I have been using Win 7 since it was released to techs and, apart from the substantial annoyance of no classic menu, it is very much the same experience as using Vista, XP, W2K, ME, 98, 95, 3.1, 3.0. What I am trying to say is that it is just an operating system. I don’t use or like gimmicks, e.g. Aero Shake or the open source Compiz-Fusion, and my two new widescreen monitors do not have touch capability, so no three finger painting for me.
It starts up faster than Vista did, but I don’t have as much starting up as I did. This is partly because I have not yet found Win 7 compatible stuff. The widgets definitely appear faster on the uptake, but I am still careful in what I select to appear. My computer is still single core, AMD powered, and running cheap value memory, albeit 4gb.
All of my hardware works: an aging HP 5150 printer, an aging Canon Lide Scanner (courtesy of Vuescan), external drive, MS headset, and Win 7 does not have the ‘waking from sleep’ issue if the external USB drive is powered up. Windows Live Mail occasionally balks and holds stuff in the outbox for reasons all of its own, and if I try to resend them, it claims to have lost the messages. Windows Mail never did this.
I can’t say that I am over the moon with it because Vista worked well for me right from the start too, but I will say that the ‘out of the box’ experience has been easy. Apart from the look of the main taskbar, and the fact that I can’t take advantage of features like ‘touch’, it doesn’t really feel any different to Vista, which I do not think is a bad thing at all.
I still believe that ‘touch’ capability should have been a downloadable add-on, especially as touch screens are aways off of being the ‘norm’. And for this reason, I don’t believe that the taskbar and Start Menu should have been optimized for the touch experience. Maybe something for Windows 8, but definitely not for Windows 7.
Conclusion: It does appear to be less problematic for many people than ever Vista was, but remember that Vista laid the foundation for Windows 7.