Since I got my work MacBook Pro, I’ve been using my Windows XP laptop less and less. I went three weeks without even opening it, at one point. When I did finally open it again, XP took so long to boot I knew it was reinstall time. A part of my Windows experience for as long as I can remember is having to format my hard drive and starting over. Performance goes back to the good old days, when it’s nice and fast. No more weird program glitches. So rather than reinstall XP, I decided to forget Windows and just install Ubuntu. Ubuntu set up so easily it was shocking. Good times.
But I knew Windows 7 Beta was coming out soon so I held out 40 GB of unused space to install it. Aside from several false starts downloading it (resulting in a wasted 1.5 GB of bandwidth), I finally got it. I’ve downloaded so much today, I’m a little worried Comcast is going to shut me down. Installation went well — no hitches. It had to install updates and reboot before it detected my correct system settings, but after that, everything is good.
First thing I didn’t like is a generated password for a “home workgroup”. Please, give me the option to enter my own password. For the most part, the UI feels like XP. I haven’t used Vista for more than a few minutes at a time, so I can’t really compare to it. The default background is pretty drab, but since it’s a “Betta” fish, I appreciate the joke. The task bar is a little cleaner. Chrome installed with no problems. Internet Explorer turned me off immediately, but nothing new there.
The snipping tool that comes with it lets you take a variety of screenshots, including free form ones. That’s a new one for me. The games stuff seems bundled by providers. I have no idea who these providers might be, but I imagine that might be useful. Most online game providers ship their software with spyware, though, so I avoid them. Update: I mean providers beyond Microsoft, there are some default games that are fairly decent that come with it.
Naturally, there are the standard complaints about not having virus scan installed and that Windows defender hasn’t been run. There’s a great big warning when you try to run something for the first time you downloaded off the net. Same as Mac there, no surprises. Also, after installing it, it overwrote the MBR (or however that works), so I no longer can boot from my Ubuntu installation if I want to. I’ll probably just reinstall Ubuntu since it’s so fast and easy and probably will be less of a headache than fooling with grub.
The biggest bonus to Windows 7 Beta is that I can run Chrome again. I didn’t realize how much I missed it. WordPress dashboard runs so much faster under Chrome than Firefox or Safari.