The much awaited Windows 7 launches today from Microsoft. My company is a Microsoft Partner, so I’ve had an opportunity to review Microsoft’s new Windows 7 Professional operating system on my own laptop for several weeks now, and I can tell you I’m really pleased – probably more pleased with this operating system than with any Windows launch before it. I upgraded from Vista Business after some file system corruption problems forced me to wipe my system – the RTM version of Windows 7 had just been pressed, and thought it was a perfect time to try it out – and I’m very glad I did.
What’s Good In Windows 7
The first thing anyone familiar with Windows Vista will notice is that Windows 7 is FAST. It’s faster running than Vista is, and seems to have a quicker boot up time than XP – even though I’m running the 64-bit version. You have all the eye-candy of Vista, also present in Windows 7. And, according to Microsoft, you’ll get superior Windows XP compatibility with Windows 7 than what was available in Vista. I can say that so far, I haven’t had any trouble running any apps.
Microsoft has also added a feature called “Libraries” to Windows 7 – it takes a little getting used to, but once you do, you’ll find it very helpful. Basically, Libraries allow you to group multiple folders that may be in different locations on your hard drive, all together into one place. Looking for Music? Open the Music Library, and you’ll see your My Music folder, the shared Public Music folder, and any other folders you might create for yourself to store music. Try it out for quick access to just reports across multiple projects or clients, or for a single project with documents all over the place. The only drawback I found is that only locations indexed by Microsoft Search can be added – so network locations may be a problem.
Check out the other Windows 7 features at the Windows 7 Product page on Microsoft.com.
What Windows 7 is Not
For all the things that Windows 7 has improved, it is NOT anything radically different. It’s a good solid Windows operating system, with the bells and whistles of Vista, and the speed and reliability of XP. There’s nothing I’ve seen of the radically different file system and interface originally envisioned for Longhorn – at least nothing that didn’t already make it into Vista. The fact that Windows 7 is not radically different should be good news for business.
Don’t Be Shy, Upgrade
I normally take a wait-and-see approach to any new software offering, and particularly with operating system upgrades. In this case, I’m making a flat-out recommendation to businesses currently running Windows Vista to start planning your upgrades immediately. You’ll be happy you did. If you’re running Windows XP, it’s still a good plan to wait until your software vendors support Windows 7, but start applying pressure NOW, because Microsoft isn’t going to wait long to pull the plug on XP support.