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.

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  • yyrkoon - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    If I sell you a car, and you crash into something because you had no experience driving; Does that make the car unsafe ? No. It means you the operator should have learned how to operate a vehicle before driving. Now, no, I do not think a computer user should be licensed to operate their own computers; But I *do* think it is their responsibility to learn how to operate one the way they intend it to be used. Does that make one operating system or another insecure ? No.

    Vista since beta has touted a sand boxed browser; That is even before anyone else implemented it into their browsers. Microsoft does things the way they do because they understand that the average user does not want to spend hours/days/months learning how to use a computer( when perhaps they should).


    Reply
  • Torment - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link


    Worst. Analogy. Ever.

    If you design a car, and it catches fire because you located the gas tank next to the engine, that makes it unsafe. Sure, the buyer could relocate the gas tank themselves, but that doesn't change the fact that *your* design was unsafe. Further, if the car flips over routinely during normal use, it doesn't matter that you could take more precautions when you take corners. The design has still failed.

    The browser is not even remotely sandboxed in Vista or 7. Microsoft *did* decide to sandbox silverlight (both in the browser and standalone), and I think they will do the same with the browser in the next iteration of windows. UAC helps a bit, but with the browser becoming as an application platform, sandboxing is a necessity.

    There is a reason why security freaks run VMs for browsing.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, October 29, 2009 - link

    It is not the worst analogy. Ever.

    You are intentionally blowing things out of proportion to make things sound worse than they really are. If you change how or when a service runs, this is nothing like relocating a gas tank. That would be like removing the service, and replacing it with another.

    That, and, you really know what *smart* security freaks do ? They do things like make a USB bootable copy of their OS, so they can scan their OS drive while unmounted. Or, they run ridiculously impossible to setup setups like SELinux. The latter here is probably less smart, and just more geeky.

    Security experts use VMs as honey pots, not for browsing . . .
    Reply
  • Gunnman - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    As I read through this I can just imagine some of you holding your O/S boxes. Stroking them lovingly as you hug them in your arms.

    It all comes down to $$$ I think. If you have a piece of crap machine and have no cash or are one of those historian fanboys refusing to get rid of that TRS80, then sure keep DOS as the best os ever!! :P

    If all you do is surf and use productivity apps, no need to upgrade from XP, I can see that.

    If your needing a new upgrade and the new O/S's will not run on your rig. OK Stay on XP.

    But you can not blame others that have good jobs and enjoy the life of the Enthusiast getting bleeding edge hardware and moving to the newest O/S.

    I enjoy this very thing, it's fun getting the latest tech (in intervals). And nothing is more enjoyable (as far as computers)than installing that latest O/S and learning all about it's operation and putting it through its paces.

    I like XP for what it is but I like Vista and 7's interface much better (it's pretty). :P

    I do have a quad-boot on my system Win7 (primary O/S) then Vista then XP and then Linux, just in case I need them. You never can tell in the x86 world.

    I'm prepped for anything.

    Win 7 having added features of DX11 Direct Compute I think thats cool to do away with proprietary physics. I hope Nvidia didnt pay too much for Ageia.

    I do more than game but I like to do it all in style. :)
    Reply
  • MonicaS - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    I have never seen such a lackluster launch for something this big. Even mediocre cellphones we'll never us from companies we've never heard from have greater PR and fanfare to their releases. Still, W7 is great so far!

    Monica S
    Los Angeles Computer Repair
    http://www.sebecomputercare.com">http://www.sebecomputercare.com
    Reply
  • 7oby - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    If the evaluation of an OS depends on criteria such as application integration and homogeneity, user habits and visual appeal, then don't miss to check out KDE 4.3 as integrated in Kubuntu 9.10.

    Although KDE 4.3 still isn't as mature as Gnome is, to the novice user it feels and looks better.
    Reply
  • ProDigit - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    The graphs of Anandtech differ too much with my own experiences!
    In many cases I think they made up the graphs by random or choice, rather than by actual testing.

    I tested Win7 RC1 on my laptop, and it performs similar to XP, but not as snappy. It also runs hotter, and battery life suffered compared to XP.
    Under Vista SP1 my laptop suffered A LOT on the battery life!!!
    Win XP: 5,5Hours
    Win 7: ~5hours
    Vista: ~4,3 hours

    In the tests done above it almost seems like Vista uses less battery than XP, which is just plain stupid and idiotic to claim that!

    My experiences differ much, and like before I do believe that Anandtech is a tech site with biased reviews and opinions.
    For this it is worse than Tomshardware, in that tomshardware can be biased, but it's articles always go together with the reality.

    My experience is that anandtech pushes Nvidia and Intel,and now Win7.
    Even from the time when AMD was clearly a better purchase in both graphics cards and processors, they still focused on Intel; and on multiple occasions twist graphs to their benefit!

    This is a serious accusation, not my opinion alone anymore, but of many, and it has come to a point where it became too obvious...
    Even with their article about "Internet Explorer 8 uses less power than Firefox"-article,
    Well I've researched, and found that Internet Explorer 8 running a flash game had a lower FPS than Firefox.
    I even took it further, on a T5500 CPU with XP, 2Gig RAM and Firefox, I had an average of 15fps.
    Same game, Vista SP1, T7500 with 4Gig Ram, and IE8, I had an average of 4fps!!!
    No wonder they are using lower power.

    But that aside, which was probably the last article I could not get shoved through my throat, I think I've seen enough of Anandtech, and would recommend all users to read less biased reviews on tomshardware.com!!!

    You'll notice immediately that they both offer different perspectives, and in my experience tomshardware has always been closer to the reality than Anandtech!
    Reply
  • Flyboy27 - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    Tom's Hardware was once a great place especially back in the Thomas Pabst days. However, lately there is no reason to go there since they fired Ben, Travis, and Rob. For fuck's sake Tom's Games is now all flash games, WTF (I think there are a lot of people that are sore about this). I don't know where to go to get good game reviews anymore. If someone has any suggestions please let me know. Tom's got rid of their most unique content and is now little more than a cheap imitation of its former self, it's really sad actually. I hope Anand doesn't sell out to some shitty corporation. I wish I would have known about Anandtech back in the 90's. Its just too bad that they really don't cover games that well since there are so many SHIIIIITY review sites out there. Reply
  • goinginstyle - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    You have to be joking right? While Toms has improved recently, their analysis is far from competing with AT and they tend to be overly biased in several areas. Did you read Tom's Win7 article? It basically said XP users now have a reason to upgrade but they did not run any tests on XP. Tell me, how is that being closer to reality?

    It is funny to see all of these comments saying the Tom's Win7 article was better and it basically was nothing more than a PCWorld article. Apparently you have not read the latest AMD reviews here, they are all positive, fair, and recommend their products.
    Reply
  • Peroxyde - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    Last paragraph in the article, section "7 vs Linux": "Win7 erodes the Linux advantage against Windows in the performance cases where Vista suffered".

    In all the benchmarks shown in the article, Vista almost has the same score than Windows 7. Why would Vista suffers some performance loss against Linux and Win7 does not? Can you please clarify?
    Reply

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