Windows 7, First Impressions
It's been a little less than 12 hours since I installed and started using Windows 7. I must say I'm not entirely pleased, neither I am particularly displeased. Only frustrated.
Despite a certain charm to the OS interface, which is hard to deny, I personally prefer more minimalist interfaces. The one thing that annoyed me was that Classic mode keeps the same general design of Windows Vista/7 (down to widget sizes), and dresses everything in Windows 2000 colors. The result is one ugly interface that is not even optimized in terms of screen real-estate conservation. Contrary to Windows XP, classic mode is really no longer advisable unless you are doing it because of lack of system resources. But be prepared for one terrible, saddening, experience.
Ok, this is what really is driving me nuts. You see... I WANT TO USE UAC! I really do. But I can't. Not for now at least.
If I'm upgrading my operating system, I want to use those technical features that have been improved. And UAC offers an important layer of security that was always missing from windows operating systems. I feel this is an important tool and should be used by everyone. Pardon the french, but screw Aero! I'm in it for the real technical features.
But the problem is that UAC interferes with your normal computer usage in ways that aren't intuitive or, I dare say, meaningful.
Lets get something straight here, I don't loath UAC because of the dialog boxes. Microsoft has come a long way since the diag fest of Vista prior to SP1. During the first hours that I used UAC, the boxes were always presented to me in the right moments and their presence made sense. My biggest beef with UAC is that it affects your daily file operations in the most annoying and strange ways. And I couldn't find any information on what the workflow for normal file operations is when yo have UAC turned on. Let me explain...
- I install a program and it goes into C:\Program Files.
- Now, I have on another drive a huge folder with backups and I want to replace many of the files on that program's Data folder (C:\Program Files\Program\Data) by those on the backups folder.
- When I try to copy over I get an Access Denied. This has something to do with that Program Files folder new protection mechanism. Very well. But I feel this is a safe folder to write to. So,
- I take ownership of C:\Program Files\Program\Data. I do notice that the folder ownership was already set to the Administrators group. That already spelled this wouldn't work. But I did it anyways. Then I give myself Full Rights.
- I try to copy the files now. Still Access Denied.
- So, Me, on a Administrator account, after having gained ownership of the folder and given myself full rights to it, am still denied a simple Copy and Replace operation?
... UAC was turned off. And with it one of the reasons I wanted to upgrade to Windows 7.
3. DirectX 11
I have only played a little. But with an ATI Radeon HD4770 with latest drivers, on 1440x900 I was able to play DX9 games like Fallout 3 or Bioshock on maximum settings and even gained 3-7 FPS over Windows XP and 10-15 (I believe... because I don't remember the actual vista numbers anymore) over Vista.
DirectX11 and Windows 7 DX9 mode has matured. I haven't tried any DX10 game yet. The only one I had was a pirated copy of FarCry 2 that I used to evaluate the game before buying. I didn't like it.
Of course, for folks like Bubba there there's more to it than just playing games. But can't help you there. I really have no clue, not I think I will ever want to have, about programming with DX. I can however vouch that, at least with these ATI drivers, there's even a gain for DX9 games under Windows 7 over XP.
4. Start Menu
I'm trying to get used to it. I seem to understand the logic behind the changes. I seem to think it makes sense. I seem to agree I may eventually get used to it. But so far I'm still trying.
Changing your All Programs folder is something that apparently you are encouraged into not doing. The way is to right-click All programs on the start menu and select Open (to open your user All Programs) or Open All Users (to open the "All Users" All Programs folder). However, the way the All Programs Folder is organized in the Start Menu makes it look like you aren't supposed to go there much. You can't, for instance, sort All Programs folders to your preferences anymore. I get a feeling Microsoft wants you to use the search box exclusively and to use other features like Pin to Start Menu.
This is one of the type of things that drew me away from Vista. When Microsoft one day does an Operating System that actually tries to adapt to the user, instead of forcing the user to adapt to it, I'll stop complaining.
We see the search box Microsoft! It's there. It's pretty and it's cool. Yeah, your improved search technology is awesome. Get it? Really. It is nice. Good. Now, don't flash it like some horny middle-age lunatic and let me use All Programs if I want to, how I want to.