Hasta la Vista, baby: Ars reviews Windows 7.
Prologue: A troubled past
A bit less than three years ago, Windows Vista was officially launched after a long delay. The operating system brought a raft of long-overdue new features to the Windows platform to make it truly fit for hardware of the 21st century. In came a new graphics stack and sound stack, as well as significant security, networking, and storage changes.
The changes were all well and good—the graphics work in particular was essential to allow Windows to offer functionality equivalent to that found in Mac OS X for many years—but they came at a high cost. To take advantage of all the new features required the use of all-new Windows Vista hardware drivers. In the OS’s early days, these were often slow, unreliable, or simply non-existent. In spite of the extended development process and lengthy open beta, many vendors were apparently caught off-guard by Windows Vista’s release and its preference for new drivers, so they chose to ignore the new OS for many months.
I don’t have any plans to upgrade any of my Windows systems to Windows 7, but I will probably be forced to replace my five year old Micron laptop sometime during its lifespan.
There is one minor feature which got my attention:
The Problem Steps Recorder should be a boon for helpdesks everywhere. This simple tool lets you make a recording of the steps required to reproduce a problem (yeah, I guess the clue was in the name). The recording includes screenshots, system information, and optional annotations as necessary, and should do a good job of taking the guesswork out of supporting end-user problems.
Besides helpdesks, that would also be rather handy for QA.