Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm in beta heaven or is it hell? First impressions on Windows 7 Beta 1

A couple of weeks ago when Microsoft released the first public beta version of Windows 7, I kind of had a brain meltdown and decided it was fun to go all out with the beta testing and switch over my main development machine to Windows 7 :)

In retrospect I'm not sure it was a good investment timewise since I've been suffering abit with some application compalitbilities (I'll go into more details later) and thus I've been dedicating a considerable ammount of time to work around my problem areas.

First out I gotta say that I really enjoy the new taskbar (it grows on you quickly) and the overall stability and performance are really good for a beta 1, that stated lets have a quick look on my pain points.

First and foremost I'm an avid user of my IPod Touch and could not imagine life without it and alas it works crappy on Windows 7 (altough that was not all that suprisingly since it had it's fair share of problems on Vista as well). I simply can't get ITunes 8 to work properly (altough I have a work around in the works I'll post more on that later) it crashes my machine with an ugly BSOD or it simply hangs so bad that I have to power off to be able to shutdown the computer. Another really problematic issue with this is that most of the time it won't even start it just spawns up a process without any user interface (you'll see the process but you can't touch it). So if you really rely on your ITunes 8 to function properly you should probably consider testing Windows 7 on another machine.

Then it was time to install some virus protection and Norton AntiVirus 2009 didn't work properly I was unable to run any updates if just didn't work. However this seems to be a passing problem since after running windows update and rebooting a couple of this all of the sudden it started to work. But fourtenately there seems to be a quick uptake on the antivirus market to support Windows 7 read more in this post Anti-Virus Solutions for the Windows 7 Beta.

After a couple of weird crashes I started to snoop around the device manager and saw a few driver related problems but I managed to work them out by going to HP's homepage and download the Vista drivers and so far it seems to work properly (not so many crashes anymore). I still experience some problems when playing movies using Windows Media Player, from time to time it simply freezes and I have to reboot or it won't start playback of the movie at all (currently I don't know why and it is not that frequent so I'm not gonna dig to deep into that).

Another issue that bugged me (both very breifly since the problem solver in windows actually told med exactly what to do to solve the problem ... wooot that's not allways the case) but is has to do with running msi installations and you can read more about the problem is this post Delete regkey to fix msi installer bug in Windows 7 beta.

After awhile I started to turn my attention to the sidebar gadgets (Windows 7 has done away with the sidebar that was introduced in Vista, I'm still not totally comfy with that) which now can be place anywhere you like on the desktop. I quickly discovered that nothing happened when I tried to add a gadget, this turned out to be caused by the fact that I've disabled UAC and then you can't have gadgets :( I really hope they work this out in later versions. If you are really diehard about the sidebar you can still enable it just follw the instructions in this blog post Workaround to Run Windows Vista Bar Style Sidebar in Windows 7.

One thing I still haven't solve it the fact that I can't seem to get the Hyper-V Administration Console to work (I just can't find it! And yes I've downloaded and installed the update) when I get the time to work this out I'll post how I managed to do it.

Finally and equally bad as the ITunes problem is the fact that the Azure SDK CTP doesn't function properly on Windows 7 so I end up running my Azure labs in an virtual machine instead. I'm currently considering to try out the MED-V Beta 1 to get the development environment to run seamlessly in the host os but I'm not sure I'm that brave (MED-V is currently not supported on Windows 7). Anyway if you want more details on the Azure SDK issue go to this post Windows Azure SDK Jan 2009 CTP doesn’t work on Windows 7 Beta AzureJournal - Windows Azure Blog.

That's all folks :) I'm gonna keep posting on the topic whenever I bump into problems and solve them.

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