A Second Look at Windows 7

Posted December 3rd, 2009 by kyle

My main PC recently died, and it was time to build a new one. I ended up putting one together with components from Newegg.com, which worked out really well. One big decision was whether to install Windows XP or Windows 7. I recently discovered that Outlook Express still lives on in Windows 7 by virtue of Windows Live Mail (which also runs on XP and Vista). It turns out that Windows Live Mail is essentially Outlook Express 7 — it can even import OE6 settings and messages. It also has decent junk mail filtering built-in. Since that was the biggest stumbling block for me, I decided to install Windows 7 on the new machine.

Installing Windows 7 (64-bit edition since my new PC has 8 GB of RAM) was painless and fairly quick, and I’m really liking it after using it for a few weeks. Booting is quick and everything feels very snappy. Of course, some of this is due to newer hardware, but I suspect that it is at least as fast as XP. All my critical applications run fine on Win7, and I was even able to eliminate a few programs with the upgrade (Launchy, TaskSwitchXP, MyUninstaller, and SPAMfighter) since their functionality comes baked in. The only thing I haven’t solved is finding a driver for my Brother MFC 8840D laser printer.

I really like the new keyboard shortcuts (Win+arrows for window positioning, Win+T to access the Superbar, arrow keys in Alt+Tab, etc.). I’m getting comfortable with the new Aero look-and-feel. I’ve found Windows 7 to be a worthwhile upgrade to XP.

A few things I really hope they add in SP1:

  • Calculator in the Start menu (ala Launchy).
  • Improved unification of the Start menu and Taskbar for launching vs. switching.
  • Make Internet Explorer’s find-as-you-type feature actually useful.
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