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It was literally 2 weeks ago that I upgraded from XP to Windows 7, all because I need to be able to test websites. I’d been using XP virtualised for some time but was getting frustrated with it’s lack of support for certain software.. it was time to upgrade. It wasn’t as painless as I’d hoped, and had to jump through some stupid hoops, like figuring out why I can’t activate windows upgrade when I did it as a fresh install (it’s running in a VM! I don’t want to install XP and upgrade it on disk!). Still the internet has smart people telling others how to solve their problems and that one was overcome.
I’m not writing this as a review as such, just a little bit on my recent experience, but making a ‘switch’ back to windows, even if it’s literally an Alt+Tab away from my OSX, has been a bit of a confusion.
I don’t know where I’d class myself in computer users. I’ve been using computers since I was small, built a few (in the lego sense) and maintained my own for years. I think I was using XP heavily before my switch, and actually found moving to OSX a great improvement. Being in the technology world, there’s a lot you miss out on if you’re sticking to your platform guns. It’s hard to find a decent UK accounting software for Macs and a whole lot of other things too. I don’t often run up against difficulties in my day to day life, but it’s always good to know what else there is. I want to use the best tool for the job.
So enter Windows 7 (very much later than it’s release I know).. what does it feel like to a regular Mac user? Well not too bad actually. I can’t talk about performance since it’s virtualised at the moment, but interface has been a bit of getting used to. I have found myself digging around trying to figure out if something’s been installed. It seems to work a lot heavier on it’s start menu shortcuts and “intelligently” selecting what it thinks should and shouldn’t go there depending on what you use regularly.
Still one of my main interests was putting Visual Studio on it and playing a bit with silverlight. I was writing a post about that but it’s not really detailed enough since I’ve not spent any time with silverlight as yet, but it’s the platform to develop Microsoft Pivot, so I’m interested to see what’s going on there. I’d also be interested in trying to make something that does similar with jQuery and HTML5 data storage, but that’s another story for a deeper researched post.
There’s not really much striking about Windows 7 to me. The interface is pretty, and sometimes pretty confusing. I don’t really find it easy to navigate the control panel, things seem to be buried in a few levels of shiny whizzy buttons, but I’m sure that’ll come with time. It definitely feels like a big step up from XP in classic mode. I never liked the XP look, it always made me feel like Tomy’s my first computer.. the classic interface was far better, but 7 blows it away.
What I’d really like to do is review some software at some point, relating my differences to the mac equivalent. I remember being really frustrated that Windows has windows.. as you’d expect, while mac programs have a slightly different metaphor. If you take Photoshop for example, the Windows version I used to use had a lovely “double click the background to open” feature.. the Mac version has a “oops I clicked something other than photoshop, switch to that program”, which depending on the particular circumstance is not always what you actually want to happen.
Frustrations aside, it’s healthy to try new things, Windows 7 is a new toy of mine, although I have a feeling it’ll be getting a bit dusty aside from it’s original cross platform testing purpose..