It's way way way too early to call Windows 7 a success, but I will say that the post-PDC buzz about 7 has been more positive than I had anticipated.
Cool screenshots and specs from the pre-beta release are all well and good, but there does seem to be a general vibe that Microsoft is fiercely determined this time to undo the damage done by Vista, to pay serious attention to details. And they are getting it right. So far at least.
Accusations that Windows 7 will just be Vista SP3 run rampant, but really, isn't that what is needed? A better version of a flawed thing? It seems that Microsoft is taking chubby, undisciplined Vista to rehab, putting it through psychological counseling and physical training, and returning it from exile months later smart, clean, sober, thin and tan as Windows 7. Windows 7: The Biggest Loser.
How's that for an analogy?
But still, the trail of fear and mistrust left by Vista is on par with the Bush/Cheney administration. Much like the new president taking office in January, Windows 7 has a colossal task on its hands. But unlike the new president, Windows 7 doesn't need to be something completely new and different. It just needs to be better and easier.
First looks at the Windows 7 pre-beta reveal that the fat that has weighed down Vista and driven users crazy has been trimmed.
Windows 7 will of course be adding new features, such as touch-screen capability and slider controls that make UAC more controllable and less intrusive. But in addition, many bloated Vista features have allegedly been cut or streamlined.
Some of the streamlined features reported to look sharp in the Windows 7 pre-beta include: a Windows backup program that is about 10 clicks faster than Vista's; much easier connection to a wireless network and organization of a digital music collection; Quick launch/task bar integration with new mouse hover features; a major overhaul of the Network and Sharing Center for simpler set up and management of small networks.
Most of these features are small business/consumery. For enterprise customers, Windows 7 features are mostly untested, but two main features sited in the pre-beta are new troubleshooting and administration tools in the PowerShell scripting language and the ability to encrypt the contents of removable storage devices.
More testing of enterprise features is scheduled for the next few months.
Microsoft has made a public pledge that the hardware/software incompatibility that plagued Vista will not happen with Windows 7.
It sure better not happen. Windows 7 needs to be the fitter, happier, more productive older brother to Vista's screwed up middle child – or else it's back to rehab.
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