About 24 hours ago I started installing Windows 7 Beta 1 (build 7000). First I tried upgrading my Vista installation. After about half an hour with extracting files etc, it stopped at 21%, wanted to reboot. After the reboot, it started at 21%. In the mean time I was playing drums on Guitar Hero World Tour. My neighbors HATE it. It doesn’t take more than two minutes before they start hammering on my door etc. Anyhow.. It still was at 21% so I went to bed. Haven’t slept much lately… When I woke up, it was still at 21%, so I decided to cancel the upgrade, and do a fresh install. Rollback worked perfectly, so I managed to get into my vista installation to copy out the files I “needed”.
Bug 1: upgrade didn’t work
Fresh install didn’t take long. Immediately after it was finished, I started installing all my usual applications. MSN, Visual Studio, SQL Server +++. The only thing I have had problems with so far is daemon tools and similar applications. For those of you that are not familiar with this, it’s a tool to mount ISO-files like a virtual CD/DVD-ROM. After a while I found one that works pretty good: Virtual CloneDrive. If you got any other program to do this, which is FREE (as in free of charge, don’t care if it’s open source or not), and does ONLY mount files, not all the other bullshit like Nero etc, please let me know…
After installing everything I needed, I started exploring the new features. There’s actually some very nice features, but we’ll get back too them soon. I first want to notify you about the other bugs I’ve found.
Bug 2: problems with restarting
After windows update, windows wanted a restart. I pressed “restart” and went over to my mom to have dinner etc. 6 hours later I came back home and noticed the “shutting down” screen. I of course used the power button, and restarted it again. The same thing happened the next restart. Although, I didn’t have this problem the last restart. Have no idea why though. I haven’t started looking at logs yet.
Bug 3: windows explorer stops working
Have no idea what happened, but suddenly windows explorer couldn’t find any of my hard disks. I tried killing explorer.exe and starting it again, without success. I’ve had this problem in XP before, but then it normally works fine after killing it. Restarting worked though, as always 😉
These are the “only” bugs I’ve found so far. I’m a multitask-dude, so I always install several programs at the same time, while doing hundreds of other thing. Windows 7 seems to have no problem with this. I’ve had various problems with this in both XP and Vista.
So, over to the new features. Most of your are probably familiar with “gadgets” in Vista. In Windows 7 you still got gadgets but they’re not locked to the sidebar. You can drop them wherever you want on the screen (as shown on the screenshot). This is of course just to show you. I normally don’t use any gadgets 🙂
UAC (User Account Control) is something that have annoyed many people in Vista. I think UAC is a good idea, but it should warn you about things that really matter, and not EVERYTHING you do. I myself have set it to the “Shut up and let me do what ever I want because I (think I) know what I’m doing“-mode. In Vista there was only on and off, but in Windows 7 there’s 4 settings.
One of the features I’m a big fan of is the new taskbar. Instead of having a taskbar just for opening applications, you can now hover for example the IE-icon, and then get a preview of all your tabs. If you click any of them it opens IE in the correct tab. This also includes all other applications. By using the right-click option “pin this program to taskbar”, you can add applications to it. I’ve pinned putty (which is a SSH-client). If I click it, and the application isn’t opened, it will start it. Pretty neat, especially with the preview functionality.
You also got this “pin” functionality in the start menu. Nice if there’s for example documents you need to add to some kind of favorite list or similar.
Another cool feature is the window management. If you’ve got several windows open, and you “shake” one of them, it will minimize all other windows. If you shake it ones more, it will restore the other windows. You can also dock windows by just moving them around. If you move the window to the left of your screen, it docks the window to 50% of the left. If you move it to the top of your screen, it maximizes it.
This is the biggest changes I’ve seen compared to Vista. There’s also a lot of small changes, like the action center which notifies you if there’s something wrong. For instance before I installed an antivirus application, it said I had to do it. It doesn’t popup and it isn’t annoying in any way. It’s just a red flag waiting to be clicked on.
They’ve also included “Send feedback” on all windows. This automatically connects to http://connect.microsoft.com and reports issues by itself.