Friday, November 06, 2009

Windows 7 First Impressions

My first impression is so far so good! I admit there was some hesitation on my part to upgrade to Windows 7 only because in the past every upgrade made my computer slower, but everything I had read suggested that Windows 7 (unlike past releases of newer versions of Windows) was actually going to be faster than its predecessor (Vista). First I upgraded one of my desktops ... just to test it out and see if the upgrade would work ... took about an hour without any problems. That desktop didn't have much in it, so I wasn't worried if the upgrade didn't work. But my laptop has everything in it, and being right in the middle of project deadlines I usually wouldn't do a major upgrade like this. But just the other day after a Vista update caused my laptop to almost not start-up, and it also froze a few times, I decided it was time to do the upgrade.

I had ordered the family pack (good for 3 computers) upgrade from Microsoft for Windows 7 Home Premium so I stuck the 32-bit DVD in (they do send you the 32-bit and 64-bit versions). The upgrade took considerably longer (3 hours) than my desktop because I had more files and programs on my laptop. But after the few prompts I had to answer I basically just left it to run on its own while I played with the kids and put them to bed. When it was done I entered the product key and Windows 7 started-up successfully.

Only 1 device driver failed to upgrade. Windows 7 complained that it couldn't find the device driver for a PCI Memory Controller. So I looked it up on Google and found that it was referring to the Intel Turbo Memory booster. I did a search again on Google and found the Intel Turbo Memory Windows driver for Windows 7 at Lenovo's website.

I fired up my desktop email (Windows Live Mail), no problems there. I fired up Photoshop, Dreamweaver ... no problems as well! I did a couple fresh restarts just to see if it really is faster in restarting, and YES, it really is faster especially in bringing up your desktop. My Vista desktop was taking so long to come up but now Windows 7 brings it up considerably faster. And no freezing, so far!

Just a few months ago I was thinking of Microsoft as being in the same state as the American auto companies who fell way behind the Japanese (Apple in Microsoft's case) in terms of reliability and product design. I still think the Apple OS is superior if only because I've always been a fan of unix, but this upgrade experience does give Microsoft a chance in the battle.

Competition is great for consumers because it forces the players to be at the top of their game. Let's face it, it's not because Apple's OS is great that Microsoft got a wake-up call. Apple's OS X was released in 2001, the same year Windows XP was released. But Apple's market share was still minuscule then and people were still not buying Macs the same way they fly off the shelf today. Windows Vista came out in 2006, just when Apple's popularity started to really gain momentum, and more and more people realized it's not too hard (and not too expensive) to switch to a Mac.

So I'm quite happy with my Windows 7 upgrade. I recommend it!

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