Windows 7 Initial Review

With Windows 7 coming at us full-bore later this year….yes, this year, I thought it would be time to get the beta installed and check it out. Installed via VirtualBox on my laptop: a Lenovo Thinkpad R61, Core 2 Duo T7500 (2.2GHz), 2GB RAM.

First surprise: installed quickly, despite the virtual environment. 13 minutes to the first reboot, then another 5 minutes to complete the install of other components. The install itself was strikingly similar to Vista’s otherwise.

Once in Windows the first noticeable feature is that of the redesigned taskbar. Would love to say it’s revolutionary, but it’s really not. It’s barely evolutionary. But it is a good redesign, and users will find it quite useful. But again, it’s only a small, incremental change that’s really more worthy of a service pack-level change, not a new OS. (click to enlarge)

Next let’s take a look at the next thing to be noticed: the Start menu. Again, small tweaks. Good tweaks. See the changes below…especially the new Shutdown.

One cool change…yes, I said cool. Rather than having the Recent items as a separate entry, each program has its own. See the Paint entry below as I snagged screenshots.

The surprising thing (in a positive sense) is performance: even in a VM with only 512MB RAM assigned to it, performance was actually very decent.

We’ll take a look at the new Ribbon features in many of the included programs in the next part of this review…

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