be the first version of Windows in a long time that actually looks vaguely attractive, but nothing can change the fact that XP works far faster, even on a far less powerful machine, and has far fewer annoyances.
I see no compelling reason to "upgrade", and if Microsoft ever force me to do so, I guess I'll just have to give this Linux malarkey another chance.
...for promoting Linux. Ever since Vista, and with appearance of netbooks, linux started becoming less of a geek showoff, and more of a mainstream OS. In fact, the newer Ubuntu will run on my HP TX2 multitouch notepad out of the box, and even support pressure sensitivity.
Now gimme my tuxedo.
but from these comment boards, people* want a faster version of Windows XP** and nothing else
What were people expecting? And why isn't MS supporting this? And why isn't anyone else?
* namely, the sort of people who read El Reg, which is a very specific type of people
** replace with your choice of favourite Windows version
Have a "document" file I want you to look at. Don't worry about the extensions. Windows will tell you if it is an executable file when you double click on it.
Sorry? What's that? Your computer has a trojan/key logger/spamming bot? Hmmm, I wonder how that got there? It certainly couldn't have been that document file you clicked on by some chance, could it?
Wow, look at the files properties. It IS an executable but with Windows hiding the extension and not having any other easy way of showing that it is an executable is, you would never know.
First of all I admit that I haven't tried RTM yet, but I've been playing with RC.
So many people say that the new UI is pretty - I just can't believe it! I think it's one of the fugliest things I've seen in my life! Still - that's just my opinion.
I agree that the Start menu isn't very efficient/usable(even after trying to get used to it, I still think it's less efficient than it used to be in XP), but it's just the most visible aspect of Microsoft's strategy of hiding functionality. After I've launched Windows 7 for the first time I wanted to turn off aero, and make it more bearable to look at and I soon realized that customizing this system is intentionally made more difficult than it should be. Menus that let you set stuff that isn't even too advanced are hidden away, or obfuscated.
I admit that it's pretty fast, but I think that XP(especially a fine-tuned one) is much faster. I also have a feeling that most 7's speed isn't an actual speed boost, but a bunch of tricks that make it LOOK faster/smoother.
One other thing is that I still think that many people will wait for Vista SP2... I mean Windows 7 SP1 - because at this point no one can really be sure how ready for prime time it really is.
Well. I think they are actually done a good job. I've recently switched to windows & (64 bit) as my main development box was running XP and it got infected with nasty virus ( that's another story ! ...)
I am honestly pleased with windows 7. Its much faster than XP (for me) and there are signficant inprovements with the UI which make it a pleasure to use. I used to find that XP was fast when initially installed and then it would slow down after a week or so. (I've tried Windows7 on a 1.0 Ghz laptop and a 3.4Ghz PC).
IMO the complaints about the hidden file extension and hidden menu are just silly and these can be enabled after a few minutes of playing around. Yes the user should not have to do this but come on - is that the best the auther can come with ? It Sounds like the author tried really hard to find three things he did not like.
I agree about the multi-touch (tried on a DELL tablet also also). The two issues that bug me are (a) Window Backup only lets you backup complete libraries and (b) there's a lack of desktop management ttools ( I can't find out how to change the taskbar or icon size and I'd like to be able to group things on the desktop).
However, overall Windows 7 is pretty good. I feel like i've got a new PC. Its faster, most things are easier and I've got much more disk space ! I never thought I'd turn into a windows fanboy !
But when your underlying OS is a kludged together mess of multiple interdependencies which has evolved out of a 30 year old bodgy clone of a command line OS then you are always going to have fundamental problems with portability, security, reliability and code maintenance.
So by all means gripe about things like how the user notification area is borked, but don't forget that Windows has architectural problems that will never be resolved.
They tried with Longhorn only to come up with the epic fail that was Vista. And W7 is just Vista with a few of the worst gaffes fixed up.
A new Operating System with an 'XP Mode' (but only if you have the right CPU) so you can run your old XP applications, but the shiny new O/S doesn't support your older hardware and XP does. Hmmmm.. so lets see, Microsoft is trying to convince you to spend your hard-earned money for something that will allow you to work as you do now... sort-of. Sorry, I don't see it.
How about this instead. Install Linux and set up your existing Windows XP in a virtual machine! That should provide the Windows 7 experience (even more so if you enable the desktop effects) and you get the added bonus of not having to install antivirus and antimalware software on the Linux side! Oh, but I'm afraid the XP side will still need protection... unless you don't let XP out to play on the Internet, then you're (fairly) safe.
If you are going to stay with Windows XP because of the 3 missed opportunities, then there is something wrong. These opportunities do not exist in XP. Files extensions are hidden, unhide them, it is very easy. Multitouch, M$ will probably release a "tablet" version as they have done previously. Taskbar and system tray. Look into it further as they are ways of customising.
If these little annoyances are the reason not to upgrade, then no OS will do. Linuxes have plenty of annoynaces that are worst than that, OSX has its share of problems too.
Could W7 be better, of course (so is everything else). Is it better than XP, it is a big YES from me.
"6. I'm sure the trusted-computing stuff is still in there, and file copy can still be dog slow because of it."
For the love of God, don't imply that the file copy bug is still there! The last time I did that I got a tidal wave of condescending abuse. You know it's there, and I know it's there, but for the fanboys such suggestions are sacrilege.
If they just fixed the "Jesus H Monkeychrist, 900kb/s between SCSI drives?" bug, Win7 would be great.
XP could remember where, and what size, your app windows were when you closed them. Vista opens windows in whatever size and area it damn well wants, and cant remember crap. Will Win7 fix this? I don't have much confidence in MS fixing anything w/o making it worse.
I really do think most of you have. Let's take file extentions: Who is the primary customer of M$ O/Ss? Businesses. I have been in too many organisations that have allowed extentions to be visible, only for some Muppet to rename an extention, or (worse) remove the extention completely - bricking the install. yes the system folders should be hidden, yes there are ways of doing this via GP. But still, it's done as default for that reason.
There are more than 3 issues with Win7, but I have to say it's a massive improvement on Vista - I do not consider this to be a Vista incarnation, but merely it's a look-a-likey (check for yourself). Better than XP? Maybe, but there is still plenty of improvements and adjustments that need to come from M$..
Price - For the love of the Dollar! Drop the freakin' price already?! The pre-order price should be the default at the VERY most. I agree with the Mac-bois that it is overpriced. No fooling around, it just is.
"Hate it" icon because it should be cheaper and more refined to really be an exceptional OS (and one that SHOULD be a significant OS)
....I adopted Vista early on the back of the initial hype, trusting the IT journalists. I got home premium on a modest Core 2 Duo machine, quickly upgraded to 2GB memory for the obvious reasons. Disappointed by the frankly shite performance I grabbed Windows 7 as soon as I could, and upgraded again when build 7100 came out.
On the machine outlined above it runs pretty much the same as Vista, a spastic crippled excuse of an OS. As far as I can see it is more of the same. I can find no reasons within my setup for the crap performance, all drivers etc where easily found, which I suppose is something.
I don't know what the future is, but it's not something from Microsoft in my experience. The only time MS give me a fluid computer experience is when I'm using XP on my netbook. From where I'm sitting tech journalism is doing again what it did with Vista....hyping the next MS OS to keep the industry moving along and themselves in jobs.
No, it hasn't. XP is usable, and I'm used to it now. But every time Microsoft makes a new Windows, it introduces fundamental changes to the interface without actually leaving the good and correcting the bad.
It's just a child tinkering around. The most irksome thing about it is that Microsoft has a number of white papers about interface design and respecting the habits of the user. The managers in charge of Vista and 7 should have read those.
I'm tired of having to re-learn an OS, and 7 does not give me any incentive to think that it is in any way better than Vista - nor is there any indication that 7 does not have what I did not like in Vista (namely, the DRM).
Pathetic user interface with folders not keeping size and position (already mentioned) and alphabetic sorting completely broken: create a new folder and your view moves to N (as in "New Folder") rename it to ZZZ and your new folder disappears somewhere while your view stays on folders beginning with N. File manager in Windows 3.1 used to do better than this.
Windows Media Player 12: what can I say... look at the Win7 forum on the MS Technet site: people are desperate to find a way to reinstall WMP11. WMP12 is so full of wrong design decisions and implementation bugs that it is almost unbelievable to think it's developed by one of the largest software companies in the world.
Windows Live Movie Maker: it doesn't include a timelime to create your movie: do I need to say more?
Windows Mail gone and replaced with Windows Live Mail: can you imagine software developed for 4yo mentally retarded children? That's Windows Live Mail.
The superbar: now you minimise programs and some of them go to the notification area some will stay in the taskbar: no consistency, complete confusion; if you create a shortcut in the taskbar to open windows explorer you can't use it to open two folders because clicking on the icon will bring up the already open folder.
The real cure for the MS monopoly would be for the EU commission to force hardware vendors to sell devices only if they provide drivers for Windows, Mac and Linux. That would be much more effective than the browser selection fiasco.
To be honest, this whole Win7 debate often looks like a screaming match between people who are saying "upgrade now!" and people saying it's rubbish.
Going by my past experience, I see every reason to wait a while and see just what happens. But my Windows box, set up the way I want it and familiar to me, is running XP, now incredibly old in computer terms, and I wonder just how long before Microsoft abandons XP users.
Do I need 64-bit computing? I don't need the RAM capacity. There's a lot changed since I bought the hardware I use, and my next hardware upgrade is going to be expensive. Guess what, guys, there's a recession. A slump. An economic collapse driven by insane banking operations.
Why should I rush to spend my money on something I don't have a need for?
May 7th, 2009 at 12:12 | #8
Reply | Quote
This is Mikko from F-Secure; I wrote the original blog post you’re referring to.
Your comments are perfectly valid as long as you’re using Internet Explorer and Outlook as the *only* way to introduce new files to your computer. In the real world that’s not the full picture.
For example, I clicked on the demo link in your post, downloaded text.txt.zip, opened the zip in Windows Explorer and doubleclicked on text.txt.cmd.
It executed with NO security prompts whatsoever.
This was with Opera 9 web browser.
Same thing applies to email; Outlook will flag files as coming from the Internet, other clients might not.
There’s plenty of ways you can introduce executable files to a computer:
- Non-Microsoft web and email clients
- File shares
- USB thumb drives
- Bittorrent and other P2P clients
Again, as an example: there’s plenty of existing worms that copy files with double extensions and tempting names to shares and removable drives.
Think about files with names like like:
Many would click on these, especially if the icon of the file looks like a document icon – and if Windows hides the ".exe" part of the name,
And, since the worm itself has created these files on another, already-infected computer, they don’t have any Zone information in them and Windows Explorer would not prompt the "Security Warning" on them.
Bottom line: I still fail to see why Windows insisting on hiding the last extension in the filename. It’s just misleading,
I have been testing Win7 at work for the last few weeks.
Compaired to vista and XP it out proforms both.
the spec of the pc i was testing on was somet like:
512mb DDR Ram
Vista as you may have guessed didnt work well atall on that spec of pc.
XP ran fine and was fairly responsive, but with most of the service packs and winupdates now running on XP it was hiting the 512mb ram usage fairly easy.
but shockinly Win7 Ran better than XP.
most programs once installed loaded up faster than xp.
the only problems i have had with Win7 is actualy installing programs. i have run them and the computer seems to sit their like its doing nothing, ram and CPU usage seemed to be indicating that nothing was happening.
After about a min the installer would kick into life.
This problem was just unique to that computer, i then tryed Win7 on a much faster Rig with the same results.
i think microsoft should address this problem atleast befor releasing Win7.
But that said Win7 is definatle a winner proformance wise.
and yes i was a fan of vista. but that is only because i have a pc that is capable of running it well.
'Menu Allergy' - Worse still, the option you need to access to enable explorer menus is accessed via the explorer menu!!!
Tools > Folder Options
Fortunately, typing 'Folder Options' in the start menu search will return a link there, however, without this work-around the options cannot be accessed!
Media Player 12 - While the new MP undoubtedly has some great features and unmatched video rendering (re-sized video quality makes VLC look decidedly blocky), there are soem REALLY annoying changes...
Try getting subtitles to display in H.264 video for example...
Also, the Media Player Task / toolbar is no longer available =O( I found the only way to restore this was to forcably downgrade MP to v11, which I'm now sticking with on balance.
Network sharing using Homegroups is also very buggy, the whole idea of Homegroups was to enable easy sharing on private networks, however, unless you're sharing certain prescribed data types (e.g. media) then you find yourself having to move files into the 'Public' folder in order for them to be accessible, even if correctly shared via homegroups. Tsk Tsk.
Still, on balance W7 is the sensible move up from XP that Vista never provided, and a move from Vista to W7 is and absolute necesity.
Overall though, a definite thumbs up, I could write a very long list of positives!
Try doing a clean install, MS have removed Vista > Win7 upgrade as an official instakll option for good reasons.
I upgraded an x86 Vista system to x64 Win7 and had major performance issues, upgrading from x64 Vista to x64 Win7 was much beter for some reason, however, a clean install of Win7 will run much faster as it's not tied down to the original Vista configuration options, it's designed to customise it's self to the system performance wise but cannot do this effectively when upgrading a Vista install.
Group by > Ascending (from the context menu in the screenshot in the article). What does that mean?
(OK, obviously I know - but it's still typical nonsensical garbage).
I have one token toaster, running XP; a 733MHz PIII with 512Mb of core. I refuse to waste a real machine on Windows, so I have no option but to stick with XP.
This is just bloated, overpriced junk as usual.
Thanks Microsoft but really I'm happy with Debian and Ubuntu.
I'm starting to looking to get a MIPS based netbook running Debian - I want a good battery life and very little weight..
I think Microsoft don't really improve Windows any more, they just redesign the UI but don't really make many improvements. I won't be 'updating' to Windows 7 but I'll possibly end up supporting it in one way or another.
Underneath the pretty GUI it's still the same old rubbish, where disks are organized into drive letters, the registry is still there and no doubt will slow your machine down over time, and it runs on crappy old NTFS. I'd rather go for an upgrade where the core was improved. Now, isn't there an OS where exactly that has just been done? Hmm ..
Is there still any sort of "Classic/NT Mode" for the desktop and taskbar?
I don't need multicolored transparent window frames and the overhead that comes with them and I quite like my classic start menu where my programs stay where I put them rather than disappearing into oblivion when they haven't been used in a while. Oh and SMALL Icons, because I'm not in kindergarten, using the fat crayons.
Windows 7 comes from the Windows NT line of products. They were first released in 1993, they have not a single line of code from MS-DOS or the original Windows OSes. It was designed specifically to be portable between other architectures, indeed the original codebase was not written on x86 systems to ensure the code was portable and it's architecture was based on VMS. So:
It's not from a 30 year old codebase
It's not inheritly unportable
It doesn't have major architectural problems
It has a superior security model to that of *nix, being based on VMS
It is highly reliable, although early versions weren't all that.
File copy has been sparatic. Sometimes is seems to go reasonably fast, but I do have at least one documented case, copy a shitload of small swf files over strong WIFI connection where it was copying at 50KB/s or less.
I was copying music the other day, was getting 100KB/s wondered WTF, booted into Ubuntu on the same hardware and got more than double that, copying the same files.
So yes, they have improved the file copy from Vista, but it is still dog slow sometimes. I mean, they even had that right in XP. I don't know whether it is because they don't know how to program a network stack (which they don't - can't find the link), or if it is something more malign, like Trusted Computing (which they do), but the problem is definitely still there, just mitigated.
Either way, its good enough in most respects, and faster than XP, so I've switched. If I can find a Java/Flex gig, I'll go full on Ubuntu because I want my computer to belong to me. But for now I have to use Windows, so I chose 7. Mostly just because its good enough that I think people will leave XP behind, and I don't want to be left behind with it.
"... touch a first-class way to interact with your PC alongside the mouse and keyboard"
Er, fuck off. That sounds like a first-class way to get a dirty fingerprint-obscured screen. In fact why not paint your fingers with lard first to give extra smeariness when you're trying to watch that movie on your computer?
I won't be upgrading:
1) It's expensive and expense is bad.
2) It's highly unlikely to be stable: Microsoft have done their final beta testing on the alpha release of their product ever since the days of NT and aren't about to change now. I usually wait for 2 years or for the release of service pack 2 - whichever is the later - before I allow myself to believe the product isn't going to fall over every day.
3) There aren't enough new features to warrant an upgrade.
"Another irritation is Windows 7 has reverted to the My Documents abstraction for a folder that is usually called Documents".
Ever since I first began using Windows, very long ago, I have made a practice of buying a second hard drive and keeping all my user files on that instead. Sure, Windows does manage to stuff some files into its own private little stash on the C:\ partition, but nothing I can't live without. If you use a proper browser and email client, like Firefox and Thunderbird, it is easy to put their data on the user partition too - or a dedicated partition of their own if you prefer. Ideally you should keep nothing on C:\ except for executable stuff that you could easily reinstall should you lose the drive, and the ephemeral data associated with them.
I strongly recommend this way of doing things, as it keeps your files (which are the only really irreplaceable data on your computer) strictly separate from the OS and apps. You can backup and restore your user partition(s) to your heart's content without affecting the C:\ partition, and vice versa. You can also install a new OS, from scratch if you prefer, with little or impact on your own files.
My Documents is yet another (and one of the most harmful) of those clever Microsoft attempts to "help" us poor stupid users, which end up having exactly the opposite effect.
Actually, the run box is unnecessary. Have the user click the Start button, then...NOTHING! Just have them start typing! The start search box at the bottom on the start menu works as a run box as well as a search box, and Microsoft has thoughtfully placed your cursor there by default whenever the start menu is opened.
If you really gotta have a run box, [Windows] + [R] still brings it up, and I agree 110% with the other posters who have mentioned that it is a heck of a lot quicker than trying to have the user find something on the start menu, even on XP. I haven't told a user to go to Start -> Run in years.
Bonus: click the start button the type "run" in the search box and hit enter. Voila! A run box! How fascinating!
Excellent advise Tom. I tell anyone who asks, "never put anything you care about into a folder that starts with "My". Windows has this habit of glitching on login/logout and corrupting your profile so suddenly you have become practically a whole new user, all settings gone, all My folders empty. I've had numerous people tell me, "all my pictures are gone." I take a look, their current user profile is fred and all the shit they are looking for has been hidden away under their old profile, renamed as fred.001. And MS insists (with 2 "yes, I'm really sures") on hiding hidden and system files. And they've buried all the My folders as system files even though they are not, so a user has no hope of finding their lost stuff.
As usual, the Linux on the desktop (as if) & Apple lovers are out in force.
A few facts:
- MS are gonna clean up with Win 7. Have yopu SEEN all the great press it is getting?
- Sweaty geeks deciding not to spend $199 will really not harm the MS bottom line?
- MS staff (and who knows, I may be one of them) are going to make $$$$$$$$$$$
- Win 7 is the best OS out there. Fact.
Ta ta for now.
Nathan, you said:
Bonus: click the start button the type "run" in the search box and hit enter. Voila! A run box! How fascinating!
Now for my commentary:
Nice to see you sweaty, excited and (obviously) very happy over a GUI of NT6.1. It's fine you can use it. Now try your way under NT4.x, and NT5.x (Win2k, WinXP, Server2003), and NT6.0 (aka Vista).
Unfortunately, what you do advocate here, is a violation of consistent behavior of the said GUI across an OS named 'Windows'. You understand now? Not?
Might be, MS made you 'just love' its shenanigans, changes introduced for change sake, wildly varying menu dialogues and paths, and constant push for re-learning of basic administrative tasks.
Yet it is of no apparent value to the user when a GUI 'just changes'. The (l)user will not be faster--(s)he will have to slow down in order to learn a new trick. Which, BTW, won't work with any other system of the same pedigree. This makes unnecessary work for users as well as support staff.
And no, no new trick is a remedy for a new trick being pushed on us by inconsiderate designers.
I opt for consistency in design, because it saves work, promotes clarity, and might be fun for those who actually work with desktop computers.
For now, NT6.1 looks like usability fail. The ugly bits are deeply hidden, however, so there will be many lusers shouting loudly and proudly how they like it.
OK I'll bite.
> MS are gonna clean up with Win 7.
Well our floor is a bit mucky ...
> Have yopu SEEN all the great press it is getting?
No, but I know how to use a spell-checker.
> - Sweaty geeks deciding not to spend $199 will really not harm the MS bottom line?
Probably not - the new-PC market is where it's at. Unfortunately THERE'S A RECESSION ON.
> - MS staff (and who knows, I may be one of them) are going to make $$$$$$$$$$$
You must be one of them because you don't know how to use a spell-checker.
> - Win 7 is the best OS out there. Fact.
Best for what purpose, dear chap?
What's the point in discussing cosmetic cracks in a not-released-but-already-10-years-out-of-date OS? If you're stuck with windows for some reason, you're going to find a way of hitting a small scroll icon on a tablet screen and it's probably going to be the least of your problems. Just use a pointy stick, for example. It's still more advanced a tech than what lies under the hood anyway.
What's the great fascination with wiping greasy fingerprints all over your screen?
I can see a vague advantage on a mobile phone where you don't have the option of a mouse, but on a real computer a mouse is always going to more accurate than stabbing your digital on the screen... Plus if course when your finger is on the screen, you can't actually see what is under it any more!
Oh sorry, I forgot, we all use a stylus, nobody pokes their finger on the screen do they.
Ingatius, has it occurred to you that a *lot* of us are running Win7 already? Lots more people are trying out the release candidate because Vista was THAT bad they're desperate to get away from it.
Voodoo - yep, same here mate. The instance I have a screenshot of was copying 4GB between 2 15000rpm drives, which in Win7 took an hour. Yikes.
Derived from 70's OS: CP/M Drive letters - Check
"Marketing prevails over engineering
Even though its roots go back to the 1970's, the Windows NT product line is a big improvement over Microsoft's DOS-based products. Unfortunately that doesn't automatically mean that it's a well-designed operating system.
Cutler's team had to operate within Microsoft's additional design restrictions, and the result was a tradeoff. Cutler took a number of design principles from VMS, which was good. They expanded on that, so in a way NT can be said to contain at least some "New Technology" and perhaps Cutler's work even represented (dare I say it?) some innovation, in that it brought robust design principles to the IBM PC platform. Had that been all, the end result could have been a good, efficient and robust OS. But Gates needed a vehicle that would further Microsoft's marketing strategies, rather than a robust OS. And of course much of the eventual coding on NT was done by Microsoft engineers, so in the end the quality of NT's final code wasn't even in the same league as VMS.
VMS was an industrial-strength operating system with native clustering, but NT was to be a single-user desktop operating system. Account and data management were rudimentary; the user home directory resided on the workstation's local harddisk, under the subdirectory that held the bulk of the operating system code. Applications and user settings were system-based rather than account-based. Separation between OS code, user settings, application code and configuration data became all but impossible; application and GUI settings were stored along with vital operating system information in an insecure central registry that was also system-based. Therefore network-based user accounts could only be implemented with complex and cumbersome workarounds. One of the biggest design mistakes in the history of Windows (the design of the DLL subsystem) was perpetuated, and networking was initially based on the hopelessly inadequate NetBEUI protocol. Even though NT followed a peer-to-peer networking model, a separate "NT Server" version was shipped. (NT Server contained exactly the same code as NT Workstation, with a few additions that amount to only a fraction of the product's total code set.) Initially there had been intentions of portability to non-Intel hardware, the incorporation of a Hardware Abstraction Layer, and versions of Windows NT on Digital and other platforms, but as the market became more and more monolithic these good intentions fell by the wayside. Eventually Digital did the same.
So at the end of the day Microsoft's marketing prevailed over Cutler's engineering. The result wasn't pretty. NT became an OS based on a set of old VMS design principles that were made compatible with everything that Microsoft had ever done wrong. It was full of legacy API's, it was kludged up to run applications written for OS/2 1.0 (but not very well), it paid lip service to POSIX but never offered anything more than fractional POSIX compliance, and it sported a Windows 3 GUI that had its roots in both Apple's and IBM's user interfaces. It even contained the entire Windows 3 kernel and the bulk of its accompanying code (and Windows XP still does) in the original 16-bit executables, as well as the complete set of decades-old DOS code. In short, it was a real Microsoft product. All later versions of Windows that descended from this piece of "New Technology", right up to Windows Vista, suffer from this legacy."
Portability: MS (+ Intel) bully Asus into withdrawing their ARM based netbook from show: Because MS is no longer able to port Windows away from x86
"It doesn't have major architectural problems"
The registry alone is a Major Architectural Problem. There are many others.
"It has a superior security model to that of *nix, being based on VMS"
OK, that is just such an insane comment that I don't know where to begin. How about a complete and utter lack of separation between system, application and user code/data? That also counts as one of the other Major Architectural Problems BTW. Also see previous quote re: Gates pissing away the strengths of VMS in order to attain his marketing goals.
"It is highly reliable, although early versions weren't all that."
Tell that to any windows admin on "patch tuesday"
However, I don't expect to persuade you, you've clearly drunk deeply from the koolaid and are concerned that your MCSE will become worthless if enough people come to learn the truth behind the failed abortion that is Windows.
Good luck with that.
P.S. I've been using MS products since Multiplan and MS BASIC on CP/M so I know how much they suck compared to alternatives and I assure you they suck hard. Supercharged V8 hard.
I cant believe no-one else has pulled you up on this...
>But when your underlying OS is a kludged together mess of multiple interdependencies
like unix/linux/bsd? rpm, yum or apt? No one has dependancy problems with linux? What about stuff that isnt in a (the?) repository.
dll hell was not a windows only problem
it has since been mostly fixed (in both *nix and windows)
>which has evolved out of a 30 year old
how old is unix? linux is pretty old itself.
>bodgy clone of a command line OS
what is linux? without X (or equivelant)? (okay maybe not "bodgy")
i could argue osx, but then id have to argue how to define clone.
>then you are always going to have fundamental problems with portability
like apps running between major revisions?
between versions of kde/gnome?
would a program written for a distro from 10 years ago work on its current equivalent?
yet windows 7 is still expected to run apps written for win95 (thats 14 years, if it was a kid, it would be half way through secondary school) To be fair, snow Leopard has Rosetta, but will the next revision? (currently 7yrs since OSX launched)
because a local user could never eacalate privleges on *nix?
never needs patching?
remember the openSSL problems?
*nix is just as bad as any other, the only advantages it has is in turnaround time after a 0-day (in which apple comes third after MS), and home users not updating their software.
>reliability and code maintenance.
I cant speak for code maintanence, but having to restart due to kernel patches definately falls under "reliability".
OK, i may be being pedantic/blinkered about the last few points, but of all of windows/MS faults (and there are many), you initially chose the least defendable positions, to the point where at the start of your post, i was unsure about which OS you were reffering to...
but yes, all OSes need to improve, some more than others.
Still can't eject USB sticks every time - I often still get the dreaded "This drive is in use...". Can't it close whatever is using it FFS? Is this really so hard?
Still grinds to a halt whilst it randomly repaints all the desktop icons when using explorer.
Still completely totally locks up for 20-30 seconds when you insert a DVD into the drive. I've got a Nehalem with 6GB of RAM and RAID0 disk. Nothing should bring this machine to a halt!! It doesn't do it under Linux, why can't Microsoft do this properly? :(
Still takes 10 seconds to create the menu when selecting New on the right click menu. I shouldn't have to wait 10 seconds because of the dumb way it creates the list of possible actions and apps.
Still nags for updates just about every single day. I've even seen it reboot during start up so it can complete an update. How annoying is that when all you want to do is quickly check your train is running on time?
Ridiculously small Star Menu. It only pops up to half the height of the screen. Loads of scrolling.
I agree about the notification issue in the article. My taskbar is now full of items that used to be in the notification area.
Finally, the biggest and worst issue - piss poor disk performance. When unzipping an archive with a lot of small files it often drops to 1.5MB/sec!! Same goes when copying folders full of pictures or documents. It as appalling. (Yes I have got indexing turned off, so it's not that).
when you try to take an interface that is designed to be used through a mouse and keyboard and try and hack it up to make it work with fingers. epic fail.
this seems to be a running theme with microsoft - just look at windows mobile - mabye they are running low on competent hci engineers? :x
Having said that...
Anyone that knows me well enough knows what I think of Microsoft, so don't expect this to be a typical fanboi response.
I work with Windows 2000, Windows 2003 and Windows XP. At least I do now. I have had the chance to try out Vista, Windows 2008 and Windows 7. Now I don't mind that the first named systems are creaking because they were pretty well designed, Windows 2000 sorting out a lot of the crud of its predecessor, NT4. Windows 2003 built well on that and XP was a good replacement for W2K's desktop version, not to mention the last of the MS-DOS line, Windows ME (well, you couldn't get much worse!). So much so that it has survived this long.
When I first tried out Windows Vista, I'll admit that I liked much of the layout of the desktop. So much so that I even put a Vista Experience kit on my surviving XP box. What really stuffed it up for me was the hunger Vista had, and its issues with some hardware. It meant that, when looking at changing OS on existing hardware, you often couldn't do it without having to splash out on new bits, assuming that the system was saveable.
So you can imagine, when I tried Windows Server 2008, I was a little sceptical about it. It therefore was something of a surprise when I found that a computer that Vista wouldn't touch with a ten foot slovak happily ran said OS without a problem. This is why, when W7 came along, I was more optimistic, especially when M$ started making apologetic noises about some of the bloat that had blighted Vista.
Some months on and the machine that had once run W2K8 is now happily running W7 with only one flaw, that being the video driver which both M$ and Intel, the company behind it, say they are unwilling to do anything about because of its age. The XP driver works but only until you shut the system down when it promptly uninstalls itself. The front end retains plenty of what I originally liked about the Vista front end but without the need to bloat the system out to extreme proportions (if you don't believe me, go look at any given application distro for comparative requirements for installation under XP and Vista!) but neatens up the crud behind it. Now if they could just be a little better with driver support (I still remember the clamour when Windows 95 came out with all the half written drivers there were back then, and each "new" version seems to suffer the same way).
As for the screen thing, it all strikes me as the developer's latest fad rather than a serious ongoing move in the GUI. The ability to customise the GUI (and I mean REALLY customise rather than just changing skins and such) might be a way out of this but I can't see Windows going down that route unless a third party might consider writing an overlay much as Windows 3.1 overlaid MS-DOS (the guy that wrote the comment about Windows being a launcher wasn't totally wrong, just a little anachronistic).
However, as a footnote, I should advise you that I'll part with RISC OS on my death bed and not before!
Nice idea. Though most home users (the ones that suffer this the most) use laptops and very few of these come with two HDDS. Better to create at least two partions on one drive and rember to back stuff up. The My Documents path can be altered to point to folder on the second partition too. Thus making sure all those valuables are in a neat a tidy place to back up.
A good and seemingly fair effort by Tim.
But, having read comments by obvious Windows diehards on Tim's earlier article, it seems to me that there can be no other conclusion than Windows 7 is another kludge. But less so than Vista. Read the comments for yourself here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/25/windows_7_annoyances/
Every windows release is the "Best windows ever". Last night I was installing win98 on a virtual machine (I only have an upgrade XP disc, so need to put 98 on first). Even win98 was saying that it was the best, fastest, most secure windows ever. Then when I installed XP it again claimed to be the best, fastest, most secure windows ever.
I bet the Vista install doesn't say "slow as a dog, will make you mad when you introduce it to a network, 7 minutes to fully boot (on my wifes newish laptop - and I mean once all the extra crap is loaded not the login screen - go make a cup of tea after that)"
To everyone who raves about the speed of the the win7 betas....you wait for the final release and see what extra DRM-type crap they have put on it. XP will still be faster.
It is a nice urban story, that WNT is VMS + 1.
AFAIK, David Cutler was hardly involved with VMS during his time at Digital, probably with the design of VMS 1.0 and possibly with 2.0. But by the time NT came about, we were already at VMS 5.5-2 or perhaps 6.1, with huge improvements in the security domain.
There are similarities. Some.
F.ex. in the task scheduler, with the priority levels 0-15. Probably also in the handling of virtual memory and pagefile.
I don´t know much about the internals of NT, and I can´t say if and how there is memory protection and the like. But there is certainly not a role-based security like there is in VMS (whitch was there from te beginning, although perhaps with some bugs and oversights).
And I never heard of buffer overflows, until (also) VMS got crippled (a bit) with third party software that did not adhere to the rigorous parameter passing rules.
VMS was disigned to be a multi-user, multi purpose OS. NT is not, it is a desktop OS, single user but with some network connections taking part. To make it multi-user, they needed Citrix, but that is not native.
Don´t blame Cutler, he only made the kernel. That the rest of Microsoft did not understand what he did (or was aiming at) is not his fault.
Nevertheless, there are design decisions that were absolutely wrong. The registry is one of them.
I am getting really sick of this stupid file extension whinge, ffs if you understand pc's you know how to turn file extensions on and if you don't understand pc's even if you can see the file is called .doc.exe that will not stop you be stupid enough to click on it
also a huge percentage of problems with malware are caused by people quite wilfully installing software becuase it was cracked / free and letting people see file extensions will not stop this
as pointed out by everybody else Win+R brings up ruyn just file and although I agree it should have been left in it is not really a big problem
also personally I quite like the new taskbar and am not so blind that I cannot see the big square around programs that are running , if you want another window just hold down shift and then click on the icon.
human's are created to learn new stuff , get used to it and stop whining about minor petty changes
I think you will find that it is a running program that has the file open which makes it a bit awkward for windows to just decide to close the file as it could cause data corruption , also I never don't this issue with my USB sticks or any freezing problems with dvd's
I think the updates thing is a slight exageration , other that the definition for microsoft security essentials I have had 7 updates since 10/08 mostly driver updates and I none of them forced me to shutdown immediately or restarted without me accepting it
Network file copies and doing anything with a large number of file is a pain at present but the worse I could call that so far is a mild irritation of a few occasions
some users do have genuine issues caused by W7 issues but it gets really annoying when people complain about something as complex as windows beause THEY could not get it to run perfectly on THEIR macine setup and then they go on to dismiss the product completely because of that.
"Even if you don't want to bother with a log in password being able to make dramatic changes to windows by just clicking yes on UAC is a mistake as well. The OSX model of asking for a password for any big changes even if you don't use a password to log in is much better"
No, it really really isn't. Spoofing the Mac OS X dialog and stealing the user's password is trivial. There is no point spoofing the Vista UAC prompt, because it's just a yes/no choice. Getting someone to click on a fake "yes" button doesn't get you anywhere.
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