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Windows 7 RC1 – first impressions

Maentwrog, Wales – Right around the time that everyone else on the planet started downloading Windows 7 RC1 yesterday, I thought Microsoft’s servers could probably do with a workout and did the same, fully expecting the download to run all night.

In the event, the 64bit ISO image download started at 1510 and was complete by 1645. The servers didn’t fall over once and I saw speeds of up to 800K/sec. Burned the image to a DVD and did a clean install on a second hard disk in this machine. Around two and a half hours from starting the process, I rejoined the TGD editorial Skype chat using Windows 7.

All my hardware was correctly detected and the drivers installed with no manual intervention. Everything is working fine apart from AVG Free not correctly reporting its status to the OS, but it is working fine, so that’s not much of an issue. No doubt the folks at AVG are beavering away on a fix as we speak.

While I can see that some Linux geeks might think this is all far too easy and therefore depriving them of the hours of fun involved trying to find the correct drivers, typing in command line instructions, etc, etc, I can’t help thinking that for most people, it’s just the kind of low-pain install they want.

As the release candidate doesn’t time expire for more than a year, it is surely worth even the most timorous user giving it a try.

And although Microsoft hasn’t yet released numbers for exactly how many people have so far downloaded RC1, I feel sure it is a very significant number. That the servers didn’t crumple under the onslaught and delivered commendably-high download speeds is a major achievement.

That the OS itself seems to be fast and stable isn’t a bad thing either, but if anything falls off, you’ll be the first to know.