Weekend Open Forum: Have you upgraded to Windows 7 yet? What is there to like/not?

By on November 6, 2009, 9:19 PM
Inevitably the past few weeks have been a lot about Windows 7. We have contributed our fair share of information and resources in the process, from nifty tips and tricks for those of you coming as far back as the first public beta, to a complete round-up of information to get you up to speed if you are upgrading to Windows 7 just now.

But what makes Windows 7 different from previous releases? First of all, Windows 7 has proved in a relatively short time span that itís no dog, and no Vista for that matter. Vista suffered all the incompatibilities and supposedly necessary transition needed to open the path for a next generation OS. In the process, the average PC also became much faster.

Furthermore, consider thisÖ over 90% of PCs worldwide rely on Windows. A big chunk of those computers are still running XP or even older versions. A majority of businesses didnít go for Vista and are now showing more willingness to move to 7 eventually, which will also require more modern hardware. Finally, in the consumer end, a majority of the PCs currently running Vista came with the OS pre-installed, and that hardware is more than capable to handle 7, one less obstacle that is showing in preliminary sales statistics for retail boxed versions of the new OS.

In this edition of our weekend open forum we ask you: Have you upgraded to Windows 7 yet? If yes, whatís your favorite feature so far? If not, whatís keeping you from doing so?

Note: This is the last news story that applies for our current Acer Aspire One giveaway. The winner will be announced this Sunday.

User Comments: 88

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treeski treeski said:

I took advantage of the Windows 7 student deal, and picked up professional 64bit for the $30. I own a pretty powerful gaming rig and used to run Vista on it. I didn't have any problems with Vista, but I have noticed certain performance boosts with 7. My computer's start up time is a lot faster. Transitioning from software to software seems smoother somehow.

I'm also digging the 7 interface. The new taskbar is really awesome. I love that you can move programs around on it. The various Aero features are great.

I haven't run into any compatibility issues, so no problems there.

Not sure what else to say. It's a great operating system, and I would really encourage everyone to make the move from XP/Vista/(macs) to 7. You won't be disappointed.

elroacho72 said:

If you have a 64 bit capable system, don't wait. This will streamline your system so quickly you won't believe it. Allowing you to multitask with the best of them and have no bottleneck doing it. To fully utilize everything 4GB of RAM should be used but with RAM so cheap now upgrading shouldn't be a problem! W7 is crazy! Running it on a P4 in one room and a dual core in the other! Using windows media center with mediabrowser plugin for ALL media in the house! Music, videos (including blu-ray), tv, you name it! I Picked up a remote and I'm good to go! W7 uses less resources than vista therefore runs a lot easier on my machines! I've been using it since beta testing and absolutely love this OS!

SinOfDeath said:

I haven't upgrade yet, but i know i like it :)

guyfred26 said:

This upgrade from Xp to Vista to Windows 7 cost too much for comapanies.That is why companies are reluctant on upgrading to windows 7. Hopefully windows 7 will give a promising performance to all its consumers.

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

i love windows 7 it has to be the best OS i have used easily beating vista and XP yes i said it better than XP. what i like about win7 is the fact that it basically installs all your drivers for you and its boot time is also very nice. i think the only thing i dont like is the fact that you have to have all drivers digitally signed by microsoft or they wont even work

Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

klepto12 said:

what i like about win7 is the fact that it basically installs all your drivers for you

You're going to be disappointed in about a year. This is less an OS feature and more just being 'new'.

i think the only thing i dont like is the fact that you have to have all drivers digitally signed by microsoft or they wont even work

Not true. I've even used beta Vista drivers... heh.

This upgrade from Xp to Vista to Windows 7 cost too much for comapanies.That is why companies are reluctant on upgrading to windows 7.
Most companies aren't going 'upgrade'. Any company with a real IT program is going to backup, format, reinstall, image Windows 7 onto their computers. Upgrading is often not an option in a corporate environment.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

I also took advantage of the student deal, I feel the $30 was worth the upgrade from vista. I also got the hard disk just in case as I like to have a hard copy just to be safe. I really like Windows 7, and I especially feel if your going to get a newer computer to have windows 7 installed. Vista feels heavy, but unlike the past vista isn't that buggy, it's just not as smooth as win 7 is. Pick just one fav feature? lol thats a hard one, I love the new task bar, but the snap in screen is addictive to use especially with Itunes and aol at the same time, or better yet what I did, have techspot open, and watch some youtube videos. The starup for windows (for me) is amazingly faster then Vista. MY laptop shuts down in a record 9-11 seconds, a first. The new look of the menus and such I like, it feels very organized and simple to understand. Like my laptop is connected to the internet through a network, and I can easily switch with 2 clicks to another network. I use this for school and because my house has 2 as well. The easily way to describe windows 7 is a upgraded smoother lighter Vista. I recommend anyone, especially using a laptop to upgrade (if they can) to Windows 7. As it's been proven it takes less power to use....more battery life!

Whiffen Whiffen said:

I have been using windows 7 since the first beta was available. Love the OS and will be purchasing Home Premium 64 for 120$ Lucky its not to expensive since I get a discount for buying a 1TB HDD not to long ago.

BlindObject said:

About to up grade soon...I have a x64 XP pro, how's gaming on W7? Better than XP? I have a powerful gaming rig, and that's 80% of what I do on here.

lynxon said:

I had access to an MSDN account when they first released it to developers back a few months ago, and I can you guys that I'm glad I did. This thing is FREAKING AMAZING. The new taskbar, areo peek and stuff, just amazing.

Deso said:

I upgraded to 7 but my pentinum 4 was to slow :/ so I installed back to xp :/

Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

I upgraded to 7 but my pentinum 4 was to slow :/ so I installed back to xp :/
I don't think it is your P4, unless you have an old first gen Willamette or something. It's probably your RAM/memory and/or graphics card and it could be something as simple as a driver issue or just adding more memory.

Windows 7 is almost every bit as meaty as Vista. It really should have 2GB of RAM or more to play with. It handles that meatiness better than Vista though, with things like starting services during startup in an 'intelligent' order etc... But XP is going to run better if you have an old video card and/or less than 1GB of RAM.

skitzo_zac skitzo_zac, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I ran the public Beta and Release Candidate and then bought Professional x64 with the student discount a couple of days after it's public release.

I really like it being visually more pleasing to use than the aging XP. New taskbar may take a while to get used to for some people but it really is superior IMO.

I love being able to move around items in the taskbar and the system tray, small thing for some but it really is great IMO.

Snapping windows to either side of the screen, really simple idea, but it makes organizing and moving files around A LOT easier.

Drivers being moved from kernal to user space (I know this was done in Vista, but I never used Vista. Upgraded from XP to 7), this was a pretty big problem for me in XP as I would get BSODs from driver crashes. Now in 7 it just re-initializes the driver without having to restart my system.

Windows 7 really is a great operating system. I would recommend everyone to upgrade to it if your hardware can handle it. And if you can get the student discount it is really cheap!

jrronimo said:

Windows 7 is just plain good. It feels snappier and more consistent when compared to Vista. Further, it *feels* shiny and new. XP feels like a dinosaur and looks like play doh by default.

Win7 is quick, modern and looks good, to boot. I wouldn't trade the new taskbar for anything.

mailpup mailpup said:

I bought three copies of Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit OEM but have not installed any yet. In my next computer build I will.

anonemus said:

When I first RC came out I installed it on my office laptop. It was very impressive! Haven't done it yet on my Home PC as I'm too busy to reinstall everything. Besides, the home PC is mostly used for websurfing and Office applications, so WinXP is still capable.

Maybe when I need to upgrade to a bigger HDD I will install Win7.

Alokasi said:

I bought the 1/2 price upgrade back in ?July?. Upgraded the day it came from Vista 32 to Win7 64-bit. No regrets. I, however, never had any problems with Vista either, so I guess I was one of the lucky ones. I'm not a big fan of the new task bar, but it is quite simple to make it behave like the vista (or XP) task bar but with MUCH improved previews. The tray icons are managed better in my opinion. I really like have the screen resolution as a primary option on the desktop right click menu since I dual monitor fairly regularly. Win7 boots and shuts down WAY faster than my Vista ever did. Its no longer painful to restart the computer. Wireless seems to connect to networks faster too. All said, I'm pretty happy with the new Windows.

BorisandBailey BorisandBailey said:

I'm staying on XP because, for me, Windows is for specialized programs like the Adobe products. I have Illustrator and Photoshop and I really don't need Windows for anything more than that. Everything else I can do with Linux Ubuntu. If Adobe made its softwares available for Linux, I would leave Windows in a heartbeat.

Guest said:

I'm really digging Windows 7 so far. Before this, I used XP. I never touched Vista. One thing I miss is the Quick Launch Bar that was removed. They replaced it with the "Pin To Taskbar" feature, but this isn't really a replacement. The buttons representing running programs get mixed in with the buttons representing Quick launch options, and it can be a real mess.

Really though, Windows 7 is awesome.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

I have more copies of Windows 7 than I can currently use...even putting all my spare stuff together...but yes I did obtain them legally, through student discount, attending a conference, and becoming a Windows 7 launch host. I think I was able to help spread the word fairly well (all students at my university get Pro for free) so with that kind of price there isn't a whole lot keeping them from upgrading. I haven't not liked a Windows OS this well at launch before. I have no dillusions though, there are compatibility issues and bugs to be addressed. There is also always more they could do. Overall I think Microsoft deserves a lot of credit, and they have been receiving it. Even Apple decided to make 2 Windows 7 commercials. Yet they didn't even make one for their own OS release! They must really care *tear

blackcat77 said:

We operate a not-for-profit group and got three copies of W7 Pro for $8 each, which is the best bargain around. I've only installed it to this laptop since we're in a busy time right now and need to keep our desktops fully-functional for a while. I'd used the W7 beta and RC earlier but re-installed Vista because of some stability issues. I'm happy to report that the problems seem to have been addressed. This laptop is my browsing computer and I've had zero crashes since installation five days ago. I still believe this is actually Vista 1.1, but even if we'd have had to pay the $150 for a Home Premium upgrade 3-pack, it still would be worth the money. Improvements to the taskbar and lots of other little things make everyday tasks a lot easier.

cardriverx said:

I got 7 64bit premium, upgraded from vista. Did a clean install (always do) and it runs great! I love the task bar, mated with the expandable dock app. Yay!

zaidpirwani said:

blackcat77 said:

We operate a not-for-profit group and got three copies of W7 Pro for $8 each, which is the best bargain around.

Am still using the release candidate, but hey, where did you got this $8 deal...

About Windows 7, I really like the new taskbar, but still am getting used to it..

Guest said:

To give a frame of reference, I'm a college student in a general engineering program. I have also, like many people, taken advantage of the student deal to get 7 Pro.

One thing that I would like to note is the sensationalism caused by the release of 7. I just installed Vista 32 bit Professional about a week ago(with the purpose of using it for awhile so that I am able to say i've used every windows OS since 3.1) and posted it on my facebook. Within a few hours I had at least 4 different people apologizing to me for my "bad luck", and how I should have upgraded straight to 7, even though they have never even used it before. This kind of bias is interesting when analyzing the differences between the 3 OS's(XP, Vista, and 7) and i would simply like to bring that thought up.

Also, a day later when i went on and did some research for 7 I did like how the successive editions of 7 have the same functions as the previous versions(so Pro has all of Home Premium functions plus added features and Ultimate has more features than Pro). This was one of my issues with vista once I had gotten it installed and realized the Professional version didn't have some of the features I had expected (like Media Center). So the student rate deal is actually amazing being a little less than 1/6 the price for Pro which includes all features of Home Premium along with some additional ones. It's similar to one of those deals too good to be true.

From my research I think this will be a good upgrade and am having issues not installing my download immediately... So when I feel I've used Vista long enough to meet my purpose for installing it I'll click this little Windows 7 upgrade icon on my desktop. :)

SiLeNt1 said:

Windows 7 is microsofts crowning glory, as I believe it is the best OS they have ever made. BUT! you need a rig capable of running it. Please check the minimum system requirements to run it before you choose to upgrade. It needs a lot more than vista, and when it starts up you will see why! The attention to detail is epic! And as soon as your system gets use to running it, it actually takes up less resources than vista. Congrats microsoft!

Captain828 Captain828 said:

I've upgraded all my PCs and my notebook with Windows 7.

What I like a lot is the much improved boot time and, especially, how stable it is. Then again, Vista was very stable for me as well.

Another neat thing is the improved UI. Sure, some might say it's Vista with a different UI, but that different UI is exactly what makes this OS much easier to use.

The SuperBar (or whatever you want to call it) is terrific as it helps a lot when you're doing heavy multi-tasking.

I also like that going to x64 now is pretty much effortless and 32bit apps work without issues.

Best OS so far IMO! Beats Apple's OSX hands down.

freedomthinker said:

Well , im using Windows 7 right now . It is quite good i should say , very nice actually . When i took in Vista when it came out . It was horrible . Annoying , compatibility issues , slow . Windows 7 has none of that . But still im hopping the Service Pack will come out soon . There is an issue i have , it kinda every now and then when you click on something it says not responding and goes away a few milliseconds later .

Guest said:

I decided to move from Mythbuntu 9.10 to Windows 7 Home Premium for the Media Center functionality (few showstopping bugs with sound in Mythbuntu 9.10) and have been pleasantly surprised after the disaster that Vista was (the reason I moved to Mythbuntu).

Nice and slick, Microsoft have done a great job with this.

ron5334 said:

I'm running the Win7 RC1 64bit til the freebie license runs out. By then I should have the money available for the upgrade. Money issues are the ONLY issues stopping my upgrade. My wife, however, isn't that thrilled about making the move. She's still likes her XP Pro since she knows her way around it so well.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

My favourite features are:

Aero snap - I always used to resize my firefox windows and place them side by side, this saves a lot of time and is great for the widescreen monitors nowadays

Desktop peek - I have the CPU and network usage gadgets on my desktop and now I can look at them without minimizing all the windows

Superbar green progress bar thingy - so far I've only seen this on explorer, IE and imgburn... but this would be really great if firefox, vuze, winamp, etc. also implemented this

Networking - It's really easy to stream media to other computers

The biggest negative I've found so far is the explorer superbar icon - there should be a straightforward option for which folder it should open on default (rather than libraries, which I find useless). Also it's a bit annoying to use if you have a lot of explorer windows open, maybe a solution would be to have an icon on the superbar for each window

tonylukac said:

Lets quit kidding ourselves. When windows 95 came out, college of dupage didn't upgrade till '97, and they were TEACHING this stuff. Last Saturday I installed windows virtual pc and DOWNGRADED to windows 95 to get some old games to run.

gbhall gbhall, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Whilst I am happy for so many home users to find themselves (at last) with a better OS from Microsoft, as a professional IT developer I am distinctly underwhelmed by Win7.

To me, it is simply the case that MS is dumbing down the OS to the point where they are designing virtually exclusively for the 'clueless majority', and ignoring the needs of professionals to be able to use an efficient, highly secure and configurable OS for business purposes. Professionals need to be in control of the OS, not the other way round.

In my opinion, MS need to produce an incorruptible, cast-iron secure and efficient kernel OS, on top of which they can market as many 'shell' front-ends as they like. There could be one for games, one for communications, one for graphic manipulation, one for an entertainment centre, one to be a client for a server OS, and so on ad infinitem almost.

Most importantly, MS completely ignores the huge cost to industry of retraining all users for every new OS, just because they choose to make virtually everything work differently. With the 'kernel + front-end' methodology, it would be possible to run 'legacy' front-ends for as long as necessary to support legacy applications.

There is no reason why several of these front-ends could not co-exist on the same PC, much as many people dual-boot today, but with more-or-less instant switching of course. That MS tries to do all these things in one OS is neither efficient, safe nor sensible. Enjoy your patch-tuesdays colleagues, because once win7 really gets going, there will probably be one every week......

ken777 said:

I've been using Windows 7 since the beta and rc releases and have recently updated my computers to the final release. I'm one of those people who was happy with Vista. It had major driver problems for the first yr or so, but after that it was fine as long as you had recent hardware. Never understood why people hated it so much. Windows 7 is really just a refinement of Vista. It feels faster, has a better UI, and has been totally stable. What's not to like? I hope it's good enough to convince those XP luddites that forward progress is a good thing.

spikester48661 spikester48661 said:

i,m going run xp sp3 for a year or so. so all the M$ bugs are worked out of windows 7.

njel said:

My advise is : Do NOT upgrade. make a fresh install... if you can...

If you can not, ask a friend to do it for you.

You will really see the difference if you make a fresh install.

Doing that you will probably install the last version of all the tools you use and you will know which one will be a compatibility problem.

Trust me, make a backup of all you data, emails, bookmarks, ... Check if you know all the passwords you saved in your browsers. Change them if you don't. And go...

You will find a lot a good articles on the web who explain everything to make a fresh install.

Guest said:

Mac OS X is better than Windows 7 and all the other Windows operating systems.

Vicenarian said:

Ubuntu ftw...uses 256 MB of memory compared to Vista's 1 GB on my hp dv9700

Does everything I need it to, it's free to download, and easy to install...going to put it on my acer desktop today as well.

Guest said:

Windows 7 is just a stripped down version of Vista with a few tweaks and some new eye candy. I'll keep Vista and wait for Windows 8.

JDoors JDoors said:

Upgraded from Vista Home Premium 64-bit to Win 7 HP 64.

Slightly funny story: Received the package in the mail (I always want the hard copy), opened it, and read on the disk: 32-bit Version. Having pre-ordered it some time ago I'd forgotten the "both versions included" part of the deal, I thought I'd been given the wrong version! Oh no! I searched MS help, found a phone number, called and explained my dilemma, the guy apparently was going to send me a new package when I found the one teensy box on the package that said, "Includes both 32-bit and 64-bit versions." Oh yeah, I sorta remember that -- The 64-bit disk was UNDER the 32-bit one. Uh, sir, uh ... nevermind.

The install didn't go perfectly, 7 found some items that weren't compatible but didn't make it entirely clear that those items had to be manually disabled before the install could proceed (I didn't need those items anyway so, no big deal). Once I figured that out it went swimmingly, but took longer than I expected. Not longer than they SAID it would take, but I didn't believe it would take as long as that. It did.

Works great (as did Vista). Vista would occasionally choke on one program or another, but always recovered gracefully, haven't had any glitches yet in 7. 7 uses FAR less memory, from 36% at idle in Vista to ~25% in 7. I never ran low with Vista (I have more than 4 Gig, hence the 64-bit version), now I KNOW I won't run low with 7.

Nitpicks; SO much faster in some regards it's unmanageable. For example, if the cursor so much as glances on another window, that window comes immediately to the forefront, whether that was my intent or not (is there a workaround, like menu-delay in past versions?). Had to change my decade-old Alt+Tab habit to WindowsKey+Tab because Alt+Tab is entirely unuseable; Changing another habit, the Start menu, to using the task bar instead was easy enough, but I LIKED the Start menu.

Otherwise, works as well as Vista (again, I never had issues with Vista), uses less memory, changes are easy to learn -- What's NOT to like?

Colonel Lance said:

I have not gotten Windows 7 yet. There are 2 reasons for that.

1.) The money - Windows 7 is fairly expensive (for me)

2.) I'd want to get a new computer which will of course make it cost much, much more.

fwilliams said:

No thank you. I will stick with Ubuntu.

An operating system is just a container to run applications. The applications I want and use all run on Ubuntu and I do not need to continuously make payments to Microsoft every time they change the wallpaper.

Deso said:

Rick said:

I upgraded to 7 but my pentinum 4 was to slow :/ so I installed back to xp :/
I don't think it is your P4, unless you have an old first gen Willamette or something. It's probably your RAM/memory and/or graphics card and it could be something as simple as a driver issue or just adding more memory.

Windows 7 is almost every bit as meaty as Vista. It really should have 2GB of RAM or more to play with. It handles that meatiness better than Vista though, with things like starting services during startup in an 'intelligent' order etc... But XP is going to run better if you have an old video card and/or less than 1GB of RAM.

well windows 7 for general use as just web browsing worked fine as long as I turned down a lot of eye candy in the my computer properties but in games sure as warcraft 3 where on xp I reach the MAX fps of 60, I only get too 20 in win 7 and its not a stable playable 20 fps it jumps from 2-25 fps constantly.

I'm pretty sure its my p4 thats doing it, I have 4 stick 2 1gb and 2 512 mb both pairs in dual mode, and all 4 of them have the same CAS latency(5) and clock frequency of 800, and my graphics card is geforce 7900 GS which is able to play Dead Space on windows xp on high with a semi stable 16 fps. any idea why I have this performance loss?

Guest said:

I jumped on the pre-order deal of Windows 7 Home Premuim Upgrade and I planned on going from WinXP 32-bit to Win7 64-bit but I haven't yet because I'm still waiting for Intel to fix their 34nm X25-M firmware update!

Guest said:

But who uses it ???

Guest said:

Upgraded from Vista with Win7 Home on one computer. The annoying Vista glitches are now resolved. Win7 reminds me of XP with a makeover. Honestly if you have a good working system on XP it wouldn't be worth the upgrade to Win7. I would wait till your current XP system as a hardware failure and just buy yourself a new box with Win7 and get yourself another 5+ years out of a new rig with a good OS (Win7). High five Microsoft you got it right this time.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Installed it on a few development workstations and virtual machines. I ran the beta and RC1 (currently bootcamping the rtm I think on a white macbook). I will get it to replace my Vista HP 64bit installtion at home soon. There are 2 things I like alot - the different choices/modes for UAC and the improvements to Aero (the previews, shaking the window to minimse all others etc).

I doubt I will wait for a service pack either - Vista was dieing for one the moment it was released but Win7 is different.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I'm still running RC and I won't have any available cash until the new year.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Clean installed 7 64bit Pro.

Favorite feature is being able to update video drivers without a reboot.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Thanks to MSDN Alliance, and my university I had access to Windows 7 Professional a couple months before it's release, and ultimate RC a long time before that and I can only say I've loved it ever since.

Lot of new features over XP that makes a no choice in upgrading (In like or like). The the full install only took about half an hour, with full driver compatibility and no problem with my old XP programs, I can't recommend it enough for all of you.

The requirements are not that huge, and for today's hardware, if you have 2gb ram in your computer it will work.

Have it on my computer, my netbook, made my girlfriend install it in her netbook too (And you can see the new themes in an all-pinkish-shape), my dad laptop, and so on.

JieMan JieMan said:

I've been on win7 since the RC launch and love it .. in fact I used an upgrade disk on the RC, the start/toolbar is awesome

I have been able customize it with anything I want, it could have been easier tho as many of my icons on the startbar reqired tricks to do it..

I have had no problems with gaming or multimedia work.

and remember ,, windows 7 was my idea.

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