Is Windows 7 really that much better from previous versions…or than much more reliable?
I am beginning to think not all that much given huge expectations for Win7. After using it for 18 months, my question is a fair one. Microsoft can probably show myriad stats to prove that it is, but there’s no substitute for personal experience over the long term.
I raise the question because I’ve encountered crashes on the three computers I have that run Win7. I’ve gotten the blue screen of death a few times on my Windows 7 netbook and at least once on my spanking new desktop.
And while Win7 is probably not responsible, I’ve encountered frequent problems with Flash and Shockwave on my Win7 notebook. Regardless of fault, it adds up to a perception that Win7 is going to give me problems from time to time — granted, less often than with XP. But Win7 has not made all the Windows stability problems go away.
In other words, Win7 is not as big a leap as the rosy reviews in 2008 and the first half of 2009 suggest. There are improvements such as the ability to move between apps more quickly. It starts up and shuts much faster for sure. But as time passes, will more problems emerge? It’s an important question now because many forecast that businesses will be heavily moving to Win7 in 2011.
Win7 has a feature called the Reliability Monitor, which started out in life as the Reliability and Performance Monitor in Vista. Like its name suggests, the Reliability Monitor records problems and rates reliability (see graph).
I ran it on my notebook, but it did not tell me much except that I did not shut down my PC correctly and that Chrome and Tweetdeck on two separate occasions stopped responding. It said nothing about my recurring Flash crashes that prevent me from running video and froze my browser. The tool is not much more than lip service to reliability versus something that really helps.
Each Flash crash, I was forced into the Task Manager to back out of the crashed browers (I use IE, Chrome and Firefox) just as I would with XP.
The graph below shows reliability on my new desktop. It recorded a video error, an unexpected shutdown and when Windows simply stopped working. The graph shows high reliability on the 10-scale, but it was about half that on my notebook. The one month old desktop is obviously on top of its Win7 game — for now.
Never once has the “check for a solution” option come up with a solution. I always have to back out of the crashed app through the Task Manager or shut down entirely.
Win7 is more stable than XP, but it’s not bulletproof. Maybe that was unfair expectation.
What’s your experience with Win7? Is Win7 Windows deja vu all over again?
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