Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Windows 7 - Better Than A Kick In The Pants

Change is hardly ever easy for a snowbird — and I'm not just talking about all that white stuff falling on our heads.

For years I've used Window XP on the computer I built. Yes it had its issues initially; but, over the years I was able to find "fixes" on the internet and in magazines and, with some 'registry' tweaks, had it doing just about everything I wanted in the way that I needed.

I even held off upgrading my 'Internet Explorer 6' until a few months ago. You see, IE6 (or the 'Devil's browser – as some call it) had it's own method of calculating page layout so was a bit different than so-called 'standard.'

I could create Offroading Home maps and pages for 'Firefox' and other browsers; but, unless I had some computer running IE6 I couldn't see how to set up for that browser as well. [And, statistics showed that a huge portion of readers of the website still used IE6]. However, I didn't foresee a 'militant' effort against it…

You may not have realized it, but a couple of years ago web designers actually began a grass roots attack to literally: 'bring down IE6.' They basically, en masse, just stopped caring about coding for it which made all their pages look goofy in the browser, and they put up insulting messages only seen by users of IE6 – but, again, who cared (except us old farts resitant to change)!

I noticed that it got so bad a few months ago that I couldn't even run several of the sites I use frequently (perhaps you've noticed the same thing) so I had to relent and upgrade to IE8. No big deal. I like it, even though it takes a bit getting used to. There are still enough familiar menu's and buttons that you don't really get lost.

That brings me to Window's 7 – the operating system. I had a choice of upgrading to Window's Vista or 7, and I chose 7. In reality, the best choice.

It's just that (to borrow the phrase of the Magliozzi brothers on 'Car Talk' who both intone in unison: "don't drive like my brother") DON'T DO IT LIKE I DID!

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.”Douglas Adams
In contrast to just about everything else Microsoft has released in many years, the 'web' has almost nothing bad to say against the new operating system… really! And they are right.

Of course, there's the obligatory 'getting used to'; but, again, there is enough familiarity that you don't spend an inordinate amount of time bumping into walls. The installation couldn't have been easier and so-called 'updates' are much more rare than with XP.

However, when YOU do it, YOU read the instructions first! OK? Go onto the Window's 7 web site and follow the instructions. RUN the AUTOCHECK for compatibility FIRST. Your computer and/or other hardware or software may not be compatible.

You probably still should upgrade to the new system but it's nice to know where the hurdles will be. Although you will need to purchase new versions of some software (i.e. things like Norton backup etc., if you use it) Win-7 does have a 'compatibility mode' that it uses automatically; and pretty much most things which will run on Vista will run on Win-7.

Hardware is a different story, they seem to integrate at a much more base level and often need new drivers if they work at all. (This is especially true if you are switching from the 32-bit version to the 64-bit version.)

That's where my problem lay. I didn't do the 'pre-check' so I didn't have a road map, and both my printer and AV 'dongle' (video capture device for screencasts) don't work. I've also been installing new drivers all over the place.

However, it does look like the road ahead may have been graded – I haven't had any suprises for over three days now!

[An explanation, in case you were wondering about the recent sporadicity of posts.]


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