This post is about my short term two week review of Windows 7 Home Premium, and tutorial for Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade edition where you learn about the key improvements, new programs, positives and negatives of 7 and use ability of Windows 7. My article has plenty of screen shots, animations, and explanations since an Operating System is a visual experience, so it is essential to know how an OS looks before buying it like a car. It does not only take you places, it should also look nice.
My Windows 7 Home Premium Computer Setup:
- 1.86 GHz Intel Core2Dou E6300 CPU
- Asus Leonite motherboard BIOS version 5.23
- 1 GB DDR2 PC2-4200 RAM
- Intel(R) 82945G Express onboard video adapter chipset
- 320 GB SATA2 Hard drive.
Windows 7 Compatibility check, Purchase and Upgrade experience
I download and installed the Windows 7 upgrade advisor to see if I can run Windows 7 on my PC. Windows 7 upgrade advisor said, "I can upgrade my Windows Vista Home Premium OS to Windows 7 Home Premium OS"
Download Win. 7 upgrade advisor here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1B544E90-7659-4BD9-9E51-2497C146AF15&displaylang=en
Upgrading from Windows 7 is simple. All I had to do is buy and download it from http://www.win741.com/ pay $39.99 Canadian for the student edition and ran an .exe file I downloaded from win747, and agree to the 7 terms of service, and wait for the installer to upgrade Vista to 7.
Windows 7 is decently price for students, but expensive for non-students, so I recommend buying a PC preloaded with 7, or an OEM version of 7.
Performance and useability
The biggest improvement I notice from Vista is the computer start up, shutdown, hibernate, wake up and sleep speed. It takes less then a minute to start up my PC, or put it in a power saving mode. It only takes a few seconds to wake up my PC from hibernate or sleep. My security software which are MS security essentials and SUPERAntispyware loads up very quick at start up. It also takes less time to load up programs like a web browser, and MS Office 2007 compared to Vista. 7 also does not use RAM as aggressively as Vista. Before I switch to 7 Home Premium, my web browser which is Avant browser would use 400MB or more MB of RAM. Now it only uses under 200MB of RAM most of the time.
All my software, and hardware I used in Vista work in 7 after the Windows 7 upgrade.
I also been using Hibernate more since my Windows 7 upgrade. It takes only about 30 or so seconds to start back from hibernate mode compared to minutes with Vista, so I'm saving more power, too since hibernate mode uses no power. Plus, I won't lose my work because of a power outage unlike sleep or ON mode which I will lose my work if I did not save my work. Hibernate saves all my work, and returns my PC back to normal when I turn it back on.
Avant Browser modded version of Internet explorer
Foobar 2000 audio player
Microsoft Word 2007
Virtual box running Windows XP PRO SP3 inside a window
Screen hunter 5
Microsoft Security Essentials
Windows Aero theme
are running on my PC in the picture above. 7 is a great Operating Systems for multi-tasker.
Internet Speed performance: Windows 7 seems to load websites a little faster compared to Vista, and my browsers like Internet Explorer 8, Google Chrome, Firefox, etc.
Windows built-in Firewall program
There is also an ability to make a slide show wallpaper theme. The 7 theme which comes bundle with 7 looks pretty good as well. If you find that Aeroglass for 7 is distracting, you can use the non-aero themes like the classic theme from Windows 2000, or the 7 Basic theme. But, I find the Aero theme much nicer.
The wallpaper slide show will look something like this, but not as fast, and with fading transitions. This is just an animated gif. I made wih a image editing program. All Aero effects will look a lot nicer then my animations. If you want to have a bette idea what aero looks like, I recommend searching "Windows 7 Aero theme" on Youtube.
Wordpad, and Calculator for Windows 7 also seem to be improved from previous versions of Windows.
XPS viewer is a good alternative to using PDF since you can copy text from XPS document which is not always possible for PDF Files. XPS documents also seem to load faster then PDF files.
To access PSR, go to start menu, and type psr, and press enter.
Sample PSR output page.
The Memory Diagnostic tool is also very useful for figuring out if your computers RAM/memory is bad. It is found in Administrative tools in Control panel.
Can burn CD/DVD image .ISO files in Windows 7 without the need for 3rd party software like CDBurnerXP
All you have to do is right click the .ISO file and pick Burn disk image from the right click context menu.
Windows Disc Image Burner is easy to use, and have a vertify function. It would of been nice if there was a way to make it possible to burn more then 1 copy, and if it was possible to change the speed of the burn process like http://cdburnerxp.se/ and other free and paid burning software.
System Repair Boot Disk
Windows System imaging tool
Gadgets can be useful/cool for some, but feels kind of silly for me.
I don't really get why anyone needs a clock on their desktop, or a calender. The other gadgets for Windows 7 like post-it can be useful, but outlook, live mail, and other programs have full featured calenders, and agendas. Gadgets are good if you have poor vision and find the clock on the taskbar to be too small.
Crowded Right click menu.
The Start Menu can't be switched back to classic view like Vista and XP by changing a few settings in the control panel. This is not a big deal, but it can be if you hate the regular start menu.
The Action center is useful for beginners, but can get a little annoying.
7 removed Windows Movie Maker being, and replaced it with Windows Live Movie Maker which is a very limited movie maker compared to Windows Movie Maker for Vista or XP which is also not great, but better then the Live version of Movie Maker. Live Movie Maker is also difficult to use if you been using Movie Maker for a long time. Although, I like the captions tool which is good for adding subtitles to a movie. The YouTube publish function is good as well, but I wish there was an option to automatically save your google YouTube password. The YouTube function sometimes disconnect me from YouTube upload. I find uploading from YouTube.com more reliable and easier.
Luckily, Windows Movie Maker 2.6 works on Windows 7 when I download and installed it on my PC.
Windows Movie Maker 2.6: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=D6BA5972-328E-4DF7-8F9D-068FC0F80CFC&displaylang=en
Difficult to change the left and write speaker balance in Windows 7.
Problems I had after I upgraded and updated Windows 7 with Windows Update.
I notice Readyboost slowed down shutdown by a few seconds when turned on. It sometimes did not start up when I have other USB devices plugged in for some reason.
Missing right click context menu item after upgrade from Vista.
Missing NEW right click context menu item
After I updated Windows 7, I notice my New Menu and ability to make folders and shortcuts was gone till I fixed it with an easy registry fix. Learn how to do it here : http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/138955-new-context-menu-item-restore-remove.html.
The "send to" right click context menu also was missing after my Windows Vista to Windows 7 upgrade.
NOTE: These problems may or may not occur with your Windows 7 upgrade since everybody can have different programs, service packs, and other programs installed on their PC.
I also notice when I right click My Computer and pick Manage. I get an error message like this one:
instead of leading me to Computer Management. This is not a big deal since I can just browse to Control Panel , Administrative Tools, Computer Management or Start Menu, Programs, Administrative Tools, Computer Management.
Update: I did a repair install by reupgrading to Windows 7 by running the upgrade wizard and it fixed my problem I was having accessing the Windows Explorer, and Computer Management programs from their shortcuts.
VERY IMPORTANT: "Make sure you have your serial key for WINDOWS 7 install Disc before you do a REPAIR INSTALL of Windows 7. Otherwise, you can't activate Windows 7, and have to buy a new serial key if you can't find the old one. Serial keys for Windows 7 are Expensive.
I also recommend running disk cleanup, scandisk and disk defragmentation after you do a repair install of Windows 7.
If I did a clean install, these problems probably would not exists. However, I hate reinstalling all my programs, backing up all my files and restoring them, and adjusting Windows and software settings to my needs. Plus, clean installing OS can take a lot of time and cause some wear and tear on a PC since the PC has to delete all my old files, and reinstall Windows. I have to redownload and install all the programs from installer program or the CD/DVD-ROM, updates, and uninstall Windows programs I don't need that comes bundle with Windows. This causes my computer hard drive and CD/DVD-ROM drive to move a lot.
Plus, finding solutions to these problems I had after I upgraded to 7 only took a few minutes on Google. You can probably fix these problems by using the install disk to reinstall Windows.
I seem to occasionally experience a Internet connection problem with Windows Live Messenger and Internet Explorer which I never experience in previous versions of Windows like XP, Vista, 98, and 2000.
It is easy to fix. read my article here MSN Windows Live Messenger and Internet Explorer could not connect to the internet, but computer has internet! to learn how to fix it.
I also notice Readyboost disappeared on my 7 computer, but I manage to get it back after a repair install and restore of deleted keys from my Registry cleaners like CCleaner.
The best way to fix all your problems with Windows 7 from an Upgrade install is to backup all your files and do a "customize install" from the install CD instead of a "upgrade install". If you have an extra partition or hard drive on your PC, you can use the extra partition or drive to install a clean version of Windows 7. However, your PC will be a dual Operating system PC meaning you will have your old install of 7 and your new install, and it uses a lot more space then a single OS PC.
My recommendation on upgrade or clean install for Windows 7 is to back up all your files and do a clean install since you are less likely to encounter problems compared to a Upgrade.
Also 1GB of RAM is enough to run Windows 7, but I recommend using at least 2GB of RAM or more.
I feel that Windows 7 is everything which Vista should of been. Windows 7 crashes less, and is a lot more stable then Vista. It does not cause my PC thrash my hard drive as much.
But, I'm disappointed at Microsoft for not making a classic start menu or made it easier for changing the control panel back to Classic view. It is also kind of depressing that Windows 7 does not come with a decent video or sound editing or recording tool.
Windows 7 is an OS which I am proud to recommend to everyone as long as their computer is fully compatible with 7.
I even heard on the Internet that Windows 7 runs well on some mid end-higher end Netbooks.
I plan to write a long term review of Windows 7 on my other blog at http://johnsonyip.com/wordpress in 2010.
Other Resources for Windows 7
If you are clean installing Windows 7 on your computer, I recommend you use http://ninite.com/ program which can download and install all your programs at once from an installer file you download from the site.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/get/upgrade-advisor.aspx can help you see if your PC will run 7 smoothly before you buy it.
More Info on Windows 7 can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/default.aspx
A good antivirus for Windows 7 is Microsoft Security Essentials. http://www.microsoft.com/Security_Essentials/
Antispyware I recommend
Free Disk cleanup, defrag, maintenance, backup/imaging programs I recommend for 7.
CCleaner Disk cleanup http://www.ccleaner.com/
Glary Utilities http://www.glaryutilities.com/
Auslogic Disk Defrag http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag
Paragon Back up and recovery 10 Free edition http://www.paragon-software.com/home/db-express/download.html
Tips for improving performance for a slow PC running a Windows OS
Other software I recommend for a new PC is http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/download It deletes all the trial ware, and stuff that you don't need which comes bundle with most new PCs made by the major PC brands.
If your PC is still slow after upgrading to 7 try deleting un-needed programs, or disabling them from starting up from msconfig.
Run a virus and spyware scan. Make sure your PC is not over heating which can cause Windows or your PC to throttle down your CPU and video card speed to prevent overheating.
Try turning off services/programs which you hardly use like Remote Registry by typing services.msc in the startmenu searchbox.
More Information on services : http://www.blackviper.com/Windows_7/servicecfg.htm
Be sure to write down or take a screen shot of your Services.msc window before you start making changes.
If you forgot which services you changed, you can do a system restore to restore your previous settings for services.msc. Disabling services can terminate some programs from working like printing, scanning, and internet/network access.
My services screenshot of programs I have running currently. I mainly use my PC for internet access, gaming, and typing documents, and I enable the print spooler when I have to print.
Make a system restore before editing your services.msc settings.
Hardware upgrades to improve performance.
The simplest way to improve Windows 7 performance is to install it on a PC which has a fast CPU, a lot of RAM 2GB or more, a fast hard drive, and a mid-highend $200-500+ video card. Upgrading individual parts also help, but sometimes it is more worth it to just buy a new PC since your motherboard can't use PCI-Express Video Cards, DDR2 or DDR3 RAM, or newer CPUS.