REDMOND, Wash.—Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 is getting not only good, but some rave reviews in various quarters, which bodes well for the many users of Windows XP who declined to upgrade to the supposedly superior Vista.
In a recent report, Wired.com said of a tested near-final version, "Microsoft delivers a slickly designed, vastly improved OS that will warp you to the world of today. This upgrade is big, and it’s hugely recommended for Microsoft users."
What does Windows 7, due October 22, offer? Well, Mac user may chuckle, as its look–among other things–is being compared with Mac OS X Leopard.
Among the features are window-management tools called Aero Peek, Aero Snap and Aero Shake, similar to Exposé in Mac OS X, Wired said. The feature displays outlines of open windows behind the active window on the screen along with a thumbnail that previews respective open windows not in use.
Other big changes in the OS include a more compact toolbar system, with easy previewing when Internet Explorer 8 is in use; all tabs can be previewed in a stacked view by just moving a mouse over the Explorer icon. However, it doesn't appear as this feature will work with other browsers such as Firefox, Chrome or Safari.
Reports indicate Windows 7 is also faster and doesn't drain memory usage as in the past. Also, files and device recognition is updated with no need to reinitialize an external device and if a new one is attached, the ability to work out compatibility by default through a database search.
When it comes to printers, scanners and such, Windows 7 networks them all through HomeGroup, a feature that reportedly makes home networking of several computers running Windows 7 much easier, along with folder and file sharing between them. However, if networked computers happen to be Windows/PC and Mac (welcome to my house), HomeGroup won’t do the trick.
Wired notes some lingering and nagging Windows issues remain, such as too many constant reminders by Windows asking users what they want to do when it comes to playing audio or video, or opening a folder or file. However, automatic settings maybe put in place. Also, software and compatibility checks are reportedly flawed as well.
In addition to tech features, the OS is said to include a wide and weird array of desktop backgrounds that range from wallpapers to character icons and such.
In a final Apple comparison, Wired said the Windows Media Center is similar to Apple’s Front Row for viewing movies and photos, or listening to music.
As a Mac enthusiast might ask, is Windows 7 equal to Apple OS X of three to five years back? Time will tell, and so will everyday, non-pro users, once they report back in a couple months.