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Last post Author Topic: Surprised by Win7  (Read 12185 times)

siouxdax

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Surprised by Win7
« on: October 29, 2009, 05:02:24 PM »
So is anyone else out there that is surprisingly pleased with Win7? I'm the average guy that uses Windows only because it's so ubiquitous and has no interest in Mac only because of the "culture shock" of switching. Actually, I should say 'above-average' guy, in that I like to do lots of tinkering and learning along the way. So when I took the plunge and installed Win7 on my desktop PC, I was dreading the hours of installing this-and-that, tweaking everything to my picky standards. But with Win7 I found myself having fun installing and tweaking, learning about all the changes and additions that this new OS had to offer. It was like I fell in love with my desktop PC all over again. Now when I look at my laptop, running XP, I start to drool, thinking about installing Win7 on it just as soon as I have my desktop PC tuned just right. (I have to have at least one machine that is 'complete' before messing with the other.) I was worried that the shiny bells and whistles would make my desktop crawl, but was pleasantly surprised by the judicious use of memory. My worries of incompatible apps were thwarted; 99% of my apps ran as smooth as silk. (Unfortunately, Stellarium isn't yet fixed to work on Win7.) The 'library' section is nice; needs some rounding out, but I love the concept. I love the total control over the system tray. I was ecstatic that my documents section was labeled 'documents', 'music', 'pictures', and not 'MY documents', 'MY music', etc. And the simplicity of C:\Users... brings on a sigh of relief.

So, am I alone on this? Is it just my heavy medications inducing Operating System Euphoria?
Kind Regards,
Daniel in Tulsa
AKA siouxdax

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Dormouse

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2009, 05:36:25 PM »
Well, I'm very frustrated with it.

Had no real problems with the beta, but I've installed (clean install, dual boot with Ubuntu) the final version on one computer so far and it won't connect to the network (set up as a Windows network on XP, also with Vista & Linux computer). Since it's not my own computer, my access time is limited, so I can't just try things out and then read up on the net for the next thing to try. No problems accessing the internet, which is a good thing, but it seems a lot of people have had frustrations getting 7 to talk to non-7 networks. And like the Office Ribbon, getting past the wizards and buttons to actually set things up directly seems to be a very hidden option, assuming it is there. Apart from that, it installed faster than XP and without problems - though tbh I've never had problems with a Windows installation.

Ubuntu, of course, just installed easily (and faster) and just works - including accessing the network.


Ehtyar

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2009, 05:46:46 PM »
I would have to agree that the obfuscation as it were of configuration and troubleshooting interfaces is extremely frustrating, you're definitely not alone in that. I find that oftentimes the command line is the best way to get around it, though you frequently need 3rd party utilities or resource kits to get as deep as you'd like.

I have no experience configuring Windows 7 networking in a home environment, so I cannot speak to your issues there.

Ehtyar.

Dormouse

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2009, 05:59:12 PM »
I'm sure (famous last words) I can sort it out it's just that it is a relatively simple thing and should be straightforward (though come to think of it, Vista wasn't quite as straightforward as XP) and I will get access for an hour or so at a time, so I need to have the right approaches in my locker immediately or there will be another wait. And just have to hope it doesn't need a two stage solution. It's probably just a minor setting or two but it is interesting seeing so many reports of people getting 7 & XP computers on the same network (I certainly don't propose to set up a 7 network and then try to get all the other machines to join that).

MilesAhead

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2009, 06:30:10 PM »
I won't know until I end up with a "Home Premium" on my machine.  Right now I'm still running the 7077 build, which is Ultimate.

I like that you don't have to hack system dlls to put themes on.  Plus it seems like all I had to do to reduce the HD usage to an acceptable level is turn off file indexing and use Everything Search.

But it's all conjecture until I buy a Home Premium OEM edition or whatever is the cheapest that still has the Aero.

afa the networking goes I don't know why they keep changing stuff.  I set all the workgroup names to MSHOME to match XP.  Maybe instead I should set them all to WORKGROUP since I rarely use XP now.  But I hate to change stuff that's working.  I'll leave well enough alone for the time being.


mouser

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2009, 06:39:35 PM »
I've been surpised and impressed so far by it.  i expected it to be much more flashy and annoying with lots of useless animated crazyness and distractions; it seems a lot more focused on letting you get to work.

40hz

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2009, 12:19:24 PM »
Am I surprised?

Definitely.

I've been generally happy. There are a few oddball problems here and there, but nothing major.

The biggest annoyance for me is how my desktop occasionally freezes up for 10-15 seconds (!) when I'm switching folders with an application to do a 'save' or 'open.'  And despite the fact that I've got Aero and all the interface eye-candy turned off (and all my drivers fully updated) some screen actions occasionally behave in a sluggish manner. I'm sure it has a lot to do with my inadequate video hardware. To be fair, Microsoft's Upgrade Advisor did say the onboard video I'm using was suboptimal even though it was compatible. Again no big deal. I've been meaning to get a decent card for this machine anyway.

I have had some problems with drag & drop actions, but they all seem to be issues for specific apps and not a system-wide problem. I'm sure most of these hassles will disappear with future app updates.

One thing I was (negatively) surprised by was the amount of RAM and resources Win7 uses. Especially after all the hype that went down about how much Win7 had improved over Vista in that area. Make no mistake - Microsoft's old 400 lb. gorilla is now an 800 lb. gorilla! Then again, even if Win7 is twice the size of WinXP, maybe it's not all that relevant any more. RAM is cheap enough.  And Moore's Law seems to be on Microsoft's side, so this isn't something I'm going to worry about long-term.

There's also another negative thing I experienced about Win7 firsthand: it's significantly slower than XP. When I first switched over, I was surprised at how 'light' Win 7 felt. But going back to an XP machine after a solid week of working exclusively under Win7 was enough to remind me just how much faster XP is across the board.

Bugger! So it is true what they say about it being slower.  :-\

Still, that being said, I agree with Mouser that the overall Win7 UI workflow does seem to help you get your tasks done more efficiently. Obviously a lot of thought went into the new interface deign. In that area, I'm willing to concede it does work better than XP. Because when I switched back to using XP, I was amazed at just how arbitrary and clumsy the GUI often felt after working with Win7. Especially now that I had something other than KDE, Gnome, or Xfce to compare it to.

Slower system speed but a better interface? On well...since nothing's ever perfect, "good enough" will have to do. And Win7 is a fair bit more than "good enough" so I'm not complaining.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 12:25:33 PM by 40hz »

mouser

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2009, 01:27:22 PM »
i've just used it a little bit, and i should clarify that while i found it a pleasant surprise, i have not yet found any compelling reason to prefer it over my current Xp Pro install; or at least not enough to upgrade.  for a new install though, win7 seems like the way to go.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 01:31:00 PM by mouser »

MilesAhead

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2009, 02:29:32 PM »
40hz how is the hard drive activity?  One thing I noticed where stuff will pause is if the drive is busy.  I turned file indexing off.  Now the only time I notice it being sluggish is if I'm transferring files over the network.  I put a Gb card in the machine with W7 so it can take faster than the HD can copy.  If you haven't tried it already, try Everything Search and disable file indexing.

My old HP PC with the Intel graphics with no onboard ram(used system ram for all video) worked pretty snappy with no Aero and basic theme, with 1 GB ram.

The one I have W7 on is 2 GB ram AMD dual core so admittedly it has more horses but it seems pretty responsive with Aero on.

40hz

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2009, 05:37:40 PM »
@MilesAhead

Hi! &Thanks for the input.

I have a Gb NIC in my machine, and indexing was one of the first things I switched off because I also use Everything thanks to it being mentioned here.

I just discovered that Windows Defender's realtime protection was switched on even though I had (or thought I had) disabled it prior to installing AVG, so that may have been the culprit.

Again, this isn't a constant thing. If it would just screw up and stay screwed up I'd be home free. But when you're trying to swat an intermittent - that's when it gets challenging.

 ;D


MilesAhead

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2009, 06:00:12 PM »
I know what you mean about the intermittent thing.  Can be very frustrating.  Kind of like trying to tune in a TV with a rabbit ears.  As long as you stand there holding the antenna, the picture is fine.  Take one step away and it's back to fuzz. :(


Innuendo

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2009, 03:34:31 PM »
There's also another negative thing I experienced about Win7 firsthand: it's significantly slower than XP. When I first switched over, I was surprised at how 'light' Win 7 felt. But going back to an XP machine after a solid week of working exclusively under Win7 was enough to remind me just how much faster XP is across the board.

Win7 is only as fast or faster than XP when you have a decent (read that as fast) video card installed in your machine. Win7 will offload a lot of the graphics workload onto the GPU freeing up the CPU for more important tasks. Since you say you have a sub-optimal video card then that's what's slowing you down. Video RAM plays a role as well. I think some MS dude said once during the beta cycle that to get the full benefits of the video acceleration in Win7 you need a video card with at least 512MB of RAM.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2009, 08:46:02 PM »
I have to say I am not finding it significantly slower than XP. I have XP Pro on a machine with a dedicated GeForce 7300 512Mb card, separate sound card and dual core CPU and Win 7 Pro on a more basic set up using integrated GeForce 7100 graphics, integrated sound and single Core CPU (with full Aero and I haven't even turned off non-essential services such as Indexing). Both machines have 2Gb of memory

OK the Win7 install is much newer but it is certainly quicker than my XP machine which is surprising given the sing core CPU and integrated graphics/sound. I am sure I will notice a difference if I start using VMWare or Photoshop on Win 7 but for day to day office type stuff Win 7 feels smoother.

(PS I also have Vista Ultimate on my laptop with Win 7 Pro dual booting - Win 7 knocks the socks of Vista on the same machine)

siouxdax

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2009, 02:43:16 PM »
One thing I was (negatively) surprised by was the amount of RAM and resources Win7 uses. Especially after all the hype that went down about how much Win7 had improved over Vista in that area. Make no mistake - Microsoft's old 400 lb. gorilla is now an 800 lb. gorilla! Then again, even if Win7 is twice the size of WinXP, maybe it's not all that relevant any more. RAM is cheap enough.  And Moore's Law seems to be on Microsoft's side, so this isn't something I'm going to worry about long-term.

Hmm. I've seen a decrease in memory usage; or at least is seems that way to me. In XP everything was tied into svchost.exe, multiple ones at that. And yeah, in W7 a lot is eaten by the (fantastic) Aero business. Regarding your mention of sluggishness around folders and the desktop, I had the same problem until I got a more bitchin' video card. I knew immediately I was going to need a new card when I saw that sluggishness and the stuttering when using Media Center.

There's also another negative thing I experienced about Win7 firsthand: it's significantly slower than XP. When I first switched over, I was surprised at how 'light' Win 7 felt. But going back to an XP machine after a solid week of working exclusively under Win7 was enough to remind me just how much faster XP is across the board.

W7 felt light to me as well. I have it installed on my desktop PC, and still have XP on my laptop. I have both my desktop PC and laptop on the same desk, and I switch between the two constantly. When I turn to see my laptop it doesn't make me smile. Installing W7 is imperative at this point. I agree that after using W7 for a while it becomes apparent that XP is clunky.
Kind Regards,
Daniel in Tulsa
AKA siouxdax

Visit my tumblog!
« Last Edit: November 01, 2009, 02:58:20 PM by siouxdax »

J-Mac

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2009, 11:31:16 PM »

(PS I also have Vista Ultimate on my laptop with Win 7 Pro dual booting - Win 7 knocks the socks of Vista on the same machine)

Carol,

I also have Vista Ultimate on my notebook. Do you have a reference for installing Win7 along with Viata Ultimate w/dual booting? I was just going to perform a clean install of Win7 Home Premium - can't upgrade unless I get Win7 Ultimate and since MS abandoned Vista Ultimate I don't want the extra expense.

Thanks!

Jim

Carol Haynes

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2009, 05:17:35 AM »
I just installed it (boot directly from the DVD rather then inserting the DVD when Vista is running as you normally do for an upgrade) and chose the customised install options. It installed fine alongside Vista. Just make sure you rejig partition sizes to leave either blank space or a blank partition for the new OS to install on.

One point to note is that if you install Win 7 as a dual boot it will more than likely put all its boot components on the existing partition. Don't be tempted to simply delete the Vista partition in the future as it will mean your Windows 7 install won't boot afterwards!

One good thing about the BCD boot management is that you no longer have to worry about drive letters - each operating system boots in as drive C once installed.

MilesAhead

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2009, 02:16:46 PM »
Quote
One good thing about the BCD boot management is that you no longer have to worry about drive letters - each operating system boots in as drive C once installed.

I have to look into this more.  I remember in the past having setups where one Windows could not see the other and juggling partition settings on boot. It turned into a real nightmare esp. if you try to install some software on a non system partition that can run on both OS, such as Visual Studio.

OTOH it doesn't really apply to XP and I'm not likely to mix W7 and Vista since they are pretty much the same picket fence with a different coat of paint.  But I wonder if they are playing the old "active partition swap" game?

Carol Haynes

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2009, 02:49:34 PM »
The problem with drive letters is the way Windows installs itself. Basically if you install windows XP on a disc that already has partitions it will assume a random one of those is drive C: and allocate a new letter - which is a real pain.

With Vista and Windows 7 BCD is more logical. It assumes that when you boot into that version of windows then the current version windows drive must be drive C: which saves a lot of confusion.

It doesn't change Active partitions etc. on the disk. In fact if you install Windows 7 on a blank disk C: won't be the active partition because it sets up a small dedicated boot partition (pretty pointless if you ask me but MS seem to think it is more secure) - if there is already an active partition all the Boot stuff is placed there.

Eg. if you have Windows XP installed already and you clear enough space for Vista or Windows 7 (which isn't IMHO just Vista with a coat of paint) and then install Vista/Win 7 the boot stuff will be placed in a boot folder on the Windows XP partition (which is left as the active partition).

MilesAhead

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2009, 03:09:50 PM »
The entire business with drive letters is a kludge. It will never be a real OS until they do away with it.  There needs to be standardized storage identification that allows a user assignable alias for a friendly name.  If all the stuff is moved to another storage location the friendly name should just be associated with the non-volatile ID.  Anything less is just hobbyist crap.

f0dder

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2009, 03:36:56 PM »
The entire business with drive letters is a kludge. It will never be a real OS until they do away with it.  There needs to be standardized storage identification that allows a user assignable alias for a friendly name.  If all the stuff is moved to another storage location the friendly name should just be associated with the non-volatile ID.  Anything less is just hobbyist crap.
Easily done already, and has been so for years, using NTFS junctions. Not exposed through explorer though, because drive letters work just fine for regular users :)
- carpe noctem

Stoic Joker

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2009, 04:44:05 PM »
I remember in the past having setups where one Windows could not see the other and juggling partition settings on boot. It turned into a real nightmare esp. if you try to install some software on a non system partition that can run on both OS, such as Visual Studio.
Granted I did the same thing (and got the same result), but Microsoft did warn against that type of setup in a KB article written back in the Win2k days.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2009, 05:02:58 PM »
The entire business with drive letters is a kludge. It will never be a real OS until they do away with it.  There needs to be standardized storage identification that allows a user assignable alias for a friendly name.  If all the stuff is moved to another storage location the friendly name should just be associated with the non-volatile ID.  Anything less is just hobbyist crap.


Win7 goes some way towards that by the use of Libraries. No real need for users to even be aware of drive letters.

MilesAhead

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2009, 05:23:23 PM »
I remember in the past having setups where one Windows could not see the other and juggling partition settings on boot. It turned into a real nightmare esp. if you try to install some software on a non system partition that can run on both OS, such as Visual Studio.
Granted I did the same thing (and got the same result), but Microsoft did warn against that type of setup in a KB article written back in the Win2k days.

I did that before Win2k. I had NT 4 server and Win98 both booting as C:
Most 3rd party apps worked with it fine.

afa the drive letter issue goes, until it is totally transparent, it's broken.  IOW, if I want to move all my stuff from partition D: to F: the registry entries should still be valid since it will just map to the other device or partition with no intervention by the user other than a command similar to "move apps from (source partition id) to (target partition id) and the friendly name, even if the user wanted to use D: or F: for some stupid reason like backward compatibility, would map to the proper place.

J-Mac

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2009, 12:36:41 PM »
I just installed it (boot directly from the DVD rather then inserting the DVD when Vista is running as you normally do for an upgrade) and chose the customised install options. It installed fine alongside Vista. Just make sure you rejig partition sizes to leave either blank space or a blank partition for the new OS to install on.

One point to note is that if you install Win 7 as a dual boot it will more than likely put all its boot components on the existing partition. Don't be tempted to simply delete the Vista partition in the future as it will mean your Windows 7 install won't boot afterwards!

One good thing about the BCD boot management is that you no longer have to worry about drive letters - each operating system boots in as drive C once installed.

Thank you Carol! I missed the email for this and just saw your post. "BCD boot management" - Is that the EasyBCD software? I've never used that. I'll give it a try. First step is to purchase my Win7 upgrades! Did anyone here perform the custom (full) install using the upgrade disc yet?

Carol, you mentioned booting from the DVD. Does the Win7 upgrade come on a DVD? Or did you download it and burn it to a DVD?

Thank you.

Jim

Carol Haynes

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Re: Surprised by Win7
« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2009, 01:40:45 PM »
I have the full version on DVD. If you want to do it as an upgrade from Vista boot into Vista as normal and then insert the disc and follow the prompts.

You can buy upgrades online with a download. Personally I think they are to be avoided as the DVD acts as a rescue media in case of problems. With the download you don't get that - although you can no doubt find instructions via google on how to produce an ISO file from the MS WIM file.

PS: Beware EasyBCD is buggy as hell.