Hell must have frozen over! Pigs must be flying in the sky! The dead must be walking in the streets! Chaos! Mayhem! Anarchy! Windows 7!
While I would normally not touch anything MS without a 10 yard pole, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Windows 7. Then today, a friend of mine who works for Microsoft (and shall remain nameless) asked me if I’d like to give Windows 7 a try. Being naturally curious about things like this, I thought that I’d give it a go to see what the fuss is all about.
Since I did not have any machine that met the minimum requirements for Windows 7 except for my main machine, I decided to install it inside a virtual machine instead. I ran a VM with 1Gb of RAM and 16Gb of hard disk space as the minimum requirements suggested. The installation took a very long time to finish but in the end, it only consumed about 6Gb of disk space.
My host machine is a dual-core AMD64 processor with 2Gb of memory. To make things run fast, I enabled hardware based virtualisation, which uses the VT extensions of the AMD processor to run things faster. What this means in layman terms is that I made the VM run as fast as I could, without purposely trying to degrade its performance in any way. During the install process, I took many screen shots of the virtual screen.
While I have yet to actually play with it fully, I think that it is safe to say that there are already visible pros and cons with the new OS. The main pro is that it does seem to boot fairly quickly and the interface feels responsive. The main con is that the user unfriendly-ness of Vista is still evident. As for the new look and feel of the OS, that is a very subjective thing to measure.
One thing that I do not understand about Windows is its inherent affinity towards rebooting the computer. During the installation process, it rebooted the VM several times. When it installed updates, it rebooted the VM again. Seriously, MS should think of a way to do these things without the unnecessary reboot. As other OSes have shown, it is perfectly possibly to do things without rebooting all the time.
It is good for me to know that Windows 7 will run on a lowly 2D graphics processor, which is what the VM emulates. Actually, with the VM, I was able test that it will happily boot up with only 128Mb of memory, although it uses a lot of disk space as swap and trashes the performance greatly. With only 64Mb, the dreaded ‘blue screen of death’ makes an appearance. It is good to see that some things do not change.
Okay, enough griping. Here are the screen shots.