Sunday, April 26, 2009

One small step

Normally I don’t follow the progress of a software unless it is something that I am waiting on.  This happens to be one of them.  When Microsoft made Windows 7 beta available to everyone, they got much more than they bargained for.  Their server for generating product keys for new users crashed under load and it took Microsoft a few days to get that issue resolved so that their servers can handle the load.  After a lot of tinkering, testing, playing, and for some people, a lot of reinstalling, they found that Windows 7 is not only faster but it is subjectively better than Vista in every way.  This does not mean, however, that the system requirement when compared to Vista will go down.  They remain the same.  Yet at the very least, when Windows 7 run, it will run faster, and more efficient than Vista, partly due to how it handles some its features now.

Like previous versions of Windows that came before 7, certain features and programs are run by default, despite that they are not needed or that there is no hardware for it (like the Wireless Zero Configuration service on a desktop PC with no wireless network card).  Microsoft claims that Windows 7 will be smarter on how it runs services, shutting down the ones that are not in use and starting up the ones that are needed.  This reduces memory footprint by a good margin and makes running the OS a lot better for hardware that need to conserve resources.

And then there are the interface changes which has taken a couple of pages from different operating systems or platforms.  While the new interface is different, whether or not it is good or bad is entirely a subjective matter.  People interact better when certain visual features help them identify and do certain task faster.  And that’s something people would look at.

Not too long ago, the big news dropped that Microsoft has completed Windows 7 RC1, the first release candidate and possibly the only release candidate.  However, it is an important step and an important milestone.  It marks the end of the beta and starts the road to the final build which will be sent to manufacturing for duplication (aka RTM).  But even though the RC build is finished and distributed to select companies and testers, others who have paid top dollars to get first dibs on Microsoft products won’t be able to snatch it up until a little later.

Actually, for many, they don’t have to wait.  That build has already been leaked and is being distributed amongst various BitTorrent network and sites.  Fortunately, those who have already signed up for the Windows 7 beta can still use their product key to install and activate it.  It makes waiting for the official release and possibly an RC-specific product key a pointless process.  But that matters very little for people who were anxiously waiting for the RC to come around to see how much has changed since the beta.

So why all the talk and jibber-jabber nonsense about this?  It is because I will be the early adopters of Windows 7 from start to finish.  It is not simply because I am itching to use it.  It is simply because it is the next step up due to hardware upgrades.  After spending some small cash to acquire new RAM, I now hold on hand 4 DIMM sticks of 2GB RAM, totaling 8GB altogether.  With the 4GB limit imposed by 32bit processing and addressing, I have to step up and break away.   My free licensed copy of Windows Vista Business is only 32bit and there is no transition to 64bit that is both economical and simple.  Purchasing a 64bit Vista is not an option at the time, as Windows 7 was already readily available (in beta) and was nearing close to completion (supposedly).  Purchasing 64bit Vista would be a bad choice for me personally with a new OS just around the corner.  And since the RC will be made available to the public at some point, it makes sense to give the new OS a try and to use that as a placeholder until the final product arrives on store shelves.

But nothing will ever prepare me for what I am about to go through.  Some software may not work.  And some devices may not work.  But that’s what I will have to deal with for the time being.  Fortunately, the underlying architecture of Windows 7 is similar to Vista so anything that can run on Vista is likely to run with minimal problem on Windows 7.  At least that’s the current theory of it all.

Ah, but there’s one thing I forgot to mention.  There are a few roadblocks that will prevent me from installing Windows 7.  The first is retaining data.  The second is timing.  My previous post mentions of a celebration going on Guild Wars at this very moment.  Everything will have to wait until I have finished sorting through all the new content and that I have successfully backed up all necessary files (importantly, my Call of Duty profile).  I do not know when I’ll finally flip the switch.  But I do know that I will run into some pain after freshly starting Windows 7 up.  Reinstalling games and software can be such a major pain in the ass.

No comments: