Windows 7 (I like it so far!)

So, curiosity got the best of me and I grabbed the Windows 7 beta soon after it was publicly released.  After planning on installing it on an old PC (500mhz celeron, 256mb ram), and finding that it just plain wouldn’t install without at least 512mb RAM, I hatched a plan involving my laptop (a gateway 7422gx – 2.2ghz single core 64bit athlon, 1gb ram).  When I got it about 4 years ago, I upgraded the hd from an 80gb/5400rpm drive to a 100gb/7200rpm drive.  I ghosted the drive to the new one, and kept the old one “just in case”.  So, not wanting to risk messing up a good thing, I put the old drive back in, and went for it with W7 last week.

I really like what I’ve seen so far!  First I did some tweaking to the interface, shrinking the taskbar down to the smaller size and setting the desktop icons back to the smaller “classic” size.  Never liked the bigger icons in Vista, either.  Then I started installing stuff to see what worked and what didn’t.  I threw on avg free, office 2007, adobe cs3, winamp, firefox, pidgin, and a few other essentials, and everything worked fine.  It found drivers for my volume buttons, wireless, all that stuff, no problem.  I got it on my wireless network quickly.  It even connects a bit faster than it did in XP.  The laptop seems to actually be running a bit faster overall than it did in XP, which is a nice surprise, especially considering I’m back on the slower drive.

A bigger surprise was that my battery seems to work way better than before!  Before this, running XP Home, I got maybe 30 minutes of battery life.  Now I got well over 1:10 or so before it conked out.  (I stopped paying attention at that time, but it showed about 20% remaining then…)  Maybe this is a function of the slower drive, but probably not that much.

The most important thing to test, for me, was whether Pro Tools would run or not.  After some small issues with installing PACE drivers, my iLok, and iTunes/Quicktime, I found a fix and everything went very smoothly.  PT8 seems to be running quite well, which is awesome!

I’m really liking the new window management stuff, like being able to drag a window to the side to dock/tile it, to the top to maximize, and the pop-up context  menus in the taskbar are great, too.  The “move your mouse to the bottom right to show the desktop” thing is neat.  The new weather gadget with the extended forecast is cool.  If I were a little braver, I might try installing this on my main machine…  Maybe on an old drive, so I could revert easily if needed, or when the beta expires!  Maybe after I finish my album…

**Edited to add:  I was watching cartoons on last night on the laptop, and twice, after watching, or possibly while watching (I can’t recall now), the computer blue-screened and restarted out of nowhere.  Maybe it was a problem with Flash, since that site uses it…


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  2. jeff_windows_team

    I just read through your post and am glad that you have had a good experience so far with the Windows 7 Beta. Those are some impressive numbers you shared about long your battery lasts when compared to when the machine runs on XP. Here is an article about Windows 7 and why it improves battery life if you are interested. Thanks for being a Beta tester!
    Windows Outreach Team

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