Friday, 19 June 2009

Windows Seven Review…

So, I’m sure you all have installed Windows Seven, if you haven’t do a backup and download it, the 7100 RC build tree bears some minor changes from the 7000 tree, for example the Aero Peak feature has been added to the Alt+Tab window switcher, and a slight change I noticed in the colour of the links bar in the right hand side of control panel apps, from a blue colour like in Vista to a grey colour.  I can’t say it is very fetching to be honest but it gets the job done. 

There are some new themes in the personalisation menus with added sounds that are really remixes or different styles of the default windows sounds.  They have a slight aesthetic quality but I feel this may be unnoticed to most End Users.  I really like the new taskbar deign, with the aero peak again built right in so you can see the window in a larger view before committing to clicking on it.  You may think that it would be easier to just click it and use trial and error or read the title/tooltip, but it is great for checking the status of say a download in iTunes or even just to abstract from the slight annoyance of trial and error.  One thin that may cause people some annoyance with it is the instinct to click on the “aero peak view” but after some use it becomes a truly seamless thing to do. 

Something else that I have liked is the use of glass over the entire taskbar, instead of the standard black style  with some transparency in Vista or worse the garish blue bar in XP the remodelled “Superbar” as it is now called has a pleasing elegance as it graces the bottom of your screen, I don’t like the larger size of it on lower resolution screens (1024x768 for example) as it takes up far to muck screen real estate.  But on a slightly higher res, like 1440x900, the width seems large at first but after some use is perfectly acceptable.  The buttons on the taskbar also have a new feel, the start button say:  the button looks like the Vista start pearl but is now a bit bigger, when you mouse over a beautifully smooth animation makes the button glow.  The application buttons them selves have no text, just the application icon (this can be changed), when you mouse over one the icon lights up from below the colour of the majority of the icon, eg IE would be blue and Windows Media Centre (WMC) is green, etc.

Another feature is jump lists, an icon on the Superbar can be dragged up to revel or a right click can also show it, I presume this is for touch support.  The jump list contains commonly used applications and shortcuts.  They are also available in the start menu, an arrow appears at the end of a program with a jump list, when hovered over or clicked the jump list make the menu a bit larger and reveals the list in the right of the start menu, where your documents links would be.  move the mouse away it disappears.

Some other features are less easily seen.  XP mode allows users to run legacy software under a virtual XP machine, unfortunately you need hardware virtualisation technology on your microprocessor, if you have an AMD processor  this will not affect you as they have the hardware virtualisation built in, but if you have an Intel chip then you may not have this support, an easy way to find out is to run Steve Gibson’s (of program: securable.  It is quick and easy, it tells you if your processor supports DEP 64 bit and virtualisation, mine has DEP and 64 bit but no hardware virtualisation (Intel Pentium Dual Core T2370) 


Bottom line, well nearly ;), Windows Seven is great, to get the most out of it you should use a computer with over 256MB graphics RAM and 2GB of standard RAM, this will give you a fast smooth performance and allow all the Aero stuff.  Time will tell weather the pricing is right, many hope for around $50, £40, but I feel this is unlikely.  If you have decent specs then go ahead and install Seven on a computer somewhere and have a play, the RC is free to download and you can get the product keys legally from MSFT until at least July, so go ahead and download it.  If you aren’t sure about 32 or 64 bit versions run securable and check your processor’s support, then go here and get all the details for the download.

As always,


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