22 June 2009

7 weeks with Windows 7

I've been trying Windows 7 RC for over 7 weeks now. It's high time to open my big mouth about the new shiny features and the stuff that sucks. (Please note that I haven't touched Vista with a pole and hope things stay that way, which means I don't know what waslready introduced in Vista.)

Let's start positively. Windows 7 is really shiny. I does have a professional look and feel. Well, not the wallpapers, but overall.

More importantly, it's fast. Rumors say it will work just fine on netbooks!

The usability is enhanced. That goes both ways, unfortunately. On one side, I love the new taskbar with huge icons that you can pin, hover,... do try this at home. I love the merging of the folders instead of the "replace or resign" that used to be.

But... it's the little things. And the frustration they bring.

Windows Media Player is now twelve - that's like two per Windows. It manages my music library well, but doesn't understand that in the universal language of humanity, that loooong key you could find even in the dark in a fraction of a second means "pause". "Pause" is Ctrl + P. "Pause" is Ctrl + P. "Pause" is "I don't care the water is boiling, the phone ringing and the best scene coming, find Ctrl+P if you want to pause". That alone makes me want to go back to the best ever VPlayer (or AllPlayer).

Paint got redesigned. I'm still using PSP7. 7 - oh the irony.

Microsoft is one for those software companies that don't really see the huge difference between "user friendly" and "looser friendly", which leads to odd situtations. See what that is?

That's Windows 7 vs. me. I'm on an admin account. Any software installation makes that question pop out:

Do you wany to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?

Yeah, admin acount. And it warns me that installing a program will make changes on my hard drive! So I clicked "change when these notifications appear" to see less of that and got the window above, politely asking wether Mr UserAccountControlSettings could make changes to my computer.

One last thing hard to forgive. It won't get to sleep when Windows Media Center is running, but it will while Firefox is downloading a big file. Boo.

Okay, enough complaining. It's just a release candidate, and Microsoft deeply values my opinion about the improvement opportunities and usability challenges.

If you want something more constructive to read, I recommend Lifehackers's "Get Windows 7's Best Features Right Now".

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