||IT-knowledgeable electronics engineer
||1. Full-featured, significantly easier to use than XP, better than XP at maintaining itself unobtrusively.
2. Nice that you get both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions in the FPP package.
||1. Expensive for what it is.
2. Lots of things moved around and re-organised relative to XP, ie expect a bit of a learning curve.
3. Quite a resource hog (especially things like the 'Aero' desktop scheme). Don't go for it unless you have fairly powerful hardware.
||High-end desktop or laptop PC
|Similar products used:
||Windows NT v4, Windows 2000, Windows XP. I never used Vista.
Recommended without reservation
After many years' experience with Windows XP, I deliberately steered clear of Vista and decided to take the plunge with Win7, even though Win7 really is "Vista with the service packs" or "Vista 6.1".
To be honest, there's not many things that Win7 does in addition to WinXP, but I have to concede that it does do things somewhat better, and it IS friendly and easier to use.
About the only real extra functionality I can think of, is Windows 7's 'Libraries' feature - this is a collection of commonly-accessed folder shortcuts arranged into a 'library'. This is handy if you have a 'busy' hard disk structure.
The detection, downloading and installation of service packs and driver updates is very smooth in Win7 - it happens very transparently in the background, provided you have a good broadband connection, of course. The updates can be quite large, 20-100MB is not uncommon.
The 'Help' feature works a lot better than WinXP .. typing anything in the 'Help Search' box brings up stuff you can really use (unlike XP) and the Help usually includes links to do the thing you asked about. So, if you can't remember how to get to the Control Panel, typing 'Control Panel' in the Help Search box will give you a link to take you right there.
On the down side, Win7 has made quite a few changes to the handling of folders in Windows Explorer, which are not self-evident. Expect some hassles with file security, sharing, folder permissions, strange folder icons etc, especially if you moved data across from another (XP?) machine.
I installed the 64-bit version (to fully utilise a 64-bit Core i7 processor and to give support for >4GB memory), expecting some hassles with finding 64-bit versions of drivers and software. But it's been pretty smooth - I found 64-bit drivers and software versions for all my hardware (Webcams etc) and apps. At this time, about the only thing you can't get is a 64-bit version of Adobe Flash player that wil work inside the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer. But for now you can run the 32-bit version of IE no problem.