After nearly a year-long build-up, Microsoft’s ongoing pre-launch campaign to woo computer users has come to a close, with the public launch of Microsoft’s latest and greatest desktop OS, Windows 7.

Windows 7 is being born in to a world of uncertainty, one Microsoft has never faced before to such a degree. Apple’s (and Mac OS X) market share is the highest it’s been in over a decade. Linux has finally gained however small a foothold in home computers through netbooks. And what was Microsoft’s next-gen operating system, Windows Vista, has taken enough backlash that it’s going to be in therapy for the rest of its life.

By no means are these troubled times for Microsoft, but never has victory been less assured.

Unfortunately, Windows Vista started life as a technical misfit, something even we didn’t fully comprehend until later. It ate too much virtual address space, it copied files slowly, and it ran poorly on the lowest of the low-end computers of the time. Microsoft fixed many of these problems by the time SP1 hit, but by then it was too late. Vista went from a technical misfit to a social misfit, with no hope of immediate redemption.

So Windows 7 is being launched with some gargantuan tasks on its shoulders, few of them technical. First and foremost, it needs to reverse Vista’s (and by extension, Microsoft’s) bad image among existing Windows users, in order to get them off of the old and insecure Windows XP. Then it needs to help stem the continuing flow of Windows users to Mac OS X, which has continued to grow over the years. And finally, it still needs to innovate enough so that Windows doesn’t end up stagnant, and ideally sell a few copies to Vista users while it’s at it.

It’s a large order, one that as we’ll see Microsoft won’t completely deliver on, but they’re going to get fairly close to.

In the meantime, we’re left a launch that has been a very long time coming. Between the public beta, the public RC, and Win7 having been finalized 3 months ago, virtually anyone that wanted Win7 has had the opportunity to try it. Anyone could get the release version by the middle of August through TechNet, MSDN, Action Pack, or any other of a number of sources that Microsoft released Win7 to well ahead of the public launch. The real launch was 3 months ago, so the public launch is almost a technicality.

And with that said, let’s get started with our final look at Windows 7.

Feature Recap
POST A COMMENT

207 Comments

View All Comments

  • medi01 - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    I have 32-bit WinXP on PC and 32-bit Vista on notebook. I simply HATE the latter. No matter what I do, it takes longer. But I recall every new OS from microsoft was SIGNIFICALLY (tens of %) faster then the previous one (according to Microsoft ads) yet I never experienced it myself.
    So, why should I upgrade to Win7 again?

    1) Because Win7 is slightly faster in some apps and slightly slower in others? (significally slower when hibernating)
    2) New flishy-flashy effects?
    3) Puzzling changes in UI, that, I guess, were supposed to make it "even more user friendly"?
    4) DirectX 11? Oh, bundling those only with new OSes what a clever move.

    And that for about 200$? Are you serious?
    Reply
  • MrPete123 - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    Better battery life?

    Better security? (than XP)

    Better stability?

    Better performance?

    Also the hibernate benchmark is skewed when you consider that 32-bit XP is storing less memory to the hard drive than 64-bit Vista/Win7. 32-bit XP only had to persist ~3 gigs of RAM to the hard drive, while 64-bit Win7/Vista had to persist the full 4 gigs. Hibernating speed is fairly similar in speed between XP and Win7. It would be a better comparison to either limit all machines to 2-3 gigs of RAM for the hibernating test, use 32-bit Vista/Win7 (yuck), or 64-bit XP.
    Reply
  • medi01 - Friday, October 30, 2009 - link

    Better battery life? Even if I would care about battery life, 200$? How much does spare battery pack cost?

    "Better" security? Huh?

    "Better" stability, what's that? Does your XP/Vista crash? Well, mine doesn't. So, if I get resource hungry Win7 it will be "even stabler", huh?

    Better performance? A few percent more where it doesn't matter much and huge performance hit, where it does (to me) - hibernate/wakeup?

    Why would I care about internal details of who needs to persist what?

    So to summarize
    If you aren't a gamer who absolutely needs DX 11, you should find better ways to waste your 200$.
    Reply
  • rs1 - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    And Homegroups. They puzzingly fail to even mention them in the article, but if you happen to have more than one computer, then Homegroups are awesome, and enough to justify the upgrade all by themselves, in my opinion. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    HEY ANAND!

    When are you going to run this story like you did for OSX the other month?

    "Amazon's biggest-selling pre-order product of all time"

    That would be Windows 7
    Reply
  • lightzout - Friday, October 30, 2009 - link

    Snow leopard sounds sexy. Windows 7 has the brand appeal of a pocket protector. That said I have to throw my vote in as a very satisied former XP champion. I swore I wouldn't leave XP which still seemed to work fine unless it was for a true upgrade. I am using the Win7 Ult64 RC and its pretty amazing. Example: I installed the analog Media Center Edition TV tuner from my MCE2005 box and hooked up a new DTA that comcast sent me (for free I might add) and when it booted I was worried because I didn't see the familiar "Found new hardware" dialog window. What happened? It was already installed and working. Comcast activated the DTA amd minutes later I realized why I stopped watching TV 10 years ago. 100 channels and nothing on worth watching! At least now I record the few things I do like and watch whenever I want streaming flawlessly through the Xbox 360. The MCE interface with Win7 and the 360 is really well done. Microsoft should have just picked a sexier name. Reply
  • jtleon - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - link

    I wish one of these review sites would compare FLP to 7 - across the board! Microsoft is keeping too many secrets! FLP is much newer than XP, and imho a superior OS to XP in all respects!

    jtleon
    Reply
  • Voo - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - link

    Well only for old hardware.

    With modern desktop pcs or laptops (I'm not talking about netbooks here), there's no need to pass on the many features it lacks.. it doesn't even has a .NET 3.5 framework as far as I know.

    That's far away from "a superior OS to XP in all respects!"
    Reply
  • jtleon - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    .NET 3.5 is not supplied with XP - you must download it!

    jtleon
    Reply
  • Voo - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    Afaik there's no .NET 3.5 framework that works with FLP - at least it was so some time ago and wikipedia agrees(well that's not the best source, but the first I found) Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now