Tomorrow (or at 11:00 tonight as my computer would have you believe) the Windows 7 Beta will expire. I am currently downloading the Release Candidate with high hopes that I’ll be seeing a few aspects of the OS changed.
Vista may have had its flaws, but Microsoft seem to be looking for little things to ruin in Windows 7 that were never a problem before. There aren’t many cases like this, but the first part of the OS that I’d like to change back (and that I’d warn potential users about) is the change to the Windows Media Player toolbar in the taskbar – it’s gone! Instead of all the play controls including the timeline being easily accessible at all times, only pause/play, previous and next buttons are available quickly, and if you want to use any of these you have to wait for the menu to fade it. The new style is probably aimed at saving space in the task bar, however the option to return to the old style would be very welcome.
Another small issue I have with the OS is the lack of included software such as Windows Mail, Calendar and Movie Maker. Microsoft expects users to download either a Windows Live program or a third party replacement. Although I welcome Microsoft’s choice to allow third party software providers to enter the market without annoying Windows customers, the install files for even an old version of Windows Live on the install DVD would save people without an internet connection or with a low capped connection a lot of hassle.
I’ll admit that both of these issues that I have with the OS are trivial and highly subjective, however they are steps backward. In the interests of political correctness I’ll add that the beta has been a major improvement on Vista, and dare I say XP in every aspect that an OS could: speed, accessibility (bar MP) and stability to name a few.
For people interested in purchasing the full OS, many countries around the world (unfortunately no word yet of whether the offer will ever open in Australia) have the chance to pre-order a heavily discounted copy of Windows 7 from Microsoft. If you are unsure whether 7 will run on your computer, Microsoft has released a Beta of the Windows 7 upgrade advisor that will scan all parts of your computer hardware (including peripherals) and determine which parts will work. The Upgrade Advisor Beta requires an internet connection to work and is available from the Microsoft website.
(P.S. A happy new financial year to everyone! I hope the Swan brought you some great presents on his birthday! It’s a bit like Christmas, isn’t it - a birthday and gifts.)