Windows 7 is now available for home computer users, and the operating system has already received a fairly positive reaction from the technology community. The operating system is not the seventh version of Windows, nor is it entirely different from Windows XP or Vista, but major changes to the user interface have made it quite the different experience from either of those systems.
I’ve been running a trial version of Windows 7 for several months, with occasional updates applied to ensure that the latest possible version was on my computer. I’ve got some good news for the early adopters: Windows 7 is quite solid. Here’s my full review of Windows 7.
New User Interface – The biggest changes in this newest version of Windows is the new user interface. It’s sleeker, shinier, and smoother. It’s not all gloss, either–some cool new features make Windows 7 more user friendly than Vista or XP. The new Taskbar provides better window management, though it’s a bit large (icon size can be changed in the settings, though). The revised “Gadgets” from Vista add limitless functionality to a user’s desktop, allowing them to view the weather, clocks, news feeds, RSS, and more. Right down to individual applications like MS Paint, Microsoft has completely overhauled every single area from XP.
This could be a bad thing if it wasn’t easy to use, but every new function seems well integrated and simple to figure out. It’s an operating system that’s actually fun to tinker around with.
Speed –TestFreaks.com ran a series of tests to determine the relative speeds of Windows 7, Vista, and XP. They found that while 7 beat Vista pretty roundly, it was often on par with XP, only beating the older operating system in a few categories. In my own use, I didn’t notice slowdown when using Windows 7 for high-needs processing tasks; the differences between it and XP were negligible. I did find it to be faster and more stable in general than Windows Vista, and less frustrating to use, too.
It’s important for me to note that I tested the 32 bit version of Windows 7, along with 32 bit versions of the other operating systems mentioned. If you have the capabilities to use the 64 bit version of Windows 7, you may notice it to be faster than other operating systems. The 64 bit version is said to be about 10% faster.
Compatibility – Since Windows 7 is based off of Windows Vista, any programs designed to work with the previous operating system will have no trouble working on Windows 7. This means that on its release, Windows 7 has a fairly solid software library, and it’s quite adequate at running many Windows XP programs that Vista had issues with. I use fairly obscure sound and video software on a daily basis, and Windows 7 has rarely presented any bugs. Sound programs, in particular, can be notoriously difficult with a new operating system, so I was pleasantly surprised.
Windows 7 also has good hardware driver support. Again, anything that worked on Vista should work fine on 7, and compatibility has only improved from Vista in general. Driver development is on the hardware manufacturer’s side, so there’s not much that Microsoft can do about it, but it seems that 7 is launching with a good base which will only improve if mainstream computer users embrace the OS.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Windows 7. Whether or not you should upgrade depends on your own preference for the new UI, but if you do upgrade, you shouldn’t be disappointed. Windows 7 is one of the best operating systems that Microsoft has made.
What do you think of Windows 7? Share your opinion in our comments section below.
Source: Brozio, Kristofer. “Windows XP vs. Vista Vs. 7”, Testfreaks.com.