So, if you’ve read my previous post on Windows 7, you should have it up and running, ready to see what’s different.
First off, hear this. Most things are the same. Whether you were using XP or Vista, you’ll generally find things in the same places, and find that they work in a similar way. Generally.
And while some things are thoroughly different under the hood, I’m concentrating on everyday functionality here. Sending emails, or writing blog posts.
The XP and Vista Task Bars were pretty similar to each other.
System tray on the right, active applications in the middle, and perhaps a toolbar or two on the left.
Windows 7 has a TaskBar too, but this one is a completely different beast.
The System Tray, on the right, works much the same as the old one, though it’s visually quite different but there is no longer a simple distinction on the left between shortcut icons for applications you might want to run, and those for applications already running. The two sets are mixed together, but are differentiated visually.
Icons with borders around them (such as the Firefox one above) are running. The others are just shortcuts for now.
One thing that caught me out for a while was that you can’t run the same thing multiple times the same way as you did in earlier versions of Windows. It’s logical enough though. Hold the shift key down when you click on the icon, and it will start another copy of the program for you.
For instance, in this case there are multiple copies of Windows Explorer running, one each of Firefox and Outlook, and the others are not running at all. It’s different, but it’s good.
The menus have had a design makeover as well, but the functionality is largely the same.
Windows Explorer have additional functionality, but work much the way you might expect.
Windows 7 uses the concept of Libraries to group together multiple sets of folders in handy ways, but you don’t need to understand that to get going.
What did I install on top?
You know, there are some things I just can’t manage without, and even though some of them might not be necessary in Windows 7, I just couldn’t help myself. Among the freeware candidates:
I have it on good authority that IE8 is a wonderful product, and I’m sure I’ll be using it at work, but I have too much time and familiarity invested in the combination of Firefox and Greasemonkey to leave them behind just yet.
I mentioned this in my previous post, but take care installing Digsby, or you’ll get more than you bargained for.
You need music for blog posts.
And iTunes works well for me.
I love this. Phrase Express saves me a LOT of time.
What’s no longer needed?
Taskbar Shuffle is great in XP and Vista, but Windows 7 simply doesn’t need it. You can drag icons around all by yourself. I’m undecided about whether I need IrfanView and Copernic Desktop Search. Ask me in a few more weeks.
Well, basically nothing.
I’m not kidding. My requirements aren’t extreme, and I don’t play games, but for my day, it all just works.
I did have an issue with the VMWare player in that it refused to resume an XP VM, but it turns out that I was stupid enough not to shut it down before I shifted to Windows 7. (It’s easily fixed. Delete the .lck files)
I’ve had a recurring issue with my NVIDIA GeForce 8500GT. Every few days, the driver crashes for a moment, and then recovers. That’s much better than the behaviour I have with my laptop running Vista, so I’m not complaining.
More to come?
Could be. I haven’t played with the Virtual XP functionality yet, haven’t hammered IE8, and haven’t done anything to really stress the graphics card other than photo processing. I’ll let you know.
In the meantime, Did you take the leap? If so, how did it go? If not, is there anything else you need to know? Fill me in via the comments.