Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Farewell Windows XP, Hello Windows 7

I just formatted my laptop. It is something I have not done ever since I bought my laptop almost 2 years ago, which came with Windows XP preinstalled.

I formatted it to install Windows 7 which, as an MSDN subscriber, I had first hand access to. I did everything right, I backed up my previous C: drive (I keep all my files on the D: drive) and made emergency bootable media just in case.

I inserted my Windows 7 DVD and restarted. A few clicks later, the installation was on its way. Thus far, I have to say, things were looking pretty good. Less than 30 minutes later the installation was complete and I was running Windows 7 for the first time ever.

I have to admit I was hyper-excited. I’d only had 4 hours of sleep the night before and was falling half asleep between clicks, but, it was all worth it. The ‘adrenaline was pumping fast’ as they say on reality TV shows.

Just to clear things up; my laptop’s a 1.6GHz Gateway with 3GB memory and 160GB HDD, and a VGA capable of running Aero. Towards the end of the Windows XP days, it was running pretty darn slow, because of all the software I’d install for testing and/or development purposes. And I was looking forward to the alleged ‘crisp’ speed of Windows 7.

To tell you the truth I was shocked to see how Vista-like it was, and when applications started to freeze for no apparent reason, I said to myself, oh boy, here we go again. If the recession didn’t ‘break’ Microsoft, this surely will, another Vista fiasco.

I tried to run Windows Media Player for the first time and it froze. I ran IE8, and a few tabs in, it froze. I couldn’t understand the ‘new taskbar’ and how it was supposed to operate and even that froze.

I was devastated. Now I have to switch back to Windows XP! And then I remembered an article I’d read earlier about how Windows 7 would run on netbooks and I thought, year right, super netbooks maybe.

I mean, on my machine, running almost entirely with no other applications installed, Windows 7 required almost 800 MBs of memory. That’s almost 4 times as much as Windows XP had required. Most netbooks have around 1GB memory in total, which leaves around 200MB for all other applications. How is that going to work, I don’t know.

The next day, I’d had some sleep and decided to give it another shot. I setup my email accounts, downloaded all the available updates, which were mostly for Office and then gave it a number of restarts.

A couple of hours had passed by, and for some reason (perhaps it’d finished indexing) Windows 7 started to work surprising well. No freezing, no delays, fast responses; IE8 was exceptionally responsive, even faster than Google’s Chrome on my XP machine!

Every other application I ran was working perfectly. I was getting the hang of it, and that new taskbar is amazing!! Windows 7 has so much out-of-the-box now I fear another round of anti-trust cases. In fact, the only problem I had was the fact that it was using way too much memory for my liking.

The way things are going if I never use Windows XP again, it’ll be too soon. For now though, call me Mr. Windows 7!!

Read my article on Bright Hub: http://www.brighthub.com/computing/windows-platform/articles/34988.aspx

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