My Windows 7 Experience – To Date

It didn’t take me long to find my weekend project. I jumped on the extremely large Windows 7 bandwagon, and I’m glad I did. On Friday night (yes, that is what it has come to on a Friday night), I partitioned one of my hard drives and installed Windows 7 on my main computer. I can now dual boot and use Windows 7 or Vista Ultimate. Of course I didn’t upgrade my Vista install since I really didn’t know what to expect. Let me state that I believe Windows 7 lives up to the hype. Here is a taste of what I have found to date:

Windows 7 OS

  • Installation: The install was beyond easy. Windows has always been an easy install, but this time around it didn’t ask me the pointless/easy questions. It was one or two questions and then off to the races. The install timing was pretty impressive as well.
  • Compatibility: This was the biggest question on my mind. Would all of my programs work? I have my favorite and preferred programs and I needed wanted them all put up a good fight and make the transition. I was not disappointing. Windows 7 handled every program that I threw at it. I only had to run one program in “compatibility mode,” and that was to install an old school Java application (I had to do that for Vista as well). Overall, my programs installed and worked as I hoped. I keep all of my program data and documents on a separate HD from the OS; therefore, the transition was pretty painless.
  • Usability: I can’t cover it all, but here are a few highlights:
    1. The ability to “pin” programs to the start menu and/or task bar is just awesome. I also really enjoy the option to have simple icons in the task bar, which take up considerably less space than the alternatives.
    2. I like the new system tray setup. You can access all of your system tray icons with one click (and keep your task bar clutter free).
    3. The new “Action Center” allows you to specify which alerts you want. It is about time.
    4. The new “Libraries” features is long over due. It allows you to aggregate your data in a virtual folder type of way. The Media Center utilizes this concept and I’m glad they incorporated it into Windows 7.
    5. The bootup time is just fantastic (relativity speaking). I have all of my typical programs installed and it is still faster than Vista. Of course, my Vista install has been in place for some time and we know it slows with age.

Media Center

Microsoft added a few new features to the Media Center for Windows 7 (W7MC). Overall, I’m quite pleased. I was able to get my key plugin, Collectorz Movie Collector, working and I configured all of my extenders (DMA2100, DMA2200, and an Xbox 360). I also configured all 4 of my tuners, including HD. All worked flawlessly (I did have to refresh my memory on the Collectorz install – setting permissions and the like). I still haven’t found a program to customize the menu strips. I hope they hurry up and fix MC Menu Mender.

I’m not going to get too deep into the media center, as the link below will send you to a nice overview. I will leave with, what I think, are some of the top W7MC features:

  1. Enhanced guide
  2. Enhanced mini guide
  3. New guide configuration (including features from the TV Pack)
  4. Picture slide show
  5. Album art show
  6. Native H.264 playback support

In summary, I am very happy with Windows 7. I have configured the OS just how I like it and it is ready for every day use (i.e., I have turned it over to the wife as well). I will be using this OS moving forward and I hope I don’t ever have to look back. Note to Microsoft: let’s make this official so I can kill Vista completely from my hard drive and reclaim some space.

For more information, including screenshots and key features, check out the following links:

Until next time.

– Keith

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