Windows 7 Addiction

About two and a half months ago I decided to try out Windows 7 Ultimate. I had read about the documents and settings migration from XP, and read about few of the recommendations out there on how to go about installing and what pitfalls to watch out for.

The first thing I did was to download the Windows 7 Compatibility tool from the Microsoft site and ran it. It basically said that my hardware had some issues.

One of the most critical issues I faced was the incompatibility, rather the lack of proper LAN drivers. This had actually blindsided me, and hit me hard. As I had initially been using my machine at a wireless hotspot, my home was also wireless networked at time also, I didn’t miss it. However, I realized the problem when I had to shift to a wired internet access location and was shocked to find that Windows 7 had not recognized my LAN card.

Scrambling to find a wireless hotspot, I immediately went to the Microsoft Update site and ran the update tool. To cut a long story short, after downloading over 700 MB of security patches, system patches, service packs, it also downloaded some of the missing drivers, including the LAN card.

Since then, I have not looked back to Windows XP Professional SP3.

I will definitely say, that Microsoft has really done a great job with this OS. I tried the Vista Ultimate when it had rolled out, but quickly uninstalled it, it really slowed my machine down. Then I had tried the Windows 7 Beta, and I was slightly impressed by it, however, it had some serious problems with my machine.

However, I believe that I have made a good choice, with a serious drawback. To understand that, I need to put down the specs of my machine. Please bear with me, the machine has a shipping date of June 2002. Wow! ancient innit.

Well here goes

Manufacturer Dell Inc.
Type Laptop
Model Inspiron 8200
Processor PIVm 2.2GHz
RAM 2GB PC2700
Graphics Nvidia GeForce2 Go 32MB
HDD 100 GB 5400RPM ATA
Screen 15.4″ SXGA+ (1400×1050)
LAN 3Com 3C920 (3C905C-TX Compatible) 100Mbps
Wireless Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG
Modem Conexant SmartHSFi V.9x 56K DF PCI Modem
Pointing Alps Touchpad

Straight off there were driver issues, however, I forced installed the XP drivers I had, and let windows update them from it’s own web site.

What I am not able to use is the Aero theme. I have seen it and used it on my friends machines, however, I am rather more comfortable with the Windows 7 basic theme.

I tweaked the UI, reduced icon sizes adjusted how the windows explorer should show files, set the blank screensaver (becuase I like that), and got down to business.

Now that I have rearmed the trial twice already, I am dreading the time when this third perid will end, which it is about to. What will I do then? Will I go out and beg/steal for cash to get the genuine license and active it? or … will I revert back to the XP I had and had gotten used to.

My XP rocked. Of course I had so many years to learn it, figure out it’s nuances and eccentricities and limitations and capabilities. In the end the only UI tweak I had done on it was to install the Zune theme for XP, the first thing I had done was thrown away the wallpaper. I like clean wall papers generally.

Now.. If I do go back to XP I will miss the following things that I have gotten accustomed to with Windows 7.

  1. Elegant failure recovery while operating.
  2. Elegant failure recovery while shutting down.
  3. Access/Authorization controls, asking me for administrative authentication before system level or security change.
  4. Improved Task Manager.
  5. Elegant Start bar design.
  6. Excellent Mouse over selection and control of multiple documents from running application on task bar.
  7. Better calendar (click on clock on status bar).
  8. Recently used Programs list and recent documents/activities against progams.
  9. Document Libraries.
  10. Other Libraries.
  11. Network/Network Connection management.
  12. Much better indexing.
  13. Integrated real-time search.

And … I’m sure there are many many more that I’m missing, and won’t realize till I get back to XP. So sad, but it’s bound to happen sooner or later.

Now, what is prompting me to switch back, well, lets just say I had the cash on me to be able to afford a proper license. Basically, this machine is probably classified as a legacy machine, however, I’m still using it.

For my family, specifically my two kids and myself, Friday nights are movie nights, as my wife works from home, I show them movies on my machine. When I was using XP, I used to play the movies with VLC Player, tried a lot of them, however, kinda clicked with this one. Everything was dandy until, I switched to Windows 7.

With the different graphics engine, not supported by my hardware, plus the limit of supporting DirectX 9c, I ran into a serious graphics performance issue while playing movies in full screen.

Luckily I have another HDD (80GB ATA) with Ubuntu on it, and it works perfectly on my machine. Of course some of the snazzy UI effects won’t work, OpenGL is a bit hiccupy due to the oldnesses and capabilities of my graphics card. So come Friday, I first switch hard drives before showing kids any movie. It’s a small over head at this time.

That got me thinking, what will I go through when I actually do switch back to XP, which prompted me to write down my thoughts.

I have also published another post regarding my thoughts on the Windows 7 graphics engine, and how it affects me, and perhaps other users also.

Anyway, I am almost dreading the day when I switch back.

I think the withdrawl will be bad! Dang, I need my Windows 7 fix!