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Sep 26

Written by: DBS Administrator
Saturday, September 26, 2009

There is no doubt Windows Vista was a huge let down after all the hype Microsoft created about it. Thankfully all the hype surrounding Windows 7 has foundation. Here we have gone through the main points concerning most users.

1. Performance

This was one of Vista's biggest downfalls; it was terrible for most tasks including network connectivity. Windows 7 has addressed all of the performance issues and corrected them all for good (we hope). The "churning" of the hard disk is gone, operating system and application execution is much quicker than Vista and data transfer to a network server is not a patch on Vista.
 
Most of the benchmarks results we have tested show that while Windows 7 overtakes Vista on nearly all areas of speed, Windows XP due to all the hardware improvements since 2001 runs slightly quicker than Windows 7 but, only slightly.
 

2. Hardware Compatibility

Another pain that was part of the Vista experience was the continuous search for drivers, especially for older hardware. Microsoft promised that no new hardware would be required to run Windows 7. Chances are that if your hardware is compatible with Vista then it will run on Windows 7, as much of the architecture is the same.
 

3. Application Compatibility

When Windows Vista arrived and much of the compatibility “horror” was realised most organisations decided to stick with Windows XP. 90% of our new desktop and laptop shipments to business users had XP installed. This was down to not only the above points of speed and hardware but application compatibility was also affected.
 
While Windows 7 does not address this issue in the core of the operating system there is a Windows XP Mode. We should stress that this is not an XP emulator but a virtual environment and is not straight forward to install and configure. Multiple components have to be downloaded and installed from the Microsoft website.
 
Once configured however, applications running in XP mode can be launched directly from the start menu or as shortcuts on the desktop. This provides seamless access and launching of older applications not ready for Windows 7.
 

4. UAC or “User Access Control”

While we appreciated the need for tighter security in Windows Vista the feature of UAC annoyed everyone. Everything that required administrator access, namely functions you were directly trying to access required in some cases 3 or 4 prompts for the same action.
 
UAC is still featured in Windows 7 but prompts for verification have been significantly toned down and the level of UAC can be configured from the control panel.
 

5. User Experience

There are so many interface improvements and feature enhancements, in fact these are the most significant changes from XP and even Vista (so many we cannot cover them all but here are a few main ones)
 
The task bar still remains but has been totally revamped and is similar to Mac OS X’s Dock. Organisation of applications and shortcuts is now at the forefront, in addition to showing the applications that you currently have open, the new Windows 7 Taskbar also hosts shortcuts to your most commonly used applications. Click a shortcut when the application is running, and it brings the most recently used window to the foreground. Click the same shortcut when the application is closed, and it will launch the application. Hover your mouse over a running application’s icon, and it expands to show live thumbnail previews of all of that app’s windows, floating just above the Taskbar. Mouse over a thumbnail, and Windows will bring that particular window to the foreground. You can even close individual windows from the thumbnail previews
 
Another core enhancement to the OS comes in the form of Jump Lists. In short, Jump Lists put frequently used files in a convenient menu that’s a simple click away from the shortcut icon on the Taskbar or on the Start Menu.
 
The Office Ribbon that most of us all are nearly used to, is prevalent in all of Windows 7 integrated applications. Windows Explorer comes with new enhancements to give access to common locations and the ability to sort locations by categories.
 

Summary

Windows 7 really is the future of Microsoft Desktop Operating Systems. There are some great new features and well needed improvements over Vista. The interface is excellent and access to programs, files and network locations is faster and easier. While application compatibility has been resolved in a workaround manner we found the operating system worthy of an upgrade from XP and certainly from Vista.

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