My Windows 7 Beta 1 Experience

As mentioned in a recent post about My Windows 7 Theme Pack, I’ve been running Beta 1 (build 7000) for awhile now, and I love it!

Windows 7 feels nimble, it doesn’t get in my way, and it lets me access and organize my work using some very natural conventions. In earlier versions, I’ve always known that I can right-click on the taskbar and select Tile Vertically to arrange my applications. But guess what? I very rarely did it. However, in Windows 7, a simple drag of the window to the right or left edge of the screen performs this task much more naturally. And once I learned that I can use Windows + Right/Left Arrow as a keyboard shortcut, well…I find myself using this all the time.

Most of the improvements—for me—are along the same lines. It’s as if Windows 7 gets out of my way while at the same time exposing the tasks that I need to perform in fresh and friendly ways. I right-clicked an ISO file the other day to see if I had my DVD burning software installed only to find that Windows 7 has a “Burn disc image” option built-in. How cool is that?

I’ve also found myself using the taskbar full-screen preview feature to “glance” at other windows without actually switching to them. How often are you in an application like Microsoft Word when you need to refer to some data on a web page or in an Excel spreadsheet? Normally, I’d have to switch to the application, look at the data, then switch back. In Windows 7, I simply hover over the thumbnail on the taskbar, see a full-screen preview of the window, and when I move the mouse away from the thumbnail, I’m back in Word. Effortless.

It’s all of these little flourishes that make the overall experience so much better. For a more comprehensive review of Windows 7, check out Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite.

I’m running Windows 7 on my desktop machine at home, my desktop at work, and my primary laptop. Across all three of these machines, I’ve had a chance to install and use lot of software. While I haven’t exhaustively tested all of the applications, I have been using them with no significant issues. I thought I’d pass along the list for those who are curious (I linked to the lesser-known applications for reference):

  • Adobe Illustrator CS3 & CS4 (32- and 64-bit)
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.2
  • Adobe Photoshop CS3 & CS4
  • Adobe Reader 8 & 9
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • Call of Duty: World at War
  • Crayon Physics Deluxe
  • CuteFTP Home 8
  • DxO Optics Pro 5.3.2
  • Expression Blend 2
  • Expression Web 2
  • Far Cry 2
  • Focus Magic 3.02
  • HP Photosmart Pro B9180
  • Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000
  • Nero 8 (I mostly use Nero Burning ROM and Nero Vision)
  • Nikon Scan 4.0.2
  • Noise Ninja 2.3.2

The only real issues I’ve had relate to the two scanners at home:

  • Nikon SUPER COOLSCAN 5000 ED – A great negative and slide scanner, but this older product doesn’t have a 64-bit driver. This is the only reason I’m not currently running 64-bit Windows 7 at home. Fortunately, the 32-bit driver works perfectly.
  • Epson Perfection V700 Photo – The scanner works fine when using a USB 2.0 connection, but it will not work when using IEEE 1394 (FireWire). The IEEE 1394 connection works fine with Windows Vista, and this is the only thing I’ve found that is compatible with Vista but not with Windows 7. I’ve notified the Windows team so they can investigate.

Overall, Windows 7 is a joy to use. If you want to give it a spin, you have until Feburary 10th to download the beta.


Comments (16)

  1. Vaibhav says:

    Mike, did you upgrade Vista to 7 or did you do a clean install. I have installed 7 x64 on a separate partition and like it a lot. I however am concerned about the upgrade I plan do over my Vista x64 when it finally launches and was hoping to know what the performance was after an upgrade.



  2. mswanson says:

    Vaibhav…I did clean installs on all three machines, so I don’t have any personal experience with upgrades. However, I have talked to a number of people who have done upgrades with great success. From what I’ve heard, it’s very smooth.

  3. RobCecil says:

    Mike, do you think you will try a 64bit test/review?

  4. mswanson says:

    Rob…I should have called it out explicitly, but I installed the 64-bit version first. It detected drivers for all of my hardware, except for the Nikon scanner. I was running the 64-bit version of Photoshop CS4, for example, and it ran great. Almost all of my 32-bit applications worked too…the only exception was a Photoshop plug-in that depended on 32-bit for its activation scheme (otherwise, the "trial" mode of the plug-in worked just fine). I only reverted to 32-bit so that I could use the Nikon scanner.

  5. You can also use Windows + UP Arrow to maximize a window.

  6. Great review and thanks for the list of software that works. I have done a clean install and an upgrade. The upgrade went smoothly except for legacy drivers but that was to be expected. The only thing that doesn’t work is Synergy.

  7. Aaron says:

    I have had issues with quite a bit of software. The most recent is Adobe CS3 and CS4. Neither will install on 7. CS3 things that 7 is not compatible with it so wont install it.

  8. mswanson says:

    Aaron…not sure why it isn’t working for you. I’m running both CS3 and CS4 on Windows 7 installations without any issue. Although I don’t recall the exact install steps, if the installation procedure did complain about Windows 7, are you sure you couldn’t choose an option to proceed anyway?

  9. Chris says:

    I have been using Windows 7 Beta 32 bit. They only problem I have had is with my Lexmark x5070 multifunction printer. It prints fine, but the scanner is not recognized for some reason. I am still trying to find a driver for it.

  10. Roberto says:

    I have had issues with Visual Studio 2008 SP1. The VS20808 SP1 wont install:

    You must first use Microsoft Visual Studio Patch removal tool before installing Visual Studio 2008 SP1.  The tool will verify Visual Studio integrity and remove previous Visual Studio 2008 updates or pre-release software.

    Run Microsoft Visual Studio Patch removal tool but The VS20808 SP1 wont install.

    How are you install VS20808 SP1?

  11. Shyam says:

    Hi i m currently using vista i want to ask what happens if i upgrade my operating system from vista to windows 7 will i be able to run all current programs installed on vista in windows 7 too i mean without reinstalling them or after upgrade i have to reinstall all the programs again

  12. Bill Rehbock says:

    The Windows 7 experience has been postive for me also with two exceptions: 1) DV Camcorders connected via IEEE-1394 are recognized and can be controlled by applications such as Premiere Pro and Avid Liquid, but data cannot be transferred/captured; 2) No 64-bit drivers for the Avid Liquid Breakout-box (not a Microsoft problem.)

  13. Glen says:

    Thanks for the wonderful reveiw.. Just wanted to mention that so far I’ve been unsuccessful in getting Photoshop CS3 and/or CS4 to work…

    I’m running Windows 7 64-bit (Build 7100) and whenever I click on the Photoshop setup file, the cursor changes to busy and reverts to normal.. No message or error or anything..

    I’ve tried all the usual fixes, like running as admin, changing the compatibility mode, turning on and off the UAC.. but it all added up to naught.. Wish I could figure it out..


  14. Daniel says:

    The Nikon Coolscan scanner problem keeps me from using a 64 bit Windows as well. Nikon has stopped any development. Bummer. You guys thinks there will be  solution? Run two OS on one pc? mOne only for the scanning?

  15. Michael H says:

    To install NikonScan under 64-bit Vista or Windows 7

    1. Install Vuescan

    2. Plug in The Nikon LS-50 / Coolscan V ED. When prompted for the location of the driver, browse to C:VueScan

    3. Install NikonScan – do not install any drivers

  16. Charles says:

    Hey! anybody here with solution to my windows 7 beta ver. 32-bit with my photosmart D5363 printer drivers? The windows 7 beta won’t allow me install the photosmart dirvers! any help? >

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