Move over Vista, Here Comes Windows 7
In an era when everything comes under close scrutiny --- especially when it comes to products from Uncle Bill and the Boys from Redmond --- it's refreshing when something new works almost as advertised.
Windows 7, which is due to hit store shelves later this month, has exceeded my expectations.
As with anything new, I installed the new operating system with great trepidation, not knowing if it would screw up my whole computing universe. Boy was I wrong!
Since I was upgrading from one of the many versions of Windows Vista, the installation process was virtually painless. Win 7 analyzed what was on my computer, made a backup of all of my programs, settings and drivers, and then --- miraculously --- reinstalled them when it was finished. The only complaint I had was that the whole process took about three hours to complete.
Unfortunately those using WIndows XP or earlier won't have the same experience.
It seems that Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, is punishing all of those who refused to upgrade to Vista by forcing them to reformat their hard drives (hence losing everything on them) and reinstall all of their hardware and software after the installation process is complete.
The folks from iYogi, who offer online technical support for thousands of befuddled computer users, predict that more than 40 percent of Windows XP users will be requesting technical support when trying to install the new operating system.
They also predict that 58 percent of folks now using XP will be making the switch to Win 7, creating a bottleneck in calls to tech support. This is an amazing figure, when you look at the millions of computer users that never upgraded to Vista.
Most of the changes in Win 7 are very subtle and really unnoticeable until you begin using the new operating system.
- It's faster. You immediately see that programs load a lot faster and boot-up time is significantly reduced.
- There are virtually no hardware compatibility problems. Every piece of hardware attached to my PC was installed withoiut a catch --- even those that were Vistaphobic when that operating system was first introduced. This means you don't have to prowl the Internet for Win 7 drivers to make your printers, scanners and other devices work.
- It continuously monitors itself, warning you of potential problems.
- Internet Explorer 8 doesn't crash, as it often did in Vista and XP.
- Jumplists give you immediate access to your recently used files, photos, music and videos.
- Revive your PC instantly from "sleep" or "hibernation" without fear of crashing the system.
- File and program windows can be resized and "snapped" into place, allowing you to have several of them on your desktop at the same time.
- True 64-bit support, enabling more powerful PCs to take advantage of their extensive memory and hard drive capacity.
The only complaints I have about this new operationg system --- and there are very few --- are its inability to work with Internet security programs developed before Win 7 is released and that there is no security software included with the package.
Microsoft announced last week that it would be providing a separate free package of Internet security programs for download when the new operating system hits store shelves, but this is still a wait and see proposition.
CheckPoint has announced a Win 7 compatible version of Zone Alarm, but it won't be released until after it's tested with the RTM version of the operating system.
For more information, check out the Windows 7 pages on Microsoft's website and http://www.zonealarm.com/.