Windows 7 (Build 7000) still my main desktop OS

A quick update on Windows 7. I’m still using the version from MSDN, Build 7000.

Unfortunately, it will not let me report bugs for some reason, the “Send Feedback” link always fails to authenticate my Windows Live login. However, I do have a few issues and a few likes.

Issues with Windows 7

Possibly Windows 7 Beta Issues

  • Power options only shows 2 out of 3 std options
  • Creating new folder in all users (in explorer), creates new folder but doesn’t allow rename (says folder already in use) yet allows delete
  • Screen resolution seems to randomly reset to something lower (NVIDIA WDM driver). Often can’t be put back to native resolution again without either a reboot or lots of tries and messing. Often happens after UAC prompts, sleep and logon screensaver, also sometimes when plugging in an external monitor. Trying to reset often causes Windows to go to a LOWER resolution that it started with (1024×768 which seems to be some kind of default)
  • Some folders that are accessible from Windows Explorer main interface give “Access Denied” when accessed from file open/save dialogues
  • Windows update failed from behind ISA proxy when using a proxy.pac file even though IE was working OK
  • Send Feedback failed from behind ISA proxy (even though IE works OK) – both on proxy.pac and direct proxy setting – gives invalid username/password. Actually, this always fails no matter what, it is not just a proxy issue as far as I can tell
  • Windows Mobile 6.1 device not recognised (HTC Touch HD) (Workaround: Install Windows Mobile Centre for Vista)
  • Shift-Delete on a picked file does not always delete file (shift-RMB/Delete does)
  • Windows Explorer does not always refresh correctly (e.g. Duplicate file & group entry [grouped by date], files not removed after delete), clears after F5/Refresh. Sometimes the refresh is very slow (2-3 seconds)
  • Wmic command line tool does not work correctly. The examples in Technet do not work if you want to specify an output template. The templates are not in %systemroot%\system32\wbem (note that the example given in Technet incorrect has a leading \) as expected by wmic, instead they are in a sub-folder, .\en-US and wmic cannot find them. You cannot put in a path either it seems. Copying the template to the parent folder does work. Interestingly, the “files” in the sub-folder are actually linked to sub-folders of %systemroot%\winsxs. Reported via technet.

Fundamental Windows issues still around in Windows 7

  • Can’t temporarily or quickly show hidden files and folders (for admin) – have to use the sledge-hammer approach of changing the Explorer settings which means drilling down several menus (NB: There is a script someone has written to toggle this setting)
  • When files/folders in use, Windows still doesn’t say who or what is using them! (e.g. USB)
  • Non-resizable dialog boxes (e.g. Power options/Advanced Settings, Driver Installation, …) – Even IE8 suffers from this (e.g. Customize Toolbar)

    This really is unacceptable in the 21st century!
  • Disk Management still does not allow a partition (at least the boot one) to be moved. It can be shrunk and can expand if there is space AFTER it but not if the space is BEFORE it
  • Add/Remove programmes – this is an area that Linux has really triumphed over Windows. Windows still has no standard way of keeping applications up-to-date. Also ARP still doesn’t enforce proper clean-up of data (especially the registry). At least this process is vastly quicker than previously
  • Mouse wheel scroll actions are still inconsistent (though better than previously). Some apps, you have to click in a list before the wheel will scroll (e.g. Most native Windows dialogs – add/remove programmes, Explorer) & still scroll even when the mouse is not over the list, others (e.g. Office) need only have the parent window active and don’t scroll when the mouse is not over the list
  • Still cannot easily manage NTFS links (hard/soft/parse points) even though they have been natively supported since Windows/NT! Hint: Use Link Shell Extension (though see MKLINK command line tool as well)
  • Still cannot natively mount an ISO image file (even though VHD files are now supported). Still cannot create an image natively. At least you can burn an image to CD/DVD natively now.
  • It’s inconceivable that, in this day of multiple monitors, Windows still can’t have different backgrounds on different monitors. At least there are some handy Windows shortcuts now to move windows between monitors

So, if those are the issues, what about the likes?

What I like about Windows 7

  • It is fast! Certainly a lot faster than Vista (not hard). It’s quick to start up and shut down as well
  • Left hand pane of Windows Explorer is now much better organised
  • UAC not quite as intrusive (though see issues)
  • Task bar – wasn’t sure I would like this but it does work well
  • Explorer Libraries – Nice little tweak to Windows Explorer, adds the ability to add many folders to a virtual folder and set one of them as the default write location

Hmm, that seems as though I dislike Windows 7? Well actually that impression is wrong. Windows 7 really is what Vista should have been. Lets forget Vista shall we, it was a mistake rather like Windows ME.

I’m still using Windows 7 even though I do get some problems so that should say something. If Microsoft and other key partners – hello NVIDIA! – can get the final issues sorted out, this is going to be a crackingly good operating system for any PC built in the last five to ten years.

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