Windows 7

It has been almost a week after loading Windows 7 on my main desktop system and on my wife’s laptop.  Quite frankly I don’t see what the big deal is; I’m not impressed.

My first observations:

  • The Quick Launch toolbar was completely removed by the upgrade process.  Removing the toolbar took with a carefully constructed list of applications that I use frequently and that were ordered in a way that made sense.  I understand that “pinning” applications to the Task Bar is supposed to make the functionality of the Quick Launch toolbar substantially better.  I would almost buy that if the applications I’d had in the Quick Launch toolbar were automatically pinned to the Task Bar and pinned in the order I had them.  But the installer decided that service wasn’t necessary.
  • The applications that I’d previously had pinned to the Start menu were removed from the start menu.  I’d had Google Chrome, Microsoft Outlook, and Windows Explorer pinned there so that they were incredibly easy to access even with the keyboard.  All it took was hitting the Windows key, the down arrow one to three times, and the enter key.  Yes, I know I could have used the Windows key plus another hotkey to access any of those items; I just found it easier to use the arrow method.  Win7 supports pinning applications to the Start Menu.  Why would it have been so difficult to retain the applications that had already been pinned there by me?  Is that a subtle hint that pinning items to the Start Menu is something that I shouldn’t do?  If that’s the case, why?
  • The new Aero Glass interface looks like crap.  Yes; I said it looks like crap.  The version running on Vista was much more attractive.  The UI does not look professional or modern.  I suppose I’ll eventually get used to it.  But I’m already wondering if it will be butchered again in Windows 8?
  • Snippy is a handy tool for making quick screen shots with basic markup and editing.  It’s particularly useful for me as software developer when I need to make screen shots to send to members of my team that are scattered all over the country.  I’d rather not have to fire up Paint every time I need to do something simple and quick.
  • Speaking of Paint:  It was overhauled and given an Office 2007-style interface.  Very nice.  It also looks like the number of tools have been increased.
  • WordPad has also been updated to have the Office 2007-style.  While I rarely use WordPad, it does look a lot better.
  • Windows 7 is suppossed to be faster and have less of a resource footprint than Vista.  I’m not seeing either of those results on my desktop system.  It’s possible that the desktop system had enough resources that Vista didn’t have any issues.

My wife’s first observation after upgrading her laptop to Windows 7 was “Where did Outlook go?”  A fair question.  She’d always found it either pinned to the Start Menu or in the Quick Launch toolbar.  Before I could start an explanation she asked, “Where did the Internet go?”  I knew she meant Internet Explorer (and she does know that many things comprise the Internet and its not just the IE browser … she just doesn’t care about those details).  I explained that the Windows developers decided that applications didn’t need to be in either of those places any more.  She said, “Well, that’s dumb.  Put them back.”  Putting Outlook and IE back wasn’t possible, so I set them up for her the “Window 7 Way”.  She’ll probably forget the way XP and Vista did it soon enough.

After getting her setup with those basic applications in places she’d easily find, her next question was “Why did we spend money on this?”  Never mind that I got in when the Windows 7 pre-order period was open and got a really good deal.  She wasn’t seeing the benefit of any of the changes that came along with Win7.  It wasn’t rocking her world … at least not in a good way.

She isn’t noticing, but her laptop does seem to be a little bit faster to me.  This laptop of hers has always been slow and it is only about 18 months old.  This particular computer seems like it never had the resources to any thing.  Memory, for example, was almost fully consumed by Vista.  Of course, I haven’t spent a substantial amount of time using it since the upgrade.  But I haven’t heard any complaints about it being slow yet.  We’ll see how this works in the long run.  If it does turn out that it runs faster and is less resource constrained it will have been worth the “that’s dum” and “why did we spend money on this” comments.