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Ars Reviews 7 … Badly

October 26th, 2009

There is now an exhaustive review of Windows 7 on Ars Technica. I have not read it all, but did read the first several pages and last conclusion–and instantly found things that turned me off to the whole review. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trashing W7, it’s supposed to be good; it’s just that this reviewer comes across as less than credible.

The lesser of the two questionable items is on the last page:

Windows Vista, for all its (alleged) flaws, was the best version of Windows ever shipped.

OK, maybe I missed something, but I start to get the feeling here that this reviewer possibly isn’t the most unbiased observer ever. Vista was the best ever before 7? Maybe in a narrow, specific manner that only a power user who can tweak the system and work around problems easily could appreciate, but to the average user, I don’t think so.

Another red flag was the fact that although the reviewer took up a 7-paragraph page just on installation (half of it spent talking about how Vista is so great), he made a glaring oversight: he completely ignored the transition from XP to 7, something that 80% of all Windows users will have to suffer through. There is no upgrade from one to the other; instead, you are forced to archive your data on a separate drive while 7 reinitializes your hard drive and does a clean install–so you lose all your software, and are forced to reinstall all of it. Another clue that this guy is married to Vista and is disconnected from the experiences of a majority of Windows users.

But the bit that really raised red flags was right on the first page:

Just as XP was fundamentally not as bad as its initial reception would lead one to believe, the same was true of Vista. Stripped of the Vista name and placed in front of unsuspecting users, “Windows Mojave” was warmly received. And even corporate customers have started to migrate to the OS.

This I do know for sure about: Mojave was a scam. In a marketing attempt to get people to like Vista, they loaded it up on a specially prepared, souped-up PC, made sure that all the peripherals were compatible with fully-functional drivers, then brought people in to watch someone practiced with the system dance through demos designed to look impressive. That’s what you call “stacking the deck.” The crappiest software ever could be made to look cool if presented in this way.

As I noted at the time, people who were shown Vista in this fashion were not given a copy to take home, so they did not discover the headaches involved in the installation of the OS, shortcomings of their hardware in running it, or the lack of drivers for their peripherals they were bound to run into. They were not even allowed to really use it themselves without an expert guiding them, or discover the problems like the annoying nagging that the security system would make them endure in normal use.

For this reviewer to accept Mojave wholly as evidence that people liked Vista simply screams bias.

As for corporate customers, that statement is highly misleading: some were migrating, perhaps. Most were steering clear of it. Even now, almost three years after its release, only 20% of all Windows users have Vista installed–and many if not most of those people only have it because it came with a new computer. But corporate customers? That’s a joke. Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard), on the other hand, is running on more than half of all Macs, and that’s after two years. 10.6, Snow Leopard, is already on about 15% of all Macs, and it’s been out for just a few months. In less time than Vista took to get 20% to change to it, the new Mac OS’ have gotten two thirds of all users to switch over.

The fact that this guy is so blind to the flaws, shortcomings, and obvious realities regarding Vista makes it questionable as to what he thinks of 7. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to claim that 7’s not the best Windows ever, that does seem to be the general consensus. I’m just not going to trust much coming from someone who thought Mojave was in any way credible.

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