Lets start us off with something about that juicy new OS from the Unspeakable ones. Windows 7! *Cue dramatic music*
First of all let met just clarify my personal opinion of Microsoft, since you must remember that it colours this review. As far as I am concerned MS is about as wrong as you can make a company. From its anti-competitive business tactics to its shockingly poor record on security, all I see is a company running around on some kind of power trip. Also there REALLY bad at hardware, seriously guys, just stick to the software and get somebody else to style your GUI’s.
Right, now that’s covered lets move on to the actual review!
I’ve been running Windows 7 now for almost a week, and currently I’m rather impressed. Oh sure, there’s a few bits and bobs that need work and some parts of the UI can FOAD right now (Got your Pitchforks and Burning torches? Cause we be storming Ribbon Castel boys!) Its stable, it seems to be secure and though it shocks me to say this; I actually consider it superior to Ubuntu on the user friendliness front.
However that said it is not without its problems, and the biggest one of them all is the new UI. In previous Windows incarnations we had customisable toolbars that could be modified and moved to suit our needs. In 7 we have bloody great big things that put all of the functions you never wanted right there in the main screen rather than buried safely under a safe mound of menus. I can see the point for idiots using a word processor – yes they could find it useful. But I’m not an idiot and so I don’t need these screen hogs (thank god Open Office is sticking with toolbars) and I sure as hell don’t need them in Explorer.
Oh yes, Explorer. Previously using explorer was like using any other file manager on any other computer system, now however in there finite wisdom MS have decided that using the Ribbon interface in a file manager makes sense. Context sensitive toolbar in a file manager… ..can you imagine a more pointless UI change? Have we not heard of the “Right Click” menu guys? Hired a lot of Ex-Apple users by chance? Just in case you don’t get my point, here it is: the right click menu is a context menu, it displays options relevant to the file/item/fish you are clicking on. In 7 you can, thankfully, still do this but why then do I need to have a blasted un-editable toolbar there to do the same job?!
Breadcrumbs, a feature I can actually see the point in, hell I actually like the idea quite a bit to be honest. However why did we have to loose the “Directory Up” button for it? Why can’t we have our crumbly bread and our uppers? Its a pain in the proverbial to shuffle though the address bar looking for the folder you want, particularly when with an up button you could just go to that button and click till you hit the one you wanted!
The Start button, it should shrink with the blasted task bar, not droop off of it like it was stuck on by a 4 year old with prit stic. Also make it less gaudy or give us the chance to have a greyed out version at least.
Aero Glass, its all very nice and pretty, but why dose it have to be smeared with diagonal bands of white? Yes I know there trying to make it look like its glass, but why? I’d prefer it to just be transparent and leave it at that.
The Window controls are on the wrong side. Yes I know that’s the side MS always puts them on, but its still the wrong side. Look at it like this: Most computer users are right handed, when they rest there arm there more likely to roll it up and to the right than anywhere else as there arm relaxes forwards and out from the body. This slides the cursor up to the top right corner, where if they click by accident they close, de-maximise or minimise what's currently maximised on screen.
Libraries feels half finished and teaches new computer users not to think about where there files are stored – I predict doom arising from this. Thankfully its easy enough to disable.
Homegroup… ..why? Why would I have more than one computer running 7 in the first place for one thing. Why would I want to share with other people what’s on my computer, that’s what remote desktop is for.
Windows XP mode, I have got virtualisation set on and my processor and motherboard support the blasted thing! WORK DAMN YOU!
Despite these rather petty gripes I actually like most of Windows 7, its a good OS and comes with some neat features. Plus most of my gripes can be fixed by using something like WindowsBlinds, or patches from MS themselves. Considering its still pre SP1 I think its only fair to cut it some slack when the majority of the system is actually as good as it is.
Overall a recommendation then? Mostly, though I’d point out that Win7 and Ubuntu are about equal on the user friendliness in most areas, and Ubuntu has far more scope for out of the box usage. If your a gamer like myself your choice is obvious: you will get 7 and enjoy having a gaming OS that’s both 64bit and non-shite. However if your not a gamer, I’m not sure you can justify spending £200 on an OS when an equivalent one is free.
Oh, and I wrote this one in “Windows Live Writer” to test it out, seems to work quite well. Though I still want to burn whoever created the idea of a context sensitive non-customisable toolbar that you can’t switch off.