Aug 31, 2009
Created in order to undo the harm that Vista has done, the latest Windows version was introduced last year at the Microsoft conference, three years after its predecessor. Set for retail release in October, 2009, Windows 7 is already everything that Vista should have been, and a little more.
Built to function in more or less the same hardware requirements as XP, Windows 7 loads, deploys and shuts down in about the same time as XP, but definitely works faster than Vista, making it a fairly better version of former OSs. The software architecture was redesigned to a great extent, resulting in an operating system that has received “good” to “great” reviews. Although the majority of opinions have placed Windows 7 in the top ten Microsoft products, the version is not tied to the first place, as maybe this spot is left empty until everybody can reach a consensus about some MS product (if that's ever going to happen), or perhaps, for another future version which can hold Windows 7 as a good starting point.
With less new features, but improved reliability and system performances, this MS offspring can be a handful to deal with even for Apple. The Windows 7 interface is worthy of a Mac OS 10 one, with its new Taskbar and Aero Peek. Large, translucent icons are part of the new taskbar and can preview users with the windows they wish to engage. Simple actions can get them to perform actions previously executed with two or more mouse clicks. Everything is accessible and has a nice flow, adding to the impression that Windows 7 already works faster than previous versions.
All peripherals are easily managed with the new Device Stage, which brings all extra hardware into the same place. Large photos of peripheral equipment summarize technical stats of important devices, and users have an easy time figuring out which devices they are using.
The multi-touch feature, a novelty for any version of Windows operating systems, performs rather well and it proves fruitful as more and more laptops and desktop systems are released with touch capabilities. Similar to the all-known iPhone interface, a touch monitor powered by Windows 7 will provide similar actions, flip, rotate, zoom in and out etc., but it's mostly a feature that designers and illustrators will find most rewarding.
One of the features that put Windows 7 in the starlight is a support one and it's related to file usage. When a user tries to access a file that is already in use, Windows 7 lets the user know both that the respective file is used, and where it is used, so the situation is managed faster. Windows 7 will also support both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. For users that require programs that are currently incompatible with Win 7, the OS offers an XP mode that runs on a virtual machine and which redirects XP programs to the Windows 7 desktop, so users can manage and access crucial programs that haven't been yet updated. More accessible than previous versions, Windows 7 allows users to disable a lot of Windows components such as Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Media Center, Windows Search and the Windows Gadget Platform. Last, but not least, Windows 7 has native support for virtual hard disks (VHD) as normal data storage and the OS will be able to boot the system from a VHD, along with a better implemented support for Solid State Drives, including the new TRIM command, Windows 7 also being able to uniquely identify a SSD.
The majority of reviewers have positioned the last version of Windows OS on equal place with leading operating systems like OS X from Apple, and the open sourced Linux. Figures from Amazon sales seem to confirm this fact, as sales in UK alone of Windows 7 have surpassed demand in the first eight hours of transactions, in what took Windows Vista almost 17 weeks to achieve.
Next articles in this series:
1. The beginnings
2. First steps in operating systems
3. Windows 1.0
4. Windows 2.0
5. Windows 3.0
6. Windows 95
7. Windows 98
8. Windows Me
9. Windows 2000
10. Windows XP
11. Windows Vista
12. Windows 7
13. Windows 8