24 October, 2009

Windows 7, first impressions

There will be no shortage of comments on Microsoft's new OS.
I hadn't planned to install it, as I hadn't been too impressed with Vista on my review machines.
But Microsoft kindly gave me a French  "edition int├ęgrale" and told me how much better it is than Vista, so I took the plunge. Here are my first impressions.

First of all. It's supposed to be easy to install and not involve too much time wasting. This is not the case when migrating (I don't like to say "upgrade") from XP, because you have to back up all your files first.

Secondly, the question of drivers. In my case I needed a display driver for my Toshiba laptop. According to the Tosh web site, they don't have Win 7 drivers for this machine!  Ensued a frustrating half hour on the Micrsoft web site - although most of the time was spent trying to fill in their feedback form, which the system refused, insisting that I hadn't completed an obligatory question. Added that the site kept switching to French, even though I had clicked on English as my language.
In the end I used Toshiba's screen driver for Vista, which worked. But it doesn't give the impression that they have readied their web site for Win 7, in spite of the splashes boldly claiming that they are Ready for 7 !

Next install the printer. I liked the way it installed (on the second attempt) without having to download a huge driver file. It beats me why you have to install a 54 MB file just to print on my Lexmark T640 from XP, whereas Linux works straight from the box. Anyway, Win 7 worked too.

Now I've got to install my assorted applications: Skype, Acrobat, Word, Digiguide, Final Notepad (this particular one is a nuisance, because the current free version has fewer features than the earlier ones), Network Stumbler, Hachette Dictionary (along with Alcohol, which is the only way I've found to run it without carrying the CD around with me all the time), Firefox, VLC, Thunderbird, Network Stumbler. That's just for starters. The most painful one is Locklizard, which involves ringing up the supplier everytime you change hard drive (or OS). But there will be all the assorted plugins and 'upgrades'.

The thing that gets me about the whole show is having to stay on a permanent learning curve. Not only for the new Windows, but also the new versions of the software that I have had to re-install.
I am getting a strong feeling of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".