The buzz among the web design community and those who have had the privilege of playing with beta versions of Windows 7, is that it is a vast improvement on Vista (okay, not too hard to accomplish) and even has the potential to win XP lovers over. Microsoft has apparently worked out a lot of the bugs that were prevalent in Vista and makes it look all pretty to boot.
Some enhancements of note:
• Improved search functions (faster, more accurate)
• Speed of programs and internet browsers
• Photoshop editing software
• New ways to manage and organize applications, open documents, and Web pages
• System stability
• 40 new fonts
In the U.K., users will have to choose which Internet browser they want to use via a “browser ballot” screen. This has all come about because of a lawsuit in the EU brought By Opera against Microsoft; they purport that the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows is anti-competitive. Never mind that Chrome and Firefox have both gained significant market share over IE in recent years without anyone ever filing a lawsuit.
Windows 7 supports both 32-bit and 64-bit systems, with the bare minimum requirements for the 32-bit system being a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB available hard-disk space, and a DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver. The 64-bit systems require at least a 1 GHz processor, 2 GB RAM, 20 GB of free space on the hard drive, and a DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver. Touch features will require a touch-screen monitor.
Microsoft calls Windows 7 one of the most broadly and intensely tested releases of software they have ever had, starting with a pre-beta version in October 2008 with a few thousand developers using Windows 7 in its infancy. Microsoft followed up with the Beta and then the Release Candidate, which were run successfully by millions of people.
Oddly enough, Windows 7 does not contain email, calendar, or video programs; users must download them from the Windows Live site (for free).
There is a lot of buzz about the reformatted task bar, some good, some not so good. Icons are shown, and when you run the cursor over them, a thumbnail view of that program’s open window appears. Copying and pasting is simplified by the ability to have two windows side by side and to click and drag from one window to the other.
Regardless of what the “experts” are saying about Windows 7, we will all get the chance to try it for ourselves on October 22—don’t forget to save the date.