First Blood, Windows 7. Shock and Awe!

(Windows 7 Beta, Build 7000 put through the paces)

Background

I don’t seem to have a pile of computers laying around anymore so testing new operating systems can be a bit time consuming.  In general, I don’t like testing OS’s in VM’s because performance on the actual hardware is what I’m trying to measure.  So, luckily, I do seem to have an infinite number of SATA hard drives for my Lenovo Thinkpad W500 ( Lenovo 4062-27U ThinkPad W500 15.4" Notebook ) so I figure the best thing to do is install the OS on one of those.  Microsoft recently sent me two DVD’s (a 32bit and a 64bit).  Since I have a 64bit machine with 4gig of RAM, I figure I should test the 64bit.  So, here we go.


The Installation Process

If you have ever installed a Microsoft OS before, the steps are basically the same.  Put the disk in, boot, go through the standard format disk screen (I like to erase all my partitions), then press go.  What seems to vary between OS’s is the time to run through this process.  So, here is how long it took for me.

7:29 PM Put win7 DVD and Boot
7:30 PM Windows Starts
7:40 PM Windows Restarts
7:47 PM Done!

Less than 20 minutes!  Pretty impressive.  I’d also like to note that it seemed all the devices on my Lenovo W500 worked best I can tell.  The Video drivers installed perfectly (even supported my two monitors on my docking station), sound worked, wireless networking immediately connected to my home wifi and it felt very very fast.

Next thing, I test to see if it can find my network printers.  I have two, an HP Deskjet 6470 and a Brother 8860DN.  It finds them both!

Let’s Test some Software

So, the first thing to test is Visual Studio 2008.  I install that from a DVD (because I have not figure out how to mount ISO’s yet and MagicDVD is rumored not to work).  It installs flawlessly as does VS2008 SP1 and the MVC Beta.  Running it however gives me a little problem.  I need to tell it to run as Admin and in Vista Compatibility mode for it to open my web projects (which work with IIS7).  Then, I install subversion (tortoisesvn), still no problem, FireFox next, still no problem.  Now to have some fun.

Next thing is I download the current Visual Studio 2008 project I’ve been working on with svn and build it.   It builds fast and flawlessly.  Then, I start running IE8 and Firefox just cruising the internet.  Everything works without a hitch.

Anything Missing?

The only thing that I couldn’t figure out how to do was mount ISO’s as driver letters.  Most my software is stored as ISO’s so I really miss that.

Conclusions

Well, if during the next year while Microsoft tests Windows 7, they restrain from filling it with features, this OS is a definite winner.  It feels hugely faster than both XP and Vista.  The graphics is just awesome.  The transparencies feel natural, moving items around the start bar is easy, as well as visualizing what is running by hovering over the start bar is much smoother than Vista.

I can’t wait until this is my primary OS.  I’m tempted to use it as my main OS but luckily my instincts prevent me from doing that.  Microsoft clearly says this is for testing only and I choose to follow that.

About Peter Kellner

Peter is a software professional specializing in mobile and web technologies. He has also been a Microsoft MVP for the past 7 years. To read more about Peter Kellner and his experience click here. For information about how Peter Kellner might be able to help you with your project click here.

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Comments

  1. I have used Virtual CloneDrive version 5.4.1.1 (from Elaborate Bytes AG in Switzerland) in the Windows 7 Beta successfully. After you associate the appropriate file extensions with it, you can right-click a .iso file and using “Open With” you can “Mount Files with Virtual CloneDrive” and they will be mapped like any other drive, just like you are used to.

    Hope this helps….

    Don

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