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


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  • Spivonious - Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - link

    Vista/7 have I/O priorities. If the game needs to access the hard disk then the AV scanner (assuming it was written to take advantage of priorities) will pause. Should be little to no performance loss.

    The default auto-defrag setting is once a week, not daily. I find it really helps with overall performance.
  • ibarskiy - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Just WTF are you talking about?!

    1) Browser is much more essential for an average user, so by extension, if bundling the browser (a more essential component) is viewed as anti-competitive, it is certain that bundling less essential components would also be viewed as such. In that respect, it was completely reasonable to anticipate it. It is entirely silly / idiotic (you pick, I pick the latter), but it is not MS's doing, it's the EU regulators'. Bitch at them.

    2) You don't need to manually defrag (it has been background since Vista)

    3) You don't need registry cleaners

    4) You don't need layers of malware protection and, factually, it is more difficult to compromise than OSX, that's been shown

    5) You don't need various 3rd party utilities - difficult to guess here what you are talking about since no specific reference is made - but then again, that's how you bashers typically operate

    6) It is one of the more reliable systems out there; again, please talk specifics. Since Vista, Windows very rarely crashes.

    What is pretty sad is that morons such as yourself with clear misinformation are allowed to impact other people's opinions.
  • The0ne - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I would like to see more tests on laptops if possible. The snappy UI of Windows more than makes up for it's performance/lack-there-of. This is especially true of replacing Vista. Regardless of the performance, Windows 7 has the driver and snappy-ness to warrant the replacement of XP and Vista.

    This test is where one truly finds what a joke Vista OS is.
  • The0ne - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Tom's hardware has the conclusion for what I'm asking for. I'll wait to see if Anandtech can do something similar as Tom's is litter with script junk. Thank God for noscript. Reply
  • ATWindsor - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    "To that end, I certainly wouldn’t recommend running Win7 at the default UAC level for any computer connected to the internet."

    That depends on the user, frankly, all you need is an updated OS and a firewall, and one should be resonably safe, those two things will in most cases limit attacks to the types where the user has to manually execute a file. People got by on XP without problems, Win 7 with UAC level 2 is much more safe than that. Of course there will be less skilled users who run into problems, but as a skilled user, one should be fine.
  • Griswold - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    "That depends on the user, frankly, all you need is an updated OS and a firewall, and one should be resonably safe, those two things will in most cases limit attacks to the types where the user has to manually execute a file."

    No, because:

    "And that’s a risky proposition when a UAC prompt may be all that’s left between malware executing and running amok or not."

    No firewall or AV is going to protect you if all it takes is a brand new little trojan using this flawed security concept to gain highest privileges. And thats why I set UAC to level 4. I got used to it by having vista do the same for 2.5 years.
  • Genx87 - Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - link

    IMO my biggest disappointment in Win7 was Microsoft gave into the XP whiners who love no security with an admin account. They tuned the thing down and gave the user the ability to elevate its protection. Personally I run with a user level account in Win7 and left the default settings. When Win7 shows up on our network Ill have to configure a GP to stick the thing at the highest setting and disable the ability of the users to change it.

    But for mom and pop. They will either turn it off or get infected with something that disables it. The end result is basically XP level security which is a huge step backwards.
  • Zoomer - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    I installed vista with UAC off, apps automatically run as admin, and it was fine. Since n/vlite wasn't quite ready for w7 a few months ago, I just disabled UAC.

    Don't see the point of these. I'm still looking for a good command line av or at least something that does not install services. Getting tired of the java AV scanners.
  • Devo2007 - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Looks like you used the wrong graph on Page 11 (the first graph). That one compares different motherboards, rather than Win7/Vista/XP. Reply
  • darwinosx - Monday, October 26, 2009 - link

    Most of the graphs are meaningless anyway. Reply

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