I have been running Windows 7 on an old Dell that I have laying around the house, that I wasn’t using. So far so good. I installed the 64-bit version and the only thing I had driver trouble with was my printer, but I was able to choose a slightly different printer that had the same features, and it worked like a charm.
Another funny thing was that on the NASA site, the Windows Media plugin doesn’t really work. I can not play the videos there.
The biggest concern that I had upon installing Windows 7 was the UAC. I had installed an early beta of Windows Vista, and decided after the second RC that I didn’t need it. With Windows 7 I have a different opinion. I think that the current beta is awesome. The UI is clean and uncluttered. The OS only gets in your way sometimes, this is coming from a Mac user, and has many useful features like hovering over the taskbar icon will show you a preview of the open tabs in the browser, and you can select them from there. I like the progress indicator in the icon on the taskbar too, you can keep track of multiple installs.
But here is where the problem comes in. The early betas of IE 7 were pretty good as well, and by the time it came out it was bloated crapware. I hope that Microsoft avoids this fate with Windows 7, but I have to say that after the past few releases, I am not hopeful. Especially with their insistance on many different SKUs. It seems that Microsoft is content to emulate only the most superficial of things that makes Apple successful without embracing the core of what they do. Apple makes products that make their customers happy. They aren’t always the cheapest, or technically the best, but they are what the customer wants. Until Microsoft can stop focusing on the bottom line and get back to making awesome software, they will continue their decline. I have a bit of guarded optimism, and if they weren’t to do anything else to Windows 7 outside of bug fixes between now and release, they would have earned my $299 for the OS. Otherwise, I’ll just keep sticking to XP.