Windows

Podcast: Will Windows 7 redeem the sins of Vista?

Microsoft's reputation hangs in the balance with Windows 7. Learn what Windows 7 has to offer and whether it can redeem the Windows franchise.

Podcast

Microsoft's reputation hangs in the balance with Windows 7. Learn what Windows 7 has to offer and whether it can redeem the Windows franchise.

The Big Question is a joint production from ZDNet and TechRepublic that I co-host with ZDNet Editor in Chief Larry Dignan. This week's guest is Bill Detwiler, Head Technology Editor for TechRepublic.

You can play this 17-minute episode from the Flash-based player at the top of the page or:

Stories discussed in this episode:

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

48 comments
lgarcia
lgarcia

It would rock, if it did not hang at 72%, 24% etc, while installing...

faustolg
faustolg

Yes it will because I'm testing the RTM and it's a GOOD improvement from the Vista fiasco, also it behaves better that xp, I installed on Celerons(478 and 775), Pentium 4 and HT(478 and 775), Athlon 64 X2 and Phenom X4, and Core Duo, all in memory configurations of: 512MB, 1GB, 2GB and 4GB, and all were really fast even with the antivirus-firewall suite installed and office apps (openoffice). so 7 will redeem the sins Vista made, not really for *old* cpu's, but if you have a celeron with 512MB and 40GB hard drive, that's enough for doing your office work in 7...

Slayer_
Slayer_

Sounds like your gonna throw your pod into the water, or is it a sex joke or something? Anyways, I never got familiar with Vista, so Win 7 seems nice and fresh to me, different enough to not trick me into a false sense of security, but when you start digging down, familiar config windows and such start popping up.

johnh
johnh

What no transcript??? I think I may view this later from home, but video and even audio presentations like this take away bandwidth from others. Besides I'm using my PC speakers for my media player right now!

i.hilliard
i.hilliard

What keeps Windows the most popular OS is all the Windows software. Microsoft is rightly fixing up security in Vista and now Windows 7, but it stops a lot of existing software from running and as such Windows 7 will meet the same resistance that Vista has. The addition of DRM at the core, that is slowing things down, doesn't help either. The virtual XP in Windows 7 will help a bit for Windows 7 to gain general acceptance, but as it will not run on all machines, it will not stop many of the compatibility complaints that tarnished Vista's image. Ian

Peter
Peter

I've been using Windows for around 24 years, and recently upgraded to Windows 7. Sorry, too little too late. My next computer's a Mac.

Chief Bottle Washer
Chief Bottle Washer

I gave up all my Dells, HP's but I'll keep my Sony laptop, for now, and bought a MacPro - SCREAMING FAST, and stable too!

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Someone should be busting Microsoft's chops for abandoning those users who have been stuck with Vista.

Another Canadian
Another Canadian

This not going to make you feel better, but if you own a Mac and it is not on a intel cpu you were also not been able to update to Snow Leopard as fas as I am concern. I was owner of a ME never got a rebate of anything by after been drop by MS I own a iTouch first generation and outside of paste and copy that I wanted, I was forced to pay for the other feature also that I can't use on a First Generation, Second generation is kind of cripple, Third generation have finaly a Mircrophone but no camera why? I think it is because you could do WiFi instant video chat with friends at starbuck for free, not need of an iPhone in that case. My point is if MS or Apple want they can but that mean nothing lol and you and me do not count, it is just market share period. Your tought.

microface
microface

I have a dozen mom and pop clients who use their XP machines to control other manufacturing equipment, and depend on the software to control the manufacturing processes. They run the gamut from putting pictures on cakes, to actually using the XP machine to control 3D printing systems. This software is often no longer supported, and will no0t work on either Vista, or Windows 7 because of one issue or another, often the developer who wrote the software is no longer available to update the software. Even Windows 7 XP Mode has problems in one way or another, sometimes it just runs the application TWICE as slow, sometimes the app will not run at all, and since I have no source for the app i can not determine what is wrong. LINUX to the rescue, in every case I was able to find parameters with the help of the wonderful WINE people where the programs in question ran at full speed, as far as a stop watch can measure with NO ERRORS!!!! My clients and I have no intention of ever "upgrading" to windows 7 and not be able to run these essential apps for my clients. GOOD BYE M$Soft hello linux, Mandriva, Ubuntu, CentOS etc etc.

Michael.Ross
Michael.Ross

It's a paradigm shift. The role of the OS has changed as a platform for managing heterogeneous information rather than just being a spiffy application manager. Windows 7 fills this new role quite well, and XP fails miserably. It is true that Google and Apple have had desktop search for quite sometime, but MS has taken the next step in making this a foundational element in the OS rather than a simple bolt-on application. For this, Windows 7 gets high marks in my book.

maclovin
maclovin

So you've apparently never used Spotlight on Mac OS X, ever?

GrizzledGeezer
GrizzledGeezer

I stuck with 2K, and am glad I did. The problem (for me) with post-2K Windows was the way they were so "in your face". You were constantly aware of their presence, with their incessant prompting -- "What do you want to do now?" I also could not tolerate how they tried to hide the computer from you. Just try finding a directory you want. Unfortunately, too much software has been "updated" to the point where it will not run on 2K. So, after nearly a decade of reasonable happiness, I have no choice but to switch to 7. Hope it's "lucky 7".

eM DuBYaH
eM DuBYaH

Windows 2000 was my favorite, much improved over NT, minimal on the bloat, compared to XP and beyond. I like an OS that runs the apps, and doesn't need to look all floofy and pretty. Running the programs is what's important not oohing and ahhing how pretty the desktop looks, and the break the bank requirements to support the pretty interface.

tonycopp
tonycopp

Win 2000 and then Cloud Computing..What won't run on Win 2000? Office 2003 runs fine...most useful disk utilities still hew to the NT kernel..IE 6.0 won't go beyond for various reasons of mostly control..Firefox 3.5.3 is OK as far as Firefox itself goes...all my cloud apps business / rapid trade apps run perfectly fast and it is all in a sub 7.5 GB partition C: root that makes tight little images via PQ Drive Image...I have some XP systems still waiting for something I need to use it for...The question is , "How lame is that?!", or so, what am I missing in life? I hear Micro$oft wants me to go in my pocket for something I need ..zzzz..snore....

sybaseguru
sybaseguru

NT4 was quite a good os - you could find your way around quite easily. Since then MS have tried to hide everything and ended up with a mess - novices struggle to do things - theres so many ways to do things. Experts are no better off as they struggle to know the side effects of what they are doing.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

NT 4 lacked USB support. No Device Manager'. As I recall it wasn't PnP either. And running it on a laptop was beyond workable without sacrificing several small mammals. It was great on servers and even some desktops, but 2K was better

wetscott
wetscott

I've never had a problem with Vista - I turned off the useless bells and whistles, switched to Classic interface and fastidiously followed regular 'housekeeping' on my computer. For me Vista runs like a charm.

120529-000107
120529-000107

Will Windows 7 be renamed Vista/Second Edition by users is a better question?

dmstenhouse
dmstenhouse

I think M$ haters will say that, but your average user will not, especially if they are going from XP to 7. I have been using 7 x32 and x64 since december 08 and it is very different (and better in my opinion) to Vista.

leigh
leigh

Oh babe I am sooo sorry...but you know the truth...I can say it now.... You'd packed on the pounds and had gotten pretty lazy...and ..well it was just like you didn't care about what I wanted...didnt care about yourself or your reputation...you just didn't care about us anymore... Yeah I know I was sniffing around the leopard and I was flirting with Ubie ...I admit it... but what was I going to do? You just didnt care ...you watched me giving F8 the eye and you did nothing... Listen MS if you can keep it up...not promising anything mind...but if you can ....well maybe you and I can start over... Dont get carried away being a party girl...I am a man with needs after all... Babe back in 98 you were the best around....and in 2000 you were sort of not sure if you were all serious or not, then you were xpecially nice for a good while...oh babe why'd you let yourself get so ...well bloated? But if you keep this up ... we could be together again...

ronfixpc
ronfixpc

Microsoft will NEVER redeem itself from Vista if it will continue to to charge the ridiculous price for the new OS and not give a break to people that paid for what was supposed to work like Windows 7. I tried the RC version and to tell you the truth I liked it but when I found out what I would have to pay for it I said no way! I paid $499 for Vista Ultimate and now they want to to fork out another $300+ for Win 7 Ultimate! APPLE here I come for more than just the price gouging I paid! Count me out, RWB

rgriffin1
rgriffin1

I went back to XP because of Vista's inability to work,not paying for another failure. Tryed 7 crashed my computer. No Thank You will not pay the price.

rahbm
rahbm like.author.displayName 1 Like

It may well have done if Microsoft had given it away to those who bought Vista, or at least offered it at a reasonable price. However, at $400 in Australia for Win 7 Pro, and that is the UPGRADE price, Microsoft is merely adding insult to injury.

novasol
novasol

I've been using XP since the its inception without any problems whatsoever. Stable, reliable operating system. Thus, I have no plans to upgrade to W7.

destiger92
destiger92

Well i have tried to sample the beta version of Win7 but it looks like it performs at the same level with Vista or even better while utilising less resources in terms of memory and cpu utilisation so i think Win7 can help Microsoft redeem themselves. But it still gives me the blue screen of death sometimes. Hope it is because of being a beta version

geotev
geotev

I am an experienced Microsoft Windows user since its inception. In addition to that, I operate a computer repair services company. I do not understand what was so wrong with Vista to begin with. I think it is a very good Operating System. None are perfect. My clients are not replacing their computers with Macs because they do not like their Vista computers. In fact, when they purchase replacement or additional computers, they purchase computers with Vista on it. I have not heard my clients have the kinds of problems the "experts" have with Vista. I think the problem with Vista is the self-proclaimed experts who are jealous of Microsoft's success and think that they can make a name for themselves by criticizing anything Microsoft puts in the Marketplace. For those who have this problem, why not go and use a Mac or a Linux machine and leave the majority of normal day-to-day computer users alone without this nonsense of downplaying a very easy to use OS. These experts would be more successful in showing others how to use the OS in their daily lives. Overall, Microsoft has done and is doing an excellent job. Windows 7 is basically Vista with a few tweaks. Call it whatever you want, Microsoft continues to be the most successful computer software company in the world. No matter what the vocal minority says, everyday users love Microsoft products and the value Microsoft provides to them. Sometimes, I just can't take this wining. The experts need to get out amongst everyday users. They would be shocked to learn what they think about their Microsoft products.

Kostaghus
Kostaghus

Well, I've been using MS OS's ever since MS-DOS 3.0. I am not a Mac or Linux advocate. In fact you won't find any of these anywhere around me. I am also a computer programmer and have assembled my first PC back when 386/40 was a huge speedy machine. So don't sell me the "Vista's OK" banner... I've been trying the damned thing for over a year now. The more I try it the more I come to the conclusion that it's just a huge, bloated, hardware sale promoting device. I am still sticking to XP for 4 out of my 6 computers at home. The other 2 are one a Windows 2000 machine and the other one (the largest, fastest, most memory, etc.) is the Vista machine...

Jimbo Jones
Jimbo Jones

I've been using the Enterprise RTM (not the beta or RC) for several weeks now and have seen nothing that would make me want to rush out and buy it. Sure, it's flashy and different, but I see no compelling reason to migrate from XP. Pro: Windows 7 found all my hardware with no problem, including my biometric scanner. And apps do seem to run very smoothly. Con: the OS is sitting at over 700MB RAM before I run a single app. I've had two blue screens, but those might be due to an old driver for my airmagnet card. It seems to be easier for non-techies to use, but all the places where I used to change network and hardware settings have moved around and are hard to find. Another minor annoyance: I understand Win7 is made to support touch screens so "gestures" are a big thing, but they get in the way. When you only want to move your window to the side, it slams up against the edge and maximizes. I bought 4G of RAM anticipating being able to use it all. But my processor (Intel T2600) doesn't support the 64-bit version, and MS has intentionally crippled the 32-bit so although it sees all 4G, it can only use 3G. This is not a hardware or OS structural limitation because it can be defeated with a reg hack. It's just MS deciding that if you want to see more RAM you'll buy a new computer. My impression is that MS is trying to push another wave of hardware upgrades. It's telling that they've extended premium support for XP until 2014. IT managers aren't stupid. I'll run Win7 because I'm a MS partner and I have to, to support my clients. But at home I'll stick with XP - the best desktop OS Microsoft ever made.

tstevens
tstevens

But then again, I like Vista. I see Windows 7 as Vista R2, but that's not bad in my world. I've seen only improvents in Windows 7, so if you didn't like Vista, you may find yourself happy with 7. We have about 200 Vista PC's on our network with very little problem and improved security. My only issue is the indexing service that sometimes takes forever to update on slower machines. You can turn that off, so again, no big deal.

TechRepublic
TechRepublic

the activation sceme is the same. I keep my old machines around for a long time, even though I buy new ones. They only become obsolete when they no longer do what I need. My BIG frustration as of late is the lack of support of activation of software upon reinstall. I think that helped kill Lotus 123 when Excel didn't provide that frustration. Things happen and when they do I don't like being cut-off because of a constant dependency. I don't plan on upgrading any workstations to another 'activation' type software unless it is the last resort. Fortunately there are alternatives. Somehow or another I'll probably end up with a Win7 at some point when it is the only option on a desired piece of hardware.

groon
groon

Windows 7 is a huge improvement over Vista and certainly worthy of its official status as Windows version 6.1 (Vista is 6.0), even if there is some irony there. However, while most of the things stripped out of Vista to make 7 are either not missed or easily restored, there are a couple "features" which 7 shares with Vista that I just can't understand. 1. Vista & 7's much-vaunted "improved" search feature lacks the easy ability that search in 2000 & XP had to search for documents containing text strings. Hugely helpful, missing in 7. In Vista, if I searched for a text string (of course, this only searched file names), and the search returned nothing, Vista would *then* ask if I wanted to search file contents. This was annoying, since it was available in the more-customizable search of 2K/XP on the first screen, but at least it was there. I have not located this feature at all in 7. If I search for a string and it gets no results, I no longer see the question asking me do I want to search file contents. Now, I'm not saying that that feature isn't hidden there somewhere, and maybe some other helpful TechRepublic member will now point it out. What I'm saying is: why move it at all? 2. This is more trivial but equally annoying. When navigating in Windows Explorer, every version of Windows prior to Vista had a "folder up-arrow". It is gone, and I never stop missing it. Yes, I know I can click in the address field and navigate up the file structure. Yes, I know I can press control-up-arrow. However, I've been used to the GUI folder up-arrow for more than a decade and its absence is annoying and frustrating. There is a famous saying. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." There doesn't appear to be anyone at Microsoft who has heard this. However, on the whole, and nitpicking aside, I think Windows 7 is going to be fine. Microsoft did actually listen to a lot of the feedback they got on Vista, even if they didn't listen to me!

swohlers
swohlers

I pretty much agree with your observations. I have used both Vista and for the past 4 months, Win7 x64. The lack of text search is a big disappointment. I never realized how much I use it until Win7. The arrow up feature is not as big of a deal since there is a relatively easy work around. A couple of older apps that wouldn't work on Win7, possibly because of x64, possibly because they wanted XP. The XP VM worked just fine in these instances. The biggest problem was printer drivers working properly or even installing. Part of that is x64. A universal or generic driver would be *very* useful.... at one point years ago, you could use a generic HP driver in most instances. Before rolling it out to users, I will still wait for a more classic interface. The Win7 Beta has seemed fairly snappy and stable - no blue screens. Unfortunately, the users I support are not the most tech savvy and introducing a completely different skin would be more non productive time than it is worth. This also goes for the inability to have a classic menu interface (without paying even more) for their office 07 product. Bottom line, I agree, if it ain't broke - don't fix it, or at least leave the option for a different, "classic" skin

garycoryer
garycoryer

Apparently I'm out of the mainstream because I found Vista a vast improvement over XP. I do find what appear to be significant improvements in Windows 7 but haven't been using it as my production OS yet. My experience with Vista has been great. Runs for weeks without rebooting, the system maintenance is all easily scheduled. The only con with Vista was I waited so long to install it because of the trade press FUD.

Dan Osman
Dan Osman

Windows Vista is to Windows 7 just as Windows ME was to Windows 2000. It was a big improvement when 2000 came out, but it wasn't quite there yet until XP arrived. I wonder what is in store for us next. Perhaps they will improve upon 7 with Windows 8 before they mess things up all over again with Windows 9. We work with Autodesk products as well, and they seem to finally get AutoCAD right by the 3rd release. Then they have to go and mess it up all over again. I just wish we could "Easily" wait for each third release without spending more money in between to keep our trusted release.

Another Canadian
Another Canadian

Win 7 is better and will do the trick for the corporate world, Vista was too much in one shoot for everyone and manufacturer. What I have found out from my IT is that they have no particular problems with Win 7 64 bits if they do some tweaking for some that were not respecting the 'don't try to use some hook process. They even are thinking or putting 64 bits across the board with some running in virtual XP if and when required.

carlsf
carlsf

I dislike WIN7 too may changes from VISTA POINTS... NEW UI and START bad move... NO "CLASSIC" mode I have used this from X to VISTA and NOW NO MORE its GONE... AS FOR Pining librarays sorry not intuitive.... The learning curve for 115 users is too costly we will stay with Vists and XP unless MS relent and allow the CLASSIC option.

maclovin
maclovin

ME was the precursor to XP ($#1tty nonetheless) NT (NT4) was the precursor to 2000

fvazquez
fvazquez

I see you didn't use Windows 2000, to me it has been one of the more stabile versions of windows nothing to compare with Me... I tried to use Me and had lot of problems with drivers and hardware, but with 2000 everything ran smooth and easy...

spork66
spork66

I have heard so many complaints about Win ME and other then the first time I hit the internet on broadband and did not have an up-to-date Anti-virus package, I had no problems - In fact the PC is still running in my office, but has become limited in useage

lnevers
lnevers

I agree, ME was the worst of 98 and 2000 combined. 2000 is still going strong on many systems here. In fact I've told customers that ME was a virus sold by MS.

Michael.Ross
Michael.Ross

Chronologically speaking, ME came AFTER Win2k, and it was a different story all together. At the project's inception, Win2k was aimed at being the OS that finally united the two then branches of client OS's, NT and 9x. Sadly, mid-project, this turned out to not be the case, so Windows ME came about as a way to deliver a Win2k desktop to home users. Even more sad, someone decided to reauthor ME's memory model as well, which ended up causing soooo many problems. In that case, you might be close. Microsoft's decision to restructure Windows' driver model in Vista caused a lot of turmoil amongst users. However, I think that if Microsoft can get past the setback with Windows 7, we will all end up being better off because of it. Back to your point, it DOES look like Microsoft may be looking to do something similar in an upcoming version with it's use of kernels.

jorge.blat.palacios
jorge.blat.palacios

I am using Windows 7 (MEA x64 version). - Applications that can only run on XP now work on Windows 7. For compatibility, you can choose any windows from 98 all the way to Windows Vista SP2 - Windows 7 drivers are scarce but Windows 7 picks up most of the stuff that you need with the exception of Bluetooth drivers. I am using a Dell Latitude e6400 and the sound card did not need drivers and sounds right without extra SOR drivers (required in XP for decent sound). Vista drivers do the trick too. Everything X86 works fine with X64 and so far (1 month). I do not have any slowness, blue screen, etc. Microsoft should give Windows 7 free to all Vista sufferers!!! Perhaps we should persue this matter legally with consumer associations... Cheers!

Nelson.Milum
Nelson.Milum

I agree with the conclusions in the interview; Windows 7 will very probably be better accepted than Vista was. That was a really good point about the OS needing to just get out of the way and let a user use. Some of the changes in 7 I think will certainly help that, particularly the snapping windows. Other features may not be so easily accepted, it took me a little time to get accustomed to the way that programs get minimized. Sure it works, and I like it now, but it's different enough that some people will not like it at all. New operating systems generally offer improvements over their predecessors. I haven't seen a modern OS that doesn't have access to pretty much all of the tools I need for everyday computering. Slackware, Ubuntu, Mac OSX, Windows 7, even the BSDs are all perfectly usable operating systems once they've been configured. Particularly when compared with their previous versions... Of course, I concede that some of those OSs require a bit more configuration and willingness to learn than others :-)

Editor's Picks