A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

“Just make it less shit!”, I yelled

Posted by Alan on November 23, 2009

Not so long ago I bought Windows 7 (Home Premium). I bought it because I wanted rid of Vista. Vista caused me so many little irritations but since I’d paid £70 or so for the OEM licence I wasn’t going to be swayed to play with Tux the penguin, not for all every day activities anyway.

So, £65 quid later and some cursing later I arrived at Windows 7. Delightfully, there amount of effort (therefore cursing) in the upgrade from Vista to 7 was fairly minimal. It wasn’t as simple as Ubuntu 8.10 > 9.04 but then I didn’t have many applications installed on Ubuntu. Of course Windows doesn’t acknowledge Linux so I can’t boot there now but it’s not exactly a problem and I guess I should put 9.10 on anyway…

So… what is it all about?


Desktop - Very much like Vista

Well the desktop is very much like Vista. The bottom toolbars have changed though, starting with the library dock:

Library Dock

Library Dock

Sure, I think Mac’s may have been able to do that for ages. But it is quite a nice feature – as you hover over different windows in the dock the main window comes up behind. This is good, but what does irritate me immensely is the new taskbar icon hiding in the bottom right.


You have to left click on the more icons menu then right click on your desired icon. It’d be loads better if it was just a pop out when hovering over the date/time area.

Another irritation is the the minimise all – thankfully still Windows+M but the icon has moved from the left hand side to the right.

The start menu is changed slightly, now the menu is better at context sensitivity and provides you with additional menu items based on the main items:

Start Menu

As you can just about see – the word menu shows you my most recently opened files. Similarly, most MS applications have been redeveloped to take account of this feature.

Perhaps the best feature is the concept of libraries (again I doubt this is an completely original idea – but it is well executed). One of my biggest gripes with Vista was that it was near impossible to separate Windows from my files. I don’t want to put my precious photos onto the same drive as Windows – even though I have an off site backup! With libraries it was very simple to define where things resided – in fact a library could span multiple drives which could come in really handy when I finally buy that SLR. Of course it could be improved – it’s no ‘4D data store’ like the true geek inside me wants but it’s a bloody good step in the right direction.

Overall, it is definitely an improvement. But arguably Windows 7 is everything Vista should have been.

3 Responses to ““Just make it less shit!”, I yelled”

  1. Skippy said

    And for some strange reason I continue to feel happy that I have XP licences to save me having to look at Windows 7.

  2. That safari theme for firefox is awful. I think Windows7 is a big upgrade from XP, less so from Vista as it is mainly performance tweaks and a few further UI enhancements. The dock does seem quite OS X but it retains the Windows-ness by helping you to keep on top of what windows you have open, rather than losing them in OS X. The minimise all button is a better idea than using a shortcut in the quick launch, not really a problem that it has moved. I also like being able to choose which of the taskbar icon show up and which ones don’t, rather than having all of them there all the time or XP’s crappy auto hide.

  3. Alan P said

    Lol! I knew you wouldn’t like the iFox Graphite theme… meh works for me sometimes 🙂

    The main issue for me with the minimise all button is that it’s on the other side – I spent all day working with Win XP and I use XP when I’m on the netbook (like now when I am in the kitchen, laziness rocks).

    Again with the icons, it’s great to choose. But it’s really shit to have a left click then a right click to access the menus. If I could hover over the taskbar a la Visual Studio and get a pop out (or maybe something similar it’d be so much better. Left then right in such a close success doesn’t feel like such a natural movement for that action.

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