Technologizer: The State of Windows 7 Satisfaction

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By Harry McCracken

Windows 7 is scarcely more than a month old. Most of the people who will eventually use it haven’t gotten around to trying it yet; those that have are still settling in. And the Win 7 experience will change rapidly as remaining bugs are squashed, missing drivers arrive, and compatibility glitches are ironed out. Even so, it’s not too early to start gauging what real people think of Windows Vista’s replacement.

So to riff on Ronald Reagan’s famous question from his 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter, Are Windows users better off today 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).

The 550+ Windows 7 early adopters who took our survey mostly echo the positive response that the upgrade has received from professional reviewers, pundits, and users of pre-release editions. A sizable majority say they’re extremely satisfied with the OS and rate it as a clear improvement on both the beloved Windows XP and the widely-panned Windows Vista. Crippling installation problems–the bane of every upgrader’s existence, and always a legitimate reason to postpone switching OSes–were rare.

Our full report follows. But first, some quick facts on the folks who took our survey:

  • Prior to using Windows 7, forty-six percent of respondents ran Windows Vista, and thirty-two percent ran Windows XP. Seventeen percent ran Vista and XP about equally, five percent ran an OS other than Windows, and a whopping 0.7 percent used a version of Windows other than Vista or XP.
  • Seventy-three percent upgraded an existing PC to the final version of Windows 7, and eight percent are running it on a PC that came with the OS pre-installed. Fourteen percent are still using a pre-release version, and six percent are running it on a Mac via Boot Camp or a virtualization program.
  • Sixty-four percent of respondents rate themselves as expert Windows users; thirty-five percent say they’re intermediate ones. Less than one percent call themselves beginners.
  • Sixty-one percent are using Windows 7 entirely or mostly for home/personal use. Twenty-five percent are using it about equally for home/personal and business use. Just fourteen percent are using it entirely or mostly for business use.
  • Sixty-one percent are using a 64-bit edition of Windows 7, and thirty-one percent are running a 32-bit version.
  • Eighty-two percent did a “clean” install of the OS from scratch; nineteen percent installed it over Windows Vista.
  • Fifty-nine percent say they’ve used Windows 7 extensively, and thirty-six percent say they’ve done so a fair amount. Five percent say they’ve just used it a little so far.

It’s important to note that our goal wasn’t to survey a representative, projectable, normalized sampling of all Windows 7 users. The responses that follow are from members of the Technologizer community who chose to take our survey. Their opinions are their own–but we think they make for interesting reading even if they’re not the last word on how average users will react to Windows 7.

Technologizer Windows 7 Survey Results Continued.

[This post is excerpted with Harry’s permission from his Technologizer blog.]

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43 thoughts on “Technologizer: The State of Windows 7 Satisfaction

  1. I received a free upgrade to Windows 7 Pro.I did a fresh install on my Dell Core 2 Quad but after running 7 for a few days i went back to XP Pro.Just seemed 7 was a pretty version of Vista which i have on the other desktop.Maybe i will try 7 again later on.???

  2. Well, I built a new system in anticipation of Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit. AMD 945, 8 GS RAM, ASUS WIN 7 ready mother board (M4A785-M). All good stuff.
    What a friggen nightmare! I just put Windows XP Pro back in and now I’ll see if I can get a refund.
    Gates got me again! And this is from a guy who has used Windows OS since Win 95.

  3. I have Windows XP pro and home edition. I have had no problems with it since I’ve become accustomed to it. To me having a computer runing 100% of the time is most important. Why would I upgrade knowing that I may not have enough memory or CPU speed to do the job. Expecially when all my programs run perfect. All you need is one driver to fail in a upgrade and you spend too much time searching or paying for the perfect one. It seems every one wants the newest and fastest PC. Mine is fast enough with XP. Regular people don’t have the knowledge to fix and operating system that should be sold with out problems. I hope that Windows XP is around for a long time. I don’t think any one should be forced to upgrade. Why should I pay for an upgrade when I already paid for an OS already. Expecially when it’s advertized as the latest and greatest, untill their next one. They just want to make money “bottom line”

  4. Read all the replys up to Dec24th posted. I sure agree with most of the negativity. Microsoft really blew it with Vista. They sure cost me an extra bundle plus alot of frustration. I finally uninstalled a bunch of useless junk, simplified and made it basic, including my IE, and made Google Chrome my home page. Not much choice with only Dial-up being the only available ISP other then very expensive Satelite. How would most of you respond to not being able to have audio, viedeo and take forever and a day downloading a picture or updates. So much for conectivity in North America.

  5. Since getting rid of Vista I have become a new person, i still wait for the computer but it only takes seconds, not minutes to boot, Core i7 and windows 7 on a Hp pavillion with 4 gig ram, beautiful match. i concur that the interface takes a little to get used to but once the differences are mastered it is all good. good bye to the original Vista and good ridance should have been more skeptical when it arrived. As for hiccups only running 32 bit because 64 bit programs are still finding their feet, probably 12 months to clear up all the deadwood and I willchange then.

  6. For those who want Outlook Express in Win 7, just switch to (free) Thunderbird. You can keep the same look and feel, but better functionality. eg. in setting up Mail Accounts or Filter rules.

  7. Have two computers. One Windows Vista and one factory installed Windows 7 Premium Home. Until Microsoft reinstalls Outlook Express, Windows 7 will be a secondary computer for me. Leaving Outlook Express out of Windows 7 was a stupid effort to encourage the use of Windows Live Mail which is a stupid useless program in my estimation.

    Marchbanks

  8. If you have to upgrade to Windows 7 and you have to have an E-mail program, just install Mozilla Thunderbird. It’s better than Outlook Express.

    As for me, I’ve got Windows XP running without a hitch on 3 desktop PCs. I’m typing this on an Ubuntu Linux laptop. Windows 7? Nah. I need my money more than Microsoft does.

  9. all I can say is wow… XP is only passed by Me as worst OS ever and people hold on for dear life… It was nothing but a virus magnet. and my ald laptop from a decade ago is stable on xp per say that does not speak highly of a computer. I ran Vista from Day 1 and started using 7 in Beta. I got RTM 7 64bit ultimate on launch. If you are so far behind in the times uyou cant run Vista or 7 or any other current program for that matter then seriously go down to walmart buy the cheapest PC they have and throw your dollar store computer away. You are the reason virtual worlds cant advance games are held back and the rest of us atleast on a recent machine have to suffer because we cant get the full potential of the available technology… get up to date or stay off the damn computers you dont know how to use anyway… oh BTW Windows 7 is the most efficient and amazing OS on the market… Windows 7 Rocks and XP is a Virus Trap Peice of Garbage!!!

  10. I installed Windows 7 in dual boot mode in late October and was rather impressed by its bootup and shuttdown speeds. In comparison to it’s predecessors it was a breeze installing it too. Despite these minor advantages it died within 6 weeks requiring a re-installation. I am glad I left my Xp in my other primary drive. So please tread carefully.- SW

  11. Having used every version of Windows ever published, I can say, without reservation, that I am astounded by the reliability and performance of Win7. My only criticism is that Microsoft does not know how to produce a bullet proof home networking setup for novice users.

  12. Who wrote your heading for you? Possessive pronouns don’t take apostrophes. The correct spelling is: “Windows 7 Losing Its Shine?”.

    “It’s” is an abbreviation of “it is”.

  13. ive been running windows 7 professional 64 bit for the past 3 months and its great however there is still some compatibility issues needing addressed and driver issues and for getting the xp mode within the windows 7 platform is a waste of time i sat for an hour downloading the virtual pc mode and the xp mode then installed them to no avail all that for a scanner driver issue i mean come on the developers and i agree with everything merlin said above just cant be bothered typing all that out when someone has already spoke the mind of the people right behind you buddy

  14. As much as I hated Vista compared to XP I think I found it easier than 7.
    If I could buy a full copy of Windows XP Professional I’d Format my HDD, install it and all the rest could go jump.
    I think it was purely a money making exercise by Microsoft as people were happy as pigs in shit with XP, didn’t want to change so all this crap was created to provide an expectation that does not exist in reality. Win XP with an “AERO” option for those who prefer shadow rather than substance would have done the job.

  15. I have spent 3 days on the phone with the tech staff in the Philippines attempting to upgrade windows vista to win 7. Every time we tried to upgrade we experienced a freeze at 62% while transferring files. We ended up setting up a new partition and formatting it in order to do a clean install. It did install but now will not shutdown properly and I have to chose to boot either Vista or Win 7 from a cold boot. The tech people blame the lack of proper drivers in my HP Pavilion Slimline desktop. They say there are hardware conflicts. If you have the time the tech staff will work with you until you feel like an employee of Microsoft. The are very courteous and speak English very well. If you are considering updating I recommend you wait 6 months to a year so they can get the bugs out of this software.

  16. I oh so don’t like Win 7, for starters it is LESS than Vista was, Vista only gave me problems in one area, a lack of 64 bit drivers, companies didn’t want to w rite them and pay the huge fees M$ demands for approval, then they chopped out a few parts of Vista I actually used. My computer doesn’t seem to much like it either, I’ve seen the BSOD and the black one too more than once. And FYI it’s brand new computer. Worse is that the recording equipment I bought, which was the sole reason for buying a new much faster computer, which forced me into the quagmire, wouldn’t run under Vista, only for a lack of drivers, they kept telling me get Win 7 it solves all your problems, yet Win 7 is even worse. Makes me wonder if they sent me faulty upgrade discs. W7 also refused to run several older programs, favorites of mine, that Vista had no problems with. Win 7 is in my humble opinion worse than a three legged Blind Dog, with fleas, but is that so unusual considering where it came from? For all it’s money and tens of thousands of Employees you would think M$ could just hire better programmers. We all hear all the time how Mac and Linux are so much better, safer, more secure, without all the Windows problems, etc. etc. etc., maybe M$ should go recruiting where they get their programmers and for at least once in their Corporate life produce a good product. In the meantime they should drop the price to equal the worth of their products, I suggest $4.95 with FREE shipping for the ultimate pro version, better yet they should only produce one version, all the other versions are just missing huge chunks of code, or it’s not removed just disabled, perhaps that accounts for all the problems I keep finding. Maybe it’s just a One Legged Blind Dog with Fleas?
    Perhaps a nice big class action law suit, for fraud and price gouging, not to forget just writing lousy memory hogging and just plain bloated code and all the rest, is what they need for Xmas at M$.

  17. If your having problems with W7,,it’s either your machine,Upgraded instead of clean install,or you just don’t know what your doing! That’s the Bottom line.I have 83 so far that Loves it.

  18. I have built two Win7 Professional 64bit machines for justa bove beginner level users in the past month and so far, am very impressed with the look and feel of Win7. I do recommend ensuring the motherboard supports virtual drive, using the professional version to support legacy 32 bit software and starting with 8GB RAM. The machines are smoking fast compared to my almost 2 year old XP Pro 32 bit box.

    I found all drivers I needed for all peripherals and devices like GPS units and cameras no longer needed the installation disks. I set the Outlook Express user up with Live Mail w/o creating a Microsoft account. My biggest complaint is that Firefox, Thunderbird and Adobe do not yet have 64 bit Windows versions of their software. Considering that this is Microsoft’s 3rd 64bit release it is past time!

  19. Windows 7 Ultimate 64 is running fine. No major problems in the install. However, I still cannot get it to see my wireless adapter. When I did the Windows 7 install I was using a Netgear WG311 v3. I reinstalled the adapter… did everything I could think of, but could not get the thing to work. So, on the advice of a techie at Best Buy I bought a Netgear Wireless N-300. Still can’t get it to work. So, the computer is now in a different, and I hope, temporary, location wired to the router. Any ideas or solutions would be appreciated.

    Previously I was using Vista 64.

  20. Purchased new Compaq (says so on the case but every thing comes up HP. No problems but I do object to no Outlook mail program. I’m using Comcast mail and it does not compare, in my opinion to Outlook.

  21. I upgraded from 32 bit Vista to 32 bit Windows 7. I found my computer would not upgrade beyond 62 percent. After 2 days with Microsoft Tech- still was unable to upgrade. The solution was to do a clean install and reinstall application software. Frankly, I do not see any difference between Vista and Windows 7 capability. It is just arranged differently. Fortunately drivers were available for windows 7 that were not available for Vista which has precluded adverse comments. My only regret is that I did not install the 64 bit OS when I did the clean install of windows 7.

  22. Here’s what I need to know: Does Windows 7 eliminate the slowdowns of past Windows operating systems? I’ve got a computer with XP on it that runs like a snail. It’s probably 4 years old, of course, but it used to run fairly fast. It just slowed to a snail’s pace over the course of time. My next two computers were an iMac and a MacBook Pro, and both of them run as fast today as they did the day I bought them, even the one that’s now 1.5 years old. I even run XP when necessary on the iMac. They cost a lot more than a Windows machine, but they’re rock solid. It did take quite a while to get used to the OSX operating system, but I managed to do it.

    I sure would like to be able to buy cheap computers again, but only if Microsoft has fixed the problem with the machines bogging down over time. Is that fixed? I never used Vista except on other people’s computers, and I didn’t get a good impression of it from what little exposure I had. If I buy a computer with Windows 7 on it, will it have that rock-solid stability over the long haul that these Macs have had? I don’t want to buy another Windows machine unless long-term performance stability comes with it.

  23. From what folks are saying if you have XP and things are working well for the kinds of things you use your computer for you best leave well enough alone.

  24. I couldn’t be happier with Win7. I’ve upgraded 3 machines to Home Premium so far using clean installs (2 from XP pro and 1 from Vista Ultimate) with 3 more to go on my home network. No problems at all with the installs. Extremely stable – no crashes or BSODs on any of the machines. Works extremely well with Microsoft Home Server with PowerPack 3.

  25. of my years of using all windows versions (including 3.XX), i have never used a windows operating system so fast and reliable as windows 7. its hands down just as good and stable as windows 2000 professional if not better. on a desktop i had, it had crashes but putting 7 on my laptop i have never had a problem once and it continues to run even if i push it to the limits. very very good operating system indeed. i love it!

  26. I have done both upgrades and clean installs with no problems at all. All my drivers loaded perfect. I never had to touch manufactures cd to install drivers, windows 7 had them all. I even installed Windows 7 on an old laptop that did not meet the requirements it install perfect and it runs better than it did when it had XP Pro on it. Looks like maybe Microsoft finally got one right.

  27. I have not downloaded the upgrade of Windows-7 that I purchased. My computer has Vista 64-bit system, service pack-2.

    Let me explain something to all of the techincal people with your alledged good intentions, but santimonious. A lay person only wants his or her computer to function without having to pray incessantly to the computer gods for a good outcome. In this vein, a lay person wants his or her computer to function after an upgrade. Nobody, except for some techies feel intrigued to deal with computer operating hassles.

    If a televion set or a car had as many problems as a computer has, people would be screaming and insisting upon a Federal investigation. People expect their auto or their TV to function without thought. It is about time that a computer functions the same way.

    Microsoft has developed about 6-updgraded operating systems starting with Windows 95 in 1995. Each one has never functions well. Each one has necessitated at least one service pack, which is in essence a new program, to correct the flaws.

    Since XP, some older programs from that ancient period of the 1990s do not operated because Microsoft refused to make the operating systems compatible with older programs–what nonsense.

    Would anyone want his or her TV, car, home heating and airconditioning, appliances, etc. to work as poorly as Microsoft operating systems and other Microsoft software? I bet people would be screaming if for example their cars failed as often as various Microsoft software fails.

    I for one am sick and tired of Microsoft never producing a quality software product. Does not anyone at Microsoft have any brains to be capable of learning from experience?

    I am sick and tired of Microsoft never providing fixes to its Office programs when problems, repeatedly detailed on its blog site, have been experienced by many users. A tech person blogger usually responds with a proposed fix. This not outside tech persons’ responsibility to study Microsoft’s junk and propose a fix. It is Microsoft’s responsibility to sell quality software, provide users with patches for commonly experienced problems, and for users to have confidence that theier computers will not implode when applying a Microsoft program.

    Microsoft produces crap. If there is this much blogger about Windows 7, then Windows 7 is another Microsoft failure. Whether an upgrade or a new loading of the program, the damn operating system should function without any problems. When you start your car, you do not expect the steering wheel to come off or the tires to fall off. Well, the same standard is mandatory for Microsoft once and for all. The computer should function without hassles and no excuses.

  28. I have to keep rebooting my system because windows 7 does not release my ram. programs freese up, I had to stick a 8 gig flash drive as a ready boost just to speedup my system so it runs halfway decent. I have 4 gigs of ram in my system now.

  29. I couldn’t have been more disappointed. Of four machines running Windows 7, three misbehave all the time. Because it hangs, and hangs, and hangs–and brings up my to most hated words of the English language: “not responding.” I thought it was a Vista problem, but it worse in Windos 7.

    In spite of having sufficient RAM,I couldn’t install the OS in two machines–one an old, modified e-machines, the other a Dell And last night I installed it in a home-made with only 1 GB of RAM. Jusst for the H of it. I left it on fot eh night, and will check back tomorrow.

  30. if vista is running slow and you have dreamschene installed remove or deactivate it. i had vista ultimate 64bit on this new computer while i was waiting for my free windows 7 ultimate 64bit upgrade to get here and it was working fine until i installed dreamschene and i got lots of crashes with explorer.exe restarting over and over. with the windows 7 upgrade i dont get that problem because dreamschene was removed upon upgrading. it is an unstable animated background picture program.

  31. I have a Toshiba Satellite A505-S6960, 64 bit system. I bought it off the shelf at a local store. I really like the computer. It came with Vista and sent me an upgrade for W7 free. I really like the new look and many of the features. Still getting used to navigating through finding files on someday, their logic for this so far escapes me. For the most part my first complaint is IE8. With Vista and W7 it seems to lock up with the only solution being to close everything. It feels like W7 boots slower and is always talking about loading new drivers. A good thing I guess, but what happened to all the drivers that were installed? Without warning I had to reestablish the bluetooth connection with my Palm Tungsten, after it was already working. Is any body else having quirky problems like this? I will use it more before I really decide if the change is worth it. There are some strengths in it, but I didn’t want to have to work through bugs.

  32. I am very diappointed. I wish I had XP back. Vista was even better than this. I find most everything harder not easier. I have been using Windows since it first came out and cannot believe how slow this version is. The worst is the search. It cannot find things with search that I can see. I spend hours trying to do what I did in minutes even in 95. I wish I had not prepaid or even consider Win 7.

  33. This comment is not about Windows but about the people leaving nonsense posts such as after clean install no more problems..?? DUH, idiots, you cant compare a Vista machine up and running for year to a fresh install of ANY OS … and all OS’s have issues during the first few months with drivers, etc. Please leave only professional, unbiased opinions here!

  34. I have keep both of the 3 OS, XP to Win 7 64 Pro,

    Very happy with all of them, although I have built my PC myself so I know it and know what kind of drivers what I need.

    No crash will be a lie, I had crash every week in XP for some reason or another, mainly games with high requirement, Vista was better than XP after the SP1 and Win 7 in 64 bits version is very good no blue screen only one in a while a crash of beta games and for the last 2 week no crash of the games itself with the latest drivers of Nvidia for my 8800GT. Granted it is not the latest video card, far from it but it do the work.

    Only downside that I discover is that the 64 bits is not supported for a restore fm “bear metal” to a full working PC with Windows Home Server, although I have decided that it was still worth it as in Win 7 you could do a full PC image and I use after Win 7 to recuperate my files and setting later on, granted it is a two step, unless you have the specific drives for the network card when requested.

    So my experience of Win 7 is very good and not ready to go in the “dark side” yet.

  35. since installing windows 7 64bit professional on a clean install on a high spec intel x58 system totally stable on xp home have encountered random reboots on ie8 looked for answers on the web but have only found similar questions,could the software and hardware guys sit round a table and iron out the problems please as the buying public are now getting tired of buying unstable products, which is why it took me so long to take the plunge on upgrading, thought windows 7 and associated microsoft products would now be user friendly after the furror about vista, c’mon guys give us a break.

  36. Hello ,
    I had the privilage and honor as being selected to host a Windows 7 Launch Party and received a Free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Signature edition ( Steve Ballmer ) 32 and 64 bit . I will admit that I had browser crashing issues with the RTM on my old Core 2 Extreme rig . After installing the new OS on my Core i7 rig , it has been nothing short of spectacular , it boots up in 20 seconds , and I am online , as well as flies through the apps , and the graphics are amazing . I am a very satified Enthusiast , not one problem , drivers or otherwise , What I can’t believe is that MS still offers the 32 bit version , 32 bit is going by the wayside , sorry XP , we need you to go away and let software developers concentrate on moving on up to 64 bit , as it has way more potential . XP is already extinct in the NVIDIA Forums since Vista … I can understand big business with an XP infrastructure to be hanging on , but not the mainstream market …

  37. I will stick to XP pro as I use outlook express exclusively. I do have an hotmail account but, I use it for spam mail. anybody who gets my real mail addy ( if its spam ) I send them to my hotmail account. I don’t want an OS without an e-mail program

  38. I pre-ordered Windows 7 full version, and I did a full install of the 64 bit version to replace the 64bit Vista. My PC is now so slow, it is unbelievable, it might not be Windows 7, could be the new Kapersky. It doesn’t boot faster, lots of drivers and programs don’t like it. My son installed an upgrade on his new laptop and he also has experienced slower booting and performance. Kapersky took 17 hours this week to scan the PC. Crazy or what. I cannot find out what is causing this, I think it was faster initially but the constant updates I have installed may have affected things. I keep getting screen flicker, the USB port on the screen is intermittently not recognised and having a mouse plugged in to it (a mouse that had been working) prevented the PC from booting up at all.
    So not very happy at the moment, my PC is less than a year old and a high spec.

  39. To me it has been the opposite of Mark’s experience: was running Vista Ultimate x86 since it came out. It was having almost constant “Explorer will now Close” problems & IE8 crashes. Startup times were baaad.
    Now, same machine new OS: Win7 x64, fast & stable. Not a single crash since I upgraded…even using buggy software like Adobe Premiere Elements.
    In all: I will never go back to Vista.

  40. I installed Windows 7 a few weeks back after running vista ultimate since it first came out, so far my impression of windows 7 is that it looks better but hasnt actually been as stable as my vista installation, that could be down to drivers especially the nvidia drivers although I run the same driver on vista and is perfectly stable. I also find explorer 8 repeatly crashes on 7 where my vista one runs fine. I havent noticed any performance difference but since I am running very high spec machines I never have any problems with Vista performance. For the time being I think I prefer to stick to working on my vista machine. I have had fewer problems since installing vista than I have since the install of windows 7.

    I keep going back to working on vista

  41. Ok, I have installed Windows 7 successfully over Vista.
    So far so good excpet, I dislike the fact that it did not come with an email program. The Windows Live I find to be a pain in the butt. When I received my emails, I like to initiate the download, plus, I like to see the numbers of emails coming and the download progress. I do not see that being available with the Windows Live program. If it is there, please somebody tell me where I get it.

  42. I beta tested 7 Ultimate 64-bit for over a year. I have a full version of 7 Professional 64-bit as my main O/S at the moment and love it. The final RC beta booted a bit quicker but other than that no complaints. I was working with XP 32 and 64-bit yesterday and what a difference! 7 is VASTLY superior to both in terms of performance and boot-times.

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