I’ve been using Windows 7 beta as my primary OS for about a week now. So far it is a great OS. When I booted up I didn’t have a single device that was missing a driver. There were even a few driver updates available through Windows Update which was surprising. One of the biggest changes is the task bar. When you first get into Windows 7 there are a few icons that look like your standard quick launch icons. When you click on one you expect a new task bar item to appear, instead what you get is a square around the icon to let you know there is a window open. If you have a second window open (or a second tab open in IE) a second square shows up under the first one and a third adds if you open another window (see image below). When you hover your mouse over the icon you then get to see a preview of the window you want to open. It’s great eye candy but it is a little more time consuming to select the window you want.
Another cool feature in the task bar is the right click menu on IE and the Windows Explorer button. When you right click IE you get a list of sites you’ve visited recently giving you the ability to easily get to where you want to be in a single click. The same goes for the Explorer button, when you right click you get a list of recently opened folders making the folders you visit a lot much easier to get to.
I installed a lot of the applications that I use on a regular basis and they all nearly work perfectly. I’ve installed Firfox 3.05, NVU, VLC, Combat Arms and Skype. After I installed Skype I got a message from Windows letting me know there is a compatibility issue and it offered a suggestion for me. It said to download the newest Skype beta, so I did and it works wonderfully. Combat Arms runs a little slow in Windows 7 and I suspect that is mostly due to drivers which I don’t expect to be fully functioning until after the OS is fully released.
This being a beta I am very surprised at the stability of the OS. I have been using it for a week and have only had to restart the OS twice, each time was because the Task Manager would freeze up on me. Other than that I feel like I am using a finally finished version of Windows Vista.