I have read nothing but good things about Windows 7 and stories of people running it on 5 year old systems so when I got my BETA release Serial number I was exciting about testing it out.
My test machine of OS had Ubuntu 8 and XP Pro on seperate drives installed. There is no upgrade from XP so decided to install fresh. The machine is a Gigabyte Motherboard, 1GB DDR400, Geforce 2GTS, 2 X 80GB HDD, P4 2.6GHz CPU. I mainly use this machine to play videos and music at the office to save resources on the workstation.
First Glance (Boot to DVD and Install)
The DVD boots quicky and the first thing you notice is that the install screen has been completley redisgned and is very clean and efficient. Much better than the blue file copy screen from xp. There was a slight hang at the system check but other than the install is very quick and efficient.
Look and Feel
The first thing I noticed was the beatiful boot window for 7, the animated lights that form to make the windows logo is a welcome change from the old loader. First boot into the live OS is uneventful. I notice that the new task/start bar is VERY LARGE and is pretty much command central for the OS. For those of us that like to have loads of windows open at the same time and multitask like mad this is a great tool. There is only ever one instance of your application in the task bar. When you roll over it will list the open windows allowing you all the options to bring into focus, close etc.
I did find out the hard way though if you click a pinned application (quick launch) when you have one window open this does not open a new instance. You will have to right click to open a new instance. Not too much of a bother however considering all the power that you have from the previously launch only quicklauch that hasnt changed since its inception. The default wallpaper is very nice and clean. The overall feel is that of a cleaned up vista interface. Warning messages and alerts are present in the system try very un obtrusively which is nice.
Driver and Hardware support
The first problem arose when I had no network card driver found for the onboard network card. I kind of expected this so I installed another NIC, Still no Drivers found, I grabbed a third NIC from my pile and installed it again no drivers found. I went back to the onboard, grabbed the xp drivers from the manufacturer and tried them out. It worked I had the internet working. The next thing was to get teh Video and sound cards working, windows update found the creative driver for the sounds card. Now to tacke the video card, no drivers found. I grabbed some XP legacy drivers for the Geforce 2 from nvidia as there is no Vista driver. After installing the video card driver I was able to get access to higher resolutions and setup the video card. After a quick reboot we are up and running.
All hell breaks loose
I was all set, I thought, time to get anti virus running, Comodo won’t install as it is not certified for 7, but it is certified for Vista (I’m using it on my laptop). So I check the list of anti virus applications that microsoft suggests you buy. I noticed that AVG was in there so I figured if the purchase version will work then so will the free version. Luckily I was right and was able to get anti virus running. In the middle of trying to download the Live package everything freezes, I mean litterally freezes like it would if your CPU melted. Nothing from Keyboard, nothing on mouse no response at all.
I reboot the machine only to have it happen again and again and again at different time after loading windows. I never get in more that a few seconds after windows has loaded. Time to try safe mode, whaddaya know I am having no problems in safe mode so I reverse back to the driver install for NVIDIA. Reboot again and still freezing, I guess it must be the video card driver so back into safe mode I go and uninstall NVIDIA drivers. Reboot and its all working like normal again. After another bout of hunting for a Geforce 2 driver for Vista or 7 I give up and try to figure out how to boot back into my Linux drive. Of course no hope there Windows did not maintain the Dual Boot as always.
Well that is it for me on Windows 7, no support for older hardware, not even basic driver support for network cards. Even without aero there is no driver support for older video cards. The task bar is double height so you are forced to use the auto hide to save your desktop realestate. I am not impressed with this OS yet, maybe when it is out of Beta and tested I will upgrade the Vista 64bit machine in the office. At least there will be driver support for that hardware its all newer hardware. Microsoft has a lot of work todo before people will adopt another OS from them. Not all of the users out there have the latest in hardware for Vista and now 7. That was the major flaw of Vista, a lack of hardware drivers and suppport and it looks like the same thing is happening again in 7.
Back to XP Pro on the test machine.
Psyc3d rating of windows 7 as of writing:
I was so excited to try it out and I didn’t even get a real chance to go through it.