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Windows 7 beta testers, how do you like it and why?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / January 16, 2009 4:34 AM PST

For Windows 7 beta testers, how do you like it and why?

-- I like it. (Please give us some highlights.)
-- I'm not sure how I feel yet. (Please explain.)
-- I don't like it. (Please explain why.)
-- I installed it, but I haven't explored enough to tell yet.

Beta testers, please share with us a glimpse of your world using Windows 7 Beta. How does it compare to Vista or even XP, is it better, worst, or about the same? What can you tell us about this OS and it's features? Do any of these features stand out--visual enhancements, performance, widgets, etc...? Overall, tell what you think... We're all ears.

Thanks for sharing!
-Lee

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My opinion
by FrankQC / January 16, 2009 5:57 AM PST

Well.

Windows sure does look a lot better than Vista and XP (in my opinion).
I virtualised it using VMware Workstation and it worked (except for the internet). I tried to use the internet and didn't work.. missing drivers which I was unable to find.

It is faster and manages resources a lot better than Vista. My Vista uses a lot of memory, and windows 7 (with 1.5GB RAM config) was taking ~440MB of memory, which is outstanding compared to Vista.

The customization was also redefined and easier to navigate. More options are available in the lists.

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VERY CURIOUS TO TRY
by GUARDIANANGEL822 / January 16, 2009 12:39 PM PST
In reply to: My opinion

I was viewing an article directing me to the new Windows 7 Beta version for downloading, But what kept me from jumping full speed ahead was the warning that it would be fesable to download this beta version onto another computer in the event something should go astray, and it recommended to do a full backup. I have more than enough memory and drive space to do this and with dual processors on board, I feel I can handle the demand, But I live for my internet and another downloader said he / she lost that function in the beta download. I currently have Vista home basis and I am 80% happy with it's performance, even though I " must " run a smart defragmentation program in the background an set my Windows care pro program to automatically clean and optimize constantly, and I have registry cure as a back up. You would be astonished the file /application and missing registry keys that are being alligned and optimized within a 24 hour period. Furthermore, I do not want to lose everything in the process of expierimenting with Windows 7 at the expense of grasping at new features and not being able to get back to a functional Vista in the event of a crash of the Beta version. I love to tweek and pital around with new technology, and I am an advance computer user, I just want reassurance that if I jump full speed ahead with this Beta version, will I be able to restore my Vista and should I download within my main drive or try a partician. Vista was very unstable when I purchased it and now I have reasonable control over it's performance. Feel free to have anyone with technical expertise reply to me, John at jhaskins75@comcast.net

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worried about need to backup...
by Striker / January 16, 2009 1:13 PM PST
In reply to: VERY CURIOUS TO TRY

um, you should be backing up regularly anyway. And advice to back up prior to an OS install is just good sense (whether a 'repair', a reinstall or an install).
Anyway, it is certainly 'recoverable' as I had problems the first go round and it just reinstalled Vista. If you like Vista, I think you will love W7. If you hate Vista...I think you will love W7. Yes it is that good - and it is only a Beta.
Now the only problem will be in August when you either buy W7 or go back...then you will need to restore Vista and you should save any files created/modified to a backup (7Zip for example) in case that goes wrong.

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seperate Hard Drive
by inhimjim / January 16, 2009 11:59 PM PST
In reply to: VERY CURIOUS TO TRY

Why not take your HDD out and pop in a new one for Windows 7 trial. They sell very cheap now. Thats what i'm doing on my laptop. I have video driver issues so far with 7 and when I want to play my game I just pop the Vista HDD in and go. and there is NO chance of messing it up playing with 7 as it is physically not connected when I'm working wih 7

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Thank you
by GUARDIANANGEL822 / January 17, 2009 12:08 AM PST
In reply to: seperate Hard Drive

I considered that option, but I have some maxtor ata drives available and some are new, but I discovered my Dell inspiron 530 does not use the ATA drive configuration, I believe it uses the sata version and the connector configuration and pin placements are different. That is why I requeast the possibility of performing a dual boot on the same Hard Drive.....Please respond, Thank you, John

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Dual Boot
by Nomadica / January 17, 2009 3:31 AM PST
In reply to: Thank you

I have a Dell Inspiron 1720 to which I run Vista. When I downloaded W7 I put it onto my D drive with no problems at all. If you dpo not have a secondary drive you will have to partition it first. If you have an existing one you are set. any info that may be on the D drive will be saved as Windows.Old. Then if you wish to revert back to the old contents on D drive one just reverts back to Vista. Hope this helps Guardian Angel

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conflict
by GUARDIANANGEL822 / January 17, 2009 6:25 AM PST
In reply to: Dual Boot

The downloading process of the ISO file completed, and by design, you now must burn it to a dvd disk. Great so far!!! until my burning software, roxio media creator does not reconize my on board dvd burner and states " no drive detected ". This is beginning to frustrate me. When you download the beta software, its logo is the same as roxio and I downloaded the file to my documents and then open the file and it immediately opened roxio, even when I defaulted the open programs to Windows write / burn feature. I have a dell inspiron 530. with the tssp DVD-RW-CD_ROM drive. Is it a possibility that this is just a read only dvd drive. It accepted the burn of the first beta download I attempted, but when I try to download to my hard drive, again Roxio CD creators appears....

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Great so far
by Wispa65 / January 27, 2009 10:53 PM PST
In reply to: seperate Hard Drive

I have used this beta for some time now. I personally find it to be alot more stable than Vista. I must add that i had now issues with my Vista Ultimate. It worked like a dream for me. Anyways everything that i used in Vista i am using in Windows7. Since this is a beta for testing, i decided to test on all levels i now how. While i may not be as verse as some you guys, i know enough to probably save myself some mistakes. With that said i decided to upgrade through vista instead of doing a clean install (did a backup first ofcoarse). Since the final product will provide this option i thought why not? After all we are testers aren't we? The process od upgrading is painfully slow i must note. Approximately 2hrs!!! Insane. But once it was finished and i rebooted, i flowed like water. I honestly had only one problem so far, even that i find is very minor. My mouse pointer jumped to other position on the screen sporadically every now and again..but straighened that out. I currently have Windows 7 dual booted with Win XP Pro. Everything worked and continue to work fine for me. Less comsumption of resources. Sweet! I am running this beta flawless on a system with Sempron 3400+(1.8GHz) 1 gig ram, XFX nvidia 9800gt(WMMD win7 beta drivers) 250 gig HDD. And no problems so far. Even my games run alot better than on vista. This is a great beta and i am excited for the final product. I think MS is on the right track with this one.

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Been burned installing new OS so ..
by paisano44 / January 17, 2009 8:17 AM PST
In reply to: VERY CURIOUS TO TRY

I have had my computer crash will installing Ubuntu and other operating system so I take now take the greatest care in installing beta programs. While you can install Windows 7 in a new partition in your drive. I would not do it this way because when the beta runs out it will not longer be useable and you will not easily get back to your prefered operating system without going through a few extras steps.

I have XP Pro and Vista on my computer put I installed them in separate drive while I had the drive with my XP Pro disconnected. I have a brand new Compaq w/ 64 bit capabilities. It came with Vista installed and I hated it! I made completelyr removed the, well that is another story in itself ... But let me tell you that Windows 7 is a lot better so it is worth giving it a spin.

To be on the safe side I would put it on completly separate drive that has nothing of value on it. Then I would connect all drives back and use the BIOS on your sytem to determine what drive you would want to boot. That is if your regular operating system is on Drive C, than boot to C. If you want to boot Windows 7 and it is on drive "X", than boot off driv "X".

Hope that this helps. I been burned many time by just installing programs and operating system without thinking the whole process through!

Regards,
Rich

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Change for change sake...
by FinGif / January 17, 2009 8:18 AM PST
In reply to: My opinion

The GUI so far seems to be a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. All the moving around of tasks controls in the GUI for what appears to be no good reason. I don't like the fact that Microsoft seems to be shifting to a new model; Windows as a service. I have been taking Ubuntu Linux for a test drive and the more I use it the more I like it, and the less I like Windows (Vista or 7).

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Great OS - A major improvement.
by mlf1142 / January 26, 2009 12:06 PM PST
In reply to: My opinion

I had an extra HDD for my Inspirion 6000 to install Win7, thus was definitely a clean install (only took 20 min) and easy operation.

If I want to go back and forth between XP-PRO SP2 and Win7 is to do a HD swap - just easy for me to do it this way.

Then, just added the drivers for hdwe that Win7 didn't recognize and was on my way to test this 'bad boy' out.

So far, all of the 3rd party programs that I installed worked great (even old DOS programs that one can use the CMD line in the "RUN" box - which I only find discomforting that there was no "start/run" box with Win7 .. had to find it..) and had no problems with them.

Only gimp that I have is IE8. To make it short: do download Firefox 3.05 for you'll find a lot better browser than "8" can ever be. Even Google's Chrome is better than IE8...on my other HDD, I'm just using IE6.

Yet, in all: Win7 is a definitely blessing over VISTA (Just like ME against Win2k..a blessing)

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I love it
by Jonmor68 / January 16, 2009 6:07 AM PST

I like new taskbar, much easier to see icons for us oldies.
Some are complaining about not having a sidebar, me, I prefer it this way as I can place the items I want see regularly where I want, without having to move what I?m doing out of the way.
The system is less intrusive and a pleasure to use.
Installation was a breeze, it only took 25 minutes from boot to use.
Everything that was connected was working from word go. The only correction required (though working) was my pci SATA controller card needed the driver installed, it had a yellow sticker attached.
When you want to check something simple like hardware devices, you no longer need to go nuts giving permissions.
I liked Vista, never had a problem with it, but I like W7 even more. I will be upgrading.

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I'm lovin' it
by beerman55448 / January 16, 2009 9:57 AM PST

I am running 7 on an old XP machine with only 1GB of ram and a single core processor. It runs faster on it than XP ever did.

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re xp machine
by HJBartz / January 27, 2009 11:56 PM PST
In reply to: I'm lovin' it

what are the specs for the machine ie cpu etc?

here's my config:

AMD AthloneXP running at 1.7g
MB ?? (dont know - machine was salvage - haven't checked - nothing on MB)
768mb mem DDR1 (Win 7 tells me there's 1.0 gig)
40gb hdd ide
DVD/CD burner combo
CD Rom (Win7 recognised both by brand name)
OnBoard sound (VIA)
ATI Radeon 9000 + TV-out and DVI graphics card (not recognised by Win7)
Intel Pro 10/100 NIC
WIN7 32bit

on home network of 4 machines connected through 10/100 hub and then through 2wire adsl modem to the internet.

Installation (clean install) was flawless and was all done in about one half hour if that.

You're right Win7 is pretty fast even on my old equipment.

Problems:

occasional bsod - goes into self-repair mode and then tells me its found new hardware (non-existing cd rom)

No 3D hardware accelleration (dont really need it - not a games machine)

I realise WIN 7 is only a test beta but, come on, in XP we had a preview of updates to be installed and the choice of installing or not installing any particular up-dates. THAT'S MISSING IN WIN 7. I noticed that tonight's updates were all updates for Office 2007 - guess what - I dont have office 2007 installed - so now now i've got crap taking up space on my hard drive.

Where's the button bar in windows explorer?

IE8 frequently refuses to shut down

Hate the Windows Explorer layout

Other Software running on machine:

MS Visual Studio Express Editions (all) plus MSDN Library Express
Windows Live mail and messenger
Flashget (downloads slower on this machine than on my XP machines)
Kapersky Antivirus and firewall
DirectX 9.0c

All in all Win 7 runs fairly fast on my machine - will I buy it when it is finally released? Probably not. It will depend on price and whether or not I can afford to build a new computer to accommodate Win 7 or if someone writes some drivers for the non-supported graphics cards.

(ps: they must be a bunch of sourpusses at MS - sheesh, they taken out the cheat in Freecell - aw come on fellows!)

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Some needed help
by GUARDIANANGEL822 / January 28, 2009 11:15 AM PST
In reply to: re xp machine

Two things you must try! Access your Compatibility mode, You will be surprised that this will make 98% of your programs perform as they did in XP and Vista. You can access this feature at the bottom of your window pane in the task bar. The icon looks like a flag on a pole, secondly, Internet explorer is still under construction, wheather it be the beta 2 edition...Try Fire fox 3, you will have no problems and it has great speed and performance and will not crash or hang up. Remember, All Beta version are for testing and Since Microsoft was generous to let us computer geeks have the Beta version for free, Well, what more can I say..Hang in there, It will only get better..

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I'm not sure how I feel yet
by rgfitz / January 16, 2009 10:38 AM PST

I really haven't been able to get it installed properly. I thought my DVD was bad but I can install it to Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 SP1 so the DVD must be good. It looks interesting.

I tried to install to an external SATA hard drive (Vista upgrade mode first and then clean install mode the second time) and it gets all the way to "Completing Installation..." and apparently hangs up about two-thirds of the way through. I let it sit there an hour until my cursor hangs and there is no activity showing on my HD indicator. Then I give up and roll back the install.

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I had the same problem my first try...
by Striker / January 16, 2009 12:40 PM PST

...what seemed to work was uninstalling Virus scanner (Clamwin) and Daemon tools. Daemon tools was for sure causing problems, and I just thought the AV might interfere too.
Basically I used msconfig to shut down all my 'likely' problem programs and the install went fine (upgrade from Vista). Then just start 'reactivating' startup programs one at a time). It took about 2 hours (this is not a fast machine...lenovo C200), but then was fine. In terms of AV, there are 3 approved. I had no luck with AVG (initially worked fine, but following an update, it started crashing windows). Norton 360 is working, but it kind of sucks (AVG was fast when it was working). I might try a newer version of daemon tools (was using 4.5 lite), though I don't really need it on this machine.

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Microsoft Got it Right!!!
by iceman55 / January 16, 2009 12:12 PM PST

I upgraded from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Beta. Figured I would lose software and hardware. I lost absolutely nothing. Everything worked. Totally opposite from when I upgraded to Vista.

Some of the highlights:
- Control Panel is easier to work with. No more 3 or 4 clicks to get where you want. It is all right there after you click Control Panel
- CPU temperature is about 3 to 4 degrees cooler
- Taskbar displays programs with just an icon and easier to preview what is open in each program
- Network and wireless setup is easier

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I like W7
by SlamX / January 16, 2009 12:18 PM PST

I like it for two reasons. Networking and sharing are easier than Vista. I also found it easier to navigate than Vista which saves time learning a new OS. It looks very similar to Vista but somehow is just easier to use.

Has a few bugs but that's normal for a beta.

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Windows7 ...Not convinced as yet
by bakgeo / January 16, 2009 12:37 PM PST

Great graphics, cool gadgets, Installed in jig time....BUT.The install didn't give me the option of setting up my network. Had a devil of a time trying to find where to change the 'workgroup'. I installed on a gigabyte k8nnxp m/b. No drivers for the gigabit ethernet on board, no drivers for the RAID controller, no drivers, unknown device. Tried running the setup for these from the m/b CD....Setup crashed each time.
I concur with control panel settings...it's all there. I don't like windows explorer, though, I find it really cumbersome. Much the same as Vista. What's operating so far is really fast. So the upshot of it all..Still working on it. Oh yes, one other thing, whenever I tried to send feedback, I couldn't get to the web site, and it always came up with the standard window, nothing tied to the errors that I had gotten, so that I had to retype the errors/codes manually.

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I think it does give you that option
by 7aji88 / January 17, 2009 2:50 AM PST

At the final stages of the setup, it will prompt you to create a library sharing or something like that. I'm not sure if that's the new network workgroup thing. It worked fine with my Vista running laptop, but not with my other XP machines.

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can't stop using it
by nate625 / January 16, 2009 12:39 PM PST

I decided to install win7 on my laptop which is a Hp Presario C500, 1.8GHz, with 512 Ram, thinking the OS wouldn't even run on it. Vista ran really slow on it so I used xp. Windows 7 installed quickly and no additional drivers were needed. (Never had that happen before!) IE8 is very fast. Installed some apps, games, firewall, and anti-virus from my xp desktop with no issues either.
Very impressive!

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Couldn't tested it
by lizardo_manson / January 16, 2009 12:43 PM PST

I tried to test Vista 7 but in the middle of the installation a BSOD appears, and that's every time i try to do a clean installation or in Windows installation., couldn't find help yet about the problem, too bad :/.

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Windows 7 -- feels good.
by donwyner / January 16, 2009 12:47 PM PST

I really didn't have enough time to test all the features of Win 7. But, for a user like me, advanced home and IT consulting work, it feels good. I never really adjusted to Vista. I loaded 7 in MIcrosoft Virtual PC and everything worked right the first time. I just found the GUI to be very natural for me.

On the other hand, would I switch from XP? No. I don't see 7 doing anything that I need that would incentivate me to take the risk of an upgrade. I can be happy with XP for a long time.

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OK, but hesitant
by cps / January 16, 2009 9:35 PM PST

Like Donwyner, I tested Win7 and found it nice. I installed clean on a spare 3Ghz system with 1G RAM and no problems with installation or drivers. It appears smoother than Vista, which after 7 months, I still despise. I would like to think that Microsoft finally did something right, but history dictates I feel otherwise. XP has finally become very stable. If history proves to be true, Win7 will be as stable as XP when XP released; and that ain't good!

I'll stick with XPP for now. Maybe in a couple years and let someone else do the bleeding for a change, and then switch.

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so far...love it.
by Striker / January 16, 2009 1:04 PM PST

running much faster than Vista on my lenovo 3000 C200 (1.73MHz Celeron M430,1GB DDR2 ram; i945GM video - which does allow Aero).
although it takes a bit of getting used to, the new task bar is awesome. being able to pin to it (and there is a hack for those who want to add quickstart - but the new bar has that beat). It can be placed on any edge (not new) and it works like it was supposed to be there (which is new, it usually ended up looking and acting weird on the sides).
of course there are a few nits to pick. my Canon MP160 printer can't be recognized, but a really old HP printer (PSC1200) on the network can be. this is a driver issue and should have been working fine...still trouble shooting it. part of the problem is the way that W7 adds USB printers (auto upon connection - or power on, I suppose). Ah, the joys of beta testing.
I think that Morro should have been released or at least a 'trial' of OneCare - though that isn't one of the 'approved for W7' antivirus solutions (AVG, Kaspersky and Norton 360 are). You would need to buy one if you didn't already have a license.
AVG worked fine for a couple of days, then started crashing Windows after it updated yesterday. I then installed 360 v3Beta (a 30 day trial? for a beta AV on a beta OS - they should be giving it away until August...like W7).
I will probably go back to winclam after 360 as I have no need to beta test antivirus while I beta test an OS.

Overall...as much better than Vista as XP was better than W3.1. If you can, skip Vista and go straight to W7; you won't regret it.

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beta
by midniteslice / January 16, 2009 2:16 PM PST

Okay, I don't use windows. I haven't used windows since XP first came out. I do however, run virtual machines with both XP and Vista (I find it's easier to fix an issue when i'm at least familiar with the OS). I was recently given a laptop, I don't need it, so i decided to play with various aspects of windows. First I used Vista (yes, the laptop is very vista capable), and when the 7 beta came out, I installed it. Thus far, i have decided that Vista is trash. Windows 7, although Vista on the inside, has some very neat new features, and runs a sight better than Vista on the same laptop. In my very humble opinion, Microsoft did a decent job of streamlining the OS itself, they did a decent job with the UI but, again, in my opinion I feel that the biggest holdback is NTFS. Instead of trying to fix Vista and calling it Windows 7, I think they should have started at the bottom and revamped their file system.
This is just my opinion. heh

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Windows 7...So-So
by Nomadica / January 16, 2009 3:17 PM PST

Having downloaded Windows 7 and installed it on my D drive a week ago my first impressions was a clean but similar boot screen to Vista. For those thinking on Windows 7 be patient. At the present time there is not really too much to get excited about.

I must admit there does not seem to be as many conflicts with drivers etc. as there was when I tested Vista before its official release. This was a big draw back for Vista Beta Testers. In this respect it is good to see MS has addressed this problem before Beta testing 7.

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I love it.
by lvance2009 / January 16, 2009 3:18 PM PST

I have a hp450 n computer about 4 years old,with 2 gigs of ram. A ati x1300 258 meg video card. A 3.0 ghz ht processor. And I used xp never Vista. I downloaded the beta and fell in love. It is running my games great. (I am a avid gamer) I totally love the interface.

The ease of use is awesome.

The only problem i have had so far is Had to install from inside of xp. It wouldn't do a clean install no matter what. So i formated did a clean xp then put on windows 7.0 and it takes your old operating system and sticks it as bak and then u can delete it. \

I love the bottom bar no more maximizing web pages you got minimized to find the one you was working on.
I love the sticky notes you can put on screan.
I even enjoy internet explore 8.0 pinning favorite web sites saves me alot of time.
I do not know a thing about Vista , so no clue what was part of it or not.
But i definately will be buying Windows 7.0 when it releases.

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Downloaded and ready to install
by yosemite003 / January 16, 2009 3:31 PM PST

I have the Beta but I have my taxes that I'm in the middle of
therefore I won't run 7 until I push them out of the way. Hope to
get this done in the next week or two and then I'll get back to
you. But from what I have been able to learn so far there should be
no great transition problem. Once in place plan to use it with my
Graphics and general photo-restoration.

yosemite003

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