I just finished downloading and Installing the first Public Beta of Windows 7. So far I love it. I installed it first on my main PC. When I first booted from the DVD the graphical screen came up but just sat there, i thought it must have locked up. There was no DVD activity, no Hard Disk activity. I thought I would try being patient and it paid off, after about 5-10m I finally got the first screen that asked for information. After that each screen took about 30s to come up. But once all the questions were answered (There were not many) the install continued and completed without any problems.
The second install went much smoother. I installed it on my Toshiba P100 laptop and there were no delays showing the input screens. It booted from the DVD and asked me the language, etc right away. I continued the install and it finished in about 15 – 20 minutes. The only problem I had with this install was that the drivers from my Intergraded Conexant High Definition Audio and my Texas Instruments PCIxx12 Integrated FlashMedia Controller did not get installed. In both cases I just downloaded the Vista driver from the Toshiba Support site and they worked perfectly.
I like the changes to the new interface. The new taskbar is nice but I wish it was more obvious which icons represented open programs vs just shortcuts. Right now it draws a shaded box around the open icons but I don’t think they stand out enough. Hovering the mouse over the icon to see the running programs in very nice. You can see a preview of your document without clicking anything. Although I think the icons are a little too wide and I did not find an option to customize them.
The New HomeGroup feature to setup networking is well done. Although I found that If I changed the default HomeGroup password that was generated when I created the HomeGroup. I could no longer add any computers to the home group. I had to delete the HomeGroup and recreate it using the default generated password to add computers. Hopefully that will be fixed before release. After that was setup it worked very well. It is way easier than any other version of windows.
So far I have been unable to use Device Stage very much as the only device I have that it recognizes is my HP printer and it just gives me options to scan, change setting and not much more. I also can’t access these features over the network.
Performance wise, windows 7 seams to boot faster and be more responsive. There is still a lot of Hard Drive activity at this point but hopefully that will settle down.
One really nice feature that i absolutely love is the ability to have your background wallpaper automatically change every xx minutes. I have mine set for 3 minutes and it is great to see the background change as you work.
Over all Windows 7 beta looks good and I think Microsoft is on the right track with this one. I think it will be a great product when it is finally released.