The Windows 7 Home Premium installation process makes the Ubuntu Linux installation process look really good. The W7HP process starts out quick and easy but finishing it is a pain. Microsoft and Windows fight you all the way. (Updated after a month of use.)
Wireless interface broken
The wireless interface becomes more difficult with every version of Windows. Every other operating system makes every release easier to use with wireless networks. Microsoft just keeps on adding useless displays to the existing useless displays. Adding my Windows 7 machine required ten times more work than either Windows XP or Ubuntu Linux. Something worked in the end but I could not repeat the sequence of steps.
Microsoft replaced workgroups with homegroups. I cannot find any documentation showing an advantage from using homegroups. Homegroups force you to change all your computers to Windows 7 which is a financial advantage for the pirates at Microsoft and a real disadvantage for Windows users.
After a lot of research and tests, I managed to remove the homegroup created by Windows 7 (without my consent), and found a way to connect thecomputer to a workgroup.
There are 2 ~ 3 gigabytes of spam, viruses, and worms installed by Microsoft. You can uninstall a lot of it. Some of the deinstallation programs hit you with more spam and try to install additional junk. I am surprised by how money grubbing and vicious Windows is about pushing products down our throats. The downhill slide started with Internet Explorer when Microsoft removed the option to not install Internet Explorer.
I was considering leaving some of the new Microsoft software on the machine to try out later. The machine was so overloaded that I simply deleted everything. They really screwed up a chance to show me how good their operating system could be.
The installation time for applications in Windows 7 is about the same as in Linux. The recent versions of Ubuntu Linux make many application installations easier then Ubuntu put serious roadblocks in front of the last few application I need. Windows 7 is about the same for all application installations, you lose some time on many of the smaller applications then you gain time on a few big applications because you do not have to fight your way through the dozens of prerequisites required on Linux.
Windows still has three important applications that are missing from Linux and I need at least one Windows machine for those applications but I do not need Windows 7 for them. My ancient Windows XP computer can run the latest releases of all three applications and at speeds faster than my disks or network.
Versions of Windows
You can buy Windows 7 for $259.00 in the Home Premium edition, for $438.00 in the Professional edition, or for $445.00 in the Ultimate edition. The prices are from our local office supply shop. Based on my experience of the various options, the free Ubuntu Linux desktop edition is equivalent to the Windows 7 Professional edition. A few extra free downloads will upgrade Ubuntu Linux to the equivalent of the Ultimate edition.
The Windows Pro and Ultimate editions give you the occasional client software or client seat licence for some of their corporate products and the actual inclusions vary depending on how desperate Microsoft are to push out Linux. If you are a corporation and start installing Linux, you get more free extras from Microsoft. I do not need any connections to Microsoft Exchange and do not need any of their server products, making the extra corporate stuff useless.
Support from hardware suppliers
There are lots of reports that the device drivers for Windows 7 are exactly the same as Vista drivers. I tried to install a printer driver from Epson for a printer that went on sale about the same time as Vista and was still on sale long after Windows 7 arrived. I visited the Epson sites for Australia, America, England, New Zealand, and anywhere else visible in English. Epson made the download pages for Australia break by using rubbish code in their Web pages. New Zealand used the same pages. Some of the other countries let you download drivers for the same physical printer but had the code set to break if there was the slightest variation in either the printer model name or the Windows version name. One country had the 6 MB driver buried in 80 MB of trash advertising.
After many downloads from Epson and attempts to use Windows automatic updates, I gave up on using the printer across the network, and went back to an ancient USB cable.
Hours later I accidentally found a driver that worked for USB. Windows still displays a broken symbol on the printer icon. I never found a scanner driver that worked.
There are a lot of similar reports. Some hardware drivers work without change. Some drivers fail despite the hardware not changing and the driver not requiring a change. I suspect Microsoft put some sort of artificial changes into the driver connections to force people to upgrade.
Computers with Windows preinstalled cost $11.00 extra because that is what Windows costs the manufacturer (in small volumes).
The changed network connection interface wasted another $300.00 of my time. The total cost is now $311.00 and the computer is not usable.
I wasted $150.00 of my time on the workgroup part of the Windows 7 installation. Counting the deliberate installation problem caused by Microsoft, Windows 7 cost me $461.00.
I wasted $150.00 of my time removing Microsoft spam and I have only removed the more obvious spam. Counting the removal of the spam/viruses/worms installed by Microsoft, Windows 7 cost me $611.00.
After $600.00 of my time, Windows 7 finally reached the point where I could do the same things with Windows 7 that I can do with Ubuntu Linux after only $75 of my time.
Where is a system display?
After the installation, I tried to find some simple information about my computer and the operating system configuration. Windows XP tells you instantly. Linux, including Ubuntu, tells you the same information with the same type of display as Windows XP. Some distributions of Linux include the display as standard while others offer the display as an optional extra you can install any time. Windows 7 removed the easy to use display and splattered some of the information over a random set of unrelated screens.
How do you customise your desktop?
One of the first changes you make to Windows is to remove the background image so your brain does not have to constantly sort out the useful stuff from some stupid background picture. Windows 7 will not let me remove the image. I eventually found a theme that emulates Windows XP and lets me customise my desktop. Unfortunately the emulation theme has broken settings including the font settings.
Conclusion after one month of use
I could be productive faster if Windows 7 was Windows XP with the few genuine new features added without changing or hiding any of the old features. If this computer came with hardware drivers for Windows XP, Iwould instantly upgrade to Windows XP.
This computer can be upgraded to Linux and I would do that if the computer was mine. The owner uses two computers and the other one has Windows 7. I am forced to leave Windows 7 on the computer purely for that compatibility.