Today, I just got a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate RTM and the experience of installing this fresh OS was full of excitement and joy.
Before I installed Windows 7 on my actual machine, I played it first on VMWare 6.5 and see if there will be problems especially on the drivers. Well, the installation took only about 23 mins configured as 1GB RAM, Dual Processor and only consumed roughly 8~9GB of hard disk space. I verified if all my hardware was installed via Device Manager and found no errors on it. Faster reboot, shutdown process is clean and an impressive User Interface, very sleek, uncluttered and clean. With the success of my installation via VMWare, I decided I go for a clean install of Windows 7 over my Windows Vista.
On my actual/physical machine, I have the following specifications:
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 3.40GHz
Hard Disk: 500 GB
I reformatted my hard disk via the installation wizard and my D:\ drive remained intact, only my drive C:\ that contains OS specific files is the one that I made changes. I was amazed and pretty impressed on the speed of the installation process. It took me only 17 minutes to see my first Windows 7 desktop screen!
The lightness of the installation process is somewhat similar to Windows XP and the interactive way of it is much like of Windows Vista. It just took me 2 to 3 restarts and my only participation is when I needed to choose the language (1st step), entering my username and desktop pc name (2nd), assigning a password (3rd) and activation (4th). The fifth is after the last restart and the login box prompted me to input my username and password.
and by looking on my Task Manager, seems like a good sign
The actual hard disk space used on the initial setup is only 8GB but since I installed Windows 7 on my desktop machine, I don’t need the hibernation feature of the OS. After issuing the command powercfg –h off to turn off hibernation feature, I gained an additional of > 1GB of hard disk space.
* Start Menu
The default new utility that are shown on the Start Menu are: Sticky Notes (new) and Snipping Tool. I haven’t tried the Snipping Tool but familiar with the Sticky Notes utility. This is a cool addition IMO as myself is a notepad guy that writes any information fast via notepad and save it for later. With the Sticky Notes, I can create quick notes easily. NoteZilla have this kind of tool but it is a commercial product.
One thing I noticed on Windows 7 is how it maximizes the usage of the Start Menu. For example, I opened and save several images on my Paint application. All these recently edited images can also be seen on the Start Menu as a cascaded items on the Paint application. Very very useful addition. Recent Items is not for My Documents anymore but for all applications as well that uses the MRU facility.
* File Explorer
The File Explorer improves much much better than Windows Vista, it simplifies the notion of Personal Folders by Adding/Changing it to Libraries as the root node Computer icon is not expanded by default and also the Network icon.
When navigating/clicking thru the Computer, Partition drives will be displayed. The new thing about this OS is when you traverse a directory and sub-directory on the right side, the left side is still displaying the root directory and it will follow your path only when you double-click it. Intuitive interface enhancement IMO.
And also, Internet Explorer 7 sports a little adjustment with the way the URL is visible. The actual name of the domain is the only one with a bright color, the rest is colored as grayish suggesting that the most important item to remember is only the name of the domain. This enhancement is now carried over on the File Explorer itself. If you are browsing a directory, the name of the file or the folder name are the ones with strong focus in terms of visibility as shown on the image below:
On the desktop, Microsoft realized that the most common thing that the user often do on the context menu is to access and change the screen resolution. Well, changing of Screen Resolution is now part of the context menu on the desktop, and more, they also added the Gadgets menu (noticed that the Gadget Sidebar is not loaded by default).
Changing of screen resolution is also changed its look and feel:
The taskbars’ opened items are now seen as icons:
But that’s not all, if you hover to one of your task items, a preview with nice transition effect will be displayed and allows you to close the application from the opened preview window!
What I did noticed and really caught my attention is the way Windows 7 focuses on the hovered taskbar item. When you open multiple applications and hover to any one of them, you will notice how Windows 7 deactivates other opened applications by making a transparent/translucent effect and only the edges are visible to mark the location of each opened apps:
But wait, the most useful addition on the taskbar itself is the Show Desktop function! You can minimize all and show your desktop by clicking vertical bar on the right-most of your Taskbar! Very impressive functionality enhancement!
Recently I blogged about a tool called Taskbar Shuffle that allows you to drag the taskbar item and position it to your liking. I’ve been using this tool on my Windows XP and Windows Vista boxes coz this functionality is not native to these OSes. And now, Windows 7 team thinks that this functionality is worth to be added on the OS and now, I no longer need the Taskbar Shuffle coz Windows 7 is already doing this to me!
* Re-engineered MS Paint, New Look, New Feel
I thought MS Paint will never change the way it was since Windows 95. But to my surprise, the new look and feel of MS Paint makes me do more of my basic image editing on this nifty little app! Just like the UI of SnagIT version 9.
and now, it can save PNG files too! In fact, all of these images were captured via Print Screen and pasted it on MS Paint, Save As PNG images one by one!
Even this simple tool is also improved its functionalities. It added many functions based on your computing needs. Let’s say if you’re studying engineering or involved in a computer computation, you can perform such task by using the MS Calculator. Impressive eh!
– PowerShell is now integrated on the Windows 7, running this via console by typing powershell will change your current command prompt:
– I like the transition effect for changing a wallpaper, just like previewing an image on an Image Gallery!
– HomeGroup is also new to me but haven’t tried it on my home network.
Surely, i haven’t seen all the beauty and wonders that Windows 7 offers to the users but as far as my initial impression, this OS will surely be the best alternative to Windows Vista and to all folks using Windows XP that are afraid of switching to the new OS, you will miss what Windows 7 can offer you.
Along the way to my journey on this new OS, I will be writing it all down to this blog.
Philippine Price is roughly 15K for Windows 7 Ultimate.
Some sites that I find useful:
Windows 7 Related Forum
Windows 7 Tweaks:
Windows 7 Theme Pack