Windows 7 Up Close and Personal

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When Windows Vista first hit the scene, it was quite a departure from Windows XP. It had been a while since a major desktop operating system release from Microsoft, and consumers along with many businesses, were slow to adopt the new OS, if at all. Add to that the new and sometimes cumbersome security features and reports that Vista was slower as a gaming platform, and you had an equation for slow initial uptake.  Even as service pack 1 was released adoption was still less than stellar, prompting Microsoft to launch creative marketing campaigns in an attempt to sway public opinion.

As news about Windows 7 leaked to the public, many wondered what type of improvements it would offer over Vista or legacy Windows XP installations. That curiosity changed to a fervor when Microsoft announced the first public beta of Windows 7 was to be released. The scheduled release date was surrounded by such anticipation that when it was time to deliver, Microsoft could not handle the download demand for the their latest version of Windows. Finally, after a small delay, the public now has access to the first beta of Windows 7. We here at HotHardware have been experimenting and testing it and have compiled a first look, replete with plenty of screen shots and benchmark comparisons between Windows 7 and Vista as installed on the same hardware platform.

The Installation Process: 

The Windows 7 installation was relatively painless because most of the necessary drivers for our test system were included on the DVD. We were installing on an new Centrino 2-based Lenovo notebook, so Vista-based drivers downloaded from Lenovo's site, where needed, rounded out the install. Once booted and ready to go, it was time to take a peek at the new features we had heard so much about. As this was a base operating system install, the desktop looked sparse with only Recycle Bin and Send feedback icons present. Looking at the system window we saw that the laptop had been given a Windows Experience Index of 2.0 based on the lowest score which happened to be Disk Data Transfer Rate.  This had to be a mistake as in previous testing the Hitachi drive in this system had given healthier benchmark numbers. After a bit of searching we realized this was a common issue and the fix was to disable write caching on the hard disk as follows:

  1. Go to Control Panel > hardware & sound > device manager
  2. Locate disk drives, expand and find your main drive
  3. Right click it and select properties
  4. Click the policies tab, uncheck "enable write caching on this device", click ok
  5. Run the Windows Experience Index again

Now we have a 3.5 WEI with a Disk Data Transfer Rate score of 5.3 up from 2.0.




 Windows Experience Index before fix
Windows Experience Index after fix


Let's poke around this new OS from Microsoft and explore some of its new features, next.

Article Index:

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Thanks for the overview of Windows 7. I actually have the Beta, but I haven't tried it yet. Didn't have time to try it out. Will do so soon, once I get my new Quad-Core system. :)

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So I haven't heard or looked it up yet....but does WMP/WMC have built-in H.264 support?

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ice91785 - Yes it includes H.264 support. When you download the beta there is a notice as follows:

NOTICE ABOUT THE H.264/AVC VISUAL STANDARD. This software includes H.264/MPEG-4 AVC visual compression technology. MPEG LA, L.L.C. requires this notice:

THIS PRODUCT IS LICENSED UNDER THE AVC PATENT PORTFOLIO LICENSE FOR THE PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERCIAL USE OF A CONSUMER TO (i) ENCODE VIDEO IN COMPLIANCE WITH AVC STANDARD (“AVC VIDEO”) AND/OR (ii) DECODE AVC VIDEO THAT WAS ENCODED BY A CONSUMER ENGAGED IN A PERSONAL AND NON-COMMERICAL ACTIVITY AND/OR WAS OBTAINED FROM A VIDEO PROVIDER LICENSED TO PROVIDE AVC VIDEO. NO LICENSE IS GRANTED OR SHALL BE IMPLIED FOR ANY OTHER USE. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM MPEG LA, L.L.C SEE HTTP://WWW.MPEGLA.COM

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Left HugRight Hug

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I cannot wait to see that final production of windows 7 :)

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Its beginning to look like a sold OS, the likes of which have not been seen since Win98.

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Left HugRight Hug

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Sorry but Windows 7 looks very unimpressive. If they still are using the NTFS file system, then it is a complete and utter failure just like vista. The WinFS was supposed to be part of longhorn till it got scrapped due to time constraints cause MS dicked around for 5 years...go figure. All that vista did was kill legacy support and do some lil fancy things to the desktop, and actually made it perform worse than XP in everyday tasks and gaming. Windows 7 just looks like Vista with a fancier coat of paint, but still the same old crap underneath.

MS needs to get their act together and release a real operating system, not this foo-foo frilly crap they keep trying to pawn off as a real OS.

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It's not all frills, didn't you see the media playback statistics? That proves one thing:

Apparently they spent a lot of their time optimizing the DRM - given that there was no change in gaming performance.

Yay?

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3vi1:

It's not all frills, didn't you see the media playback statistics? That proves one thing:

Apparently they spent a lot of their time optimizing the DRM - given that there was no change in gaming performance.

Yay?

oh and what good is media playback when your computer tries to open a file and blanks everything out and asks you if you really want to open this file, then it BSOD's just cause you took to long to click ok and were ignoring it.  Optimizing DRM....uh that is not something done with an OS, that is something done to files in which a program will then have to use special algorhythms to decrypt/encrypt or use keys or whatever to play the file depending on what kind of DRM  is being used.  Sounds to me like they just got a patch for a media play back software not the actual OS on that one, that or someone is talking about crap they dont understand or know fully about.

Painted crap is still crap, just a diff color.

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