The 50 Best (and Worst) Moments in Windows History

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Nickgrnt

Microsoft windows has gone through a very big phase which we really need to appreciate it. It has offered various technologies that have made the the work of corporate as well as normal industries very easy. Still they had not stopped, they are still improving the technologies to make it future friendly...

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Pressten

What a trip down Windows memory lane, even if I never used v1 or 2. It may be nostalgia, but XP is the best one ever.

And – I have to say this: MaximumPC, you’re great, I love you. But you folks really need a copyeditor. “In 1985, Microsoft released it's first version…” should be its. Someone already pointed out attorneys general. And towards isn’t the proper use (it’s toward). You’re geeks, it’s understandable. A few things here and there in the mag is one thing. But I couldn’t get through the "attorney generals" bit. It hurt. I’d be happy to volunteer, if you need me.

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Tickle

Wow - Loved the history lesson. It scares me to think that I was there to see it all. I HATED win 1-3, had nothing but issues. Loved win 95 since I was able to still access DOS. Waited for 98se to roll out before I got a "legally questionable" copy to play with. Then I waited till SP-1 of XP before going full bore BUYING (scary thought) a copy of XP for all my machines (7 of em at last count). ONLY reason i have vista machines is the PC's and laptop's came with it. I HATE Vista. My 64 bit Ultimate versions on the laptops craps out with software issues, driver bugs and myriad other problems I still haven't ironed out after 6 months of use. The 32 bit versions of Home Premium I have fairs better but still has software issues and yes...I have had BSOD's more ofter with Vista than I have with XP (go figure). About the only redeeming thing of Vista so far is the excellent networking. I have also checked out the RC of win 7 and am actually going to purchase a copy of Pro 64 bit (thru a EDU discount) and a family pack for the vista machines. I was genuinely impressed by the new interface and the additional features as well as the excellent install ease. I have a friend who works IT in a college and she was impressed also so much she has replaced Vista AND XP on 3 machines so far. So for all the haters...try it first...you will either love it or hate it....personally I love it (except for 2 machines that are stuck using XP...not enough power sad to say). :)

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XP Lover

It runs fine on my NEW comp....and even my old comp...that fact doesn't make it a good OS though.  XP also runs fine on both my old comps and my new comp....the point I think you are missing, or purposely misunderstanding....it that when you boil it all down...Win 7 can do NOTHING that can't be done on XP faster and with more EASE.  If you are going to quote me, at least have the decency to not construct quotes out of thin air....ty.

@1337Goose....don't get me wrong bro, I love Max PC ....I'm a 6 year subscriber.  My only complaint with Max PC, is that when it comes to new Windows releases, they tend to NOT see the bad sides of the product, or can't see the bad sides because of their own private desires of how an OS should be.

Sure the libraries are nice...but are a royal pain to implement...sure the Dock is nice, but seriously lacking when compared to XP's 8-9 year old task bar. Sure the GUI is pretty, but that hardly makes it...better...XP's GUI is much more efficient and way faster.

I've run the alpha, the beta, and am dual booting the RC....and have been since they were released.  To be brutally honest, I see no reason to purchase Win 7 when the RTM comes out in a day or so.  XP boots faster, benches faster and has got to have the simplest, fastest, most intuitive GUI I've EVER seen on any OS.

USB 3.0 and PCI-E 3.0 are coming...will Win 7 balk at these...noone knows...yet, to read the reviews, one gets the impression that all will be wine and roses with Win 7.  To me that is biased or at minimum, not complete reporting.

Dx11...so what....DX10 hasn't shown anything worth an upgrade......even now.  Sure right NOW it has drivers for almost any hardware you throw at it....but we all know that in a year or so...that will no longer be the case.  But I don't READ that in the reviews....all I see is.....this is great, this is wonderful, the Dock rocks, etc.

I watched as millions of people bought into MS hype when Vista was released.  Even now with the latest service pack, Vista is still a dog compared to XP.  The Vista market share told the true story.  I just hope that Max PC doesn't repeat the same type of MS-centric reviews with Win 7 as they did with Vista.  Yes i still have every issue since 2003, so I KNOW what the reviews stated.

I've been running Win XP pro 32bit, from a Ghost 2003 image, for 8 years through 3 motherboards.....(yes you read that correctly), the only thing I've  had to change, of course, was the diferent motherboards chipset and display drivers.  As for BSOD's or lockups etc, I've had ZERO in 8 years on XP Pro.  Well zero, if you don't count over clocking BSOD's, but that's part of over clocking, not a fault of the OS.

I'm just concerned that a GREAT magazine, sometimes gets a little carried away with new and UNPROVEN (over time) software, especially OS's.   Most of the time the reviews are bang-on, 100% fair and provable.  That cannot possibly be said for ANY OS review, as only time will tell.  I think Max PC needs to keep that in mind when reviewing OS's...I don't want to see Max PC's credibility take another hit like it did with the Vista reviews...that's all.

IF, down the road, Win 7 can go through three motherboards without a clean install (nforce2, nforce5 and now nforce980) and boot to the OS with no issues...running the incorrect drivers (temporarily)...THEN I'll consider Win 7....until then, I'm going to "dance with the girl that brung me".   :)

STABLE.....Thy name is XP!

 

Take an OS and edit out all the efficiency, and what you have left is a post-XP operating system.

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tehninjapwns

Honestly you realy need to cool down.  I have been running VISTA since the day it came out and, like you, I have had ZERO BSODs.  I also know for a fact that my other XP PC has had 4 in the past year.  I am sure some of this is luck-of-the-draw, but I still don't see people's problem with Vista to this very day.

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QUINTIX256

These trolls that make stupidly long posts...

There should be a length limit for comments. This is a comment section, not a blog. No one should make themselves an equal to the writers and editors at Maximum PC.

You can have your recession. I'm not participating.

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roybman

For the most part, Win7 offers little over XP (forget Vista).  In 8 years I managed to get 2 BSOD's out of XP.  In her first 5 months of running Vista, my wife (she is a technical novice, and I won't use it) averaged a BSOD per week.  In 5 months of running Win7 RC, I don't get BSOD's, but I've averaged about one complete system freeze per week, requiring a hard reboot.  I've benchmarked my computer running XP and running Win7 RC, and XP was faster.  I can't find anything about the OS that would make me jump up and down to have it, as opposed to when XP came out and I couldn't wait to trash my Win98 and WinME machines.

The new taskbar is ok, but hardly a must have.  Homegroup doesn't work.  I've got 3 machines running Win7, and none of them can see each other via Homegroup.  Two of them could initially, but that broke down after a couple of weeks and I've yet to get it working again.  After deleting the group from all machines and trying to start over, the "host" machine thinks it sees 2 homegroups (one it's own and one somewhere on the network), and it can't see anything anyway.  I went back to administering network access the old fashioned way.

Since I work from home often, I count on having a stable machine.  Since I do a lot of photo and video editing, I count on getting good performance from that same machine.  So far, Win 7 pales in comparison to XP.  The best I can say for it is it's a little better than Vista, which doesn't say much.

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XP Lover

.....and if Max PC was more into journalism, than blowing sunshine up MS's *ss.....how many free copies did you guys get....c'mon guys...let's at least pretend we're unbiased.   :)

 

...or is anything that disagrees with maximum PC now considered....."TROLLING"...or did the first ammendment dissappear when I was offline?

Where's Jack Nicholson when you need him  :/

 

Take an OS and edit out all the efficiency, and what you have left is a post-XP operating system.

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1337Goose

Trolling is making claims without backing them up with evidence. How do you figure that XP is "better"? 

[EDIT] You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but I think it's just a matter of time before we all switch to the newer OS, for one reason or another.

However, I still don't think you're right to accuse Max PC of being biased just because their opinions aren't in line with yours. 

~Goose

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1337Goose

I remember starting up Windows XP for the first time, and the many hours of playing 3D Pinball. 

Yeah it's antiquated now, but it did too many things well in its day to be ignored...

 

~Goose

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DBsantos77

Oh my god. I LOVE that Windows BSOD picture at the Olympics. Frickin EPIC. No way that image will leave Microsoft anytime soon.

-Santos

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QUINTIX256

Since NT was around there are only two editions that mattered for personal computing:
"Home" and "Business."

Kernel 4 had 95 (and 98, and ME) and NT, kernel 5 had XP Home and Pro (after 2000), and Kernel 6 has Vista Home Premium and Business. Vista Ultimate has little use outside of a niche that actually needs to log into a Domain and have a Media Center. Vista Home Basic was never supposed to exist.

Even though XP was the first to finally consolidate the NT and not-so-NT lines, it had in the worse when it came to editions. Tablet PC edition, Media Center Edition, MCE 2004, MCE 2005, x64 Edition…. They where all consolidated in Vista. You get Home Premium, and you have the option of 64 or 32bit, and it already has Tablet and Media Center features built in.

You can have your recession. I'm not participating.

Edit: This was supposed to be a reply to arch-chancellor. I donno what happened.

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Comic Book Guy

Does anyone remember all the DirectX updates that came out between Jan '99 to about Dec '99, never really figured what that was all about..?!

Comic Book Guy

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dulou9

Gread article, though the plural of "attorney general" is "attorneys general".

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arch-chancellor

Was that for the upgrade, full retail, OEM, Home Basic, Home, Professional, Business, Enterprise, Enterprise-A, Voyager, Family 3 pack, 6 Pack, X-Pac, Ultimate, Ultimate Red, Ultimate Mauve, Ultimate Warrior...

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snapple00

This was the Bill Gates supreme boner edition. Get the facts.

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JIFF

Great article, a long read, specially for our short spanned attention but interesting, a few words are missing but great work.

 

Actually my refusal to buy vista was more related to DCHP and DRM than anything else, once a month I boot my Vista partition (to spend hours updating it) but i do believe I could very well work there

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TommyTheCat

Great comment, kinda short, perfect for our short spanned attention, a few grammical errors but great work.

 

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domih2009

Developing with Visual Basic on Windows 3.1 for Workgroup... Wow!

Car bumpers in the Silicon Valley:   Windows 95 - Macintosh 1984 :-)

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ghot

 Kid I'm 52 and have worked on comps both professionally and as a hobby for 30 years....and I think I know when i see stable and when I don't.  Hell I had a Commodore 16...yes.....16.  XP's rollout was harder than any previous Windows OS...but nothing compared to the mess of Vista and soon to be Win 7rollout will be.

I've run the Alpha, Beta and am running the RC....and stable and effcient they are NOT.  To me stable means...I can DL any app free or otherwise and it'll run no problems.   Granted Win 7 is going to have less problems than Vista did/does....but that's only my GUESS....noone...I don't care who they are, can see the future.  One can however, learn from the past.  There is NO way that Win 7's GUI is as simple and intuitive as XP's...in fact..I don't think there ever will be a task bar as efficient as XP's...at least until voice command is an everyday, easily affordable thing.

I find it very hard to accept than ANYONE will find Win 7's GUI easier, faster, or more efficient than XP's....if they do...then they are most probably in denial.

As form change...bring it on....just don't beat it senseless along the way.  Sure Win 7 installs faster and has more up to date driver cabs....but those are really only necessary if you buy off the shelf computers.  Grnated at present Win 7 HAS the nVidia drivers my computer requires...all TWO of them.  But in a year or so...it'll be right back to where are the drivers for my Dell, Compaq, Gateway etc., computers, while I'll still be able to go to ONE site DL TWO drivers and be good to go.  When that point comes around.....Win 7 will ahve the same problems that XP has.

I'd really LOVE to see a new OS that WAS a change....a sea-change.  Not just bigger driver cabs (which I have no use for) DX11 which noone has any use for, and that absolutely assinine DOCK....ANYONE who thinks thats easier or more efficient than XP's task bar...is delusional.  Libraries....pfft...they might as well be Linux as for their ease of use.  Once they set up...they will be great....but I can see the millions of posts now...."how do i get the libraries to work?"  "I did what you said, and they still don't work"  etc etc.

Lets see...what else....oh yeah ...built in partitioning....big whoop...Easeus does it for free.  New search....c'mon my computer can find anything on my hard drive in 3-4 seconds.  Move the drivers away from the kernel....well if that's even possible...it would be a good idea....on the other hand, I can see inummerable problems by doing that...anyone ever heard of Vista?  Drivers NEED low level...very low level access to function...STABLY.  DX11...well I'm STILL waiting to see why I needed DX10  :/

We're just at a bad time, hardware and software wise....MS is not going to go all out on a new OS till the sea-changes, about to occur in hardware are a long time into the mainstream.  Right now MS is just cranking out needless changes in their OS until...the really great hardware arrives.

In 10 years or less, the computer you know today will be a doorstop at best....things on the horizon like:  holographic storage (for the masses) optical/neuralchips and circuits, nanotech, etc., will THEN cause a NEED for a compatible OS.

Until then. MS is just trying to stay afloat, and unaware consumers are allowing them to do so.  Pretty soon, MS will be releasing a new OS semi annually....will you still be as enthused then?

Nuff said...I guess everyone will have to learn the hard way...."over the years".

P.S. Did I buy the 1st consumer TI calculator that came out....NOOOOO...all it did was add, subtract, multiply and divide...(didn't even have an M key..lol) ...and I could beat it with a slide rule without breaking a sweat...it cost $400 ate batteries like we breathe air and weighed as much as the netbooks do today.  I guess my point is....spend your money, WHEN it's smartest to spend it.  And for gawd's sake build your own computers, at least until the next serious computer improvements come along.  Hell, even $1000 CPU's STILL handle data serially...sheesh!

BUT..."Everyone to their own taste, said the lady as she kissed the cow."  ~unknown   :)

 

@ Xylogiest ...yeah you're right and thats the sad part....Win 7 CAN do everything XP can do....or more correctly....XP can STILL do everything Win 7 can do only....faster...and for no extra cost  :/  Son, I've run Vista....it's a dog. I don't need to "get used to a new OS"....there isn't a NEED for a new OS....yet!

 

 

Take an OS, and edit out all the efficiency, and what you have left is a post-XP Microsoft operating system :)

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NeoMatrix724

Your age is showing.  I have yet to crash Windows 7 in 6 months of real-world testing and hard-use.  When I can install a device without drivers crashing the kernel.  Or when a driver crashes during operation, I can restart the device without restarting the OS...thats stability.  Vista's roll out was a mess...but it was STILL a more stable OS than XP after the dust settled.  Windows 7 is solid in my book.

Running any application you download without crashing?  Thats compatibility.  I've not yet seen an app that doesnt run on Windows 7 x86.  I've seen a few not run on Windows 7 x64, but thats more on the developer not compiling it properly.  I have seen some driver incompatibilities, but that again falls to developers.  Microsoft is finally taking developers to task for writing shitty drivers.  Now Microsoft enforces validation code on the drivers (easily disabled if you so desire).

Sorry, but running 64-bit applications makes Windows 7 the standard...not XP.  You may not have any desktop HPC needs, but those of us that do, Windows 7 or a high-end Linux Distro will be our choice (depends on the use-case).

As far as built-in apps, it's fine if there's a better free version available.  I don't know how often you repartition your drives...but guess what...I'd rather use the included app if it gets the job done well enough.  Saves me the trouble of downloading and installing an extraneous app that I'll only use once in a while. 

Yea, the XP UI is dead simple to use and understand,but guess what, it absolutely sucks when you have to deal with a lot of windows.  At work?  I use dual 24in Monitors.  At any given time, I have about 10 emails open, 15 or 20 Xterm's to various systems, and then god knows how many instances of firefox/IE and various other applications.  While grouping is nice in XP, it isn't done in the most graceful way.   My desktop is never easy to access, and the start menu just slows me down in getting to what I need.  Maintaining a quick-launch toolbar is an unnecessary and pointless extra step.  If I had Win7 at work...just throw on the main applications I use.  XP organizes things in the context of "what am I running?" Windows 7 is organized in the context of "What do I want to be running?"  Subtle but big difference.  If I want Firefox running, I just click my toolbar.  If I want one of my specific firefoxes, just right click and I have my list with previews of each window. 

Microsoft is actually passing on major device updates through Windows Update.  Those wonderful Nvidia drivers you're talking about, can download and install directly through Windows Update...one stop shop.  Off the shelf computers will work fine.  DIY Computers work much better.  Your understanding of modern driver architectures is clearly dated.   Drivers do not need low-level access to function in a stable manner. Only poor driver implementations do.  By creating a controlled pipeline for devices to access the kernel, Microsoft can make sure that poorly written drivers do not crash the entire OS with hard errors...instead it can just pass the hard error to your screen, reboot the driver/device and you just chug along.  An example of this?  Creative writes notoriously bad drivers.  Prior to Vista, if you had an audio crash, you'd be greeted with a loud choppy noise until you physically restarted your PC.  In 7, you just go to the device manager, disable the device, and then re-enable...takes a helluva lot less time to do that than a total reboot.

I agree with you on DX 11...not entirely necessary, but as a gamer too, I can see some nifty technologies included as well as DirectCompute functionality which is nice.  Not necessary...but definitely nice.

You're dismissal of libraries really dates you.  It abstracts the display of information from the file system itself.  Allows you to easily manage storage across multiple devices and systems and easily present it in categories...When I want to see music files, I really don't care where they are (though I should have them organized).  Having a library set up, makes it ridiculously simple and intuitive to access..Oh hey, here's my music files.  Instead of "hey, I have my new music downloads here, my Rock music is stored here, my Jazz is here"

3 - 4 second searches on XP?  You must have the fastest harddrives ever conceived in the history of the universe?  I don't know how much data you are managing.  Personally, my desktop alone manages about 2 TB of data...my Mediacenter PC...that manages about 6TB.   Win 7 search simplifies it and is DEFINITELY faster than XP search.

Microsoft has been doin pretty well lately.  The new Zune is doing well...Xbox360 is going strong, WinMo is set for a good refresh with WinMo7, Windows Media Center is still regarded as one of the best Media Experiences. Windows Home Server is also carving out a niche of it's own...so I'm not sure where you're going with this last leg stuff.

No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to get Windows 7.  By all means, stay with the operating system that has dated code from the 1980's driving most of it's key infrastructure. 

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tehninjapwns

Kudos on your use of the word "nifty".

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Havok

 Case in point: way back when I was in grade 5, I copy/pasted an ENTIRE Encarta article on Vikings, printed it and submitted it to my teacher. I was dumb as a stick then but I got straight A's! 

 

 

CLICK.

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ghot

THIS POST EARNED ME A 7-DAY BAN FOR TROLLING

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DBsantos77

Lol, Pwnt for trolling. :p

-Santos

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Xylogeist

Now thats just an idiotic remark. You can do everything on Windows 7 that you cando on XP. Cept for stuff like hacks and torrent ware you might need to do a couple of google searches for drivers but other than that the compatibility and usefullness is still there. theres also some stuff that seems to be missing but with a start menu search you can find the Run command for it.

 Do your research, Post-XP is getting amazing.

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Xylogeist

Yea XP was good and all, but honestly, if you have half a brain youcould get used to Vista and you would think it faster and more efficient

Woohoo!Rock on windows week! Bout fkin time, checkout thepick of Bill Gates - Hes my idol :cool:

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Ilander

I just have to say some things:  XP is over, Vista is pretty good, and 7 looks awesome!

Seriously, XP?  If you use Vista for very long on a capable computer, you can't help but notice how primitive it feels these days.  If only for the fact that Vista finds most of my drivers for me, I can say it's better than XP is...But it also makes networking a snap, works pretty effortlessly with media extenders, is notably faster at downloads of all sorts, and, whether or not it makes programs run faster, the UI is faster to use, especially thanks to a good search bar in the start menu. 

It's also stable as a rock...I run folding@home, and, apart from resets for updates, my overclocked quad-core with 2 graphics cards runs at darn close to 100% utilization 24/7 without a hiccup.  If your system is unstable, it's your fault, almost always.  Heck, even with ME, all you had to do was download a memory-management program, like Memturbo, and you could expect to be bug free.

As has been noted before, Windows 7 is actually Windows 6.1, and I'm completely happy with that...and all the features it adds make it definitely worth the price.

For too long, it's been hip to bash Windows, especially Vista.  Get a clue about what you're doing, or hire someone to help you, and you'll be amazed at how much better your experience is. 

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JohnP

 Having to keep my college son's computer running XP is PAINFUL. I am so spoiled by Win7 that I cringe when I have to reload or rebuild his machine. Just getting all the devices to work is a major pain, let alone apps. Win7 is a no brainer. Just do it.

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WFUJay

Not that it really matters that much, but his name is Justin Long.

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Dantheman82904

Sure, XP is great now, however such was not always the case. When it first came out, it was as buggy as anything. Hence SP1, 2, and 3. Currently, XP is the most stable thing from Microsoft that I can remember, but is was a long, bumpy road to get here. Switching gears, I agree again about Vista and 7. I will EVENTUALLY upgrade to Windows 7, but only have it has proven itself as usable and something approaching stable (meaning after Win 7 SP1 lol). Anyways, thanks for the read. Brought back some memories.

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ghot

Quoted from this article:

"

So what was Microsoft Bob? Well, in 1995, Microsoft had the idea of
replacing the desktop of Windows 3.1 and 95 with a noob-friendly
interface that grandma would be more comfortable using. That may have
sounded like a good idea on paper – enough for Microsoft to kick off a
pretty ambitious advertising campaign – but the project ultimately fell
flat on its face, much to the surprise of Microsoft.

Part of the problem can be traced to the steep system requirements.
A 486 processor with 8MB of RAM, 30MB of disk space, and a 256-color
VGA display sounds laughable today, but at the time, this was some
pretty serious hardware out of reach by most of Microsoft Bob’s target
audience.

Then there was the cost. At $100, it wasn’t cheap, and users with
the compatible hardware had to ask themselves if they weren’t better
off just investing in Windows 95 instead. Or a Mac.

In the end, Microsoft Bob was just too hokey, too demanding, and too
expensive. Put it all together and you have the recipe for one of
Microsoft’s bigger failures."

 

This is EXACTLY what Microsoft did with Vista and is doing with Windows 7....you would think that microsoft would learn from it's past mistakes.  No, I'm not referring to "steeper hardware requirements", I AM referring to this portion of this quote:

"Microsoft had the idea of
replacing the desktop of Windows 3.1 and 95 with a noob-friendly
interface that grandma would be more comfortable using. That may have
sounded like a good idea on paper – enough for Microsoft to kick off a
pretty ambitious advertising campaign – but the project ultimately fell
flat on its face, much to the surprise of Microsoft."

Why can't Microsoft just realize they they already HAVE the golden fleece, with the XP Pro GUI.  This in no way prevents them from improving the underlying OS.  What company with 10K employees is going to want to retrain those same 10K employees, for what amounts to be....dubious gains.

The XP GUI is the perfect balance between efficiency and comprehension.  Sure libraries will turn out to be a good thing, but not until they are effortless to implement.  The task bar changes are just white wash, and are not as efficient.  The 3D interface, may be admired by those on hallucinagenics, but to the majority of users it is simply, un-needed.

I personally have nothing against change for the better, and when I SEE change for the better, I'll be the first one to praise it.  It's been 8.5 years since XP rolled out and nothing I've seen since is.....better.  Sure IE7 and IE8 made some improvements, (those stolen from Firefox, that is) but then Microsoft botched even those improvements with the damned ribbon bar.  Who in their right mind wants to have to hit yet another key to SEE the normal header options that have been present...since forever?

Not only has Microsoft made these and other unnecessary changes, they even gone as far as to make them harder to undo.  It's no wonder that Bill gates at 52, decided to bow out of the day to day operations at Microsoft.   Personally, I wouldn't want MY name associated with the direction in which Microsoft is proceeding.

I can already see the same gamesmenship in advertising and back room deals that were prevelent at Vistas launch...if Windows 7 was actually the "golden boy" Microsoft is claming it to be, these practices would not be necessary.  Windows 7 is in fact a Vista do-over...but in the worst possible sense.

Microsoft is trying to make money, not trying to put out a good product.  They are sitting back in their Corinthian Leather recliners, laughing (at us)...all the way to the bank.  break it down to simplistic terms....compare the personalities of Bill Gates with that of Steve Ballmer.  Steve is the equivalent of the 2:00AM televison Ads for products like....Extenze, Ginzu Knives, or Oxy-Clean.  Quality products don't need this kind of salesmanship...they sell themselves.  Does anyone remember Ads of this type at XP's launch...of course you don't...they weren't necessary.  Were people FORCED to buy computers with XP installed....mostly...no, and defintely not with the vehemence that Vista and now Windows 7 are being forced on the consumer.

Prediction:  In 20 years when Maximum PC writes another "History of Windows" article, these will surely be called:  'The Gullible Years"...and they will be RIGHT!

 

 

 

Take an OS, and edit out all the efficiency, and what you have left is a post-XP Microsoft operating system :)

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NeoMatrix724

From what I've been reading of your comments, either you haven't even tried Windows 7, or you really just don't like change for the better.

 I've been an avid computer user for most of my life.  I've pretty much used every Microsoft OS under the sun.  XP was a phenomenal OS...but it was only good after SP1 and didn't really become great until SP2.  I actually used 98SE until SP1 came out.

When Vista came out...it was horrendous...I used it for about a week until I shelved it and went back to XP.  Vista runs OK if you have the hardware for it, but again, not something I wanted to mess with.

I acknowledge that Windows 7 needs better hardware...but seriously, XP is going on 8 years old, if you want to use the new, cutting edge stuff, expect to upgrade.  I found no reason to run my PC hamstringed because XP can't run 64 bit and can only address 3.2gb of 8GB in my PC.   

I was rather surprised at the install times on Windows 7.  It took roughly 40 minutes to format and install and boot to desktop.  XP then pretty much requires you to install drivers and restart a sizable number of times.  Windows 7 pretty much installing some of the more esoteric hardware (weird devices from a laptop mainly). My desktop pretty much only needed driver updates...no new driver installations.  I was up and running un under an hour. 

I originally thought Windows 7 was going to be pretty much a Vista refresh,  I loaded up the RC and tested it for a week.  When the time came to uninstall and go back to XP, I actually decided to give it another week.  The interface had grown on me, I had found it to be much more intuitive and useful.  Performance was good, and I had not really experienced any crashes.  Using it more indepth that second week...I had pretty much commited to buying it...at launch.

I've been running RTM via TechNet since August, and I have no intention of going back.  The OS is faster, cleaner, and the interface is much more useful to me.  A lot of tedious tasks are heavily simplified. Networking, File sharing, File Organization (via libraries) are much improved.   The FS improvements (such as symlinking) make life easier as well.

Overall, give the OS a fairshake before knocking it as extensively as you have.  I went in biased towards XP...but 2 weeks showed me that they actually spent time on this and made proper changes to the core and updated it mainly for user experience.  The prices may be a bit steep for the full retail versions, but there are quite a few methods to get Win 7 on the cheap.

 

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lien_meat

Honestly, I kinda understand where he is coming from in a couple of places.

System administration is easier in XP (in my opinion):
The control panel since XP has gotten pretty conveluted...to the point where I have trouble finding things sometimes.  I prefer the "classic" view of the control panel.  Either way though, Vista and 7's control panels are REALLY messy and confusing.  It's not HORRIBLE, but it's not good.  (I prefer XP's control panel, or Ubuntu's administration menu, or Yast or something, or kde's system settings...)

Windows 7 doesn't REALLY get faster on a PC until you get 4 cores and 4 or more gb of ram in your comp.  Before you hit those specs, it performs pretty much equally with XP in my experience (which is just fine, I'm glad it does). I have a core2 duo laptop and also a core2 quad desktop running 7 (dual booted with ubuntu, which previously ran xp + ubuntu) and 7 is about the same or a tid bit slower than xp on my laptop, but it is noticably faster on the desktop.

I don't personally find windows 7's UI to be any better than XP's (although it is shockingly beautiful).  I don't like the new task bar really, and changed it's settings to the older "not grouped" style, after realizing that when doing work in a program that had multiple windows, it took 2 clicks instead of 1 to get to the necessary window.  This is actually a big downside to me.

I actually prefer keyboard shortcuts to using the mouse to manipulate all the UI features, and windows7 STILL doesn't have a good, extremely configurable keyboard shortcuts ability.  Not anything near as good as either the gnome desktop or kde's desktop, and actually, this is a HUGE reason I prefer running ubuntu over 7.  it's easier to get work done quickly...(assuming you use keyboard shortcuts).  If window7 had a more customizable UI (akin to something like gnome or kde) I would be sold.  I probably would even run it as my primary OS.  The windows desktop though, is one of it's weakest points in my opion though.

Also, windows explorer is not really improved much. It is improved, but not enough to make me really want to use it.  They mostly just hid the menu's and made it look nicer.  OH, and libraries, which are really nice to use, can't deny that...  When windows explorer can do sftp natively and well(required for serious web developers or programmers), and has tabs, I'll probably be more inclined to feel that windows has improved some.

Look, I'm not saying windows7 isn't better. IT IS. I love it compared to XP, which I prefered over vista due to sluggish performance on my laptop, but the changes are not as dramatic or awesome as everyone keeps reporting.  There is TONS of desktop environment changes that would have been nicer to have for everyday use than "peak" and the new task bar in my opinion.  I've listed only a couple areas where I honestly think window's desktop is lacking.

I can understand that for someone who didn't have a faster dual core with > 4gigs of ram, why they might be pretty reluctant to shell out cash to upgrade to ANY OS past XP.  YES, win7 is definately the new XP, yes it is better, but it's not "better enough" that everyone is going to be willing to buy new parts and shell out money for it.  Honestly, I can tell you right now, that if I wouldn't have been able to get it free, I wouldn't still have it installed either if I only had the laptop.  I probably would have moved back to XP on it, since it really does do everything it needs to on that hardware, and well too.

I feel win7 is being over-hyped.  It doesn't offer any really awesome new capabilities (no new filesystem still, and ntfs is really really starting to show it's age compared with any other moddern FS out there).  Yep, it's faster than Vista and XP (only if you have new-ish hardware), and yes, it is beautiful, and also, yes, it is a better OS (better driver model compared to XP and such), but it really isn't a big change as far as OS's go as it seems to be hyped, nothing like either 95 or 2000, it's an upgrade, a MUCH belated one.

Maybe I'm just spoiled.  I see about the same level of improvements on nearly every ubuntu distro that gets released, and they get released every 6 months, not 3 or 5 years...  I guess I just can't see how a company that has the most R&D funds of any computer company in the US (probably) and the very best developers doesn't have some of the awesome features that other desktop enviroments OS's have, and seems to move so so slowly.  I'm not saying linux is better, it's not, it has issues too (pulseaudio, some video chips, GNU zealots cause sometimes I prefer a proprietary solution damn it...), but I would say that *nix offers better desktop environments out of the box, and a damn good kernel (window's kernel seems pretty decent in 7 though), and tends to add features MUCH faster than does windows.

..I'm not a trying to start a fight, this is all only my opinion...I'm not saying windows or linux is better...they both have places they excell, and I'm not trying to say that people shouldn't switch to win7 from xp or vista, cause if they have the money and/or the hardware, they probably should, I'm just saying win7 isn't as amazing as all the hype would alude to it being...that's it.
### I'm an idiot, and I approve this message ###

avatar

st1rn3r

I second that.  I've been running Windows 7 as my primarily operating system since April, and I've seen that it outperforms XP in every way imaginable (I even got it to run decently on my Compaq n610c).  For that matter, I also beta tested Vista--which was only slightly more buggy than the 7 beta--and was then also impressed by how far advanced it was of XP.

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donnyton

Great article with some insights into the company history that helps me, a younger Windows user, understand the background behind the current state of the company.

I do wish there was a bit more on Office in the article though.  It's definitely one of their flagship products, with around an 80% office share (Windows is at 85+%).  As someone who's only used Office 2000 and later, I was surprised to find that Excel was the first real Windows app ever.  When did the other many apps of Office get added?

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Onyx2291

 Every company has it's ups and downs. Though I was only here for about half of those fifty and old enough to even understand a fourth of it. I hope that Microsoft cranks out better products than most people believe that they are capable of. Windows is all I've really known through out my life, Macs were only to me a computer I used at school and I hope that this list can continue for more best moments.

-Onyx

avatar

Atomic77

People you should not bash Vista. Vista is pretty decent  now that SP2 is out. I am using vista home premium 64bit edition. It has done everything I need it to do.  All OS's will have there issues but if you wait things will get better.

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