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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

First Tests on Windows 7

Filed under: Just Great Software,Software Applications — Jan Goyvaerts @ 12:57

Installing the Windows 7 public beta into a VMware Workstation 6.5 virtual machine is trivial. Create a new virtual machine, and select the Windows 7 ISO file that you downloaded as the “installer disc image file”. VMware detects this as Windows Vista. There’s no official support for Windows 7 in VMware 6.5. Simply proceed with the New Virtual Machine Wizard. The Windows 7 beta will be installed just fine. At least it was for me. I installed the 32-bit version, with 32-bit XP as the host OS.

Microsoft announced that Windows 7 will be built on the same “core” as Windows Vista. Applications that are compatible with Vista should run just fine on Windows 7.

I tested the latest versions of all Just Great Software products. Porting these to Vista two years ago required quite a bit of work. That was mainly due to the new security restrictions in Vista. Microsoft has long been blamed for being lax about security. When they finally made Vista enforce rules that were introduced with Windows 95 over a decade ago, that broke a lot of applications. Ours also had minor issues.

As far as I can tell, Windows 7 uses the same security policies as Windows Vista. Any application that runs fine on Vista with UAC turned on should also run fine on Windows 7 with UAC turned on. Our applications cerainly do. The only significant difference I noticed is the “Change when these notifications appear” link at the bottom of the UAC alert. The choices are essentially: always, applications only (not for user actions), applications only without dimming, and never. The last option effectively disables UAC. Disabling UAC is possible in Vista too, but not nearly as easy.

User Account Control alert on Windows 7

I’ve put the Just Great Software applications through their paces. The first tests indicate they all run perfectly well on Windows 7. If you plan to test Windows 7 yourself, you won’t have to miss your favorite software.

RegexBuddy 3 and EditPad Pro 6 on Windows 7

The only significant change I noticed is the redesigned taskbar. The taskbar buttons now show large application icons, without text labels. The window captions appear when you over the mouse over an icon. Small icons can be used as an option.

New is that taskbar buttons can be “pinned” to the taskbar. If you do, closing an application does not remove the taskbar button. Clicking the button then starts the application. Buttons of applications that aren’t running have a different appearance than buttons of running applications when you hover the mouse over them, so there’s no confusion. Essentially the new taskbar folds the old taskbar and the “quick launch” area into one. All of this should save on taskbar real estate quite nicely, without taking away any functionality.

5 Comments

  1. Hi,

    did you notice if MS changed the way folders are “shared” once again? (They changed it in almost every Windows release…)

    Thanks!

    Comment by Thomas Holz — Monday, 9 February 2009 @ 16:13

  2. I wonder how Windows 7 will do, when it is finally released. The only thing I don’t like about windows 7 is the fact that there are going to be ALOT of different versions again. I feel like they are just doing it to make more money. I think they just should keep it simple with at most 2 versions, just like it was in windows xp.

    Comment by Joey Logano — Friday, 20 February 2009 @ 0:35

  3. I’ve been using Windows 7 since a few days, even though in beta, it performs very well (compared to vista). What startles me more is a small list of background processes, which take up very less memory. I just have to see how hard it hits the market

    Comment by Ken Fink — Friday, 27 March 2009 @ 20:13

  4. I haven’t used Windows 7 yet, but after reading your post I’d like to comment about the redesigned taskbar, and see how any other of you guys feel about this:

    If indeed there is no option for displaying text labels in the taskbar, then I guess this is a misfeature for guys like me who are more “document-oriented” than “application-oriented”.

    What I mean is that usually I only have something like 3-4 applications opened at some time (out of about 10 displayed in the windows xp “quick launch” area), BUT many documents opened in each application (let’s say at least 5-6 documents opened in each application). In this case what I need from the taskbar is the ability to quickly move to a document, without having to hover over the application icon in the taskbar to see if that is the document I want. (This is also the reason why I don’t like the “group-similar buttons” feature in XP)

    What do you think about this?

    (Of course, ALT+TAB is sometimes also convenient…)

    Comment by Filme Noi — Saturday, 27 June 2009 @ 17:08

  5. With the Windows 7 taskbar, you’d get 4 icons, one for each application. Clicking one of the icons would give you a popup with the 6 documents open in the application. I’m sure that for the average user, that’s far handier than 24 taskbar buttons with one for each document as happens with MS Office applications.

    That said, Windows 7 does have an option to show text labels and turn off taskbar grouping, so your taskbar will work like it does in Windows 95.

    As for me, I have my taskbar docked to the right hand edge of the left hand monitor on my dual-monitor XP system, with taskbar button grouping turned off. That fits about 30 buttons vertically. I’ll likely keep that layout when I upgrade to Windows 7.

    Comment by Jan Goyvaerts — Sunday, 28 June 2009 @ 16:34

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