Windows 7 is finally here. Will it redeem Microsoft’s Vista-tarnished image? All indications are that it will. The hardware driver issues that plagued Vista won’t recur, for the simple reason that Windows 7 reuses the same deep plumbing code that Vista did, and after nearly three years, the incompatibilities have actually been ironed out. In other words, most of the drivers already exist. Microsoft has also remedied the other two big complaints about Vista: its bloat and those obnoxious User Account Controls. While the trend has long been for new OSes to be bloated with new goodies, Windows 7 actually performs better and takes up less disk space than its predecessor. Long story short: I like Windows 7 a lot, and with its new taskbar, user interface, and home networking enhancements, PCMag.com gives the new OS the thumbs up.
The new streaming media functionality, together with Windows 7’s new taskbar, Device Stage, HomeGroup networking, and XP Mode make this Windows far more than a service pack for Vista—though the two operating systems share much underlying plumbing. That means we haven’t seen the compatibility hassles we saw with Vista. But Windows 7’s lighter system footprint makes for faster start-up and slightly faster performance. Cap all this with rock-steady reliability, and Microsoft may just have a winner.
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