Windows 7: The State of the Beta

By  |  Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Feature-by-Feature Feedback

Next, we asked the survey-takers what they thought of some specific Win 7 features–neatly all of which got good-to-great feedback from the vast majority of respondents. For instance, 88 percent of them said that the OS’s radically different Taskbar was good or excellent, and only 7 percent of them deemed it poor.

The tweaked Start Menu–which isn’t all that different than its predecessor–wasn’t as warmly received as the Taskbar, but seventy-eight percent of respondents still said it was good or excellent.

I really like Windows 7’s new System Tray and the way it gives you more power to prevent the icons it contains from bugging you. Survey respondents liked it too, although not quite as much as some other features. Still, 68 percent gave it a thumbs up:

You gotta think that Windows Vista’s version of UAC would receive negative reviews from the vast majority of serious Windows users. But the finer control that Windows 7’s version gives users seems to have won over most of our respondents. Sixty-nine percent said it was good or excellent; fourteen percent thought it was only fair or downright poor.

Looks like it’s too early to gauge the new HomeGroups feature, which aims to simplify sharing of stuff across home networks. More than half of respondents have no opinion or haven’t tried it yet.

Jump Lists–the next context-sensitive menus that let you specify an action for an application as you enter it–also received an enthusiastic response, with 69 percent of respondents saying it’s good or excellent.

For what it’s worth, Windows 7’s unglamorous new window-tiling options received more “It’s excellent” votes than any other Windows 7 feature we asked about. Overall, seventy percent of respondents liked it.

And just to show that the people who took the survey aren’t just folks who get excited over anything, they gave the new version of Internet Explorer a mediocre grade. Nineteen percent think it’s poor; 31 percent say it’s just fair; 23 percent rate it as good. And only seven percent told us that it’s excellent.



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15 Comments For This Post

  1. Nik Says:

    “Price is going to be a major consideration with Windows 7. Microsoft is shedding jobs, outsourcing, and contributing to a falling economy. At the same time, they still think their software is worth premium prices. Vista proves that this is not true. The price needs to be more reasonable, or I will continue switching my household computers to Macs. There is NO reason for Windows 7 to cost any more than OSX. In fact, it should cost less.”

    Except to use a Mac, you need to buy a whole new machine. OSX + Machine is more costly than windows by itself.

    And £100-£150 for an operating system is not premium prices. Premium pricing is like Photoshop, £1000+

  2. David Hamilton Says:

    I assume the commenter was intending to replace hardware as it becomes obsolete, so the machine cost largely irrelevant here.

    Don’t forget that this £100-£150 is an *upgrade* cost, not a purchase cost. Also, it is for an operating system, that merely enables you to use your computer – it should just work.

    That Vista works so badly that many will feel the need to upgrade to remove the pain suggests that a lot of people will feel upset that they are being charged again for what they should have been provided with in the first place.

  3. Tufte's devout Says:

    Your charts would be much more readable if the “y” item order was always the same, and the “x” scale was constant.

    You could then do graphical comparisons without having to read the axes each time.

  4. Jolt Says:

    You can see the financial motivation for Microsoft to really hit a home run with Windows 7.

    It will be tough to win me over from Fedora Core 10, but I remain open.

  5. pipertehc Says:

    ok so concider this – the beta was only available to technet subscribers (i am one – so no fan boy flames) most technet subscribers are Microsoft professionals the other bunch are the torrent crowd alot of which acquire unpaid for software and dont pay licence fees – picking up MS exploits on the way – these groups have only ever and will only ever (for the foreseable future) used MS operating systems

    I would like to see a a real comprehensive usage comparison with a distribution like mint linux, which has proven to me to be a better out of the box experience than any microsoft OS – my client base is aged 8 to 70 years old and ranges from the technophobic to the professional – very single person (around 40) i have installed a modern linux distribution for has adopted it as the full time primary OS. for ease of use for functionality for cost effectiveness, stability and security being the primary focus for all.

    open source needs fully independent representation with no political or financial agenda !

  6. confused Says:

    first commenter:

    “The price needs to be more reasonable, or I will continue switching my household computers to Macs”

    huh? because Macs are so reasonably priced? wtf?

  7. David Hamilton Says:

    “huh? because Macs are so reasonably priced? wtf?”

    Suggest you look in Technologizer’s archive for their series of articles comparing Mac and a range of PC vendor prices feature by feature …

  8. Brandon Says:

    pipertehc –

    That is incorrect. The beta release was made available to anyone who wanted to download it from, and was downloaded by over a million non-TechNet / non-MSDN users.

  9. VPN Haus Says:

    The one drawback I’ve seen in Windows 7 is its readiness (or lack thereof) to address enterprise security concerns – the cost of upgrading to the 2008 R2 server in order to use DirectAccess could be prohibitive.

    More discussion of Win 7’s enterprise-worthiness:

    More discussion of Win 7 security:

  10. Windows 7 Says:

    I’ve read on many blogs that the install process of win 7 would have been faster, but I didn’t really noticed any improvement on it; especially if compared to vista. It takes 35minutes on fast machines and 1hour in slow ones.

  11. David Hamilton Says:

    Apple’s announcement yesterday that Snow Leopard will be available for $29 really puts the pressure on Microsoft. Both Windows 7 and OS X 10.6 are evolutionary releases, rather than revolutionary ones with a swathe of new features.

    Should Microsoft price Windows upgrades higher than Apple’s rate, would that reflect a feeling that while most Mac users are pretty content with 10.5, many more PC users are less than happy with Vista, and so would pay a larger premium to upgrade?

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4 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Windows 7 Looks Interesting Says:

    […] now, today, I came across a poll from 200 users of the Beta.  Take a look at what they put together and tell me you’re not interested.  That […]

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    […] So to riff on Ronald Reagan’s famous question from his 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter, Are Windows users better off than they were a few weeks ago, back in the Vista era? We decided to ask the Technologizer community, a group of tech enthusiasts with a high propensity to acquire new operating systems quickly and push them to their limits. Starting on November 16th, we surveyed our readers (and Twitter followers) about their experiences with Windows 7. Our goal: to do a reality check on the mostly favorable initial reviews of the new OS (as well as our own survey of largely enthusiastic Windows 7 beta testers back in March). […]