Windows 7 Hype – 7 Gotchas & Recommendations

Windows 7 Ultimate

Windows 7 Ultimate

Windows 7…released two months ago and it is the greatest thing since…since…the last best version of Windows??

From an IT perspective I’ve been disappointed by a several missing core features that should have been included. These missing “core features” are a huge oversight by MS. Why did Microsoft skip them? Functionality is the most important feature of any OS. Let’s review the missing features:

1. Printer Drivers. Windows 7 ships with very few printer drivers. How many non IT folk are having a rough time right now? They plug in a printer and…nothing. I’m not referring to new printers but printers older than a year. Also these aren’t low volume off-brand printers, I’m referring to HP printers. At the very least, I expected Microsoft to ship Windows 7 with basic driver support for all HP printers older than February 2009. Instead to access to new drivers one must manually click the Windows update button from the devices and printer control panel icon. This can be done by setting up a (virtual or real) printer and clicking the Windows Update button. Is Microsoft trying to give market share away (to Apple)?

2. Active Sync. In the control panel Windows 7 has a mobile sync function but it didn’t work for the HTC Windows smartphone from ATT – the HTC Tilt. Microsoft expects end users to go out to microsoft.com and update the driver support for mobile sync. I can almost see the justification of not providing better HP support – but not supporting your own mobile operating systems and smartphones phones? Is Microsoft trying to give market share away (to Apple)?

3. Windows Movie Maker. Granted WMM is a very simple non-linear video editing tool and WMM isn’t corporate, still I expected Microsoft to improve this app. Not only was this application not improved but it’s not even included! The end user must download Windows Live or WMM 2.6 (the Vista version of WMM) from microsoft.com. Is Microsoft trying to give market share away (to Apple)?

4. False error notifications. We’ve noticed false errors when plugging in a new device or connecting a device, Windows 7 will say something like “Error: device not installed” and then 15-30 seconds later it works – if you try it. One of my guys approached me saying, “I can’t get this device to work.” Turns out the device was working but the notifications were incorrect. There should be a second notification stating the device is connected or functioning normally – something to alert us about the change in device status but nope. Is Microsoft trying to give market share away (to Apple)?

6. UAC. User Account Control is scaled back in Windows 7 compared to Windows Vista. But if you want to use gotoassist or gotomypc or these types of remote control applications (which we do) then UAC cannot be totally turned off or the CTRL-ALT-DEL key combo is disabled and you CANNOT LOG IN REMOTELY. That’s right, you are completely shut out of your system, UAC must be on. The lowest setting of UAC works but still I want it totally turned off and IT staff don’t like having their hands tied. Again, is Microsoft trying to give market share away (to Apple)?

7. The Control Panel. It’s a mess and difficult to find settings. Of course once you are used to Windows 7 maybe it won’t be too bad but it won’t ever be too good either. Settings have been highly compartmentalized which isn’t terrible but they are also highly segregated requiring many clicks before locating the necessary setting and then clicks back to find a different setting. You may have many ah-ha moments and discovery can be fun but long term easy-of-use makes or breaks the love we give an OS. The people at Microsoft know this yet…is Microsoft trying to give market share away (to Apple)?

Windows 7 was designed with an emphasis on being faster and having better media capabilities. I can’t help but feel that this OS was rushed by 9-12 months. The Windows 7 media hype has so far covered-up these neglected features/functionality but when the it’s time to use the computer with the shiny new graphics but discover poor printer support, missing applications, Microsoft smartphones aren’t supported by default, difficult administration and  Microsoft is tying your hands to controlling UAC…it beckons the question, how could the Microsoft decision makers overlook these functions? Also where is the cloud support and the built in social networking? Perhaps this is the genius of Microsoft. I can see it now, in the year 2012, “The all new Microsoft Windows 8, with better driver support, Windows Movie Maker, cloud storage and social networking – included!” By then will we care? Or will Microsoft be irrelevant as Google Android powers the (mobile) computing world?

I’m sure some of these issues will be improved with service pack 1 for Windows 7, due summer 2010. I expect better driver support being included in the this release. But Microsoft better get a’movin and fast.

mpasatieri posted at 2009-12-15 Category: General News, OS