weekend we finally found enough time to install Windows 7 build 7000 beta 1 and here are some of our first impressions. We still don't understand the excitement, as Windows 7 is nothing more than Vista Service Pack 3, or should we say Vista done right.
The installation takes just over 20 minutes and in about 22 minutes you are ready to start working. The installation is a 3.3GB DVD. We tried Windows 7 Beta 1 on a 3.375GHz Core 2 Quad machine with 8GB memory and Geforce GTX 280 on an EVGA Nforce 750i motherboard, and we have to say we were surprised that the installation went fast and well.
The installation process reminds us of Vista installation, but at least it looks that it runs much faster. In reality it is almost the same as installing Windows Vista. In 22 minutes you're done installing, after formatting the drive, a few restarts, and you're eventually able to work in Windows.
In our case, Windows 7 needed just over 1.3GB of memory but this might be the consequence of using 8GB of RAM. The OS generally feels like a bit improved and tweaked version of Vista but we have to admit that it works just fine. Many claims that it runs faster but in a few hours of playing with it, it works as fast as Vista freshly installed and we are sure that just as any other windows, Windows 7 will eventually slow down.
Avast antivirus for Vista works well on this Windows 7 64bit Beta 1 version and all our hardware except audio card was automatically installed. You have to get Nvidia drivers via Windows update but once you get them they work just fine, we still have to try to play games.
Vista drivers for Auzentech Explosion, an old sound card, worked, but you had to do some tweaks as setup didn’t want to do it automatically, but after few minutes of messing with it, it finally installed and worked on new Windows.
Overall, Windows 7 looks nice and we see it as improved version of Vista and we will try to play some games on this DirectX 11 system and hope that they won’t crash.
The Aero interface is slightly improved over Vista and you can see that on mouse over on taskbar, you will see a smaller version of multiple Explorer windows, or Internet Explorer windows. The trouble is that it gets hard to tell if your program is opened or that is just a quick launch icon sitting there but launched application does change colour so I guess this is something that takes time to use to.
The start menu is a bit changed and it looks better then it use to. We like the new touch and Explorer button on the taskbar and shutdown-dedicated button is much better idea. I remember that at least a few of my friends had difficulties to turn Vista off as shutdown was always hidden.
There is a new performance rating system and 7.9 looks to be the highest number, we were stuck with 3.0 rating as we used Seagate 80GB 7200.3 very old hard drive, but the drive does the job. You can clearly see that System has a lot of memory in stand by but it was using 1.1GB at that given moment.
One of the most important things was that you can turn off user account control without big hassle, and this was probably the most criticised feature and in this new windows you can easily turn it off.
The first impression is good and Windows 7 beta 1 does runs nicely. We don’t have any major things to complain about and we’ve heard that it runs fine even on netbooks which is a good sign.
We see Windows 7 as Vista done right but it will take probably a year from this day before you will be able to grab Windows 7 in stores, so you will have to be patient for a retail version. For all that likes to play with Beta Operating systems, you can give it a try, it looks nice and works for most of the case but you might have some driver related issues, like with any beta.
We will keep our eyes for new developments.