A taste of Microsoft Windows 7 (Beta)
A few weeks ago I was able to take build 7000 of Microsoft’s latest beta operating system for a test drive on my notebook PC. I will admit that Windows 7 was more than I was expecting in terms of performance, but that was basically it. I had read so much about the boot time improvements that were made that I had to try it out myself, so I did. Believe it or not, Windows 7 was able to boot faster than my Windows Vista Home Premium.
The Aero Glass interface also seemed much more responsive in Windows 7 than it is in Windows Vista. I did not feel the need to revert to the Windows Classic theme as I usually do on all the Windows OSes that I have ever run, but I ended up doing so anyway to see whether any more performance improvements could be squeezed out of this fresh installation. To be honest, I am obsessed about speed and performance, so I would have done it some time or later. Furthermore, the Aero Glass interface is not very appealing to me since I need most of the processing power to go into my applications rather than eye candy. My experience with Windows 7 did not last long because after installing a few programs and seeing that they worked, then finding out that there were hardly any hardware-specific Windows 7-compatible drivers available for my notebook I dropped it like a dead weight. I was not up for duplicating a working environment that would only last 8 months. Ubuntu 8.10 is my playground and Windows Vista is where I work; these are enough for me. Furthermore, I have applied so many tweaks to Windows Vista that I am quite satisfied with it.
Windows 7 will likely be better adopted than Windows Vista because of the many performance improvements that have been made. But note that Windows 7 does look and act much like Windows Vista otherwise. With the improvements around Windows 7 the hardware requirements are still pretty steep and it is still too early to know what the final commercial release will be like.
You can download your free copy of the beta version of Windows 7 until early into the second week of February. Lifehacker.com has a great post on how to obtain the ISO download and license key and also how to set up for a dual-boot configuration. Your choice of the 32-bit or 64-bit version will depend on your CPU’s support for those architecture environments. (To be safe just download the 32-bit version.)
Be forewarned that this is software still in testing, so do not expect everything to work as it should. There may still be a few bugs to work out. Therefore, you should avoid completely replacing your main working OS with the Windows 7 beta. It is safer to NOT perform an upgrade installation and simply install on a separate hard disk/partition for multi-booting or on a separate testing PC. If you ever want to return to your previous OS you can always do so and still be able to remove Windows 7 beta when it expires in August.
TIP: Cleaning up or editing boot manager entries from within a Windows environment can be done easily using NeoSmart’s EasyBCD.