Conor vs. Windows 7

(Not a SQL Server post)

I have been meaning to install Windows 7, and I got around to doing it last night.  I usually run Windows 2003/8 Server for work, so my interest in the consumer side is perhaps not as high as some others.  Nevertheless, I like Windows and I wanted to try it out. 

I did not try to upgrade from Vista x64.  I just bought a new hard drive and figured it was time to do a clean install – funnily, a SQL Server setup issue has prevented me from installing SQL Server on my personal machine, so I wanted that fixed.  An upgrade would copy the broken registry files.  (I’ve knocked on a few doors about this while up in Redmond – this is an area where we need to do better in SQL).



Setup:  I had one hiccup last night during installation.  It stopped about 9-10% through Expanding files and returned some error about not being able to read something or other and was aborting the install.  So, I tried again and it seemed to make it further the second time.  Within about 30 minutes or so and after a few reboots, I had a Windows 7 logon screen.


Aero Shake:  Very cool.  I was opening up windows left and right and just love this.   It is neat.

Aero Peek: This one is interesting, but I am not sure yet whether I like it.  If you hover your mouse in the lower right part of the screen (to the right of the clock in the taskbar), it will make all of your windows translucent and you can see your background.  While nice for looking at the background, it doesn’t accomplish as much organizationally as I want.  There are a few very cool tools that help you find the right window (Switcher), and I can see myself using something like that more often than Aero Peek. 

I guess these two features replace the “Show Desktop” taskbar button from Vista, which minimized all of the active windows and gave you a clean screen.  I think that the Shake is a nice addition (close all but this one) but I often want to minimize everything and then go to the start menu to start a new program.  This use case isn’t handled, so I will be looking for a Windows 7 Show Desktop button for my workflow.


Start Menu:  This is a sore topic for me.  I am pretty old school in my use of the start menu – I keep the “Classic” start menu with the smallest text/icons possible.  I really like it to be small, fast, and efficient.  The newer start menu leaves me staring at the thing trying to figure out where everything is and what designers were thinking by putting this thing in this place.  Unfortunately, the Start Menu in Windows 7 doesn’t let me configure things like my Windows 2008 machines, and I don’t like having to switch back and forth.  (Note to Windows designers: That does NOT mean I want Win2k8 to look like Win7).  Now, if I accept that the “new” start menu is good and give it a try, there are a few things that are reasonable about it:

1. open it up and type “cmd” – immediately opens a command window.  good.  It is the most important thing I have to do, and it seems that each release people try to move it further and further down the tree of commands

2. Find a program to open.  I actually had to sit there for a minute or two looking.  The right side has no All Programs.  I eventually found it on the left side.  So, I have to click yet another thing to get to my programs.  Conor not happy.


Taskbar:  This is interesting.  I think that the prior model of “everyone needs a little flag down near the clock” was getting to be pretty horrible.  I actually never want to see most of them.  This new model seems to force everything into the taskbar and makes the taskbar more powerful with icons and stacking and such.  I think that this may be a big long-term win.  When combined with the window thumbnail support (an overlooked gem in Vista, IMO), I think that this gets me a mechanism to navigate through my open windows fairly effectively.  I am going to have to play with this more to see if I can master it.


I got as far as installing Office, Windows Live, and Visual Studio 2008 last night.  They all installed just fine, fwiw.


I am enjoying watching the Apple commercials get more and more desperate each round.


I’m a PC!