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A better Vista than Vista

I’ve been running Windows 7 Ultimate pre-beta (build 6801) for about a month now, and my conclusion is that the pre-beta release of Windows 7 is a lot better than Vista even as a pre-beta. Feature wise, it’s only a few changes in the basic usage of the OS compared to Vista, but I would like to emphasize a couple important changes.

  1. Running applications with elevated privileges
    One of most annoying parts of Vista is the elevated privileges dialog which appears each time you would like to run an application with administrative rights. I think the idea is very nice, but how the user experiences these pop-ups (and the endless time it takes) is horrible.
    In Windows 7 the feature is still present, but it’s now possible to run applications in elevated mode without the notification message. The icon on the applications which requires elevated privileges contains the well known shield (same as in Vista), but when the application is launched it’s just launched.
    If you like to launch an application which does not require elevated privileges with elevated privileges, you do the same as you’ve always done. Right-click and select “Run as administrator”.
  2. The concept of “Libraries”
    With Windows 7 you are presented with a new virtual folder structure called Libraries. A library contains a set of pointers to different physical file locations but seems like a folder tree to the user. During the past month I’ve grown so attached to this feature that each time I use a computer with XP or Vista, I nearly can’t find my way around.
    This is a very nice feature which I’ve been waiting for for years!
  3. The transparent desktop wide Side Bar
    The side bar is now desktop wide (not limited to the side of the screen) and completely transparent. Since the resource usages has been heavily reduced, it’s now possible to use gadgets (at least most of them) in an efficient way. Now my desktop contains key information from the net, most of which is a result of a query presented as a feed. In addition I’ve added some tools I use frequently. And yes, it works!

With regards to stability, I think it’s very stable, especially when you take the fact that it’s a pre-beta into consideration. In one month, I’ve had 2 complete system crashes which was related to third party drivers which, of course, was written for Vista. In addition I’ve experienced some snags which usually results in a restart of an application, but with basic applications such as Office 2007 and some utilities it usually works fine.

Speed! has always been an issue when working with Windows and Microsoft OS’s. My expectations was very low since my try-out was based on a pre-beta release of Windows. My experience was quite the opposite. Windows 7 is much faster to use than Vista with the same hardware configuration. The startup time was reduced by almost 50 %, and the system is seldom non-responsive. It’s even possible to actually use the Side Bar without having to buy a new computer (although, some gadgets should not be used if you want to be able to work properly).

My conclusion is quite easy. I’m going to use Windows 7 instead of Vista even if it’s in the early beta stages. No more Vista for me!

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