Stop the Noiz

My Windows 7 Launch Party

Frank Fox - 2009.10.23 - Tip Jar

I just had my Windows 7 launch party.

My friends had two questions: First, why was I doing it?

I explained how I sold my soul to Steve Ballmer for one party in exchange for a free copy of Windows 7.

The second question was how did I hear about it. Being a Mac person and all, they didn't understand why I knew about it and they didn't. Translation: They wish they had gotten Windows 7 for free.

Like I said before, telling everyone you got something for free when they didn't is a horrible way to start a party.

No Sales Pitch

You shouldn't feel too bad for my guests. I fed them, gave a brief show, and they were free in less than an hour. I did kind of feel like an Amway salesperson, but I wasn't actually selling anything. Everyone got a gift bag and coupons. Microsoft should have included a discount coupon for Windows 7 in the party pack, but it didn't.

The party had a few small surprises. First, I got the list of features that I talked about off the Microsoft website. People told me that half of these features were already available in Vista - gadgets, the Aero interface, Getting Started, etc.

Since I mostly still use XP, I didn't realize how little is actually different between Win 7 and Vista.

People Are Using Vista

The second surprise was how many people are using Vista. Several people that had multiple computers had Vista on at least one. Almost everyone had used Vista, even though I know that none of them have Vista at work. This showed consumer acceptance, while business acceptance is still lacking.

What people liked were the truly new features, like the preview window when you hover over an open item in the taskbar and XP Mode (which requires Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate). We generally got a laugh over the cutesy features like Aero Peek and Aero Shake.

The biggest hit was the snipping tool for taking pictures of different areas of the desktop. That was something that everyone could see a use for it.*

Getting S-l-o-w--e---r

The final surprise was that things started to slow down during my demo. I had XP Mode running, several open windows, and a half dozen other apps running. Opening a lot of windows and apps is usually not a big deal in Mac OS X. Either Win 7 is still a big resource hog or Boot Camp needs to be tuned up.

Everything worked with no crashes, but even after closing XP mode, the system was slow until I closed everything and started over.

To either Microsoft or Apple, you guys almost screwed up my demo for me. This is bad for Microsoft because, you need people to see Win 7 as less of a resource hog than Vista. This is bad for Apple, because it makes my MacBook seem like a wimp for not handling the load better. Somehow this needs to get fixed -and soon.

In the end, the party was fun. I learned a little about Win 7. I found it aggravating at times, but mostly it works like it should. I also found lots of great freeware, like OpenOffice, GIMP, AVG Antivirus, Picasa, etc. - enough free software that I didn't miss Apple's iLife programs or Microsoft Office.

I'll even miss some Win 7 features when switching back to Mac OS X.

Honestly, the worst thing about switching to Windows 7 was remembering to use the Control key instead of the Command key to enter keyboard shortcuts.

The most fun thing was just surprising everyone by having Windows 7 running on a Mac. LEM

* Editor's note: Macs have has a screen capture keystroke (Cmd-Shift-3) forever, and a resizable partial screen capture (Cmd-Shift-4) at least as far back as Mac OS 8, which was released in 1997. dk

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