As many people know, Microsoft released a beta copy of the new Windows release to take over in Vista’s footsteps. The new version has been named “Windows 7”, a name which I personally am glad of since the whole year moniker was getting a touch old. With the negative attention of Vista since it’s release, and the wheel spins achieved through potential fixes, Microsoft has taken a slightly different tangent with it’s coveted next release. While still geared towards eye candy, and a lowest-common-denominator approach to additions, the entire Vista philosophy is still intact but with a more streamlined approach on CPU and memory usage.
While Vista and Windows 7 both have the same minimum requirements of CPU and memory (1 ghz cpu, 512 mb ram for home basic & 1 gb ram for home premium/business premium/ultimate), the largest beginning noticeable difference is the drive space requirements. Vista required 20gb with 15gb free, while a full installation of Windows 7 only absorbed 6 gb of space. Through normal use, the CPU and memory efficiency of the new Windows 7 is smooth and snappy compared to Vista. The same graphical interface is shared between the two, along with other desktop items. Initially Windows 7 looks like a streamlined, ran-through-fix-phase Vista.
My experiences with Windows 7 were through a virtualized session with a 2.8 ghz cpu, and 1 gb ram dedicated to it. The machine during normal operation only used about 350 mb according it’s system monitoring.
The interface is basically the same as Vista, and can be made to have a “classic” Windows style to it through preference changes and such.
One of the newest products available through Windows 7 is a Microsoft invention called PowerShell. This cute little utility allows scripting and .NET cmdlet coding and such for automation and well… scripting. The language it uses is pretty much specific to PowerShell, and should prove a valuable tool for those psychologically linked to the Windows operating system. The PowerShell utility has been available since 2006 and is available for Vista/Windows 2003/Windows 2008 also, but this is the first time I have seen it released with an OS. (I’ve been told it came with Windows 2008, but I have not bothered to fiddle with that OS)
The first user-based experience I had with Windows 7 (and Vista, but that was different) was the “Fisher-Price” feel. It honestly feels like an interface on an appliance that shows you icons of software you installed and that’s that. It requires digging into the OS to pull out a command prompt, although the explorer display of the drives immediately showing their sizes makes administration in that realm easier. Naturally, time will fix the appliance mental feel, and make everyone feel that Windows 95 was very commandline based. (that alone should paint a picture)
I’ve only played with Windows 7 for about 1/2 a day, on and off. However, I have ran into a peculiarity with the permissions allowed to ‘defrag’ when done through the command prompt versus graphically. If you try to defrag through a commandline, there will be an error stating that you do not have permissions to this object. Performing this graphically will work without a flaw. (note: this picture is on a desktop altered to use a “classic” windows style feel.)
Ultimately, the main question is whether or not Windows 7 is a worthy upgrade. The answer really lies in what your motives are. If you are a Vista customer, then Windows 7 is a definite improvement with far more compatibilities with previous softwares. If you are a Windows XP or previous customer, then you have a steep learning curve with either of the future versions of Windows. Either way, the eye candy is nice but the trade off is cpu and memory. Since being a Windows customer holds you to a certain timeline for each version, Windows XP will be phasing out in the near future. Enjoy the ride if you can, either way.