By Neil McCormick
I gladly accepted an invitation from Microsoft to go down to Dublin and attend a preview event for Windows 7, last night.
This was my opportunity to go along and see a demonstration of the final build of the new operating system, hear about new elements that have been added since development began to replace VISTA.
Ok I have to profess, after making the jump to Vista on its Launch day and the amount of pain, soul searching and regret I experienced that day, trying to get the darn thing to work with my various devices, I was deeply convinced I had no plans to make any such move this time round. I have Vista working now how I want it, and it adequately meets all my needs. Therefore I was sure, it would take Herculean efforts to get me to consider the switch to Windows 7.
I WAS WRONG!
I came away from the event last night, enchanted at what I had witnessed. So much so I am now using Windows 7 as I type. So what made the change of heart? Quite frankly from the brief preview I could see the operating system had not got any of the annoying problems Vista has had. And Quite simply IT WORKS!
The structure of the evening was as follows, we were told about the development of the operating system with particular regard to the key role played by Microsoft’s Dublin Team.
We were then shown one of the new Features of Windows 7 – “local themes”. These are region specific themes that represent their specific regions. The Dublin team are currently developing an Irish theme and hope to have it available by Christmas. These themes are free and consist of Wallpapers, Sounds, and Aero-glass colors. I have to say they looked nice and are a nice touch to personalize the OS for a specific region. As the Microsoft Demonstrator said “You dont always want to see the Red, white and Blue of the USA style, when you are using your desktop in the African Savanah”
Following that we were shown some of the less known features like, if you hover over the bottom right corner (beside the clock) all the open windows will become transparent and you can see through to the desktop, click that corner once and everything minimizes, click again and everything pop’s back up! More than a nice head’s up, the practical implications for someone in a workplace are well documented.
It was also explaind that from windows 3.1 right up to Vista there remained only 1 element from 3.1. That was the installation dialogue box. Windows 7 has gave them the chance to finally do away with it.
Another thing – who had spotted the bug in the analogue clock in previous Windows operating systems? Yes whenever the clock was at ten minutes to whatever, about 1/3 of one of the hands would disappear from the screen. That doesnt happen it Windows 7 – its been fixed!
Then we came to the feature I enjoyed the most, seeing how touch screen had been implemented in Windows 7, of course reliant on you having the necessary Hardware. Our demonstrator Will, hailed from Regina (yes the obvious gag was cracked), Canada, and showed us with great ease how you can find his home town using Microsoft Earth and the Touch technology.
If you have a netbook, you will be interested in what followed. As you know with the limited resources, the netbook has only until now been able to run a specific version of XP, Vista was beyond its capability.
Well, the Microsoft Rep I spoke to, demonstrated to me that Windows 7 can run without a hitch on a netbook, and it could have quite a modest spec.
Finally we were walked through setting up your Windows 7 PC on your home network whilst using a Windows Server and media extender linked to a Xbox 360. Will explained how his own house was linked so that the whole family could have access to their media content throughout the house.
Windows 7 is released globally on October 22nd. I was advised that retailers will have hardware be it pc or laptop / netbook with Windows 7 on launch day.
Electro-candy will be running a twitter competition over this weekend to win an exclusive Windows 7 Tshirt. Keep an eye on our Twitter for more details