I never thought I'd get around to saying this (especially so early in its lifetime), but Windows 7 is really starting to appeal to me. Over the past few days, both Gizmodo and Lifehacker have been showcasing some of the cool new features. Several have caught my eye:
- The New Taskbar
- The new taskbar inside of Windows 7 looks great. Gone is the separation between the quick-launch menu and the standard list of task buttons. Instead, the two have been merged into one entity; very clever! However, I wonder what it's like with a large number of icons. I'm a huge quick-launch user and couldn't live without it. For instance, here on my laptop, I've got 28 icons at my disposal, with another 7 squirreled away in a sub-menu. The screenshots at the Gizmodo story only show the large icons in use. At those sizes, my taskbar would clearly take up a lot of screen real estate. Hopefully, the icon sizes are either settable via a preference or scale down on the fly.
- 20 New Themes
- Windows 7 ships with a total of 20 themes, all of which look fantastic. This will be a welcome change from the 3 ugly themes in XP.
- Problem Steps Recorder
- Being able to create a web-based slideshow of a problem recreation scenario is awesome. My only fear is that, if it's like any other web-based stuff Microsoft has done, the resulting HTML is bloated, ugly, inaccessible, and devoid of validation.
- Improved File in Use Messages
- Knowing exactly why a file is in use is totally rad. Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?
Improved performance looks like it will be making its way to Windows 7, another great reason to look forward to the new OS. The sound virtualization introduced in Vista is a great feature, and one I wish existed in XP.
With all of these great new features, there are still a few things I'm apprehensive about. The graphical intensity of it all still seems ridiculous, especially the 'Aero Peek' feature, which feels like a cheap gimmick. I'm not a fan of the ribbon interfaces, simply because it's an entirely new paradigm (I can work with menus just fine, thanks). And what of the new user security model introduced in Vista? Are the problems solved?
If Microsoft continues to head in their current direction, I'll seriously consider upgrading once the OS is released. That's a far cry from my opinions in the early Vista days.