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November 6, 2009

Windows 7 Thoughts

Filed under: Main — Dan Gookin @ 12:01 am

First the bad news: I don’t have a Windows 7 book in the works. Nope, nada.

The Windows book market is tight and heavily dominated by long-time favorites like Windows For Dummies, written by my pal Andy Rathbone. While I would enjoy writing a Windows book, there’s just too much good competition out there.

I do have a Windows 7 training video, however. It’s pre-packed with the purchases of some new PCs. If it comes available to the general market, I’ll let you know here on Wambooli.

Back to Windows 7 Thoughts!

The Windows 7 Upgrade went smoothly. All my programs work, which blows me away; that’s truly a first for any Windows update I’ve ever done. (Don’t let me tell you about the horridly expensive Windows 95 update!)

Overall. Yes, Windows 7 is Windows Vista Plus. It uses the same overall visual approach of Windows Vista, which is radically different from Windows XP.

Best Feature. Windows 7 loads very fast, which is a wonderful improvement over the stupidly sluggish boot time for Windows Vista. It wouldn’t be a fair comparison, but I think Windows 7 loads faster than OS X does on my Macintosh. (Now I don’t have the current version of OS X and my Mac is 5 years old, so that’s why it’s not a fair comparison.)

The Taskbar. Perhaps the best improvement in Win7 is the new taskbar, which has lots of features. Gone is the Quick Launch bar. Instead, you can “pin” icons to the taskbar. Taskbar icons and buttons also sport a feature called jump lists; right-click on an icon to see a handy shortcut menu that lists recently opened document, frequently-visited web sites, and other handy commands.

Sidebar. The Windows Sidebar is gone as a separate program. Replacing it are simply the Gadgets that Sidebar hosted, which can now be controlled by right-clicking the desktop. I like this improvement, but still find the Sidebar Gadgets to be a tepid copy of the more useful Mac OS X Dashboard.

The Control Panel. I give up. The Control Panel interface is now the Category View. I enjoy the icon view, but it’s been relegated to the back drawer. So it takes longer to get to useful Control Panel items, plus it’s not really obvious where those items are. That’s a sore point.

My is Back. After a brief departure in Windows Vista, the “My” naming scheme is back for your folders. Documents is now My Documents. Again. Of course, internally, Windows uses Documents as the folder’s real name. So sometimes you actually see Documents instead of My Documents. That’s a peeve of mine.

Libraries. A handy feature in Windows 7 is the Library, which is basically a collection of folders. So you can have a project that has folders under My Documents, Pictures, and Videos, and then create a single Library that lists the files (and folders) from those separate locations.

HomeGroups. Forget everything you learned about peer-to-peer networking, if you ever bothered. The old “connect to a computer’s folders” notion is gone and replaced by the HomeGroup. Basically, a HomeGroup is simply shared documents across a network. It’s useful, but I don’t like it as much as the individual folder sharing.

That’s pretty much it as far as superficial things go. Overall, I’m pleased. Then again, I was one of the few weirdos who really liked Windows Vista. Trust me at your own peril! 🙂


  1. Oh, I was one of the few weirdoes who liked Vista too. The only reason it’s starting to irk me is because it does some really silly things (takes an age to boot up, sometimes any combination of my volume\networking\battery icons in my system tray go AWOL are the biggies). I’m going to send away for Windows 7 in the next coming weeks as my laptop qualifies under the upgrade program for an upgrade. I’ve played with it in a VM, and while a bit crippled because it’s in a VM, it ran quite well, especially with only 1GB of RAM for it to play with. I have high hopes for it when it’s let loose on the system

    It’s good to have you back by the way. 🙂

    Comment by Douglas — November 6, 2009 @ 4:50 am

  2. Thanks, Douglas! Good to be back!

    Comment by admin — November 6, 2009 @ 6:45 am

  3. i COULD like vista if i wanted to. i’ve been using windows 7 for a good bit now and i think it really was a good plan by microsoft to change a lot of stuff to make it less problematic than vista.

    also, you have any ELECT DAN GOOKIN yard signs left that i can have? 🙂

    Comment by linuxlove — November 6, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

  4. I have plenty of Gookin For Council yard signs left. The problem is shipping it to you as they’re quite large. So I’d be happy to send one your way, but we’d have to figure out the postage.

    Comment by admin — November 6, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

  5. well, give me your email or some other way to contact you and we’ll figure things out, ok?

    Comment by linuxlove — November 8, 2009 @ 5:50 am

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