I installed the public Windows 7 beta on one of my laptops early this week. This is a laptop that I use all the time when I’m at home (I love the keyboard, so I sit at this one and Remote Desktop into my other machines) but it’s been running Windows XP because Windows Vista never ran particularly well on its 2004-era hardware. And as is always the case when working with a pre-release operating system, there is both good news and bad news.
Let’s do the bad news first:
- I’m traveling this week and next, so I only had two days to play with new features before heading out on the road.
- I have a bunch of demos I need to do next week at the MCT Summit in Redmond, so I can’t blow away the Windows Server 2008 install on my demo laptop and replace it with Windows 7 until the Summit is over.
- That’s about it for the bad news…
The good news is much longer, so I’ll just hit on the highlights:
- Windows 7 runs faster and better than Windows XP ever did, even with the same software running. I’m vastly impressed by how well it runs, and I can’t wait to get it installed on more modern hardware.
- It looks and feels great, with all of the nice features of Windows Vista (I love Vista search and some of the Explorer enhancements that I miss so much when I go back to Windows XP or 2003) and is more usable (and just plain prettier) as well.
- Windows 7 automatically detected my Nvidia video card and downloaded drivers for it. This may sound trivial (and isn’t really something for which i can give credit to the Windows 7 team) but the new driver finally works. For all previous operating systems and driver versions, this video card has always displayed any video being played in full-screen mode on the secondary monitor. This meant that I could not work on one display while having a video (any video – not just Manowar videos) play on the other. With the new driver, this is no longer the case, and video finally works the way that it should.
- Did I mention it’s amazingly fast? ;-)
But the thing that prompted me to post this article is not my own experience. I found today a list of “Windows 7 Secrets” published by Tim Sneath here: http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/archive/2009/01/12/the-bumper-list-of-windows-7-secrets.aspx. This includes a ton of keyboard shortcuts (one of my favorite tools) and ways to work with the new OS features that you’d be unlikely to stumble across on your own. Definitely check it out the next time you sit down at your Windows 7 machine, or if you’re wondering whether you should make the move…