Windows 7 & Vista.

Last year I bought a new lap-top. An H-P, 2 gig of RAM, dual-core processor… nothing special, though a reasonably well specified machine. However it did come with Vista as its operating system.
What a disappointment.
Even though I did various tweaks and adjustments to the system, it was just so nasty to use. O.K., it worked, it was stable, it recognised my other USB hardware devices etc, but it was sluggish and unresponsive and generally not very nice. Not helped by the machine being relatively heavy and having a poor battery run-time. It became a rather expensive door-stop! Much preferred using a baby netbook which I had access to.
However after a while I thought I’d try putting XP onto it. The install went without any problems, however getting all the required drivers gave me grief and became a pain I could not be bothered with, so I re-installed Vista from the manufacturer’s disks. Doing this install did actually improve the Vista performance which surprised me, but just raised it to a slightly different level of crapness! It was used mainly because I’d spent the money so *I will use it* rather than for its performance or functionality.
Then recently I noticed on a Microsoft bulletin that Window 7 (Beta) was available for download, so I thought I’d give that a try. Downloaded it, burnt to DVD, then installed straight over the top of the existing Vista.
Wow. What a transformation. No problems on the install, picked up all the lap-top drivers from Vista, ran smoothly, reliably, and so much faster – even faster than a well looked after XP machine I use. The only things that didn’t work properly was a webcam program I sometimes use for its built-in camera, and I lost the functionality of using the keyboard short-cuts for changing the screen brightness. Well, if that’s all I can complain about for a beta release of an operating system, I’m impressed.
However the beta is time-locked to expire in a few months time, so when I heard that Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) was available from Microsoft I quickly got hold of a copy. Thought I’d do a virgin install so went ahead and trashed the hard-drive and installed. No problems, though it gave me limited graphics, wanting the proper lap-top graphics drivers. Downloaded the latest drivers from H-P, but when I tried to install them it failed; they would only install onto Vista. So rather than muck around I just started again by first re-installing the manufacturers Vista (with all the drivers), then RC1 on top. This install failed as RC1 wanted to see Vista + Service Pack 1. Didn’t take long to download and install the service pack, and RC1 then went effortlessly on top.
Again, very impressed. Everything works quickly and smoothly. The two things that did not work before now happily run.
Using Windows 7 on this lap-top has transformed it from being a waste of space (and money!) to being my preferred machine, even to the extent of using in rather than my XP desk-top. (Even the battery life is noticeably longer as I found out when I’d forgotten to plug it in.) I’m sure as time goes by I’ll find bugs and problems, but then that goes for any bit of software.
The Linux community may have been able to sit back and snigger (and yes, I do occasionally play with Linux – though I much prefer FreeBSD), and they may have gained quite a few converts through the Vista embarrassment, but if the final version of Windows 7 turns out to be as good as what I’ve seen so far…. well, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

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