Windows 7: Will XP Users Finally Let Go?

Based on the pre-beta, Windows 7 has made major strides past the troubled Vista OS.


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Posted November 10, 2008

Ronald Barrett

Ronald Barrett

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So the votes have been cast and we look intently to 2009. Yet somehow the debates still continue to rage on. No, I’m not talking about the general election that took place on November 4th; I’m speaking about the release of Microsoft’s Windows 7 pre-beta software.

It arrives at a time when Microsoft is getting beat up over Vista both from their competitors (i.e. the MAC vs. PC Vista marketing campaign) as well as from their customers (see the “Save XP” campaign).

As you likely know, Microsoft will release a Vista a successor named simply…Windows 7 Those who took in the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC 2008) got the opportunity to take home the pre-beta release of the software. Let me repeat that again for emphasis, this is the PRE – BETA RELEASE!

Strange thing is, possibly for the first time ever both the nay-sayers and banner wavers have been out in full force to both trash and laud Windows 7. I remember when Vista was about to be released to beta. I was working as an IT Director in NYC and I wanted to get a look at it quickly. I asked around and Microsoft got the beta release to me about a week before it went out to TechNet customers.

I was excited to install it even though it took forever to complete the installation. If I can remember correctly it took about 2.5 hours on my Dell X1 laptop.

Okay, part of the problem is that I installed it on a Dell X1 with a 1.0 GHz Centrino processor and 768MB of RAM. However, I was viewing the laptop as a testing unit; I knew the OS was a beta and I did not expect much from it in way of performance.

To me the beta version is meant to get a look and feel for the software, kick the tires as it were. In a pre-beta if the software installs without frying your system it is doing GREAT!

And guess what? The pre-beta of Windows 7 does not crash. I had the opportunity to work with it and it actually installs pretty fast. Again, the machine it installed on is a 2.6 GHz Quad-Core with 4GB of RAM. Nonetheless that is impressive to say the least.

Understandably, many would argue that Windows 7 is built on the Vista kernel. But is it really? Let’s consider the evidence we have seen from several writers and bloggers who have already taken a peek at Windows 7 just as I have.

Vista or not Vista….that is the question

The immediate appearance of the start orb, color schemes and program menus certainly reek of Windows Vista. At first look user say AH HAH!

Let’s put visuals aside for a minute (we will talk again about them later) and remember no one ever complained about Vista’s “look and feel,” so keeping that look and feel is not a bad thing.

Starting with the things that matter most to end users, Windows 7 footprint is much smaller than Vista’s. In fact a complete install took much less disk space than Vista does.

Now I find this a little weird since you can buy 500GB SATA hard drives for under $60. However, Vista haters have complained that Vista takes up too much hard drive space.

Memory requirements have been another sore point in Vista; again 2GB of DDR2-1066 RAM is under $60. But the fact is, end users have spoken and in my Windows 7 tests it used only about 296MB of RAM while testing, compared with the often-quoted 1.5GB of RAM needed for Vista. One thing I can say I definitely appreciate in Windows 7 – hands down – is the new User Account Control (UAC) slide bar. It reminds me a lot of the Internet Explorer privacy settings. You simply move the cursor up or down and determine how much or how little you want UAC to get involved.

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Tags: Microsoft, Vista, Internet Explorer, privacy, Windows 7

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