Windows 7: A day 7 scorecard

Here's what people are loving and hating about Windows 7

It's been almost a week since Windows 7's official launch, and a ton of information and opinion is out there surrounding Microsoft's latest operating system. On the one hand, you have positive reports of Windows 7 helping extend battery life, installed on new PCs with less crapware, and offering a more intuitive interface. But users are also complaining about annoying issues like delayed driver support for peripheral hardware and upgrade bugs.

Here's what people are loving and hating about Windows 7:

Longer Battery Life

Microsoft -- and users -- are talking about claims of improved battery life when using Windows 7. Joakim Lialias, Intel's Microsoft alliance manager recently wrote a blog post discussing the chip company's deep involvement in optimizing Windows 7 performance on laptops. Lialias claims that Intel and Microsoftwere able to extend the battery life of an unspecified laptop by 1.4 hours.

PC World's own Windows 7 performance tests, however, did not find such a dramatic increase in laptop battery life. Fifteen minutes was the best performance improvement we found. That may not be much of an improvement, but it might give you time to finish a movie before your laptop dies on you.

Crapware Begone!

One of the more annoying points about buying a new Windows PC is presence of annoying crippled programs called craplets or crapware, which are often preinstalled on a new computer. Crapware can include trial versions of software and special offers thrown onto your new system by computer manufacturers. While harmless, getting these applications off your new system becomes an annoying and unnecessary chore. Apple even made a "Get A Mac" commercial touting the Mac's lack of crapware.

Microsoft has finally decided to take matters into its own hands when it comes to these annoying programs. Microsoft's online and new retail stores sell a line of computers called "Signature PCs" that come crapware-free, according to Tech Flash. CNET is also reporting that Microsoft worked with manufacturers to get rid of any crapware apps that were slowing down the overall performance of Windows 7 computers. That doesn't mean crapware is gone for good, but Microsoft may be trying to bring this annoying habit under control.

The new crapware policy may also be improving startup times on a system that PC World found to be a little bit faster than Vista.

Tastes Like XP

XP users may have difficulty upgrading to Windows 7, but once everything is up and running many pewindows 7ople are saying the transition to the new user interface isn't that bad.

CNET's Ina Fried's personal experience illustrates this best when she took her 92-year-old Aunt Hilda to get a new computer. Aunt Hilda, according to Fried, has made the transition quite easily and the nonagenarian says the experience isn't that different from XP. That was not the common experience of users upgrading from XP to Vista.

Dang Drivers

Compatibility was a big complaint when it came to Windows Vista. Not wanting to repeat that experience, Microsoft has made the process more stringent for approving third-party drivers for peripheral hardware like printers and scanners. That's good news in the long run, but in the short term, some users are still waiting for Windows 7 drivers to run their existing equipment.

Endless Reboots

Starting last Friday, some Vista users trying to upgrade to Windows 7 found their computers stuck in an endless reboot cycle. Computerworld reports that as of Tuesday afternoon, Microsoft engineers still didn't have a fix for the problem. However, some users are suggesting you might escape the endless cycle by booting your computer off your old Windows Vista install disk, and following the instructions posted by forum user "su airodump-ng -c" towards the bottom of this forum thread.

Upgrade Issues, MIA E-mail, Gamers

Rounding out the complaints are other well-documented upgrade problems like the Windows 7 Student Edition issue that has been resolved. A new complaint that has popped up is the fact that Windows 7 does not come with Windows Live Mail preinstalled. Windows Live Mailwas a replacement program rolled out in 2007 to replace Outlook Express in XP and Windows Mail in Vista. To get the program, you must download it directly from Microsoft's Website. It's admittedly a minor issue, but some people were unhappy enough to write about it.

Finally, there are the gamers who say they have been left out of the Windows 7 hoopla. PC World's Matt Peckham and Darren Gladstone have both noted that Microsoft needs to pay more attention to the world of PC gaming under Windows 7, as it did with Windows Vista.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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