Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Windows 7 Looks Great, but Should it Be Better? Yes.

 

Jan. 29, 2011

 

A review about Windows 7 in InformationWeek caught my eye because it struck a nerve. The publication’s senior editor, Serdar Yegulalp, wrote an insightful piece entitled, “What Windows 7 Is Still Missing.” As a longtime Microsoft supporter, I agree with his insights and have my own personal unfortunate experience but more on that later. 

“There’s little question Windows 7 has been received with open arms by users and admins,” Mr. Yegulalp writes.

”It fixed many of the problems that plagued earlier versions of Windows, made good on the promises that seemed only half-fulfilled with Vista, and introduced a slew of new functions — big and small — that were also warmly received,” he explains.

“When Windows 7 was released, Microsoft made a major blunder by not updating a free offering that had been previously available for Windows XP and Vista: SteadyState,” he adds. “Windows does not have, by default, a single all-encompassing mechanism for returning the entire system — user settings, data on disk, etc. — to a given state.”

He explains SteadyState saved Admins setup time.

“Instead, Microsoft released a white paper in which they described how admins could use many of the native technologies in Windows 7 to emulate the behaviors of SteadyState,” he points out.” It isn’t hard to guess the reaction: people booed Microsoft roundly for ignoring a much-requested feature from its customers.”

Mr. Yegulalp maintains Windows 7 doesn’t provide a critical function:  “…one of the biggest and most crucial functions — disk protection — isn’t provided except through workarounds like System Restore. These don’t work in remotely the same fashion as SteadyState’s own disk protection, which required little or no intervention or downtime.”

He points out it lacks support for other hardware.

“Most of us are all too familiar with this scenario,” he writes.”You install a copy of Windows on a newly-minted PC, or perhaps reinstall a clean copy on an existing one. Unfortunately, a great many things simply don’t work — your Bluetooth module, for instance, or your memory card reader. Or the whole system just seems weirdly sluggish for a fresh install.”

He makes these suggestions:

  • Extend Windows update to close the gap
  • Universal software updates
  • Proper touch support for tablets
  • Acquisitions, third-party features  

“But Windows 8 is two years or more away, and most people will not wait that long for solutions to the problems…They want some sign, sooner rather than later, that the right thing is being done,” he asserts.

“And if it Microsoft doesn’t provide it, someone else will,” concludes Mr. Yegulalp.

Amen.

To read his full assessment, here’s his article: What Windows 7 Is Still Missing.

From the Coach’s Corner, my own Windows 7 experience is not what I’d expect from a leading technology company.

After some thought, I decided to buy Windows 7 to upgrade my most-revered notebook computer, an IBM ThinkPad. (Actually, I own two.)

However, making a purchase online, it could not be installed. Plus, Microsoft didn’t send an email confirmation as promised. I tried every tip provided on Microsoft’s Web site to no avail. So I called the company. It took repeated calls. I was forced to deal with two people who were difficult to understand.

Initially, they didn’t believe I even made the purchase. After all, there was no receipt. Then, someone thought to ask for my product key. They concluded they couldn’t help me.

Ultimately, I reached someone I could understand. But the tech-support person concluded that I’d have to wait for the five days for a disk to install Windows 7.

Then, his major gaffe – he lectured me for buying Windows 7 instead of buying a new computer with it already installed.

“Where’s the attitude of empathy and customer service,” I thought. “What a waste of more than three hours.”

I hung up telling him: “You’re of no help.”

Oh, and more than 24 hours later, I finally received a purchase-receipt from Microsoft.

Is this the best a world-class company can do? Now, after reading Mr. Yegulalp’s article – not knowing whether Windows 7 will even be compatible with my own needs – it’s a purchase I hope I don’t regret.

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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.