Ramblings of a Coder's Mind

Got Tech? Will Hack.

Checking out Windows 7 Build 7077

I admit, its not a public build but I really couldn’t help myself so I got hold of a copy off a public torrent and here I am. I’ve had Windows 7 discs and keys around for a couple of months now but I never really got time to install them. Finally, I queued up the latest build a couple of nights ago and FINALLY it completed downloading.

Needless to say the new taskbar is pretty cool. I do have a few suggestions though.

  1. Aero Snap for minimization: Aero Snap provides us with a set area on the screen, where if a window is dragged to, it snaps vertically or maximizes. Taking it to the left/right of the screen causes it to vertical snap to the left/right of the screen (respectively) while taking a window to the top causes it to maximize. Why not allow minimization when the window is dragged to the bottom (towards the taskbar).

  2. Jagged Icons: Seriously.. this is 2009. Anything that expects to show up in the taskbar deserves a 256x256 pixel icon to be shipped with it. Also, I am not sure how the UI team didn’t notice that the middle click to scroll (what I call “smooth/easy scroll”) icon is terrible! For an OS with high emphasis on UX (User eXperience), this sure seems to be a bad move :P

All this being said, there are a few things to give Microsoft real credit for. On my desktop, I didn’t need to install a single driver to start using the machine and get on to the internet. Now that’s called a fully functional operating system ;) I’ll try the same on my laptop (Dell Studio XPS 1640) and I hope to get a similar result. The only thing I expect to install is the Sensible Vision FastAccess facial recognition software which I hope works. It certainly is bound to Dell machines (I’m sure it checks for Studio XPS 1640s via the same source as dxdiag) but I hope it won’t mind if I try to make it work on Windows 7 :)

One of my favourite parts about this OS so far is the ability to easily hide system tray icons. I hope that unlike previous versions of Windows, it doesn’t have a habit of forgetting these settings :) Hopefully, it also remembers the new applications options instead of tagging everything as new randomly. I’m also yet to check out if the Vista start menu bug of “Programs” showing up still exists, after all Windows 7 is an incremental build of Windows Vista, ain’t it?

Another change is that Windows 7 doesn’t calculate the Windows Experience Index (WEI) score during first boot which is surprising to me because I remember it doing something like that. WEI takes a lot longer to run through now as compared to Vista but also has increased the maximum WEI score from 5.9 in Vista to a 7.9 in Windows 7. I’m sure all you high end machine owners can’t wait to run the new WEI ;) I know I can’t wait to do so on my laptop :D

Speaking of WEI, the ugly Games folder opening freeze bug hasn’t come up so far. For those who aren’t aware, Windows Vista came up with the new style Games folder (that people like me love and use a lot :D). Its extremely useful, though there could have been a few improvements. Quite a few games aren’t automatically detected and added and so their game art isn’t downloaded either. You could always add the icons there automatically but you would be unable to have game art unless you have a tool. But this wasn’t the worst thing about it. Some times, the games folder would take up to 30-45 seconds to open up which was because it was reading the WEI score for your system (speculation based on observation but no conclusive proof). I think Vista saw that your WEI score was outdated and tried to do something about it. Hopefully, Windows 7 won’t fall prey to these two issues. The former I can test in a couple of hours by installing a few games. The latter on the other hand will have to wait a while for :) If I have any interesting results, I’ll let you know :)

In the up coming weeks, I’ll try to go deeper into Windows 7 trying to unravel new features along the way. I shall also try to check out if Microsoft has fixed every annoyance I have ever had in Windows Vista in Windows 7. That way, we can all expect a better UX (User Experience) ;) Hopefully, my orals examinations in the upcoming weeks and final project presentation in college won’t come in the way :)

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Created: 20th April 2009
Category: Review
Tag: Windows 7