94 of 111 people found the following review helpful
I've been using Windows 7 since its beta release, but my laptop's been running the final version for weeks now. I really disliked Vista and preferred XP still, but Windows 7 has tipped the scales...finally. Windows 7 has been reliable and it's snappier than Vista. Windows 7 sips laptop battery power so my 1-year-old Dell XPS M1530 runs longer under Win7 than it did under Vista. But what I really like about Windows 7 are the new and improved features it offers. Here's a list of my favorites:
#1 VIRTUAL LIBRARIES
With virtual libraries, the special folders like Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos have all become libraries. Instead of being a physical storage location, they're indexes that point to one or many locations on the computer you're using, as well as other computers you're networked with. In a home setting, where you're running Windows Home Server, you can now easily direct file stores to your server. Also in the home, housemates can easily see each others' data by including their respective folders in one another's libraries. When you search a library, you're searching your computer and any other computer that has folders you've added to your library. You determine which physical location will be the default location for saving new files to your library. This is, for me, the single best feature of Windows 7, and is an excellent reason to upgrade.
#2 START SEARCH
The Start Search has been improved in Windows 7 so results appear instantly as soon as you click the Start button, and then either type the name of a program on your computer, or a task you'd like to perform (like, "change my display settings"). No more hunting folder hierarchies to find that elusive program, or spend time figuring out where Microsoft has placed something in the Control Panel. This is a tremendous time-saver.
#3 AERO SNAP
The Aero user interface has three new tricks -- Shake, Peek, and Snap -- but only Aero Snap is a major leap forward. Have you ever tried comparing the contents of two windows together, side-by-side? It's painful to do because you have to fiddle with resizing the two windows. With Aero Snap, now all you do is grab the title bar of one window, sling it to the left, and Windows 7 will automatically resize the window to fill-up one-half of your screen display. Do the same with a 2nd window by slinging it to the right, and it'll fill-up the right-side of your display. You can start comparing two windows in...an Aero Snap. Aero Shake and Peek are cute, but not nearly so helpful.
Gone is the Quick Launch bar that too many people didn't know existed. Now, the whole Taskbar is a quick launch bar -- drag and drop any program icon onto the bar, and you're one click away from starting the program. Also, it's so easy to move the taskbar around now. I keep it on the left vertical on my computer. Gone is the system tray, too -- Notification Area takes its place. The Action Center alerts you to anything you need to do to keep your computer working smoothly.
#5 PROGRAM COMPATIBILITY
Any program can be run in one of many compatibility modes now. Windows 7 has a wizard that will help you pick the right, earlier version of Windows under which to run an older program -- just right-click on the program icon and choose "Troubleshoot Compatibility". Or, You can do the same thing more quickly by right-clicking on a program icon, click the Compatibility tab, enable Compatibility mode, and select the earlier version of Windows you want to run with your program.
#6 STICKY NOTES
Less functional that the Vista Sticky Notes -- which nobody used -- but now I actually use Sticky Notes to put reminders on my Desktop. They're quick, easy, and work just like a regular Post-It note only you don't get fingerprints on your screen!
#7 JUMP LISTS
There are two kinds -- Jump lists that let you quickly pick a task to perform, and Jump lists to quickly select a document to open and edit in the associated program. Jump lists include most recently used files, or you can pin your own files, too. These are nice time-savers.
#8 SAVED SEARCHES
In Windows Explorer, you can create filtered searches and then save them in your Favorites for later use. This is handy to find filtered data in the future. When you re-execute the search, it creates a dynamic results set (so your search is never stale).
#9 CONTENT VIEW & ARRANGING
Also in Windows Explorer, two new features. Now you can arrange a folder into subdivisions by date (great for your pictures folders!). You can use the Content view to combine thumbnails of files along with details that usually are found only in the Details view.
#10 USER ACCOUNT CONTROL
Most everyone hated UAC in Vista (even though it helped to keep your computer safe). In Windows 7, Microsoft tamped down the annoyance factor of UAC. You can change your date and time without setting off UAC, for example. You can also decide whether UAC should go into secured Desktop mode whenever it does get triggered (secured Desktop is when your screen darkens and you're forced to respond to UAC's dialog box asking permission to run a program or make a change to your system). You can easily turn-off UAC, too.
#11 PAINT, WORDPAD, CALCULATOR
All three of these utilities got updated. Wordpad and Paint have the Office-like "ribbon" now, and Calculator has a few new memory keys, touch sensitivity, and a Programmer view for those dealing with hexidecimals and binaries.
#12 HOMEGROUP SHARING
This is the easiest way to share data with others in your (home) network. HomeGroup creates a password that is shared among computers, and that takes care of all the issues with user accounts, file permissions and "access denied" problems. This is great for unsophisticated home networks. I made this feature last because I'm not using it -- I just think it's a great idea for inexperienced users. Note: all the networked computers need to be running Windows 7 to make HomeGroup sharing work.
In short, think of Windows 7 as Windows Vista done right.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2013
I bought a new laptop, with Windows 8 installed. Hated Windows 8. (To repeat a Roger Ebert's movie review, 'I hated it. Hated it. Hated it.') For me Windows 8 was too hard to find the control panel, and with no 'back' button, too hard to get rid of screen sites.
So I bought Windows 7 and installed it instead. The Windows 7 CD uninstalls Windows 8 before installing Windows 7, so that segment of the process is good. A word of caution: If you choose the single installation, getting rid of Windows 8 completely, then after Windows 7 is installed, you won't have any drivers to connect to the Internet, so will have to re-install them. If you do the side-by-side intallation that keeps Windows8 along with Windows 7, then you might be ok regarding Internet access.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I purchased this to perform a fresh install on an HP laptop - the laptop was one that previously came with Vista and I had subsequently upgraded to 7 with a three user license software package. Somehow, a family member (who will remain anonymous in case they read the review) managed to screw up a lot of the functionality which led to crashes, hanging, you name it. While I like to think I am pretty tech savvy, I could not fix it nor could an IT professional who does things like this each and every day.
What to do? Take a copy of My Documents and do a clean install with this disc, then re-load Office 2010 and My Documents.
Worked like a charm. It did take some time to install, and the machine needed to do a lot of updates for Microsoft patches and fixes - I couldn't tell you how long it took as I just left the machine running to the side most of the day, checking up on it and clicking a few buttons here and there, as I worked around the house.
I now have a stable platform and the install went off without a hitch. A little extreme on what I had to do to resurrect this laptop, but it sure beat paying another two grand for a replacement machine!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2009
HARDWARE ISSUES: I guess I'm a believer now. I had an absolutely flawless transition from a 3 year old XP system to Windows 7. My XP system (like most at this point) is basically a patchwork of individual setup programs for each device and a whole slew of updates. So I always had things conflicting with one another. Thats all over now because Windows 7 itself seems to know exactly what to do with all my old crappy hardware. So I don't have to load the dumb HP software (thank God!) nor the sound card files, nor the monitor, in fact I didn't load any drivers at all. Cleaning my hard drive and starting over with XP was about a 5 hour process but with Windows 7 I was able to pop in the disc within XP and within about 30-40 minutes it was up and ready to go. Even though the printer functioned after installing Windows 7 there was a yellow exlamation point warning symbol for my printer. The troubleshooting, to my disbelief, actually figured out the problem, downloaded something, and fixed it--all in about 2 minutes. Even with XP I was really about ready to go get a new printer because it always had issues but it looks like I wont have to now.
SOFTWARE ISSUES: I was sort of freaked out when I ran Microsoft's compatability test that they have online because several of my programs (and hardware) were listed as having questionable compatability. With office for example, I still use an old Office 2000 which it (of course) said I would need to upgrade to Office 2007. This is not true, my old Office 2000 stuff works just fine in Windows 7. So far all the old stuff I used on XP has worked.
I'll update my review if there are any changes to my windows 7 experience.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2013
This software is simple and easy to use, while still utilizing the desktop interface we PC users are so used to. I don't have any mobile devices, so I rely on easy to use home software for my PC. This is MUCH easier to use than Vista, with far fewer issues. It's like a revamped version of XP. Sad to see it get pushed out by Window 8, I like this interface much MUCH more.