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Windows 7

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 5:03 pm
by George
Well, I downloaded the Release Candidate yesterday. Since I was already reformatting my old (~2003) laptop, I thought, gee, why not. So, the oldest functioning PC in my apartment is running Windows 7 Ultimate.

It automatically found drivers for all the behind-the-scenes stuff. The Vista drivers for my wireless adapter seemed to work, though I forgot my WPA key, so I can't really test it. The original XP ethernet adapter drivers installed and work fine. For graphics, I tried a handful of things before finding a modded copy of ATI's base drivers that was supposed to support Vista. Sure enough, it installed and seems to work. That just leaves audio drivers (and modem, but I think I can do without).

Proc: 2.9
RAM: 2.9
Graphics: 1.9
Gaming graphics: 1.0 (Couldn't detect the hardware and got confused)
Hard drive: 3.9 (How the hell does an IDE 5400 RPM drive score this well?)

They kept most of the aggravating UI changes from Vista, and added a new one in the form of their new task bar. It's bigger and harder to use. I do like the ability to drag taskbar items into different orders, and the concept of context menus on quick launch icons is good, but overall, the task bar, start menu, and windows explorer have all been much harder to use than XP. They've also thrown a search box onto everything. I'm not sure why they think I want to interrupt my work flow to search for stuff. I put things in consistent places, and never have to wonder where they are (except when the UI tries to outsmart me and moves them around). The only searches I ever do on my harddrive are to find things in code other people wrote, and on rare occasions to find an e-mail whose content I only vaguely remember. Neither one requires the heavy-weight indexing that's not permeated everywhere. Hell, a recursive grep achieves all my goals.

SD video (probably DivX or XVid) playback in Media Player is adequate. Media Center is much like Vista, but even less customizable, which I find deeply frustrating. I tried to play a DVD in Media Center but couldn't figure out how to. I went back to Media Player and tried to play it and the system hung. So, the video drivers may not be as compatible as they first seemed.

I didn't really have a purpose for this computer before. I was thinking maybe a media center for the kitchen, except that it doesn't have a remote and its wireless is too slow to stream video or even MP3s. But with the inability to play DVDs, it can't even do that, so I'll probably just put XP back on.

As for Windows 7, it's probably better than Vista, but still less usable than XP. I assume the Media Center is at least as good, so I'll probably install it on my media center PC, and maybe on the other laptop which already runs Vista. Some of the UI changes might help with coding tasks, but they're so aggravating in general that I don't think I want it on my main box.