Windows 7 the savior....errrrr almost.
Well here we are, just a couple days away from the big Windows 7 launch. Critics are abuzz, people are applauding, and it appears as though, even in these very early stages, that Microsoft has the first hit on their hands since the release of XP back in 2001. But is it really all it's made out to be? I think not.
Now I don't want to start this off on the wrong foot. First let me say that I love Windows 7. I have been using it already for the better part of a year. First as a beta, then an RC and last week I got my hands on the final product as so far so good. Well that is except for one small thing.
One of 7's biggest claims to fame is it's ability to run on system hardware that may not be all that current. And for the most part this is true, but their are complications. The other day I installed Windows 7 on my wifes aging laptop. It's a Gateway MX6424 that she purchased as a refurbished machine back in 2006. The manufacturer date on the laptop goes back to 2005. By computer standards, thats old. It has a 1.2 ghz AMD Turion single core CPU, 1gb of DDR RAM, 80gb HDD, and an ATI Chipset.
After installing Windows 7, the laptop worked great. It booted faster, got online right away with no need to download any hardware drivers, all in all it was smooth. Except for one thing. The sound driver didn't work. It uses a Conexant HD Audio sound device that for some reason a driver for Vista or 7 was never created. I have spent hours looking online for a suitable driver that should work, but nothing I have found has done the trick.
After having spent hours looking for and trying several different drivers and coming up with nothing, and not wanting to switch the laptop back to XP, I instead recently purchased this item http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829128004 While i'm sure it's not the best solution, it should work just fine.
In the end, I can see many problems coming from people who wish to make the upgrade to Windows 7, only to find out that not everything will work correctly once they do. I really don't think that should stop people from making the switch though. Out of the 10 different computers I have installed 7 on, that has been my only real problem. Well I also had some issues with 7 Ultimate seeing a Windows 2003 server properly, but that was all resolved pretty easily by just recreating the shared drives. While not a big issue on a small network consisting only 10 PC's, that could be a headache for those installing 7 on a larger network with more then 10 computers. But i'm sure it won't present much of a problem when put into the capable hands of network engineers and proper server administrators.
Well I don't know if the folks over at Gateway read this blog entry or if it was somebody at Microsoft, or who the heck knows, but just a few days ago the missing drivers for my old Gateway laptops onboard audio were downloaded and installed via Windows Update. Thus eliminating the need to use the external USB sound card and mini iPod speakers. It all just works now.