Windows 7 – One Year Later

It has been a while since I have posted.  I’m sorry. I was cleaning up some old files yesterday and came across a lot of folders with last modified dates of August 19.  I realized that August 19 was the day I switched over to Windows 7.  One year later, I still love the operating system, but it is either time for a service pack or for me to reinstall or start fresh.  I think both are needed. It is not that Windows 7 isn’t running okay, but I have a bunch of little nits that have crept into my day to day usage.  This system isn’t suffering from Windows rot in the classical sense, but it is not daisy-fresh any longer either.

  • Boot and reboot times have slowed somewhat.  Granted, I have added a screen calibration utility to my boot up sequence and Sun and Adobe are completely out of control with their respective resource-hogging, intrusive updating apps, so this problem is not entirely Microsoft’s.  Net, this system isn’t quite as spry on reboot.
  • Windows 7 Libraries sorely need a service pack update.  I like the idea in theory, but the execution is flawed.  I need to rebuild my index about every month or so because my latest files don’t show up in my listing.  Windows constantly wants to refresh my view whenever I open My Pictures, making me wait.  Most maddeningly, no matter what I do, the Documents Library will not retain my view sorting parameters. 
  • When I open my Devices and Printers folder, Windows insists on scanning for new devices and printers every time.  I understand wanting to scan for new devices, but give me my defaults and scan in the background.  I don’t want to wait 15 seconds for it to finish scanning.  My computer waits for me, not vice versa.
  • Start menu organization drives me nuts.  I miss being able to drag and drop programs around.  With this new Start menu, sometimes it works, most of the time I have to right click and go into a folder view.
  • Windows Control Panel still stinks.  Even with a year to get used to it, I still can’t find what I want.
  • I had thought that running 64 bit would be a problem.  It’s been months since I’ve had an issue, so no problems there.  I am ready to throw XP mode away.  It works, but it is a clunky piece of bloated code – even with VT processor support.  We have a new expense tool coming in January.  Perhaps that will allow me to jettison XP mode permanently.

On the other hand, things I love:

  • Integrated search on the Start menu.  I use it 4 or 5 times a day, if not more.
  • The revamped clock and calendar on the Start menu with the ability to show separate clocks for different time zones.  That is small, but useful when I travel.
  • Sticky Notes.  I use PostIt notes extensively, so having these built right in is so nice.  I just wish that I could make the Sticky Note task bar button disappear and relegate it to the icon notification area.
  • Windows 7 Zero Config wireless.  The program works well and I can find and connect to wireless networks effortlessly.  Since I cannot say as many nice things about my Intel wireless card, I wish Microsoft would put a button right on the wireless menu to reset/repair my wireless settings.  I have to use the repair option weekly and hate hunting for the option in the network configuration settings Control Panel applet.
  • Speed and stability.  Even with the occasional issue, Windows 7 still feels fast and stable.  I seldom have problems that require a reboot. 

All in all, me staying on a notebook (my T400s) for over a year is beyond my usual personal 9-month refresh timeframe.  I’ve always used Windows rot as a reason to switch machines (since I have to reload all of my programs anyway.) This time of year is kind of odd with regards to determining what I do next.  Do I keep my beloved T400s and just reimage my system?  (The easiest option.)  Do I use this as an excuse to switch to a T410s with nVIDIA Optimus and the ability to drive three external displays at once? Or do I wait for Huron River and next year’s T series?  I guess I have what is known as a good problem.