Blog‎ > ‎

Windows 7

posted 24 Oct 2009, 07:40 by Kevin Millican
Yesterday I installed Windows 7 (32bit) on a 3 year old, fairly well specified laptop PC.

It went rather well, though I confess to taking the easy way out and performing a fresh install (about time I had a good tidy up anyway!)

Overall, I am very pleased with the result:-

  • Faster boot time, and 30 seconds to be usable from hibernation.
  • Feels quite a bit faster, though my machine was no slouch running Vista. I'd say it's even marginally quicker than XP (this was until yesterday a dual boot machine)
  • Accessing network shares works properly without those huge delays that made Vista a pain.
  • Desktop features - I love the new combined toolbar/quicklaunch - much more intuitive
  • Software features - Video support is excellent - plays DVDs, AVCHD, and DivX in Media Player straight out-of-the-box (you need to tell it to use Media Player to open DivX but that's all there is to it).
  • Compatibility with existing hardware is good - no significant problems found so far, though I had to reinstall drivers for the webcam, IrDA, and card reader from the Acer site. There were no specific Windows 7 ones but the Vista ones worked fine. Tip: it's best to reinstall the webcam as "drivers only"
  • Compatibility with existing software is an improvement - more details below.
A major concern for me is the smooth running of Paradox 9.

I'm pleased to report that this runs really well under Windows 7. No 'stopped unexpectedly" error message on program close, faster switching of work directory, no exceptions when restructuring table lookups. I was thinking I would have to phase out Paradox due to incompatibility, but the update to Windows 7 has probably given it at least another 6 years of useful life. This is really useful because there's nothing close to it in terms of performance or features.

Only problem so far is with eTrust Antivirus

I've been a real fan of eTrust for many years. It has(/had) a small footprint, didn't slow my machines to any noticeable degree, and proved near 100% reliable in catching threats.
Unfortunately, the version I was using from last year's registration didn't work properly. It installed OK but would not update itself, or communicate with the Windows 7 security centre correctly.
I fished around on the CA site and found advice and a link to download the full security suite. They seem to have allowed Windows 7 users to install this with their existing Antivirus licence keys, presumably as a stop-gap measure.
Unfortunately the full security suite is not what I'm looking for: I don't need full Norton-ish bloatware hooking into every facet of my machine - I just want a reliable resource-friendly antivirus (get it ? !!!)
To top it all, I found that the CA security suite interfered with the ordinary working of the web in Firefox and Chrome, though it was fine with IE8. On Firefox and Chrome I couldn't login to iGoogle properly and had errors with flash/shockwave sites.

After removing CA security suite, everything worked fine but hmm - which antivirus to install?

Kaspersky - tempting but expensive, especially if I have to install on several PCs. Avast/AVG Free - OK - but I use my laptop for work so that would infringe the licence conditions for the free versions. The paid versions of all these programs seem to add bloatware (ie. additional unneeded firewalls, web toolbars, registry protection) which just degrade the whole experience.

In the end, I decided to try Microsoft's own Security Essentials

It's free and you can use it for a home-based business, so a bargain if it works OK.

So is Windows 7 worth an upgrade? - I have to say an unreserved 'Yes' - quite a surprise !