First Impressions

As far as first impressions are concerned, the view around the AnandTech office has been positive for Windows 7. Gary is ready to replace Vista with Windows 7 on all of his systems if he had the time (and money), meanwhile Ryan's impressed but not convinced that Windows 7 will be worth the upgrade cost considering that it's a much smaller change than was Vista. Thus far anyone using it as a drop-in replacement for Vista has had no trouble adapting.

Hardware compatibility has been a bit hit-and-miss however, and this is something that ideally will improve before Windows 7 goes gold. Windows 7 has taken a strong disliking to a JMicron JMB363 controller on a P35 board we have, hanging on initializing the controller when it's in AHCI mode (JMicron's own drivers solve the issue). Another box, an Athlon 64/K8T800 system pulling HTPC duty, has not fared so well with Windows 7. It's corrupting recordings, something that Vista does not do. Everything else has not been an issue, with newer video drivers usually being the only thing necessary after installing Windows 7.

Briefly, Microsoft has mentioned that they expect Windows 7 to be more power efficient on laptops than Vista, but so far this hasn't been something we've been able to corroborate. We suspect that better drivers will be necessary to extract any power efficiency gains out of Windows 7, so this is something that will require revisiting once Windows 7 ships.

Compared to previous first-edition release candidates such as Vista RC1 and XP RC1, Windows 7 is in a class of its own. While XP's RC1 was okay and Vista's was problematic, as best as we can tell Windows 7 RC1 actually lives up to the name of "release candidate." We haven't found any immediate bugs and the performance is great. If Microsoft were to resolve our hardware compatibility issues, they could probably get Windows 7 out the door right now with most people none-the-wiser that it's the same build Microsoft is calling the first release candidate.

The one thing we're waiting to hear back on at this point is how it's received by the XP diehards. Obviously a significant goal of these public releases is to finally convince the owners of modern computers to get off of XP and switch to a 6.xx release of Windows by giving them a chance to try Windows 7. Windows 7 resolves some of the complaints XP diehards had about Vista, but not all of them. The question is if it's going to be enough.

Ultimately, with Microsoft throwing Windows 7 RC1 out to the masses, we can't think of a good reason not to try it. Based on what we've seen thus far, it's looking like Microsoft will hit all of their technological goals with Windows 7. As for their marketing goals, with the high quality of RC1 they'll likely hit all of those too.

Looking forward, the assumed timetable for Windows 7 means that it won't just be competing against previous Windows versions, but other operating systems too. Apple's Snow Leopard is still scheduled to ship this year, likely towards Christmas along with Windows 7. Apple has been extremely secretive on Snow Leopard, although we do know that it's going to have a much greater focus on under the hood improvements rather than straight up features, which could make for an interesting battle between the two. Meanwhile the various Linux distributions are always coming out with new editions, so the likely competition for Windows 7 will be Ubuntu 9.10 and its ilk.

General Performance
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  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, May 7, 2009 - link

    Actually, it has both of those features, although as the article was running long and I didn't consider them important I didn't mention them. It can defrag drives simultaneously. Scheduling has been in there since at least Vista. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, May 7, 2009 - link

    I was able to schedule weekly defrags back in Win2000 on my old laptop Reply
  • leexgx - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    it can if you use command line on win7 (emm i think it does loet you defrag more then one disk at the same time in the GUI, got no power for laptop so cant find out yet) Reply
  • Pirks - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/00001675.h...">http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/00001675.h... Reply
  • leexgx - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    Hide extensions for known file types, yes every PC i am on i untick that option, its So unsafe its unreal

    with windows 7 extensions should Not be hidden be it any verson of windows with vista pressing F2 or rename only selects the name now not all of the file name like XP and lower does so harder to lose the extension
    Reply
  • Pirks - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    Yeah, I agree that extensions should NOT be hidden BY DEFAULT. Unfortunately they are hidden. So, Win 7 is still a virus heaven _by default_! Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    Hiding extensions doesn't make it a "virus heaven"; it just makes it possible for Trojan horses to trick stupid users a bit easier. How does that malware.txt.exe file get to the PC in the first place? By some user being stupid. If extensions are hidden, then why is that file called "malware.txt" rather than just "malware"? Oh yes: because it's trying to trick you by not doing the same thing as every other icon, so it's already a red flag (which admittedly most computer users are not smart enough to notice).

    For technical people, the extensions mean something - I know I always show them - but for most computer users the fact that an icon says "EXE", "SCR", "COM", "CMD", or anything else as the extension means very little. If you don't *know* what an icon is, you shouldn't click it. Simple! But sadly most computer users are not smart enough to know that.
    Reply
  • B3an - Friday, May 8, 2009 - link

    That comment was posted by Pirks. Possibly the biggest apple fanboy ever. I'm not sure i've seen a comment of his on DailyTech that hasn't been rated down. Dont feed the troll. Reply
  • leexgx - Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - link

    network tests need to be done not the same as XP

    please open winamp, WMP or teamspeak play something and then do the gigabit network test thay must of fixed the 10MB/s cap problem on Win7 when playing sound (have to mess with vista reg to remove the MMS limiter), none raid to none raid pcs shouuld be doing harddisk speeds acroess the network {70-90mb/s ish,}raid to raid or SSD should be 120MB/s about on the network
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, May 7, 2009 - link

    It's a time issue; we didn't have a chance to work that it. It has been noted, and I'll make sure that gets in the next W7 article. Reply

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