I have spent my first 48 hours with Windows 7 Beta and can say honestly in just about every way, to me, this is a better experience then XP or Vista. I was confident that Steven Sinofsky's Team would put together a stellar release, but as they say - the proof is really in the pudding.
I can’t entirely explain it from a technical point of view, however there is something about Windows 7 that just feels faster than Vista or XP. An interesting note before I dive in is that I am running Windows 7 on a Latitude D620, designed for XP. Already, with a quick install and no tweaking, in my opinion it runs faster and cleaner then RTM Vista. It seems like our initiatives to improve the out of box experience is really working as the “Day 1” look and feel of the OS is cleaner and more inviting then I felt it was in the past. The install was quick and painless, and I am definitely seeing an improvement in boot times and time to restore from sleep/hibernation. These little tweaks make me feel less like I am waiting around for things and more like this PC is a device that is always ready to do work for me.
There is also a noticeable performance increase, which comes in two flavors - the first is simply put this release just runs really great. Far less hangs and pauses then you might have seen in certain scenarios with Vista. This is especially apparent when doing heavy multi-tasking. You can really tell the difference, for example, when running a refresh of a heavy Excel spreadsheet and trying to do anything else (something that both XP and Vista had a hard time with). , I am assuming the work being done to take advantage of multi-threading and multiple cores is really paying off here.
The second flavor is one that is more subtle, which is the simple efficiency of performing standard tasks in Windows 7 and IE8. Jump Lists are a much more elegant way to navigate multiple windows and at the same time keeps my task bar clean and organized. This saves me plenty of time while navigating the multiple windows I always seem to have open. IE8 takes this idea of saving you time through processes a huge step forward with accelerators, enabling you to Search, Map, Blog and a host of other convenient functions from any spot on any web page. This may not sound like a big deal, but think about the complex process you used to take when searching for a restaurant and getting its map and then look at this (Thanks to Matt Moore for the SS):
There are many more things in Windows 7 which are really great, and I will likely follow up in a later post on those. This is just really my first impressions on this great release after a couple days with it. Keep up the good work Windows Team! So I am sure you are wondering, how can I get in on the Windows 7 Beta love? Head on over to http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/beta-download.aspx and try it for yourself!