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Windows 7 Secrets

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Any technical book with "secrets" or "unleashed" in the title pisses me off to start with. Usually it's downhill from there. This week I sat down to read "Windows 7 Secrets". Only two of the three words in the title really annoyed me... can you guess which two?

"Windows 7 Secrets" begins by calling those who dumped on Vista "know-nothings" and "clowns" - no bias there! It's ok - I have equal bias the other way. I feel that running a Windows OS is the technological equivalent of voting Republican: that alone doesn't make you an idiot, but it certainly puts you in bad company and it's hard for me to believe you gave any real thought to your choice. But that's me: loony liberal, committed Microsoft basher and never afraid to state my opinions.

But c'mon. Yes, the authors quickly admit that Win 7 is slower than XP on the same hardware. But barely two pages later they breathlessly applaud that it is faster than Vista! Oh, yes, and hitting my head with a ball peen hammer hurts less than using a brick maul. Gimmee that ball peen, yeah!

They then do a decent 13 pages of "Windows 7 in Fifteen Minutes", and it's a good overview of what to expect from Win 7. If after reading this you are panting and anxiously asking when and where you can get your very own copy, you must be really ticked off at Vista. I really can't imagine any of that would feel compelling to an XP user - well, other than overly enthusiastic Microsoft fan-boyz like the authors. Did I mention that the dedication of one of the authors mentions his "wonderful Windows journey"? Bleccchhh.

Chapter 1 (yes, the other stuff was just prologue) is a 22 page effort to explain all the various editions and upgrades. There are 18 versions, but as the authors fairly point out, there are only 4 that are of interest to most users, so it's not quite as bad as it seems. What IS as bad as it seems is pricing and upgrade paths. While even the fanboyz admit that Win 7 fixes (or attempts to fix) what was wrong with Vista, Microsoft doesn't seem to be interested in atonement - no free upgrades seem to be coming. Moreover, the upgrade path seems very confusing: I still can't figure out whether my retail (not bough with a p.c., not upgraded from XP) Vista gets any consideration at all, and this chapter didn't help me with that. Not that I'm using the Vista anyway..

I got a good belly laugh out of the next chapter, where the second paragraph suggests that the easiest path to Win 7 is to buy a new machine. The reason, of course, is that the crappy old hardware you have may be troublesome with Win 7. So troublesome that the next paragraph discusses being prepared to roll back to your old OS should your Win 7 experience be less than thrilling. Good times, good times.

That chapter also covers installing Win 7 on a Mac. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??? Oh, Boot Camp. Ok, then, I'm sorry I yelled at you. They also mention VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop.

Chapter 3 talks about hardware and software (in)compatibility. Once again we are not so subtly encouraged to buy new hardware. For software, there's always the Compatibility Mode or Virtual PC and XP Mode. I did not realize that you only get XP Mode with Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate versions - Home Premium users can go suck eggs, I guess. Unless you are lucky enough to already own a non-OEM, retail version of XP as I do, In that case, you could just install that in VPC. But can I do that if I'm already virtualizing Win 7? Nope.

Everything else is just details, and the authors seem to agree. Way back on page three they said the book isn't meant to be read cover to cover, and as it is over 1,000 pages, I'd agree. You may not care about chapter 12 (Organizing, Fixing and Sharing Digital Photos), but if you are going to throw away all common sense and "upgrade", surely you will find chapters you do care about. For those of us like me who will only put this into a virtual machine so that we may later help out unfortunate customers who get stuck with it, the chapters I'm now ignoring will no doubt become a valuable reference.

So how much DO I have to pay for this upgrade? I still don't know..

Tony Lawrence 2009-09-24 Rating: 4.5

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More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Wed Sep 23 22:44:32 2009: 6962   NickBarron

Mentioned the first comment about Vista haters being clowns I was done.

I had a real nightmare with Vista on a VAIO today. Hours spent trying to save the bloody thing from formatting, due to our location and lack of media.

In the end I just wanted to sacrifice the machine.

I hate Vista so much it is difficult for me to manifest the rage into words...

Wed Sep 23 23:06:41 2009: 6963   TonyLawrence

C'mon, you can find the words. I hate Vista so much that...


Thu Sep 24 00:01:48 2009: 6965   BrettLegree

"So how much DO I have to pay for this upgrade?"

Only your mortal soul... MUAHAHAHAHA!!!

I'm with you on the "secrets" thing. Why would a good piece of software have things hidden? Shouldn't there be man pages or a good help file?

Every so often, I am tempted to install Windows on my old game box (which has been a dedicated Linux server for quite some time) so I can play some games.

I finally decided that if I *must* play some games that won't run on my Mac, I'll buy a PS3 (no Xbox 360 will ever cross the threshold of my home...)

Thu Sep 24 23:19:27 2009: 6968   MartinMalden

Hi Tony,

This is hilarious - loved it!

I never did move to Vista - still running XP - and will put off the move to Windows 7 as long as I reasonably can.

I imagine moving to Windows 7 will be a bit like moving to Office 2007. That product was the most self absorbed act Microsoft could have undertaken - something that bears absolutely no resemblance to its predecessors and, therefore, completely trashed everyone's efficiency as they tried to get to grips with it. :)




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