One of my personal favorite sources for detailed, useful Windows 7 information is and remains Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report at ZDnet.com. Last Wednesday (7/29/2009) he posted a gem entitled “Windows 7 first look: More than just ‘Vista, fixed’.” He’s been working with the final RTM through a special arrangement with MS since mid-July and thus has more time than anybody else I know of outside the company in harness with the soon-to-be-released final version, which hits TechNet and MSDN this Thursday, August 6.
Apparently he hasn’t slept much in the interim because he’s worked with all the major versions, and has done upgrades, clean installs, and worked with the Easy Transfer utility, in both 32- and 64-bit implementations. Having just finished 9 chapters of a book on Windows 7 myself (look for Windows 7 in Depth to hit bookstores next month/September 2009) I’ve got a pretty darn good idea of the amount of work involved in doing all this stuff, and it’s not insigificant by any means!
Visual thinkers will want to jump right to Ed’s image gallery of key Windows 7 features and hidden gems, the rest of you can stick with me for a verbal recap. You’ll see the new splashscreen with official Windows 7 wallpaper, taskbar thumbnails and Aero Peek, Jump Lists, Libraries and search stuff, a revised Resource Monitor layout, integrated QuickTime support, direct access to Devices and Printers plus Device staging, direct connect for external audio devices, improved system restore and advanced recovery methods, and Windows Easy Transfer details. FWIW, I agree that every single one of these items adds significant value to features and functions available in either Windows XP or Vista.
Bott also waxes eloquent on other subjects near and dear to my own recent and extended Windows 7 experience: improved responsiveness, perceptibly faster performance (especially compared to Vista), smaller resource footprint, and excellent driver coverage. He doesn’t dig into Windows 7’s improved resilience and robustness and much as I might have liked, nor does he mention much about its improved abilities to detect, manage, and recover from driver or software instabilities and issues. But this is just the first in a series of such articles he has planned, so I’d recommend keeping your eyes peeled for others in this sequence, as well as reading this particular item.
For myself, I’ve just weathered another round of crashes and failures on my production Vista Ultimate PC. I’m going to try installing Windows 7 Ultimate on that machine as soon as I can grab the MSDN download later this week, in hopes that Windows 7 proves more capable at handling my system, which incorporates a first-generation DDR3/LGA775 motherboard that apparently makes Vista crazy. If Windows 7 can’t cope with that configuration, I’ll know for sure that it’s time to replace that motherboard. I already have a couple of second generation boards picked out and ready to order, should that prove necessary. Wish me luck, and I’ll do the same for you!