I have been a long time user of PC’s since the very first days. I was impressed by the advent of the graphical user interface with the Apple Macintosh. I used Microsoft Windows since its first release. It has been a roller coaster of good and bad since the first days.
Windows 386 and the introduction of Microsoft Office gave many of us technophiles hope for what was to come.
When Windows 3.1 arrived, many of us felt like we had arrived at nirvana. Windows for Workgroups punched up networking and file sharing between systems. Windows 98 was a bit more robust, but many users became familiar with the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Not so great.
Windows Me arrived and nobody was happy. My buddies at Microsoft said that one should have never left the building.
Somewhere in the middle of all of this, Windows NT emerged on a parallel track, targeted to high-end workstations and servers. Therein, lay the future. When Windows 2000 appeared, it was hailed as a robust, powerful and stable operating system. It still allowed users to run old DOS programs, but gave them a multitasking environment that really worked.
In order to move forward, a lot of backward compatibility had to go. When Windows XP arrived, it was nirvana all over again. XP proved to be the best desktop operating system to date. Its server counterpart, Windows 2003 Server, became the standard for every Windows-based IT shop.
Windows Vista gave all of us concern again. Many likened it to Windows Me, but nothing could have been farther from the truth. Vista was a gamble. Microsoft knew it had to give the entire user interface a facelift if it was going to compete with the growing popularity and sexiness of Apple OS X on the Mac. Unfortunately, there were some missteps. Vista was huge and put great processing demands on a computer. There were also compatibility issues with existing drivers and devices. No one wanted to throw out all of their equipment and buy new.
In all the noise about what a hog Vista seemed to be, everyone missed that fact that the user interface changes were really good. Seriously good. Many multiple click operations were reduced to two or a drag and drop. File Explorer windows were more easily organized to suit the way a user worked. The Aero interface looked really good, if you had the power to run it. There was a lot of goodness, but the compatibility issues and overall flakiness cast a shadow on some really good work done by the gang in Redmond.
Now Windows 7 is arriving at the end of October. Those of us with access to early copies are very impressed. It is fast, sexy, robust and reliable. The built-in security tools will help to protect the every day user from his or herself by warning about operating system changes, a feature that was started in Vista, but has been improved in Windows 7.
The ability for the operating system to recover itself from errors, fix issues with networking or attached devices, recognize applications that may be problematic, and check for any fixes or updates to specific problems has, in my opinion, been raised to new heights.
I am running Windows 7 64-bit on a Lenovo ThinkPad T61p and it screams. Not only can my system now make use of the full 4 GB of memory I have installed, but I can run my desktop and several VMWare images at the same time and still have power left over.
Say what? Has it finally happened? Has Windows 7 put this operating system at a true milestone in its desktop evolution? Is it worth the upgrade to the point of even buying a new computer?
Yes, Virginia, to all of those questions. Windows 7 is worth it. Your computing experience is about to be lifted to an entirely new level.
This release not only hits the mark, it sets a whole new bar. It is a worthy competitor to Apple OS X.