Pros + Complex networking made simpler
+ "XP Mode"
+ Automated backup
+ "BitLocker" Hardware-level encryption
+ Native multi-language support
+ Boot time is considerably faster than Vista.
+ Microsoft Security Essential runs very well in Windows 7
Cons Windows Genuine Advantage - I get what Microsoft is trying to do which is curb piracy. However, this program has caused me considerable trouble when it fails to recognize my copy of Windows 7 as genuine.
Summary 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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Pros Windows 7 is _______ than XP.
and much much more!
Cons There are still 3-4 very small glitches in the Release Candidate, but the RTM will be devoid of issues.
Summary In summary, Windows 7 will be worth every penny! Anyone who decides to stay with XP or Vista is totally insane, with the one exception of people using hardware more than 10 (Yes, TEN!) years old. Anything newer will run Windows 7 faster, and better, than XP. (Trust me, I've been using Windows 7 RC as my ONLY Operating System for 3 months, and Windows 7 Beta for the 3 months prior to that and I'm using a bottom of the line, three year old laptop!)
In a phrase: "Better than Vista & XP in EVERY way!!!"
Pros Specs: Inspiron 6400, Intel Core 2 Duo 1.66 GHz, 2 GB RAM
Speed: Runs rings around Vista, only marginally slower than XP.
GUI: Friendly, easy control panel interface for the typical non-IT home user.
Cons 1) Permissions Issues
2) GUI: Some Control Panel items take many more clicks to get to - this is only tedious to me, being a seasoned IT user.
Summary Permissions Issues: Even with UAC turned all the way down, seems to have repeated permissions issues with iTunes, and just about any random folder under my username - Documents, My Music, My Videos. This one problem is SO niggling that I'm actually thinking of going back to XP if I can't find a workaround. I've tried the reg hack with Grant Admin Full Control, as well as Advanced Security settings. Maybe its an issue with CA Antivirus and Windows 7, but I haven't come up with any data to support than theory yet.
Pros Faster boot up and shut down
Cons Multiple restarts of the installation
Multiple crashes during the install
Summary I upgraded my mom's latptop from Vista to 7 and lets just say the Apple commerical was correct when the Microsoft guy said "Just trust me." The 1st time I tried to install I had to stop because I had to uninstall the manufacturer display program and driver. Then 7 would not install so I had to stop it and restart the computer. Then Vista wanted to do some updates and 7 would not install until the updates were complete. Of course, I had restart for this also. Each time the installation of 7 runs a compatibility checker and takes 10-15 minutes to complete. I finally got the installation to go through and went to bed, but this morning I woke up to the computer being turned off. I started it up and it appeared to be booting normally, but then the horrid recovered from a crash screen popped up as Windows 7 was personalizing the Media Player settings. It said that Windows recovered from a "blue screen error" and then the Media Player personalization froze. I had to manually power the computer off and restart it yet again. This time it started up and booted as normal. It seems Windows 7 still has plenty of the issues that Vista had and even the dreaded Blue Screen of Death, but they have just hidden it and made it appear nicer. The only thing that does seem to work better is the boot up and shut down. I'm so glad I paid $120 so the computer will boot up and shut down faster and still crash the same as Vista.
Pros Read on and see
Cons Well just read on and see
Summary Windows XP was Microsoft's last operable operating system. Once Microsoft caved to combination of the demands from the RIAA and their attempts to out-do Mac somewhere in between they have forgotten what an operating system is really suppose to do. It's suppose to facilitate the use of the hardware with the software installed on the system. It's suppose to work effortlessly in the background to do this. Vista and now Windows 7 has lost sight of this concept. I'll stick with XP for as long as humanly possible. BUT if you MUST get Windows 7 please be sure you have LOTS of RAM (4 GB+) AND an SEPARATE GRAPHIC PROCESS (Not integrated graphics). With this you may be able to run Windows 7 without pulling your hair out.