Windows 7 release date confirmed, Windows 7 observations and compatibility

Microsoft confirmed the release for Windows 7: October 22, 2009.  This falls in line with the earlier announcement that the operating system would be released ‘in time for the holidays’.  Microsoft says the RTM or ‘gold’ version will be released to Microsoft partners in the last two weeks of July.

Likewise, the Windows Server 2008 RTM code will be made available at the same time, day and date with Windows 7.

I’ve been using Windows 7 RC since it was available.  I’ve not yet experienced a blue screen of death.  Yes, I have had a few hiccups, but the operating system has not crashed.  The OS just works.  Admittedly, however, I am not totally in love with the entire OS.  My biggest issue with it is the personalization and video options.  It is not clear from the interface that dreamscene works.  For the last couple of weeks, I’ve not been able to change the background from the personalization menu.  It changes temporarily, but when I close the dialog, the wallpaper reverts back to what ever the current theme is.  I would like better control over the whole interface from this dialog rather than having to muck around with smaller popups.  And, by the way, why are the STILL Windows 95 style dialog boxes in the OS?  Why the hell can’t  Microsoft be consistent?  Sigh.  It is really, really irritating that they cannot seem to maintain the style throughout the bloody interface. 

One other area of concern, for me, is that of drivers.  While 7 will not have the same issue that plagued Vista’s early days, the problem for 7 is that Microsoft is requiring SIGNED drivers.  Right away, I discovered that several gamepad adaptors I have will not work under 7 because of this issue.  So, the USB adaptor that lets me use XBOX, GameCube or PS2 controllers as well as the one that lets me use N64 controllers, will not work since the drivers are not signed.  Strangely, the Logitech controller that I recently purchased-which has a signed driver-also does not work.  Logitech refuses to discuss the issue saying they do not support un-released operating systems.  Whatever.  It pretty much made my decision to not purchase any other Logitech products.  All they had to do was say they are working on the problem and would have something when the operating system is released.  The snarky attitude they seem to have adopted is an instant turn off. 

Nitpicks aside, Windows 7 is shaping up to be the best version of Windows since Windows 2000.  The interface is, for the most part, clean and functional.  Performance is superior to Vista and XP.  Stability is far better than XP.  The operating system’s weakest link, however, is compatibility.  At least, the 64 bit version’s compatibility is the weakest link.  Just about none of the 16 bit DOS games that I have will work.  Many of my older 16 bit Windows applications will not work.  Some of my old 32 bit apps have problems.  However,  the DOS stuff can be made to work via DOSBOX.  A kludge, yes, but it does work. And, really, most of the games have newer versions or just are not worth bothering with anyway.  As for the old 16 and 32 bit apps, most of them I have newer versions and the few that I don’t have a new version to replace them, I just use on one of my other computers, if I use them at all.  I have not found one application that I JUST HAD TO HAVE that would keep me from upgrading.

I will probably be one of the geeks standing in line on October 22 to pick up a copy of Windows 7.  I don’t plan to replace all of the copies of Vista in my house, but I do plan to upgrade my desktop to Windows 7.  Over time, I’ll probably upgrade my laptop and possibly my son’s laptop.  But, as good as it is, there is no real reason to replace Vista.  Vista also ‘just works’.

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