Quick First Take on Windows 7

Just like about everybody else out there that is a “bleeding edge” technie like myself and doesn’t mind running some beta software downloaded the Windows 7 beta last week.  Needless to say, it definitely has a better look and feel to it than Windows Vista, and the performance even though it is a beta seems to be as good as if not better than Vista.  Here are a few other observations from some testing that I did.

Every scenario that I ran through was via a MacBook Pro with VMware Fusion 2.0 and Parallels 4.0 loaded on my machine.  Windows 7 was installed into a virtual machine for the test phase.

I had the intention of trying to run this virtual machine as my production desktop, but I found that too many of my applications had challenges running correctly under the OS.  Most notably was any Java applet in the web browser.  Trying to do so yielded me a non-responsive virtual machine in which the only way to recover was to power it off and then back on.  It locked it up solid.

This really bothered me as I already really like Java and the fact that it would lock up a machine so hard made things worse.  I went through a couple different versions of Java and figured out that running Windows 7 in safe mode would allow me to get a little further, but not all the way.  I kept thing about other factors that could impact this, so I decided to install Windows 7 on a Parallels 4.0 virtual machine, putting VMware Fusion to the side for a bit.

Sure enough, Parallels seemed to handle Java without any issues; no lockups.  Parallels did release an update that made an experimental Windows 7 configuration available.  This type of support is not available on Fusion yet.  It would appear that a video driver or something related to the machine tools that get installed on the virtual machine are causing some sort of problem.

Secondly, I am a big fan of VisionApp Remote Desktop.  I use this quite a bit at home as well as at work.  So, the next step was to get this app installed on the virtual machine.  I circled back to my Fusion instance nad installed the application.  I imported my configuration and as soon as I attempted to connect to a machine, I would get an application exception indicating a problem the the GDI interface.  More online research and I had figured out that this was because the app maintains thumbnails which it updates periodically.  It seems that the GDI calls are not compatible with Windows 7.  I tried the same process on Parallels with the same result.  I posted to VisionApp’s support forum where a few others had the same problem.  VisionApp does not support Windows 7, and their new Remote Desktop 9.0 is going to be released in early February and doesn’t contain support for Windows 7 either.  What a bummer.

So, needless to say, I had to go back to my Vista virtual machine for my day to day work.  Kind of a bummer, but I am definitely looking forward to Win 7’s pending release.