Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Windows 7: First Impressions

The Sunday before PDC, I was given the opportunity to join about 200 other journalists for a workshop on Windows 7. Lead by the dynamic (as well as unusually candid and often very self-effacing) duo of Mike Nash and Steven Sinofsky (surprisingly enough, he didn’t try to have me killed… sweet!), we were given a six hour tour of the much anticipated follow-up to Windows Vista. I didn’t know what to expect, and I walked away with the feeling I got after seeing Longhorn for the first time. yes, I believe it was just that good.

Is it Stable?
This is the #1 question I get when I talk about this build. And I’m happy to report, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” if you have not read Larry Osterman’s blog post over on Engineering 7, then you should read it, because it answers the question on how a “pre-beta” can maintain such a high quality bar. It is a *very* informative read.

What about UAC?
UACDefaultThat is the second question that people have asked thus far. The answer is, UAC has been tweaked on many fronts. You can now choose, in slider form, how much Windows 7’s UAC will interrupt you. There are now 4 options, which are as follows:

  • Never notify me
  • Only notify me when programs try to make changes
  • Always notify
  • Notify and wait for my approval

I have yet to be presented with a UAC prompt in over 24 hours… which is really nice. (Update: actually, I was prompted and I didn’t even know it, because UAC no longer grays-out the desktop anymore.)

What are you most excited about?
I’m really excited about Windows 7 as a whole, but I’ll run through the features that I’ll be covering more in-depth in my review that will be posted soon:

  • New Taskbar: You’ll hate it at first glance, but you’ll love it in 5 minutes.
  • HomeGroup: Simplified home networking. Allows you to easily discover documents and media on other Windows 7 computers on the network.
  • HomeGroup in Windows Media Center: SoftSled on crack.
  • Windows Media Center: Cleaner UI, DVD Library on by default, UI for adding Recorded TV folders.
  • Play To: Queue media on your library to play on any DLN A-compliant device in your home.
  • New Codec Support: h.264, DivX, XviD, non-FairPlay AAC.
  • Touch: The new touch features are simply amazing. Take that, Apple!
  • DirectConnect: VPN without the VPN
  • Wireless: Simplified WiFi connections, built-in mobile broadband stack, better Bluetooth pairing.

There is a LOT more to be excited about as well. I hope you keep it here as we begin this Windows 7 journey together. Enjoy the keynote!



  • Helios said:

    dude, I love the site. Enter it for the competition for the best Windows site:

    October 28, 2008 11:31 AM
  • Rob said:

    Ugh...I absolutely hate the look of the new taskbar. It's too tall, the icons are too large, and the whole thing just looks clunky. There is some interesting functionality in there, but visually it is a huge step backwards.

    October 28, 2008 11:56 AM
  • Bob said:

    Nice write up. Thx! Good to see that your initial impression is so positive.

    October 28, 2008 11:57 AM
  • bluvg said:

    VERY excited about DirectConnect... I had heard about it awhile back, but couldn't find a shred of info other than that all the tools needed pretty much already exist.  Can't wait to learn more about it.

    As for the taskbar... I wonder if the UI is completely finalized look-and-feel-wise.  For sure, someone in my office will want to go back to Win95 mode, even if I proved that they worked faster using it....

    October 28, 2008 1:30 PM
  • NickelGreen said:

    I must say that I'm quite happy with what I've seen at today's keynote. And VHD native support is cool and useful (about time...). From what I've seen and heard it will run smoothly on a 1GB betbook and that's cool since you consider it will support multiple monitors.

    October 28, 2008 2:33 PM
  • I thought it might be nice to do a little round-up of what folks are saying about Windows 7 after today

    October 29, 2008 3:07 AM
  •   I thought it might be nice to do a little round-up of what folks are saying about Windows 7 after

    November 11, 2008 12:51 PM
  • Not a crackhead said:

    So, being on crack is somehow a good thing? (HomeGroup in Windows Media Center: SoftSled on crack.)

    Guess where I can file this particular opinion (under "drug impaired"}

    November 26, 2008 6:29 PM