¶Random Windows 7 thoughts
I got a new laptop recently, and as such, I've moved my development environment to Windows 7 x64. Since I had a triple-boot config on my old laptop, I'm pretty used to it already, but now I'm using it full-time instead of only occasionally.
My thoughts so far (from XP to Windows 7, and in no particular order):
- It helps to have a graphics card that supports WDDM 1.1 and is fast enough to not slow down 2D operations. My old graphics card wasn't fast enough at 1920x1200 resolution, which contributed a lot of the underlying "slow" feel. I'm still of the opinion that there isn't an excuse to have 2D operations be the bottleneck on ANY modern video card.
- Windows 7 seems to thrash the disk less. (I only have 2GB of RAM -- getting more RAM from the vendor was a ripoff and I don't need more.)
- Aero makes it too hard to tell which window has focus.
- Aero makes old 3D UIs look uglier than they would in Classic because the color scheme is terrible for it. In particular, it's hard to tell when a control is disabled.
- Windows Photo Viewer isn't as good as the old XP one -- it uses point sampling for zoom (!?). It also doesn't work correctly when you invoke it as another user via "runas."
- Paint is now much more useful, because the commands were rethought out when the Ribbon work was done and it actually has Crop. However, MS stopped short of adding keyboard shortcuts for the tools. :( Also, it has an annoying bug where black and white pattern fills are broken, which makes it hard to make an analog LCD calibration checkerboard.
- "regsvr32 /u shmedia.dll" no longer works, and so now we're back to Explorer constantly trying to load video files to get their size. :P
- The per-application volume control is great except that you can't raise a program above the master level. This has two bad effects: (1) you can't amp up a program whose output is too low, and more seriously (2) all new programs start at maximum volume.
- Don't know if it's the new laptop or Windows 7, but I finally have more than two clicks between silent and obnoxiously loud in the default volume taper.
- The default high pitched bell is annoying. I hate to admit it, but Apple got this one right. I went and found my own less grating bongo drum sample to use.
- The new file dialog has an annoying tendency to scroll horizontally as soon as you click on a file that is partially cut off on the right side. This effectively makes it impossible to double-click on the second column of a directory with a lot of long filenames.
- Was it really necessary for the arguments to "mklink" to be backwards from the Unix "ln" command?
- I can't seem to find anything in the new Control Panel. I don't think it's just things moving around, as I don't remember having nearly this much trouble with XP. It's more that I can't seem to read it very well and take forever to find things. Part of it seems to be that it's sorted horizontally instead of vertically, for some reason.
- I don't like pinning on the taskbar -- Quick Launch FTW. I do, however, like being able to launch another copy of an app I have running.
- I've grown to like launch-by-search on the Start Menu. The downside is that if you're like me and have three copies of the DirectX SDK installed, you can't tell which version of PIX you are launching. It would also be nicer if the MRU list was sorted.
- List and Detail views in Explorer seem to have more padding vertically on items, and the result is that I can't see as many items in the space.
- I've had weird problems with randomly not being able to eject removable drives because Windows 7 thinks they're fixed drives. I've had the same drive sometimes hit this and sometimes not. When it happens, Transactional NTFS (TxF) holds a lock on the drive and prevents ejection. Don't remember where I saw it, but the workaround is to take the drive offline in Disk Management.
- I wish I could turn off Aero Peek on Alt+Tab in Aero mode. Too often I pause for a second looking for the right icon and then everything turns to glass.
- Task Manager needs decimal places on CPU usage. It's hard to do eyeball profiling when you have eight cores and a thread only goes up to 12%.
- Win+P to control multiple monitors is handy. Much easier to use than hitting something like Fn+F3 over and over and trying to cycle to the right configuration.
- The color tinting of taskbar buttons looks neat, but is also confusing as it looks like there is a meaning to the colors. I've been told that there isn't and it's just based on image analysis of the pixels in the window icon.
- The power scheme quick-switcher needs to show more than two schemes. At a minimum I want low speed, balanced, and max speed without having to go to the control panel.