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Rory Cellan-Jones

A week with Windows

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 21 Oct 09, 08:52 GMT

In computing terms, I live a double life. At work, I use our corporate IT system which runs on Windows XP; at home, I'm a Mac user and have grown accustomed to the Apple environment. But for the last week, I've been living in a Windows world, preparing for the launch of Microsoft's latest operating system.

I borrowed a small, very expensive Sony Vaio X running Windows 7 - the lightest laptop I've ever used - and tried to do as much of my work as possible using the unfamiliar operating system. I didn't carry out the kind of tests you might find in a grown-up review but then most of us don't do that - we just try to get on with new software and only really notice it when it goes wrong.

Rory Cellan-Jones using Windows 7

If you're used to one operating system, trying another is like moving into a strange house - it may all look very nice, but it's a pain trying to find out how to turn up the central heating or where the glasses are stored. But Windows 7 did at least boot up reasonably fast - Microsoft says it's reduced the "footprint" of the system by 50%, and that's made it more efficient.

The first thing I want to do when I switch on is connect to the internet. I'm used to searching out a wireless signal at the top of a Mac screen but I found, without too much trouble, a similar connection area to the right of the Windows taskbar and was quickly online.

The Start button in the bottom left-hand corner still provides the route to the applications, though the taskbar has become a little like Apple's dock, so you can simply drag frequently-used applications onto it.

I set about opening a browser, e-mail and word processing applications, and tried to work out where I would keep my photos and music. That process somehow feels more integrated on a Mac because of the iLife suite that comes with it. But having dragged a few tracks and pictures off my home network into the Vaio, it was reasonably easy to start playing.

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Microsoft Corporate Vice President Julie Larson-Green says Windows 7 has been prepared better than its predecessor, Vista.

But what's really different about using this operating system? The two things that stood out for me were the ability to hover over open items in the taskbar and see what was happening at a glance - and a function which allows you to snap two open windows alongside each other so that you can compare or maybe transfer information between them.

But here's a funny thing. By the end of the week, I looked at what I was doing on the tiny screen - and found that just about everything involved software not made by Microsoft. So I'd installed the Firefox browser in preference to Internet Explorer, and started writing documents using Google Docs rather than Microsoft Word, and checking my e-mail via Gmail. As for music, I'd installed iTunes, and to feed my social networking needs, I placed Tweetdeck on the taskbar.

I had ended up furnishing my new Windows 7 home with some familiar items from elsewhere - so perhaps the operating system matters less than it once did.

Of course, what is really important to Microsoft is not winning over the minority who use Mac OS X or Linux variants, but reconnecting with the many previously loyal customers who were deeply unimpressed by Vista.

This week at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, I met Tony Sale, who has spent 15 years working to rebuild Colossus, the world's first programmable computer used to crack German codes in World War II. At home, Tony has used every version of Windows since 3.1*, but he's stopped at XP. What was wrong with Vista?

"It tried to tell me how to organise my files all the time, I didn't like that." By contrast, Tony says he finds XP very stable and very usable - and he's going to have to be sure that Windows 7 does a similar, or better, job before upgrading.

Computing has come a long way since Colossus, but Microsoft's customers will be asking the same question about its new operating system as the code-breakers did about their new-fangled toy. Does it do the same job better and faster than what we use now?

* As some commenters have pointed out, what Tony Sale must have started with was Windows 3.1, not 3.2 as I had previously written.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I think you are right about what annoyed Windows XP users about Vista - It made what could be achieved easily and safely on Windows XP difficult and cumbersome and therefore slower. In short its security got in the way - so most people, I suspect, have switched it off!

    Tony Sale, for whom I have a lot of time, probably did not use Windows 3.2, but Windows 3.1 - the first usable version of Windows. (I started with Windows 1.0 - a really painful experience after CPM, MSDOS, etc..) Don't get me wrong I like Linux, which is now essentially fully capable of doing anything that you describe as your 'requirements'. (I started on hand coding in hexadecimal with front panel switches the very first microprocessors so I fully appreciate almost any operating system and coding environment. I have used and developed for Apple Macs, Windows, MSDOS, Linux and various mainframe systems.)

    What essentially a personal computer's operating system should do is let the user do what he/she wants to do in an obvious way whilst at the same time behind the scenes trying to prevent unintentional wrecking of work what has been done in the past and maintaining, in so far as is possible, security. I will always be concerned by proprietary closed source computer systems because of the risk that, when they go wrong, which all systems do, it may not be possible for them to be fixed as access to the code that is causing the problem may be impossible. (See the 12 inch optical disks used by the BBC Doomsday Project as an example.)

    Your 'review' is curious in that you still expect to have to look for buttons to push to do the things that you want to do - why not just speak to the machine and it directs your attention to what you need? Why are you happy with 'learning' a new interface when we have developed a very flexible communication system over the millennia and modern computers have more than sufficient power to handle the necessary processing? (Or even an initial interface that lets you write to the computer and it does what you want.) Why are you pleased to put up with the old fashioned and stilted interface of hunting for buttons to push? This is not the dark ages of secret panels behind curtains in dark cellars, but computer operating systems companies persist with this medieval interface!

  • Comment number 2.

    Thank you very much, but I'll stick to Ubuntu and XP dual boot for now.

    I agree with Tony Sale, I hate it when the PC tries to "organise" my files for me. Call me old fashioned, but I know how my directories are organised and where exactly my files are located.

    And what about all those fancy user interfaces? I tried using the fancy graphics in Linux and Vista, for me they are unneeded distraction that I would never use. When it comes to switching between windows Alt+Tab and Windows Key+M is all I need. The simpler and quicker, the better.

  • Comment number 3.

    I still use XP and was put off by upgrading it to Vista when it came out. I will still use XP for some considerable amount of time (maybe another year) before going on to Windows 7. Probably after when everyone else has used it to see if there are any major problems with it or not...

  • Comment number 4.

    I had to get Vista (cheapest option) when my old XP laptop died slightly. Apart from seamlessly connecting with all the other bits of equipment and Windows machines in my realm, it's been no improvement on XP for me, at all.

    Wikipedia (ahem) suggests that Windows 3.2 was a Chinese edition of Windows 3.1 which might explain why I didn't remember it - though I've been using Windows since version 2.0 Runtime. Gosh, I'm old.

  • Comment number 5.

    Sigh.

    Yet another version of windows shamelessly cribbing off the advancements in MacOS.

    I too use windows at work (not through choice) and go back to my Mac at home.

    Right from 95, a shameless clone of MacOS 7... Here;s just a few of the features copied over the years.

    wastepaper basket = recycling bin
    apple menu = start menu
    dock = quick launch bar
    expose = compare windows

    Perhaps is MS did some innovative thinking for themself they might have a better chance of winning back their market losses, and the awful sham that was vista.

  • Comment number 6.

    Umm Rory some of us have been using it for a while now. The Release Candidate was released ages ago. ;)

    Having said that I still use XP as a primary OS on my dual boot laptop, Windows 7 still has some of the compatibility issues with older games, Oblivion for example just plain refuses to work on my Win 7 RC 1 64 bit install but runs perfectly well in XP Home SP3 32bit.

    For gamers who don't just play the latest games M$ have a long way to go before they eclipse XP.

  • Comment number 7.

    Mac Fanboyz - (yawn) - Wikipedia confirms the widespread belief that Apple got the GUI idea from what was Xerox PARC (and incidentally the mouse from SRI).

    Hopefully we can move on from the dogmatic OS wars...!

  • Comment number 8.

    Same old Windows. Same old problems;

    Still requires anti-virus.
    Still has a Registry.
    Still need to click 'Start' to shut it down.
    Still slows down over time.
    Still has a myopic file structure that makes no sense, even to techies like me.

    But hey, it comes pre-installed on a £399 PC, so it's worth it. Right?

    In a world without walls, you don't need Windows.

  • Comment number 9.

    Microsoft has steadily intruded in the way I like to work with a PC. I found myself turning off their latest features in each new version of software, be it an operating system or application. Windows XP is usable, but is still slow to start, and steadily degrades over time until the dreaded reinstall is needed to sort it out, with the resulting loss of something precious.

    Rory's point about moving away from MS applications is true, but the way he (and many others) suggests that the operating system should provide things like a browser or a media player is part of the triumph of Microsoft's (and Apple's) marketing team. An operating system should provide the framework to operate the computer, mostly as the interface between applications and the hardware. Not surprisingly MS wants all of the applications to be theirs too.

    Now that the user interface of Linux has evolved, it provides a much better environment to work in. You can fill it with the applications you like, it is compact and fast, with much less of the power of your machine consumed by stuff you don't want and can't turn off, all of your disk access is not slowed down by virus checkers that are there simply to plug holes left by poor design. It also runs well on small, cheap machines yet can use the power of a high-spec machine. Crucially, you can cleanly and fully uninstall applications that you tried but don't want. It is, of course, available free-of-charge as are almost all of the applications - I think this puts some people off, they can't believe that free things can be as good or better than ones they paid for, but they are.

    Macs too perform well, but at a serious cost which some of us cannot or will not pay.

    I hope Windows 7 is better than the dreadful Vista, and indeed better than XP which is far from perfect, but it will take a lot to persuade me to move away from dual boot with Linux, and Linux is my default.

    Chris Twitter:@chillly

  • Comment number 10.

    TwelveEightyOne, please ellaborate on the problem with a Registry. How is a kernel optimised setting store less efficient than random Settings files? OSX uses Propery List files which must be read from a disk, parsed and then the settings extracted. The registry is a much better cached solution. Plus, it is consistent across the entire System, a Property List file on OSX can be placed anywhere.

    Also, are you forgetting that Snow Leopard now comes with built in anti-virus?

    Myopic file structure:
    c:\Users = User Data
    c:\Program Files = Program Data
    c:\Windows = OS files
    I know, its confusing ..... ?

    If they removed "Shut Down" from the Start menu wouldn't you complain that they're confusing users? Users who since 1995 are familiar with the concept of using the Start Menu to Shut Down. Personally I like how everything in Windows is on 1 bar (on whatever side of the screen i choose) as opposed to OSX with its 2 bars, 1 of which must stay at the top...

    "Slows down over time". I quite like having an Operating System that is targetted by so many developers. Of course, the down side is that alot of developers like embedding their applications into startup routines, however, Windows 7 does solve this by delaying service boot ups and loading drivers in parallel. When OSX gets more than 4% market share maybe it might see a thriving developer community too ?

    Also, i'm struggling to see what "features" Microsoft copied from Apple. The "Dock" first appeared in Windows 1, the desktop gadgets came from a 2000 Microsoft Research Prototype called "SideShow". Desktop Search was first popularised with Google Desktop and then Microsoft introduced Windows Search. Although, Microsoft did release the Windows Indexing Service in 1996.


    Personally, I can't stand OSX with its same old problems:

    Deletes entire user profiles (see last week news)
    Has finally entered 64-bit land ... still waiting on drivers
    Doesn't have any DLNA support
    Is lacking in ASLR which prevents kernel injections
    Encourages their users to feel smug about lack of viruses yet secretly ships anti-virus software
    Shuns all PPC hardware with Snow Leopard (Spent $2000 on a Mac in 2006 with a G5 processor? Tough luck with Snow Leopard)

    Microsoft backwards compatibility features (I can still run Windows 95 software ... can OSX run anything from OS9?), their Enterprise support, open developer community (I challenge you to find an apple developer blog that can rival the thousands of official MSDN/Technet/User blogs) will ensure that Windows 7 will set the benchmark for a long time to come.

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Rory,

    I was wondering whether you plan to do a Week With Ubuntu next week? After all, that's coming out on the 29th.

    I found about this review after reading a transcription of your conversation on BBC News this morning: http://popey.com/blog/2009/10/21/bbc-breakfast-talk-up-windows-7-dismiss-rivals/

    I wonder whether you'd be willing to address any of the "points" made on that page?

    Regards,

    Jon "The Nice Guy" - Twitter: @jontheniceguy identi.ca: @jontheniceguy

  • Comment number 12.

    The thing that gets me that on the modern OS MSWord opens no quicker than it did in DOS or Win3.1. It's also no more efficient than Wordstar was to use! Productivity seems to be hindered rather than enhanced!

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    "8. At 11:25am on 21 Oct 2009, twelveightyone wrote:

    Same old Windows. Same old problems;

    Still requires anti-virus.
    Still has a Registry.
    Still need to click 'Start' to shut it down.
    Still slows down over time.
    Still has a myopic file structure that makes no sense, even to techies like me.

    But hey, it comes pre-installed on a £399 PC, so it's worth it. Right?

    In a world without walls, you don't need Windows."

    Just want to pick you up on a couple of your points there.

    You don't just click start you click start and then press the shutdown button.

    Alternatively there are some freeware/shareware apps that will put a button on your desktop that you can press once and shut the PC down. I personally use Stardocks DesktopX and a widget (which is where M$ stole their little sidebar and gadget idea from), although iirc I had to pay for that but as I said there are freeware/shareware apps out there.

    Or you can press ALT+D, then ALT+F4 then U and then Enter. :P

    And most people don't delve into the inner workings to have a look at the file structure. Windows is not aimed at techies like you, that's what Linux is for. Windows is a mass market OS aimed at the "noobs" who have been welcomed into the fold of computing circles by purchasing their PC with an OS installed already, usually from places like PC World (I bet the moderators remove that company name).

    Techies like yourself need to get over their "nerdyness" and realise that for most people Windows works fine, it's only us techies (I actually consider myself to fall in-between your average computer "noob" and a techy) that push the boundaries and find out just how broken Windows can be at times.

    Oh btw Rory, I see you have what appears to be a black BlackBerry Curve 83xx (I'll hazard a guess at 8320) sitting by your laptop, shouldn't that be an iPhone. Lol.

  • Comment number 15.

    Vista was a bit slow and cumbersome, but 7 is great. I also like to organise my PC my way, all my devices in fact, which is why i hate apple so much, especially its portable and mobile devices. 7 seems better than Vista for that and its much quicker on both my Quad core desktop and netbook.
    I did like XP, but recently had to put XP back on my netbook (dual booting 7), to get a bizarre peice of hardware to work, and i was shocked how awful it was. I just dont like it any more.

  • Comment number 16.

    Rory, saw your report on Windows 7 Breakfast News this morning. What a dreadful feature. Touch screen wouldn't work, and you were totally dismissive of the alternatives, particularly Ubuntu, which you described as "being out next week." Ubuntu has been around for 5 years; what is out next week is the latest, regular, 6 monthly upgrade. Also the emphasis on the touch screen features of Windows 7 was just ridiculous. How many people are really going to be using that in the next couple of years?

  • Comment number 17.

    @tenorwoody85,

    If you need the problems with the Registry explaining to you, then it's really not worth the effort. I have many years experience with Windows and if you don't understand the shortcomings of the Registry, please do not embarrass yourself by asking why it is so bad.

    And FYI, I made no comparisons with OS X, you brought that into the discussion.

    Plist files are nothing like the Registry, they are simply user specific preferences.

    "Personally I like how everything in Windows is on 1 bar (on whatever side of the screen i choose) as opposed to OSX with its 2 bars, 1 of which must stay at the top..."

    Fine. You are happy with it, I'm really pleased for you.

    Anyway, this is all arbitrary - let's look at the bare facts;
    Apple - record profits, record number of Macs sold, totally bucking the trend.
    Microsoft - well let's just say if Windows 7 fails to impress the great unwashed, it will be the beginning of their end. After all, every other market they enter, they are making a loss. Their monopoly with Windows/Office is the only thing keeping them profitable.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm sure the holy wars will continue to rage in the comments, but I think it would be interesting if Rory could repeat the week with Windows experience (experiment?) with a Linux system; given that the pattern of use seems to be pretty generic (mostly clients to web services, some music playing), it's not at all obvious that either of the proprietary systems is bringing much of an advantage.

  • Comment number 19.

    "You don't just click start you click start and then press the shutdown button."

    Funniest. Comment. Ever. Thanks for 'clarifying' that!

    "Techies like yourself need to get over their "nerdyness" and realise that for most people Windows works fine"

    That's exactly the problem. Windows doesn't just work "fine". It slows down. Gets infected. Needs to be reinstalled. Needs yearly subscriptions to anti-virus (yeh yeh I know AVG is free, but most people get upsold Norton or similar when they buy their 'bargain' PC).

  • Comment number 20.

    Hey Rory,
    Where do I start?
    '...a similar connection area to the right of the Windows taskbar and was quickly online.'
    Its been there since XP

    'though the taskbar has become a little like Apple's dock'
    Quick Launch, since Win2000

    That process somehow feels more integrated on a Mac because of the iLife suite
    My Documents?

    'The two things that stood out for me were the ability to hover over open items in the taskbar and see what was happening at a glance'
    Vista

    'just about everything involved software not made by Microsoft'
    Are you stating this as a negative? Personally, I'd have thought the ability to install and run the apps you like was a good thing. It is just an operating system after all.


  • Comment number 21.

    Windows NT4 is still my favourite OS from Microsoft. I use MacOSX as OS of choice with Sun's VirtualBox running XP, Ubuntu and, when I feel like getting Commander Keen out, DOS.

    The OS should be transparent to the user. It is the software on top that is what is important. The OS should get in the way as little as possible, unless it is providing a service. Having tried the Windows 7 beta it feels very Mac-like but is that right in a simple office environment? Even XP felt slow and bloated. Surely Microsoft's core market was a simple, stripped down, fast OS for the average business environment.

    If you like how MS Office,etc. works then use that. If you prefer the superb integration of MacOS, iWork, iLife then use that. If you like the freedom of Linux, you can choose it. This is an operating system, not religion. If it isn't working for you, investigate the others.

    Simon
    www.thefreemac.com

  • Comment number 22.

    ""Slows down over time". I quite like having an Operating System that is targetted by so many developers"

    Unfortunately most of those developers are busy writing key loggers, trojans and viruses. Targetted (sic) is quite an apt word.

    Nice try though ;-)

    "When OSX gets more than 4% market share maybe it might see a thriving developer community too ?"

    Sorry, I must be imagining the 246 Apps in my Applications folder.

    Next!

  • Comment number 23.

    Work took away my rickety old XP laptop at the beginning of September and furnished me with an all singing, all dancing Vista one....only it doesn't sing...or dance...in fact it can hardly get on the stage at all!

    My adobe won't .pdf word documents any more without publishing them to the web first, my web-page is 5cm tall, when I search it hides the path to the document plus numerous other problems & irritations that the combined brain-power of a government department can't remedy.

    I'd give anything to downgrade to my old laptop again...even if the screen did fade away 5 times each day - at least a sharp poke made it work properly again.

  • Comment number 24.

    I currently have been using Ubuntu for the past 3 years i downloaded a trial version of Windows 7 it seems to be more optimized than vista less bugs, faster, and detected all my hardware meaning i didnt need drivers however i inly have a basic graphics card and that had a baring as long as you running a dual core machine with 2gb of memory,anda minimum of 128mb graphics i feel you can get by. I was less than impressed with vista but i like Windows 7 as far as Microsoft products go, but at heart and for security i still use Linux it is my OS of choice.

  • Comment number 25.

    I feel Microsoft lost a lot of customers due to the fact they made Vista look like a mac and they changed there look and shell of their de facto standard OS pushing their consumers to change, a change i may add that cost them dearly the elderly who have plucked up the courage to use a PC for the first time and are currently using XP are now finding themselves having to get used to a new OS (Operating System) or getting rid of there PC all together, as i said before i like Windows 7, but thats just me, i am not elderly and its not just youngsters and techies that live in this world Microsoft might want to go back to the XP drawing board if they want to keep the custom they have lost.

  • Comment number 26.

    Rory says "taskbar has become a little like Apple's dock, so you can simply drag frequently-used applications onto it". I can't be absolutely certain when that came in but it's been a feature since at least XP.

    In general I'm not sure how helpful this article is, constantly comparing W7 to an Apple. I don't think that most folk who want to know about W7 are Mac users. They are probably (like me) slightly fed-up Vista users. perhaps someone who's familiar with XP and Visat would have been more use

  • Comment number 27.

    @ravenmorpheus2k: I resent your comment of "Windows is a mass market OS aimed at the "noobs" who have been welcomed into the fold of computing circles by purchasing their PC with an OS installed already, usually from places like PC World". No, it's not. Have you ever written inline assembler code in a C++ software project in Microsoft's Visual C++, which is intended to run on Windows? Ever written a Windows device driver? Ever had to perform binary serialization to pass data between 2 or more Windows (Windows) PCs? When you've done any one of those, you can come back and tell me you still think Windows is for "noobs" who shop at PC world.

    @tenorwoody85: sing it, brother. I'd like to add 2 things:

    1. that as recently as 2006, OSX didn't have a GUI enabling you to do something as mundane as change the keyboard layout without using the installer. no, I had to search the internet for an incomprehensible #bash script which then did it for me. it just works eh?

    2. the underlying OS of OSX isn't developed by Apple. It's a fork of the FreeBSD UNIX variant, and an old one at that. Apple uses version 4.4 whereas FreeBSD is on version 7.2. Sure Apple has bolted on it's own stuff, like it's own desktop and the apps, but is the high price tag for a dated OS that they didn't really write really justified? I mean, you can get free desktops like KDE or Gnome for FreeBSD, to name just a couple.

    @TwelveEightyOne: it's OK, your mum still loves you

    And finally a global message to all those who can't even keep their windows PC in check (you know who you are, boo-hoo-XP-keeps-getting-slower crowd):

    1, Get SysInternals Suite + Power Defragmenter, run that for starters
    2, Remove apps you don't use
    3, Don't use McAfee as it's a memory hog, use AVG + Ad-Aware + Spybot instead (and they're free)
    4, Set up your page file properly
    5, Regularly delete the contents of nethood and printhood folders
    6, Empty the "startup" folder in your start menu of items you don't use
    7, Clean up your desktop. Your desktop is part of your profile. If your desktop weighs several gigabytes, your profile will too. Ergo loading all that lot will take longer.
    8, Emtpy the recycle bin once in a while
    9, In the services console, disable all the services you don't need

    What you lot are saying is akin to a driver who doesn't have a clue about it's inner workings moaning about his car running badly when:

    a) he can't fix it, and

    b) won't take it to someone who can.

    The worst thing about all computers by far is that many people assume they will somehow be flawless - how's that? they were designed and built by humans after all..

  • Comment number 28.

    " please ellaborate on the problem with a Registry"

    1. Single point of failure. I've seen numerous machnies unable to boot because of registry corruption, registry files corrupted or just plain gone missing.

    2. Complexity. I own two books each 50mm thick on the registry. Surely things can be named better than {065c132f036510fe66d5a41616} if humans are to work with them ?

    3. Software installation / removal involves masses of changes to the single point of failure and almost always leaves significant amounts of data behind after uninstalling. The days when each app had its settings in its own directory were far preferable, as Barry Scott would say - delete the directory and the application is gone ! But no more, uninstall the software and there'll be 157 registry keys remaining, bloating the registry and slowing it down.

    4. Unwanted retention of settings data. Something doesn't work, perhaps a wireless card or an application, you uninstall it to clear out the problem only to find the registry retained all the settings in their corrupt form.

  • Comment number 29.

    "17. At 12:58pm on 21 Oct 2009, twelveightyone wrote:

    Microsoft - well let's just say if Windows 7 fails to impress the great unwashed, it will be the beginning of their end. After all, every other market they enter, they are making a loss. Their monopoly with Windows/Office is the only thing keeping them profitable."

    Ding ding ding. We have a winner for the lack of research of the day award - M$ are making a profit in their Xbox 360 division, they have been for the past 6-12 months as I understand it (and I will provide links to articles that prove that if you wish).

    And by great unwashed you mean those less technologically savvy than you my good man, don't you.

    Talk about snobbery.

  • Comment number 30.

    "19. At 1:04pm on 21 Oct 2009, twelveightyone wrote:

    "You don't just click start you click start and then press the shutdown button."

    Funniest. Comment. Ever. Thanks for 'clarifying' that!

    "Techies like yourself need to get over their "nerdyness" and realise that for most people Windows works fine"

    That's exactly the problem. Windows doesn't just work "fine". It slows down. Gets infected. Needs to be reinstalled. Needs yearly subscriptions to anti-virus (yeh yeh I know AVG is free, but most people get upsold Norton or similar when they buy their 'bargain' PC)."

    I have been using the same laptop with XP Home SP3 32bit for the last year and I have not had to do a clean install due to slowdown.

    All of that can be managed with a good defrag util (I use jkdefrag myself, once a month if I can be bothered) and registry cleaning (CCleaner is what I use every once in a while).

    I also don't use anti virus protection either (mainly because my internet is on T-Mobile and they have their own firewall back at where ever their servers are), and I don't get viruses. I used to use Kaspersky Internet Security (back in '07) and I've used AVG before and Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and I never picked anything up with any of those, even in safe mode.

    Granted the average joes doesn't know how to do all of that but to them the slowdown is a way of life and they are happy to put up with it because they know no better.

    People are happy with the way their PCs work with Windows on it, if they were not they would not be still buying Windows based PCs.

    And as for viri, well I say user beware because most viri are contracted due to user error in visiting the wrong type of sites or opening infected emails etc.

    And lets not forget that the reason you don't get viri on a Mac OS or Linux is because people just don't write many viri for them because compared to Windows, Mac OS and Linux are not as widely used.

    Apple can say they've bucked the trend but at the end of the day they have not and will not overtake the vast masses of Windows machines out there.

  • Comment number 31.

    Putting my 'user' hat on, rather thinking like a software developer, I rather like Windows 7. XP is now ancient, and it's age shows, as it was built for a time when the average home PC was not connected to the internet 24/7. The same would apply to any operating system of that age. Vista improves on XP, but was sluggish and unloved by many.
    Windows 7 works well. Performance is as good as XP, and better than Vista by far. Security is a vast improvement over XP. The new improvements to the task bar are handy, but don't force you to learn an entirely new way to work. For the most part, if you know how to use XP or Vista, you can just get on and do stuff. The rest of the operating system has been burnished to a high standard, and generally works pretty well out of the box. I can't really think of anything I strongly dislike about Windows 7.
    I can see the point cynics might make that Windows 7 is what Vista should have been first time around, but in defence of Microsoft, it's hard to get something to work perfectly for such a wide variety of users and computers, as Windows is still expected to be all things to all people.

  • Comment number 32.

    I too use both Windows and Mac. As you said in your review, I'm finding that the operating system is of less importance nowadays. That was one of the reasons I switched to Mac last year - I can still do all the same things I do on Windows (internet browsing, listening to music, organising my photos etc) without relying on Microsoft-only software, and with a more reliable and easy to use machine.

    That said, I have been using Windows 7 on my other machine for the last 6 months and it is a good operating system. I don't find an awful lot has changed from Vista (it's more of a series of tweaks), but the small changes they have made are very effective. It may have a new version name, but it's more of a tidying up and polishing of Vista, in the same way as the recent Snow Leopard version of Mac OSX was.

    The new taskbar is a big improvement and the "peek" features are very useful. I still don't think they are as good as Mac's "Exposé" for allowing you to quickly find what you're looking for, but it's an impressive feature nonetheless.

    Some of the small things like dragging a window to the side/top of the screen to maximise it or have it fill half the screen, or wiggling it to minimise the other windows are innovative and useful.

    I think some of the early reviews are quite misleading regarding the improved startup times - I believe a lot of this may be down to the fact that Windows 7 requires a clean install, and a freshly installed machine is always faster. After 6 months of usage my machine is filled up with programs and more-or-less back to the way it was on Vista before that, regarding startup times.

    For the record, I don't believe there was anything particularly wrong with Vista, more to do with the minimum hardware requirements being set too low. I've been asked for help by several people with Vista machines, and in every case it has been down to manufacturers installing it on PCs that are just not powerful enough to run it. For me, running Vista on anything with less than 2Gb of RAM is an incredibly frustrating experience.

    How well Windows 7 runs on a low-spec machine I can't say, but unless it's a big improvement, Microsoft would do well to insist on higher specs to ensure that the new OS doesn't suffer from the same perception as Vista.

    MS have done a good job here, and the pricing, especially with the family packs of licenses seems a lot more reasonable than the extortionate prices that they have charged in the past. Proof that, with the rejuvenation of Apple and the increasingly consumer-friendly versions of Linux, that competition is good for everyone.

    For me, I still prefer OSX Snow Leopard over Windows 7, but it's a close run thing.

    I am hoping that with opting for the simple "7" name, Microsoft is embarking on a similar path to Apple regarding releases, with each version bringing tweaks, polishes and a few more features, without being a complete rehash like Vista was. I'd very much like to see the next versions be "Windows 7.1" and "Windows 7.2" with an affordable price and a shorter time between releases.

  • Comment number 33.

    If 'Vista' were an anto, it would have been recalled shortly after it was first launched due to malfunctioning. MicroSoft continues to release software that is practically quaranteed to cause problems. This is really abuse of its virtual monopoly position. It's hard for me to accept that issuing faulty operating systems software is not an intregal part of M/S's business model. Doesn't some sort of anti-trust law cover this kine of thing? Anyone out there really think that Windows 7 will be significantly different than XP? Yet, in the meantime we have had to pay again and suffer with Vista; now we must anti-up once more, and for really how much improvement over XP.
    Again, if Vista were an auto, it would have been recalled, repaired, upgraded, and returned to its owner in good working order at NO CHARGE!
    Anyone know of any firm starting a Class-Action suit?

  • Comment number 34.

    So, let me get this straight...
    Rory Cellan-Jones is the BBC's 'Technology Correspondent'.
    Rory has to use an 8 year old version of Windows at work.
    Rory has only just got round to trying Windows 7, which has been publicly available in Beta for 9 months. No access to a spare PC...?
    Rory uses an up to date version of MacOS at home, so he installs the same third party software he uses (and probably *has* to use due to lack of alternatives) at home on his Mac, on the 'unfamiliar' Windows 7.
    So a question - Why is Rory paid a salary from public tax as a Technology Correspondent, when he evidently does not keep up with current technology, is apparently denied access to it at work (time to talk to your boss about next years 'research' budget, rather than the pay rise), then can write a column for a publicly funded organisation with a world-wide audience...?

  • Comment number 35.

    @twelveightyone
    You say XP slows down over time? Not in my experience it doesn't. I have had the same build on my PC for five years with no significant loss in performance. I run a disk clean up and a defrag once a month.

    Like most things in life, a little bit of maintenance is all it takes to keep things running smoothly.

    I have now switched to W7 and am super pleased with it (hated Vista for many of the reasons posted above). It boots up in 15 seconds, it has so far run everything I've thrown at it, detected and recognised everything I've plugged into it and more.

  • Comment number 36.

    Windows 7 - meh.

  • Comment number 37.

    My Windows XP is great. I don't even use an anti-virus, or have one installed. Best thing about windows is that I can play any game I want whilst doing everything else that the other OS's can do.

  • Comment number 38.

    I have yet to see a balanced view by the BBC which compares (say) Windows 7, Apple OS/X 10.6 ("Snow Leopard") and Canonical Ubuntu Linux 9.10 in use doing normal types of things that people use PCs for. I use Ubuntu 9.04 (64 bit) as my primary O/S and like many Windows users use:

    * Firefox - for web browsing
    * Thunderbird - for email (+ gmail online)
    * OpenOffice - for documents (and swap documents with Office users all the time)

    I have about 400 applications installed in total (all completely legal and free) some multimedia, some graphics, some software development, databases etc. If I was to replicate this environment using Microsoft software and/or other payware it would cost in excess of £20,000

    I can watch DVDs on my laptop (completely legally using VLC), author and burn DVDs, listen to music, edit photographs, use Twitter/Facebook and not use a single piece of Microsoft software.

    I have some excellent native Linux games installed (have a look at http://www.happypenguin.org if you don't believe me) but have also paid for Transgaming Cedega so that I can run SOME Windows games. WINE is not perfect but you can run many games.

    I do not run a virus scanner as Linux distributions are vastly better than Windows in terms of general stability, security (as any security holes are generally patched within 24-48 hours of the problems being found) but I do run a firewall (Firestarter is a nice GUI) and have rootkit scanners. No operating system is 100% secure and Linux is no exception but if you are sensible on a Linux box you will NOT be infected.

    Bottom line is that most users DO NOT NEED WINDOWS. You can get everything you want to do with a modern Linux distribution such as Ubuntu or Fedora - I have not used Windows on my own PC for over four years now and have not missed it. Now if you WANT to run Windows (or OS/X if you like Macs), that is a different matter and is your own choice. At the moment, I cannot go into most computer shops and buy a PC with Linux on (there are a very SMALL number of exceptions) - I am FORCED to buy a PC with Linux and then try and claim the cost back. What the government should do is to make sure that shops are forced to give people a choice. It might be that many will continue to PAY for Windows + Office (and you do pay for it) but in the situation where users are given a choice (especially one that is more stable and virus free) they may choose not to have Windows.

  • Comment number 39.

    So, you had a week with Windows. Why don't you try a week with Linux, say Ubuntu or Fedora, and report back to us? Go on, you're the tech correspondent, try Linux and correspond.

  • Comment number 40.

    On my previous post - should have said - "I am FORCED to buy a PC with Windows and then try and claim the cost back"

  • Comment number 41.

    Cant understand why people have problems with windows, if in fact it was so bad then why is it so popular, please no conspiracy theories.

    Getting infected isn't what makes Windows so bad, because its so popular its targeted. If Macs and Linux ever reach the popularity of windows they will also suffer from the same problem.

    Whether Windows 7 succeeds windows XP who knows, but Mac and Linux have a long way to go yet to catch up.

  • Comment number 42.

    I've been using W7 for nigh on the last year, as a tester and from August as a user of the final Win7. I'm amazed there has been little or no mention of two aspects of XP and Vista that have gone missing in Win7. There is no longer an email program, like Outlook Express or Windows Mail. If one upgrades from Vista, as I'm sure some will, all previously downloaded emails will no longer be accessible.
    Additionally the Quick Launch bar low down is no longer shown. I use it all the time to start programs.

  • Comment number 43.

    What annoys me is that Win7 is still slower than XP.

    I will have had to pay for 2 upgrades to eb worse off than I was on XP (I have Vista now and there is no easy way to downgrade).

    Win7 may be better than Vista but unless it is clearly better than XP people will be disgruntled - especially at the price point they are demanding.

    The biggest problem throughout the life of Windows has been networking. It has always been at best a black art and normally just plain flaky. Having to reboot computers al the time to "see" them, having trouble transferring files due to user account restrictions and permissions (even if you set everything to wide-open)... it's long past time to sort that out. But from the reviews I have read, all we see are cosmetic changes to the look and feel.

    I am seriously considering going to a Mac for my next set of PCs - they seem to be winning the UI war on usability etc.

  • Comment number 44.

    Yes, its dramatically difficult to turn off a PC running Windows. I sometimes find it very hard to tap the off button on the top of my PC to initiate shut down. After all its at least 12 inches from where I'm sitting... As others have pointed out, there are desktop gadgets that can acomplish the same if you have a burning desire to click on something.
    Windows 7 just works. Its been around in its time limited beta and RC forms for months now. I've been using it for 6 months myself with no issues whatsoever. The only issue I came across was an overzealous security system on my work network (which uses XP) which can only interact with XP and Vista PCs. I resolved this by logging on to it in XP mode. End of story.
    Support for almost every file type and function is simply integrated into the OS. The system runs faster and doesn't slow down over time. System maintenance happens automatically as a background task and the system adjusts its settings depending on your behaviour in practice. The OS can be used on almost any kind of PC, laptop or netbook. Every feature has been tested to destruction by millions of beta testers worldwide. There's a lot to like here.
    I was so impressed with it I pre-ordered 3 licenses (PC, my laptop, other half's laptop) when they were first released in July. I've ordered another 2 since then (netbook and fathers PC).
    At the end of the day I can't help thinking this OS will be one of the biggest changes (and sellers) in IT history. Not because it is radically different, but because the changes are evolutionary but completely functional/logical.
    I can't help agreeing on the stickers point made by another poster though - who thinks it is a good idea to cover PCs and Laptops in these things? They end up looking like a kid's lunchbox!

  • Comment number 45.

    "27. At 1:38pm on 21 Oct 2009, LuftHamza wrote:

    @ravenmorpheus2k: I resent your comment of "Windows is a mass market OS aimed at the "noobs" who have been welcomed into the fold of computing circles by purchasing their PC with an OS installed already, usually from places like PC World". No, it's not. Have you ever written inline assembler code in a C++ software project in Microsoft's Visual C++, which is intended to run on Windows? Ever written a Windows device driver? Ever had to perform binary serialization to pass data between 2 or more Windows (Windows) PCs? When you've done any one of those, you can come back and tell me you still think Windows is for "noobs" who shop at PC world."

    Oh well I'm sorry if you resent my analysis of who's buying windows PCs. You don't see the technologically illiterate, or "noobs" as I refer to them as, possibly a bit snobbish myself there, putting Linux on their PCs, no they go out buy a PC off a shelf and stick with whatever comes with it. Some people may choose a Mac but even the OS on that is just as simple and user friendly, possibly more so, as a Windows OS.

    Of course more techy people use Windows, but on the whole Windows is used by people who are by and large not computer literate in the sense that you or I may be.

  • Comment number 46.

    The fundamental problem is that the operating system should be an irrelevance. Mac is popular because it is cut down and limited - unfortunately there are silly things that just don't work properly and yet it goes on to producing new glossy features - I'd just like to be able to paste a file into a folder through a reliable interface.

    Unfortunately, Windows 7 is yet more "what's the point?" glossy nonsense that doesn't really let you work smarter and harder, but instead distracts you as you spend more effort maintaining your PC than doing useful things on it. PCs with terrabytes of disk should be a clue that something somewhere has gone horribly wrong.

    Come back PC-DOS, Lotus 1-2-3 and DisplayWrite: all is forgiven.

  • Comment number 47.

    I've been running Windows 7 GA since last week as I got an early copy of Ultimate at a launch event in Cork. I had backed up all my files (from my dying vista install) onto an external hard drive, and a fresh Windows 7 install got me up and running in no time - impressively quickly.

    Admittedly it couldn't detect my laptop's graphics card like I've seen Vista do with similar Dells, but a quick search and download on nVidia's site fixed that - Aero was up and running. What impressed me initially was that Win7 detected every other piece of hardware so well, giving impressively functional generic drivers to get things running. So far I haven;t been racing to update any other drivers!

    I liked that it checked for network connectivity at install time so I could just activate it automatically. I liked that it ran so VERY much faster than my bloated Vista. I love that it was so much easier to set up other user accounts. While the GUI mouse shortcuts work, they felt a little gimmicky (but they do for me in the Apple OS too), but the HomeGroup function is truly excellent, easy creation of libraries to merge all my video to a library (ditto my music), and then easy to share to my xbox or other PCS wirelessly.

    So far only downers have been the need to switch to a beta-build of my antivirus (can't be helped until the vendor releases a full win7 supporting version), lack of driver support from Dell (again I expect this to be remedied now Win7 has gone publicly GA), and a single unexplained bluescreen during a period of inactivity.

    The only other complaint was that, even before today's release, there were a *lot* of updates installed for Win7 from the web, and this is ongoing - maybe it just coincided with Patch Tuesday, but it feels like MS are bloating my win7 already for security's sake.

    But I have to say I'm as happy with this OS as I've been since XP, except this has some great new features. Ask me again in a year, but right now, major thumbs up!

    Note - I've avoided OS comparison across vendors as this sparks flame wars online. But i have to add... I saw some Ubuntu posts above, and I have to say that, if I wasn't using MS, Ubuntu would be my OS of choice. A linux-loving colleague of mine once spurned Ubuntu as being a lame OS, as it was too user friendly to be respectable, and not "l33t" enough for sysadmins who use nothing but a console. I was shocked to hear someone give out about an OS being something that people could use easily - I suspect hardliners like him get all linux flavours a bad name!

    Every OS built that people will use keeps sysadmins in business...

  • Comment number 48.

    Why do people at the BBC keep talking about it being the "start of the OS wars"?
    Apple sells hardware and a proprietry OS that will only work with its hardware, so they are not really in the same market.
    90% of the world's PCs and software run MS Windows in one form or another. Apple is targetting the premium market. There is no war.
    Linux in all its wonderous forms has been around for years and is great if you're a techie - although not something for the faint hearted.
    Windows 7 is for the rest of us who want to buy our hardware from a more flexible and competative market, rather than a niche monopoly, and an operating system that will run on practicaly 100% of the PCs (unlike other more restrictive OSs) I have been running W7 beta for a year now and it is awesome. It's fast, reliable, I can still seamlessly run stuff from my Win98 days using the fabulous compatablity modes and should a piece of 3rd party software be a bit buggy then it handles it without fuss.
    When OSX can run on all PCs then we'll have an OS war.
    My Dad had a Mac running OS9 so my bro & I bought him a lovely new iMac. He still runs his old Mac next to it as the family tree software he has spent hours setting up with our family history will not work on his new machine. He mainly uses the iMac to browse the internet and do email.
    My bro went on to buy himself a Macbook and instantly turned in to a Mac envangelist. Of course the PC he was comparing it to was about 4 years old running XP and the macbook was top of the range and brand new - but your critical faculties seem to disappear when you become a Mac user!.
    He can't use his Sony e-reader properly - because it's not supported - nor his Creative Zen mp4 player. Every time I look over his shoulder he has XP running in a window - as his work software won't run on a Mac - so he mainly uses his Mac for browsing the internet and email.
    But it is very pretty and expensive and did I mention how pretty it looks? (Oh! and look it does this and that and it is pretty and expensive).







  • Comment number 49.

    I know so little about computers it is funny. The thing is though, I dont need or want to know much about computers, hence why monopolies like MS exist. Society has pretty much developed whether we like it or not and to be included in this society, you gotta use PC's or Computers or boxes or whatever they are called.
    So, people like me who choose to be ignorant (mostly because we have better things to do like use our natural instincts and abilities to have fun and interact with people "personally") have to be provided for by companies like MS. I could never be expected to understand the ins and outs of advanced computer useage as i am too busy speaking to my friends, playing sports, hunting for food and generally engaging in what I call proper life.
    So MS does have a use and so do Apple and the other players. Each surely provides a base for consumers to do whatever it is they want/need to.
    I do have very little knowledge, but some comments on here do smack of people thinking they are wonderful because they can not cope with Microsofts insatiable efforts to do everything for you. Naturally you are better than that and can do it for yourself. That is fine, you should do it but dont come on here and strut around your own kudos feeling big.
    Anyone for a game of squash? You will have to get off your backside and move to another area of town and then you will have to run around and make some effort but it will be worth it lol.
    I think there should also be a computer staged ruck between TENORWOODY85 and TWELVEEIGHTYONE. Im gunning for you Woody, get him fella.
    Ravenmorpheus sums it up quite nicely.
    Oh nuts, I have just posted a comment which makes me as bad as the rest.
    People in the "know" seem to dislike the report, for a mere mortal like me, I thought it was just fine Rory.

  • Comment number 50.

    @cynicaleng:

    1, System Restore? Maybe a backup of the registry? your scenario is akin to moaning about Microsoft when the MBR on your hard drive goes (which it can, Microsoft OS or not)

    2, The very fact that registry settings are stored in hexadecimal as type REG_DWORD points to the reality of the registry not actually being for humans, but for the system. just because there's an editor for it doesn't mean that everyone will be able to use it. even though lowly notepad can show me binary, doesn't mean I can automatically sight-read it, does it? I'm not saying the registry is a perfect solution, but apps can and do need certain values in a non-human-readable format like hex, maybe encrypted or randomly-generated. these values need to be stored somewhere. whether you store application settings in a global registry or in application-specific local resources, if the application question has some unreadable settings to store, it will. having them locally won't make them any more readable just because they're not in the registry. it's not the registry that says to use that data type as you can store strings and full binary in there too, it's the application that chooses to store the data in that way.

    3, How can this be the fault of Microsoft? You're talking about third-party applications leaving their own registry settings behind after a deinstall. take up your issue with the manufacturer of whatever third party software.

    4, Again, we're dealing with third parties. Device drivers generally come from the manufacturer of that device. If they've neglected to do a RegCompare on their test systems after running their deinstall it's entirely their fault, and not Microsoft's.

  • Comment number 51.

    Whoopee! - The delivery man has just been and I now have my copy of W7. One day early (I suspect thanks to the postal strike - talk about silver linings to dark clouds!).

    I'm like a pig in the proverbial!!!!

    :O)x

  • Comment number 52.

    @UseLinuxNotWindows:

    Let me point you in the general direction of the MAPS annual subscription. over £20,000 of Microsoft software, for less than the cost of XP when it came out new!

    Note: This is entirely legal. and before you ask, I don't work for Microsoft nor do I love everything they do without question. I do know, however, that if take a little time to find stuff out, you're rewarded with knowledge. and cheap software.

  • Comment number 53.

    I'm still using Windows 2000 on two laptops, which are set to hibernate when not being used. So they come back to life very quickly. They are also networked via a wireless router, share a printer and files easily and quickly. Some one tell me what I'm missing not upgrading to a later OS.

  • Comment number 54.

    Never had a problem with Vista from the month it came out. Just updated as Microsoft made improvements and made sure there was plenty RAM from the outset. Runs fine. I suspect a lot of the criticism arose because people's computers were getting too old - and the same problem is likely to afflict those that try and change from XP to 7. Caledonian Comment

  • Comment number 55.

    10 days ago I bought a Dell from Tescos. On the Dell site it tells me that I qualify for a free Windows 7 upgrade - whoopee!!

    And then it says it does not recognise the number.

    4 phone calls later it turns out that my brand new machine is nearly a year old (tescos have ancient stock, apparently) and so does not qualify even though I bought the machine as new ten days ago .....

    So, I will not be giving my reaction to Windows 7 soon!

  • Comment number 56.

    "twelveightyone wrote:
    Anyway, this is all arbitrary - let's look at the bare facts;
    Apple - record profits, record number of Macs sold, totally bucking the trend."

    To be fair Apple profits are probably from the iPhone/iPod side of the business, there might be a record number of Macs sold but that is because the computer market share for Apple is pretty low.

    I don't have a problem with Apple products (most of them are pretty cool) however you do pay through the nose for them.

    I bought a Toshiba laptop (so not a no-name jon) about 5 months before my cousin bought a Macbook and we ended up with equivalent specs (although mine had a much larger screen) and my laptop was almost a third the price of his as mine was on offer.

    He might have the better OS but I don't have any problems using Windows and IMO you get a better "bang for buck" with Windows.

  • Comment number 57.

    @ravenmorpheus2k: it's not really an analysis when you only quote your own personal opinion and can't show me any figures whatsoever.

    you've basically made my point for me: computing beginners generally buy Microsoft because it's the most widespread option by far, not as you imply, because they're too dumb to install Linux.

    Fedora 4 had nice graphical installers while at the same time us XPers were still kicking around in the straw and filth with the ASCII installer, deleting, sizing, formatting and creating partitions rather haphazardly by today's standards. Press F6 at exactly the right time to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver? that's user-friendly for "noobs"!

    So, by your "analysis", putting in a DVD when prompted and clicking "next" is beyond the capabilities of computing beginners.

  • Comment number 58.

    "ravenmorpheus2k wrote:

    And by great unwashed you mean those less technologically savvy than you my good man, don't you.

    Talk about snobbery."

    I imagine he means people who don't earn enough to justify the massive "Mac-Markup" :-)

    If Apple put a little logo on a turd and shipped it out in a nice white box with a £300 price tag to hear Apple-fanboys shouting from the rooftops about how great a turd it was.

    I don't have anything against Macs they are lovely machines but I would need a damn good reason to justify buying one over a cheaper equivalent spec Windows machine especially as I could probably buy a Wii and a holiday with the spare change!

  • Comment number 59.

    Linux in all its wonderous forms has been around for years and is great if you're a techie - although not something for the faint hearted.

    This really isn't true any more. My mother-in-law has a dual boot XP/Ubuntu system (both OSes installed by me) and she's very much happier in Ubuntu because it's so much easier to deal with.

  • Comment number 60.

    @psychobdelic #48

    That post made me laugh quite alot.
    I use mac and pc. PC because I like the tech side of things somewhat.
    But I will defend the MAC's here in terms of photography, having used both OS's I can tell you that MAC's are far superior when it comes to imaging and graphics.
    I suppose, though, that is your point, it is niche as there more non-professional photographers than Professional Photographers..
    I will re-iterate and risk being a bore. MAC's are great for some things, Windows for others. It's just choosing the best tool for the job right??

  • Comment number 61.

    "To be fair Apple profits are probably from the iPhone/iPod side of the business, there might be a record number of Macs sold but that is because the computer market share for Apple is pretty low."

    It's amazing how many people guess at facts to support their story.

    Probably? PROBABLY? So you don't know then. Here's a clue;

    Apple sold 3.05 million Macintosh computers during the last quarter, representing a 17% unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 10.2 million iPods during the quarter, representing an 8% unit decline from the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 7.4 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 7% unit growth over the year-ago quarter.

    17% increase in Mac sales. But just keep telling yourself that their profits are 'probably' from the iPhone, certainly not the iPod, which saw an 8% decline, largely due to the increased iPhone sales.

  • Comment number 62.

    " 55. At 3:45pm on 21 Oct 2009, Gurubear wrote:
    10 days ago I bought a Dell from Tescos. On the Dell site it tells me that I qualify for a free Windows 7 upgrade - whoopee!!

    4 phone calls later it turns out that my brand new machine is nearly a year old (tescos have ancient stock, apparently) and so does not qualify even though I bought the machine as new ten days ago ....."

    I'd inform Trading Standards and then take the machine back to Tesco to demand a refund. If they are passing off old stock as new, claiming that you can get software free when you can't, that's got to be illegal.

  • Comment number 63.

    Why do people assume that Linux is difficult to use?

    Have a look at Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntu.com/products/whatisubuntu/810features/%29
    Have a look at this (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SwitchingToUbuntu/FromWindows%29
    and this as well (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ubuntu-linux-guide,2293.html%29

    The thing is most people purchase a PC with Windows pre-installed. They have to do very little before they can use it. If they had to start from scratch (even with Windows 7) it would involve:

    1) Installing the operating system
    2) Installing drivers that don't come with Windows
    3) Installing some sort of virus scanner (e.g. Grisoft AVG)
    4) Installing some sort of malware/trojan scanner
    5) Installing Microsoft Office
    6) Installing DVD burning software
    7) Installing tools and utilities - such as WinZIP
    8) Installing graphics software such as Adobe Photoshop
    9) Installing eMail client software (if you have home/student version of Office)
    10) Installing updates/patches
    11) Configuring up the display/printers/network/other peripherals

    All except for (11) is done for you by the shop. If you install (say) Ubuntu then you can wipe the disk and start again or install within your Windows partition (WUBI http://wubi-installer.org/%29 and it does (1) to (9) automatically for you. It really is as easy (if not easier) than installing Windows 7.

    If you could buy a PC preloaded and preconfigured with Linux - why would it be any harder than Windows to use. Have you tried it?

    Yes, Linux (and Apple OS/X for that matter) is DIFFERENT to Windows but then Windows 7 is very different from (say) Windows XP. If your dear old Grandma got used to Windows XP and you then upgraded her to (the default desktop of) Windows 7 then she would also have to find her way around a completely different system.

    My wife uses Windows Vista. In fact she is the ONLY Windows user in the house - the children use Edubuntu (http://edubuntu.org/Screenshots%29 and find it no harder to use than Windows (which they use at school) and I use Ubuntu. When she got get laptop she was shocked as to how different Vista was from XP and even more how much Office 2007 was different from Office 2003.

    The point is that was a bit of familiarisation, it is not hard for a Windows user to use a Linux distribution (such as Ubuntu) or even Apple OS/X. Just don't expect it to work EXACTLY like your old operating system. Many Windows users (I'm not accusing anybody here) are quite happy to jump to the next (completely different) Microsoft user interface without any comments but then kick up a fuss if they have to use some other software.

    Microsoft have a stranglehold on desktop computers at the moment which is stifling innovation and hurting the IT industry (IMHO). They maintain this monopoly by the fact that adults and schoolchildren are shown Windows and no other alternatives (in the majority of cases). This means that people do not even consider other alternatives because they have no experience of them. If people could see a selection of computers in (say) PC World with PCs running Windows 7 right next to Macs running Apple OS/X and (the same hardware) running (say) Ubuntu and Fedora all fully configured and shiny new then it might be a different story.

    People might have a CHOICE - and that REALLY scares Microsoft!

  • Comment number 64.

    49 - why do you seem to assume that because people are interested in computers - or "tech savvy" they don't lead interesting lives as you??? and don't talk to real people??

    Being a techy is a hobby - just the same as your hobby of squash. I love computers, work in IT, and also enjoy programming when i have some spare time. I also enjoy many sports, mainly basketball and football. My life is very much "real" thank you.

    Oh by the way - i agree with the statement about the OS wars. There is no such thing. I am far from a fan of Apple - i was forced to use one back when i worked in support (uugh) but they offer something completely different to microsoft, which i dont personally need or want, but some do. The arguments about security, viruses etc are not even worth mentioning. If everyone switched to using a mac as these Apple "fans" keep on about, Macs would be plagued with viruses and crap software written by part time - part knowledge developers!!

    Oh and Windows 7 looks fairly good - i even managed to run it in a Virtual Machine and it was still responsive, which is saying something as Vista stood no chance!!!

  • Comment number 65.

    @ 58: "I would need a damn good reason to justify buying one over a cheaper equivalent spec Windows machine especially as I could probably buy a Wii and a holiday with the spare change!"

    That misses the point, you say an "equivalent spec" but you can't compare Macs with Windows PCs by looking at the numbers in the specs.

    Windows by its nature has to be designed to run on whatever concoction of hardware happens to be in any PC (that's why there are so many bugs etc. that go unnoticed), whereas Mac OSX is designed specifically to run on Apple's hardware.

    Therefore, the Mac generally functions faster at day-to-day activities than a Windows machine of the same specifications. This is absolutely my experience with my Macbook, which zips along doing the same things compared to my Vista PC at work, which actually has a faster processor and more RAM.

    You also have to look at how well built the Apple laptops are, particularly the aluminium unibody ones, and how light and compact they are. They're very easy to carry round in a briefcase.

    I wouldn't really recommend carrying it like this, but they are so solid that you can pick an aluminium Macbook up by the corner, where a normal plastic computer would flex and possibly break something. They also have very neat finishing touches, such as the magnetic power connectors which simply pop out if you accidentally trip over the cable, rather than pulling your precious laptop onto the floor.

    If you look at some of the more top-end laptops from, say Sony or Samsung that are sleek, well designed cases, these also carry a hefty price tag.

    I completely understand why a lot of people wouldn't plump for a Mac - they are VERY expensive, and there is a bit of getting used to the difference in how things work compared to Windows, but in my opinion the extra money is worth it if you can afford to part with the cash upfront as they will last a lot longer.

    A lot of people seem to think that the premium price on Apple products is simply because of the branding, but you need to realise you are getting a real quality product, and you only need to pick one up to see that. They are a world of difference from the £300 Chinese laptops you can find that are put together from cheap components and will probably be good for nothing in three years time.

    And I know they're not perfect, there are plenty of flaws to Macs too, however you can't just look at two computers and say they have the same specs, therefore they must be the same.

  • Comment number 66.

    One last thing, alot of consumers don't even know what Linux is. I was in the pub not long back and one guy was saying how much his computer was getting on his nerves - he asked what OS i had. When i Said Suse Linux - his reply was "What?".

    Most of my friends have never heard of Linux - my family have never heard of it either, come to mention it alot of the support people where i work aren't totally sure what it is. I think that if people did know about it as an alternative some would give it a go at least - i know my one friend tried the Live CD for Ubuntu recently after finding out what it was. He didnt carry on using it as he didn't like - but he tried it.

  • Comment number 67.

    A couple of things.

    When a new Mac OS comes out when I install it I take about half an hour to customise it the way I want it. I get rid of support files in the world's languages, organise my folders, set expose up to work how I like etc.

    When a new PC OS comes out I do the same. I loved Vista because I turned everything I didn't want off. Simples.

    I just want a system that is as unobtrusive as possible so I can use the applications I want. If 7 does this better than Vista great.

  • Comment number 68.

    Windows 7 is a very useful OS and is definitely over Vista, just as Vista was to most people over XP.
    Almost every article and most of the comments on the BBC website seem to be negative towards Vista. I know there were and in some cases still are problems, but my personal experience is that Vista is fine, not perfect, but hardly some of the adjectives used to describe it. In fact I find XP rather awful compared to Vista, it 'fell to pieces' under less strain than I have put Vista. I think Vista got a bad press because it wasn't good enough for 'techies', who made themselves quite vocal, but worked fine for most people who therefore didn't bother making a fuss.
    Also, Rory, you say you use Google Docs. How confident are you that they are secure (both from deletion and snooping), especially when you don't have a backup?

  • Comment number 69.


    @ 61

    Well said Twelveightyone.

    Had the RC for WIN7 on my MBPro and it's good. Runs OK.

    @27

    LuftHamza - your top ten tips is interesting but when using OSX you need only two:

    1. Turn it on.
    2. Get on with it :)

    Always seems silly to me to sit on one fence because it's more comfortable than the other - where is the danger and where is the fun and more importantly where is the life?

  • Comment number 70.

    Waiting eagerly for my Windows7 delivery. Got forwarded a student offer at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/education/studentoffer/ to get HomePremium for less than half price.

    Kudos to Rory for using TweetDeck!
    ...
    Come on, let's move on from OS wars to Twatter application wars.

  • Comment number 71.

    Personally, I’m loving all the Dock/Task Bar discussions. But wait - wasn’t Acorn doing that in the 1980’s on their RISC OS?

    ;-)

  • Comment number 72.

    @neilephipps: Your argument is somewhat nonsensical as I was talking about keeping an 8-year-old OS in running order. you're talking about OSX today. if we hark back to the time of XP's release, we can quickly find out that Apple had only just the previous month shipped DVD playback support in OSX 10.1 Puma and support for SMB was only introduced nearly a full year later in 10.2 Jaguar..

    I would turn it on and get on with it, but I can't. my DVDs won't play and I can't find my network.

  • Comment number 73.

    @ twelveightyone #61

    "Apple sold 3.05 million Macintosh computers......sold 10.2 million iPods....sold 7.4 million iPhones....."

    So that's over 5 times as many "non-PC" items as PC items, seems to me Apple are no longer a computer company!

    Here's a thing: the only reason Apple's computer line could make more money than the massively selling ipod/iphone line is that the margin on those 3million computers is huge - because they're charging you a fortune so you can be self righteous. Wake up and smell the coffee.

    Mac PC's are still a niche product. It's easy to grow 17% when you have a small starting base. Market expectations are that Microsoft will sell 177Million copies of Windows 7 alone in 2010.

    By all means use your Mac - be happy with it. Just don't criticise me because I choose a PC.

  • Comment number 74.

    tenorwoody85:

    So what you're saying about Windows Registry is this: If I want to use one application, and maybe today I only want to use 1, then Windows has to load ALL the settings for EVERY application, including, on most Windows systems, literally thousands of settings for applications the user has long since 'uninstalled'.

    It doesn't seem like a good idea to take such a monolithic approach. Perhaps that's why Windows runs like a dog and gets slower over time. Perhaps that's why there are so many shareware and commercial 'Registry Cleaners'.

  • Comment number 75.

    Obligatory shot in OS war:
    There's also many many freeware registry cleaners.
    And the program base is much bigger for windows than owt else.
    It has it's problems, but I'll happily put up with them to save 2/3rds of the price.

    Actually on-topic, I've been using the 7 release candidate for bloody ages too. Thing is though, using that at home, and XP at work, I can't say I really notice much of a difference. I've replaced most of the basic windows functions, copy, process manager, explorer etc., with my own open source freeware choices, and in the end, I don't think there's much of a difference. Which really, is what's important in an OS. I want it to be stable, be speedy, and run all the programs I need to run. 7 does a better job than XP at that, but that's the only major difference. So, upgrade if you want the speed and security, but it's not really much different.

  • Comment number 76.

    Oh, twelveightyone, if only you weren't so predictable and actually knew what you were talking about...

    Let's look at a few things...

    "If you need the problems with the Registry explaining to you, then it's really not worth the effort."

    Well no, you were asked and all you've done is evade the question and insult the person who asked you. I mean I know the advantages and disadvantages of the registry against, say, ini files but he may not.

    So, please, enlighten him and if you can't do so then I'm quite happy to explain the pros and cons.

    "Apple - record profits, record number of Macs sold, totally bucking the trend."

    Ok, what's the split of profit between Macs and iPhones/iPods? Not that it matters - all profit means is that the company makes money out of what it sells and since Apple have a margin of 35% or so they make more profit.

    As for numbers, there were 3.05 million Macs sold last quarter out of 75 million computers in total (from Gartner and IDC). That puts the Mac sales share at under 4%.

    Let's go over that again: Less than 4%. Less than 1 in 25 of computer users are interested enough in Macs to buy one. Of course that might be higher if you count consumer sales only but what? 1 in 10? 1 in 8? It's still pretty trivial.

    So it's difficult to say if it's a success or not since the numbers are not really statistically significant in comparison to Windows OEM sales. Sure, financially - which is great if you own APPL stock but totally irrelevant otherwise - but by user volume? Nah, not really - it's just a blip on the radar.

    "Microsoft - well let's just say if Windows 7 fails to impress the great unwashed, it will be the beginning of their end."

    Well since the reviews are universally positive (apart from a few dubious characters) and pre-order sales are at record levels I'd say it's going to do very well. I guess that's what having a completely open public Beta does for you.

    The point is that you hate Microsoft and it hurts you to think that the overwhelming majority of the computer buying public - of all technical abilities and social backgrounds - don't. Sure, I'm not sure they love it but the accept it as part of their lives because it just works, doesn't give them any real problems and does what they want at the right price.

    Apparently that's what the overwhelming majority of people want.

  • Comment number 77.

    I thought that the EU had insisted that the installation process for W7 should offer the option of replacing Internet Explorer by a different browser such as Firefox, Opera, or Safari.
    This doesn't seem to have happened - are MS in the running for enormous fines?

  • Comment number 78.

    For the first time ever, I have disliked your reporting.

    Windows 7 seems to be made out to be the Devil very much like Vista (which NEITHER are).

    Your TV Report seemed to skim over any Microsoft positive message about Vista is the MOST stable Windows ever, easier than ever to setup with hardware and software.

    I'm sorry but this was negative reporting to say that the only advantage was touchscreen compatibility? Erm excuse me there is a heck of a lot of more to it than that!

    Warning to those on Windows XP though, it will not and should not live forever! And if you really hate Microsoft why are you using their software. Make use of the "glorious" free options....

  • Comment number 79.

    Rory, you say that MS's priority is "reconnecting with the many previously loyal customers who were deeply unimpressed by Vista"

    we're seeing an increasing rate of disloyalty - in the form of windows-to-mac switching - happening in the small/medium-sized business market (i'm at an IT support company that deals mainly with windows). More and more of those windows users who can choose are switching to macs.

    This is helped by snow leopard's free Exchange support but also in laptops by the erosion of windows' cost advantage - i just compared the MacBook Pro vs a comparable dell laptop and the mac is cheaper, significantly so if you're using Exchange and include Outlook for the windows machine. And the white MacBook has an even greater advantage. Sure, we're talking solid, well-spec'd machines - but most businesses are happy to pay for business-class kit.

    mac vs windows laptop cost comparison - http://effortlesscomputing.co.uk/2009/10/20/mac-laptops-more-expensive-than-windows-think-again/

    ...however most business users can't choose their OS... for them, W7 is a great relief. With support for XP going to fade, they will need to upgrade and finally that's not hobson's choice.

    -ben

  • Comment number 80.

    Some of the comments here aren't even worthy of Digg. We have some people making technical claims that they don't understand.. some people cheering the profits of a corporation as if they were a football team. Some people who need to get out more!

    Personally I use a combination of what I need for work and what I am comfortable with. I'm glad that there is OS options around as choice drives innovation. But in the end, it all comes down to personal choice, no amount of arguing on the internet is going to "win" the OS wars.

    But.. if I must choose an OS, I choose Amiga Workbench! It was the first true multitasking operating system, and the only operating system to support multiple resolutions and bit depths on screen at once! What's more is that for a breif few years in the 1990s, it had the best and biggest selection computer games (some of which are still considered best games of all time: Worms - The Director's Cut).

  • Comment number 81.

    I find it a great shame that a discussion about the merits of Windows 7 degenerates into a debate about Apple's profit margins. It's also a shame that many of the correspondents spend more time trying to impress each other with their vast knowledge that posting sensible comment that might be of interest and helpful to the masses.

  • Comment number 82.

    Still no reaction to my 53...

  • Comment number 83.

    When Fedora 12 is released in a few months will it get a free publicity boost on BBC Breakfast?

  • Comment number 84.

    Dont get me wrong i'm grateful we have the BBC

    BUT....
    this is another example of how dumbing down of Technology, Science & Business by the BBC makes reading these stories a waste of time.

    Fine on the headlines / main story where you dont want to lose the consumers attention, but on the blog of someone with expertise/knowledge in a particular field, I would expect a little more.

  • Comment number 85.

    I also have to say that I dislike the BBC's Windows 7 coverage.

    Why is there so much focus on Apple? It seems to me that these media types use Apple computers, think they are fashionable, and therefore add to the Apple-hype. In reality Apple has such a small market share in the PC industry that they are not as significant as the media like to portray.

    As for Windows 7, I also dislike how the media seem to show-off its more trivial features such as touch screen support or "aero shake". I have used Windows 7 since the beta versions in July and its main benefits are performance and stability. Notably for me, video playback performance is much better under 7 than it was under XP with the latest ATI video drivers installed. UI changes such as the new Windows Explorer, Taskbar and "aero snap" are also good.

    As for those posters claiming that it is stupid to "click start to shut down". Well, this is NOT stupid, it is completely logical. The start button is to start a TASK - shutting down the computer is a task like any other.

    As for the debate on the Windows Registry - with the amount of RAM available on a modern computer, the Windows Registry is a better design than the simple text files used on UNIX/Linux/Mac OSX. The registry offers faster performance than would otherwise be available from reading a simple text file from disk.

  • Comment number 86.

    dish_of_the_day wrote:

    Dont get me wrong i'm grateful we have the BBC

    BUT....
    this is another example of how dumbing down of Technology, Science & Business by the BBC makes reading these stories a waste of time.

    Fine on the headlines / main story where you dont want to lose the consumers attention, but on the blog of someone with expertise/knowledge in a particular field, I would expect a little more.


    I would absolutely agree with this. The review here is very shallow on technical details. And for a technology based blog, statements like "I set about opening a browser, e-mail and word processing applications, and tried to work out where I would keep my photos and music." make the report seem very dumbed down.

  • Comment number 87.


    @ LuftHamza

    Good homework - but surely your top ten includes all CURRENT users of XP of which are legion due to the failure of Vista?

    OSX has matured into a killer OS. That is good for Microsoft because the ante is up'ed and Redmond has to work harder. Good for me and good for you = positive and competitive progress.
    If you can't see that then your argument is merely personal, one sided and flawed.

    @ Conosco

    Spot on! We are seeing a huge shift in small to medium sized enterprise's actively asking for Mac based solutions. As little as two years ago this NEVER happened unless we where dealing with a creative based company. Personally this is where MS have really failed with Vista and the bad PR that has gone with it.

  • Comment number 88.

    Windows 7? Wow, what a big, huge irrelevance to this household this latest 'n greatest offering from Redmond is to us. We've made the transition to Linux some time back now, we're quite satisfied and happy with it and there's no going back. It's on our home server, our laptops and on our desktop, (which incidentally, still has a copy of windows 2000 running on it in dual boot mode).

    What still galls me is that if you buy a PC or laptop, it comes with Windows preinstalled. I think as consumers, we should get the choice of whether we want an OS loaded or not. With a desktop system, at least you can build it yourself, so you can get round this, but not with a laptop. if you're a n00b, then you have the option of having it preinstalled. If you're a bit more savvy, and don't want to pay the Microsoft Tax, then you shouldn't be forced to.
    I bought my wife a new laptop very recently as a surprise present. Sadly, it came with Windows Vista and a lot of vendor rubbish preinstalled. I contacted the company and asked beforehand if they would sell me a laptop with no OS. 'No' What about without a hard drive? 'No' In fact, they weren't interested at all - I thought bizarre, since you can custom build a laptop to your own specification on their website. They claim to offer Linux, but this is merely lip service as when you look at what's on offer, it comes on only a select few machines with poor specs...

    As it was, just looking at the desktop and the laptop doing nothing much else, it was using around 900Mb of RAM. It was slow, took ages to boot up, and generally wasn't a very pleasant eXPerience; and the the UAC, with vista...oh, my, word....

    Of course, it didn't last long, not even a full day. I nuked the hard drive, formatting both the main and recovery partitions. It now has Kubuntu Linux 9.04 on it, (free download) along with the latest version of Open Office (also free download), and it even has WINE (yep, another free download) so she can run some of her old windows graphics packages like livepix that she has from 10 years ago, (don't ask, but apparently its better than photoshop coz it's uncomplicated and can do certain things better) and other windows programs, should she need to. But there's soooo much free stuff out there, we haven't seen a need to..for example, Amarok and Kaffeine are trully great multimedia programs for playing mp3's and dvds

    All the software and OS that the laptop got shipped with, that came on a series of DVD's, have been posted back to the computer manufacturer, along with the unused windows licence sticker. Thanks, but no thanks. Shame they were unwilling to refund us the cost of a windows licence. I wonder what they will do with it? We aren't allowed to sell it on; they've already 'sold' it, so they surely cannot sell it again...

    For those of you willing to fork over your hard earned ££'s, for yet another roll of the dice on whether this is a good OS or not, well good luck to you. You pays yer money's and yer takes yer chances. There's one born every minute. I still do not understand why people still want to pay, when there are better, legal and free alternatives out there. Oh, and if you think I'm a cheapskate, I'm not...I do donate money to those out there who make all this wonderful software for free. :o)

  • Comment number 89.

    pauloxter wrote:

    "the Windows Registry is a better design than the simple text files used on UNIX/Linux/Mac OSX. The registry offers faster performance than would otherwise be available from reading a simple text file from disk."

    Sorry, mate, but you seem not to grasp the idea of what the registry is. The windows registry is a database that over time, gets bigger, bloated, fragmented, sometimes corrupted, and littered with orphaned entries from uninstalled programs...Is it really any surprise that windows gets slower and slower and sloooower the longer it is being used? It is also a single point of failure for the entire OS. It is a gross hack.

    Unix, Linux and other variants, do not have a registry, and for a very,very good technical reason, that I have outlined above. Simple text files are very easy to edit, requiring no more than a good editor, be it vim, kate or emacs. Good luck trying that with a windows registry.

  • Comment number 90.

    Oh for goodness sake! This is just another load of crap from Bill Gates - yours for only £75!! The last load of rubbish didn't work properly so what is so different with this version. If its so damn good why dont we get it foc as an upgrade?
    Yet we pander to this bloke. So you nerds want to pay this money out so the system might just boot up - if thats the correct term - 50% more quickly. Sounds impressive but XP takes 3 mins to come alive, 90 secs might be an improvement but what would you say to Mt Philips in Eindhoven if it took that long for your light bulbs to illuminate?

  • Comment number 91.

    @pauloxter @tenorwoody85

    I suggest taking a quick dekko at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Registry

    The disadvantages of having a registry, where:

    1. Application data is stored remotely from the application itself.
    2. Application portability is lost.
    3. You allow 3rd party applications access to a DB which contains device driver and kernel information.
    4. You rely on 3rd party apps to clear it on uninstall.

    But if you disline text config files, nobody's stopping you from using XML! (In fact, google tells me that's what Mac OS X uses.) Some linux programs, pam_mount (if I remember right) for instance, have moved towards using XML configuration files.
    outweighs the pros by FAR!

  • Comment number 92.

    I found it interesting watching Rory's report this morning on Breakfast that he made a point of referring to his home usage of a mac as "another OS". As a long time watcher of BBC tech programs and "click" in particular I've not noticed any particular bias towards Apple in fact the reverse (which I've just put down to the market share argument).

    Many of the above comments which seem to fall into the age old OS Wars debate miss the point. This is likely to be MS last major release of windows as we know it for the consumer market. The days of the cloud OS are upon us, where you need little more than a browser to complete all our home tasks irrespective of what OS you use. Many of the apps Rory has customised his PC with are cross platform and integrate with web services. This is the threat to Windows not what your OS is.

    With the much hyped mac tablet (iPhone Lanrge?) on the horizon which may well kill of the netbook as we know it, Apple are doing what they really know how to do, marry a great looking gadget with a great User Interface. This has pretty much been the mantra of Steve Jobs since his return as iCeo. The computing proletariat want something as functional as a washing machine, the computer is becoming white goods and needs an interface which allows them to do what they want to in an intuitive and simple way with little need for IT knowledge. They are flocking to iPhone like they flocked to iPod and are enjoying the user experience, when they look at renewing their PC they are buying Apple for home BECAUSE they have a choice and are rewarded by having good looking design and a great UI. As for the premium price point argument, it's getting more and more competitive hence why Apple's hardware sales are bucking the downward trend that other hardware makers are enjoying.

    If only MS could understand their own UI needs and implement innovation in an intuitive way. Just look at Office 2007. Needless to say when the corporates need to refresh their technlogy MS will roll out the business edition of Windows 7 which will be snapped up and the company will be able to once again rest at ease when the procurement cycle revolves and returns their locked in office users to the family table for another round of Enterprise Licence negotiation.

  • Comment number 93.

    I am certainly not going to embrace Windows 7 for a long long time. I have used windows XP for possibly the longest and have grown accustomed to its quirkiness. I started with DOS and then Windows 1. all those years ago ( an illegal copy I suspect) and moved to Windows 2.11 after playing with GEM (remember that?). I still like to write my own batch files in DOS rather than use other software that never seems to do what I want.
    I sometimes think I would like to try LINUX but lack the courage to make the change. XP will probably keep me going - I'd like a MAC but us pensioners can only dream!!!

  • Comment number 94.

    @StargateHitchHiker - there is no need to talk to me in such a condescending tone, and no I am not your "mate". I am more than aware of the ins and outs of the Windows registry. Speaking as a professional engineer, when you want to design something there are always pros and cons to any particular design - likewise, the Windows Registry has both pros and cons to its design.

    @evilimmigrant - I noticed you only posted the disadvantages. On the link you posted there are actually listed more advantages of the windwos Registry than disadvantages! I would agree with you that when programming your own Windows application it's good practice to store application-specific settings in a .xml file, and leave the registry for storing operating system settings.

  • Comment number 95.

    At the moment it is still very much a case as to what software you want to use.

    If you like MS Office, then its probably easier to go for windows, for instance.

    I have various systems to cater for the things I do. One system is Ubunto, and I have to say that installing software is a complete pain! If it is in a package, fine, if it is not then the chances are that you get some madly complicated set of instructions including chmod this and mv that and find this requirement from this out of date website and so on.

    It is the same with various open source software applications - often very clever, but the developers haven't the foggiest idea about how to make something usable.

    My favourite example is the Gimp. Great bit of software, but a complete mare to use - clunky, unfriendly user interface and the most appalling help documentation. Various professional graphics friends of mine are very praising of its power, but would never use it for their business - much to much like hard work. They want sleek, easy and familiar - they dont want to be computer geeks, they want to be graphic artists.

    Until the OS community can actually get their heads round some serious market research, they will never get close to MS or Mac to be honest when it comes to the ordinary everyday user.

    And lets face it, that is what the internet and the IT industry is all about - the ordinary user.

  • Comment number 96.

    I hope we get to use W7 at work. I miss my Mac when I
    at my desk and W7 looks pretty much the same, so it should make my life a whole easier.

  • Comment number 97.

    I'm itching to make a few not so serious comments :)

    #95: You are talking about some very specific programs that only a few select professionals should need. The professional in question should be able to compile those programs. I do admit versioning can be a bit painful in the open source world, but then again you don't pay for it. Let me rephrase it, you pay for it with your time and not in cash. There is a trade-off and sometimes open source could end up being more expensive, as I found out at my personal cost :(

    #92: Tablets or netbooks would never replace the good old PC. I remember reading an article about the netbooks back in the 1990s, and the author was very dismissive of the idea. Fast forward 10 years, distributed computing (read as The Cloud) moved up a few levels, but the main principles are still the same. I personally don't want to store my data in a remote location. There are things I'm willing to store on a remote computer and things I'd like to keep on my hard disk.

    I can see how the idea of sharing data is very useful in the corporate environment and they pay handsomely for the ability to share data between employees, but I would not use nor pay for such services. My personal data will never live my house, just like some governments require that sensitive data not be routed to another country...

    #90: What light bulbs do you use? My light bulbs do indeed take a minute or two to come into life. The new generation light bulbs are not that different than the computers :)

    To all the Apple users: Why don't you wait for an Apple related blog and then you can have your chance to talk about how great (??) Apple is. Sadly for me, Mac is out of my price range at the moment. A few of you saying that it's cheaper than it used to be made me compare the prices and it is still not in my price range. It is a good looking PS though.

    #78: Sorry I didn't realise XP came with an expiry date. Why shouldn't I be able to keep using it for as long as I want? It works well, and I want to keep using it for the foreseeable future.

    How is saying "We like XP" being anti-MS? I have tried the fancy features of the new OSs, and I don't like them. It's about preferences. I prefer my OS UI to be simple. I do not want changes for the sake of having changes.

    #44: I like the lunch box look :)

    Stickers on laptops are great. They make it look more personal, as opposed to a cold and boring work machine.

    About the registry: My instinct tells me loading a single file and reading its content is more efficient than fetching multiple XML files and parsing the XML tags. I remember reading something about XML parsers being bottlenecks in SOAP (Web Services) like distributed architectures. If kept clean, a central registry should be more efficient than XML based configurations.

    I have had my fair share of registry troubles, and I understand the criticism as well. I don't want to sound like a pro-MS person here, but aren't third party developers more responsible for the faults in the registry than MS?

    ****************************************

    Completely unrelated subject: If an OS had to be designed from scratch today, I believe it would follow the modular design of Minix as opposed to the existing monolithic kernels. Almost all the design principles of the IT world are based on modularity and layering. Modularity brings flexibility, extendability, interoperability between independently developed components, increased reliability, etc.

  • Comment number 98.

    Can i ask how much microsoft is paying the BBC for all this free advertising? Seven stories on the Technology page devoted to a commercial product...someone in the Marketing department at MS must be either very rich or lauging all the way to PC World (other computer stores are available.....)

  • Comment number 99.

    I installed W7 Ultimate on my 4 year old notebook last night and I am impressed.

    It goes from cold boot to working in 2 minutes 17 seconds (and that includes me logging on and inputting a password).

    Because it's a notebook I backed up the drivers before the clean install. W7 found them all and then went and looked for updated drvers where relevant.

    Brilliant







  • Comment number 100.

    This is for at Rory Cellan-Jones.

    I listened with interest (and some fury) at the Radio 4 "P.M." broadcast about Windows 7 and that you mentioned Windows (of course), Apple OS/X and Google's operating system (did you mean Chrome or Android and why not tell the listeners) but of course NO MENTION OF LINUX directly to the public.

    Why will the BBC NEVER mention the 'L' word? Microsoft have admitted several times that Linux is the biggest threat to their desktop monopoly - perhaps (as with the government's deal with Microsoft) there is a secret understanding with Microsoft to not mention the competition. God forbid there could be real opportunity and choice for consumers!

    Google's Android operating system - IS LINUX - and is used on many phones - indeed I have a HTC Hero with this installed. Google Chrome - IS LINUX - although is used by very few people.

    From a number of sources including DistroWatch ( http://www.distrowatch.com )

    1) Canonical Ubuntu - is the most popular home Linux distribution (+ derivatives)
    2) Red Hat Fedora - is a close second
    3) Novell OpenSuse - is third (and)
    4) Mandriva Linux - is fourth

    although for business desktops, the ordering is

    1) Red Hat Enterprise Linux
    2) CentOS Enterprise Linux (free version of Red Hat)
    3) Debian Linux (used by most Internet Service Providers)
    4) Novell Enterprise Linux

    None of these names were mentioned. Why? Probably because Microsoft has a big political influence and they HAVE to maintain their monopoly.

    I understand that you have to cover Windows 7 as it will be used on a large number of desktop PCs but I would bet you won't mention that Ubuntu 9.10 is just about to be released or when it happens. You also did not have such a big feature when Apple OS/X ("Snow Leopard") was released.

    Yes I'm biased and a big supporter of Linux but (to be honest) Microsoft get ALL the publicity. One of the main reasons that Microsoft is so dominant is MINDSHARE. If people do not know about perfectly credible and usable alternatives then they will continue to buy from a monopoly supplier. The BBC should report on all the options but particularly Microsoft's stated biggest competitor.

    Also in these times of austerity, if more public services were to use open source software such as Linux and Open Office rather than Windows 7 and Office 2007 then we could save literally millions of £££'s (rather than pay Microsoft) and put this money back into public services and schools (etc). I do not accept that people could not switch if they are happy to switch from XP to Vista or Windows 7 and accept the retraining required.

    Many people do like Windows and I am pleased that they Windows 7 is an improvement (although many people including my wife think that the user interface is worse than XP and "gets in the way" more but that is one opinion). That does not mean that you should not state what other choices there are.

 

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