by Jin S. Kim
I remember back when Windows 3.1 just came out. I was in high school and working on Windows 3.0–simply a GUI on top of DOS. Windows 3.0 was simply terrible and slowed everything down, kind of like Vista. I had to get Windows 3.1 so I together with a couple of my geeky friends, split the cost three ways and purchased Windows 3.1 from Egghead. I was happy with Windows 3.1: it was much faster, the graphics was cooler and all was good in Saratoga. Fast forward about 20 years.
Windows 7 is Microsoft’s fix to Vista. Vista is like Windows 3.0: it slows machines and makes the whole experience of using a computer less exciting. You feel like you’re getting less work done and more work trying to fix the PC to make it work better with Vista. At least that’s what I did for about six months. After failing I went back to Windows XP Pro SP3. Now Windows 7 is out and reviews are saying that it is much faster than Vista. That’s great. Engadget just posted up a review of Windows 7 RTM (Release To Manufacturing). The UI looks quite pretty (thanks to the interesting backgrounds they used) and there really are some great features: quick display switching, Aero snap and shake, etc. But what got me completely discouraged was this:
Our worst experiences, however, were with a clean install to a quite modern netbook. The OS became increasingly unstable over time — Windows Explorer itself seemed to be the main culprit — and the machine eventually failed to boot entirely. Luckily, the Startup Repair utility managed to jump to the rescue and found a System Restore point that booted fine, though we lost the few customizations we’d made up to that point and were face with basically a fresh install again. It was nice of Windows 7 to recover itself so well, but we would obviously have preferred to not run into that issue in the first place.
That means Windows 7 is still Windows where after a long time of using it the system slowly gets worse and worse. Remember after I ditched Vista I went back to XP. And soon after going back to XP I went full blown over to OS X. I want to say that I’ve never looked back but I did. I tried to use Office 2008 on the Mac and I must say that the Mac Business Unit at Microsoft really don’t know what they are doing: Excel for Mac really sucks guys. So I installed XP on top of Parallels to run Excel. You would think it would be slower, but it is actually faster, much faster, than running the Mac version of Excel.
Back to Windows 7: it’s faster and prettier than Vista and has several snazzy features. But it’s the old Windows that eventually die on you. The Mac mini that we have has been running without a cold reboot for months without showing any signs that it is slowing down and about to crawl to a halt. I’ve heard from a friend of mine that there is a guy who has a full-time job at Dell and his main responsibility is to go around all the Windows Servers and hard reboot them after a set number of hours. Truth or fiction, I don’t know.