As a Mac user and fanboy, it’s not easy to say this but Windows 7 is pretty damn cool. For a beta it’s remarkably stable and feature rich. Installation was unnaturally fast for a windows os – 30 minutes. However, add to that another 8 to download and install missing drivers. So far everything is showing innovation and an impressive amount of thought from Microsoft. Take for example the boot screen; it’s simple, it’s animated in full color, and it’s fast – even on a system that’s at least 3-4 years old. Microsoft is pushing simplicity with windows 7 in hopes of covering up the Vista problem, and they are doing a very good job at delivering it. The icon only taskbar was a particularly smart move in addition to those quick start menu things select programs have and what I consider to be most important, a drastically improved system tray. Remember how cluttered it could get in XP (and likely even more in Vista)? Well Microsoft has made a smart move in making icons only show up when a user explicitly states they are allowed to. New tray icons are banished to the more arrow, never to appear until they are granted permission to.
You may be wondering why I’m testing Win7 if I have a Mac. Well it’s because Windows still dominates the market and so therefore, I still have to use it daily at school and therefore wanted to get a first look at what’s coming. I also wanted to see if the guys up north are finally catching up to Apple and what osx can do. Microsoft is getting closer, but they still have a very long way to go. That said, Windows 7 beta build 7k gets a 8.7 out of 10 (hit hardest by the terrible control panel UI).