Today is Windows 7 launch day, the day that Microsoft hopes to erase the ghosts of Windows Vista, and move forward. After many months of using the beta versions of Windows 7, I feel confident declaring it the best Windows yet. Windows 7 is solid, it performs well, and the rough edges of the new user experience pioneered in Windows Vista have been shaved off.
I run Windows 7 on a variety of hardware – a couple of Core2 Quad PC’s equipped with 6 and 8 gigabytes of RAM respectively, an Athlon 3800 single core with 2 gigabytes of RAM, a core2 Duo with 2 gigabytes of RAM, and an HP Mini 1000 with an Atom N270 single core processor and 2 gigabytes of RAM. Windows 7 performs well on them all. The single biggest performance factor is having sufficient RAM. Microsoft’s system requirements page says that 1 gigabyte of RAM is sufficient for Windows 7. In my experience with the beta, that’s not enough. 2 gigabytes is a requirement for acceptable performance. A gigabyte of RAM is a $30 to $50 investment – spend the money!
In the short term, we shouldn’t expect Apple’s marketing tactics to take a new tack, even though Windows 7 is launched. Yes, it will be more difficult to attack Windows 7 than Windows Vista. However, the prize money in this battle is in shifting the upgraders – those who have held off on Windows Vista and are still on XP. Their computers are old, and many are not likely candidates for Windows 7 because of hardware constraints. Even if those computers are capable of running Windows 7, Windows XP is not a supported upgrade to Windows 7. Can those consumers be persuaded to move to Macintosh instead of buying a new PC?
DISCLOSURE: Until 2000 I was a Microsoft employee, and a member of the Windows team. I’m not a Microsoft shareholder (it has been a terrible investment, and I sold Microsoft out of my retirement savings portfolio years ago), nor do I hope to work for the company at any point in the future, which is to say I’ve no vested interest in seeing them succeed.