Why Windows 7 Works For The Average User

Windows 7. Is it the answers to all our computing prayers? No. But does it work? Yes! In fact it works very well indeed. Let’s take a look at what the average computer user will like about Windows 7.

I have been an avid Windows user for many years now. XP, Vista x32 and x64, and now Windows 7 builds 7000 x64 and 7100 x64. So I know a little about what works and what does not. According to my wife, “if it is not easy, I am not messing with it.” That thought right there is what the majority of PC users think regarding their own home computers. I have to agree.  Why would anyone want to spend hours and hours messing with something just to get it to work? I would and did recently trying to get the “play to” option in Windows 7 to push stream media to my Xbox 360. I did finally get it to work after two days of trial and error. But to be honest, that was probably my own fault. I bet a million dollars the “play to” will be easier to use when the RTM drops soon. But that is all part of the “beta” process. So it was to be expected.

FrustrationBack to why Windows 7 works. Will the average user notice that 7 looks a little like Vista? Probably. Will the average user notice the quick start up and shut down times? Yes, almost for sure.  Will the average user like the new Aero features? I would say so. I use them all the time now. Honestly I wish there were more of them. What about the fact that Windows 7 is now a very modular OS? You want Live Messenger. You download it when you want. It does not come pre-installed. Nor does other software like Movie Maker and Photo Gallery. This fact alone is a great selling point for the average user. With more and more people using personal computers. It is only a matter of time before the “mainstream” catches on that Windows 7 is just what the doctor ordered. Why you ask? Because it just works, and it is easy to use. If you are even a little bit familiar with XP or Vista. You will have no problem with Windows 7. That reason alone is priceless for somebody who does not use their computer everyday.

I think given the right marketing Windows 7 just might take over XP’s reign of superiority in the business/home markets. It may take 5 years or more but it is a definite possibility. Especially given the new “XP Mode.” Which allows people or businesses to run good old XP virtually. Go 7! You have a bright future ahead of you! What do you, the readers, think?

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15 Responses to Why Windows 7 Works For The Average User

  1. Keno June 16, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    Yh Wind0ws SE7EN is the way of the future… fast and easier to use… its a must have.
    definetly agree with u

  2. Maarten June 16, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    I’m surprised that MS haven’t added a feature into Windows explorer that would help both average and advanced users alike. ;

    The split-view norton commander-like interface. Instead of having to open up two separate explorer windows, align them, then set to the directories you want, why isn’t there a split view bottom than divides explorer into two file management panes. Surely it’s not that difficult to do?

    • pittaxx June 16, 2009 at 7:46 pm #

      For this reason they have introduced quick alignment functions :]
      Try holding windows key and pressing in sequence: “E”, left arrow, “E”, right arrow; and you will achieve the same effect. It’s not that hard :]
      It’s just that the second pane is not needed most of the time so complicating the explorer is unreasonable.

      • Maarten June 17, 2009 at 9:09 am #

        Hey that’s an awesome shortcut, thanks! 🙂

  3. jmh363905 June 17, 2009 at 4:14 am #

    Or just drag your two Explorer Windows to the left and right of the screen if you don’t use the Windows key shortcuts.

  4. smarterthanyou June 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    This whole article could have been summed up in one sentence.
    “Windows 7 will work for the average user because the average user is stupid.”

    XP still holds about 75% of the market and Vista about 15%.

    People were very reluctant to switch to Vista because lets all admit it now.. Vista was and is a crap OS.
    So what has MS done? Did they learn from their mistakes and say “Maybe we should rethink some of the changes we made between XP/Vista. Clearly the majority of people didn’t like what we were doing.” No they just continue on from Vista and make even more mistakes and screw up the UI even more.
    I’m glad it’s a new kernel but almost everything else has been glitz for the sake of glitz.
    Hidden under all this pointless showiness is the truth.. No improvements have been made to productivity or core features.

    I don’t think 7 will ever hold the majority of the market. 8 will be out long before it will have a chance.
    XP will hold the majority for a long time yet.

    I wish this wasn’t the case, or that we all had other options but it is what it is and anyone who doesn’t see it is just being dumb.

    • krisrm June 17, 2009 at 4:44 pm #

      Why do we all have to admit that? Vista wasn’t actually that bad, once you got to using it on a capable computer. It eats resources and takes too long to start/shut down, but other than that, it’s far more useable than XP. You’re just being blindly ignorant.

      What do you have to do to start a program in XP? Well, if it’s on the quick launch bar, you click it and it starts, or you go rummaging around through your desktop icons after minimizing all your windows, or even better, searching through the cascading start menu. In Vista, it’s a simple press of the start button, hitting the first few letters of the program I’m looking for, and pressing enter. Same with 7, and the quick-launch functionality has been integrated with the taskbar: you can pin icons to it, so they don’t disappear when you close them, and they don’t take any extra space when they’re open. And of course, you can run your mouse over the windows at the bottom to see where & what that window actually is. How is that all just “glitz” ? They’re viable features designed to make people more productive, and those are just a precious few of them. Windows 7 is Microsoft’s chance to correct Vista’s terrible image and awful initial support. If you want to hang on to XP, fine, whatever, but stop pretending that 7 doesn’t offer useful improvements to productivity.

  5. smarterthanyou June 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm #

    You couldn’t win this by any stretch of your imagination.

    You could argue that things are still relatively easy but easier would be a lie.

    If you compiled a huge list of common tasks, then compared them between Xp, Vista and 7 the results would show that XP takes less mouse movement, clicks, keyboard and thought to accomplish the same tasks almost right accross the board.

    Your blind ignorance is the reason MS thinks they can get away with these “upgardes”. The sooner you smarten up, see things for what they are and voice your opinion about MS’s two OS streak of heading in the wrong direction the sooner they might put out a truely better OS.

    • krisrm June 17, 2009 at 6:05 pm #

      How is “easier” a lie? I explained why something simple, like starting a program, is easier, or at the very least, just as easy in Vista and 7. And no, a comparison wouldn’t show XP’s favour, there. We’ll ignore, for just a second, that most “common tasks” are performed in APPLICATIONS that are independent of the version of Windows you’re using. What about the control panel, the starting point for performing system related tasks? In XP, you click start, control panel, and *manually* search around through a bunch categories until you find what you’re looking for. In Vista, I click start (windows button), control panel, and type the first few letters of what I want to do. In 7, I press start, and type the first few letters of what I want to do. Explain to me how XP is somehow “easier”, rather than bashing features that you’ve got no idea about.

      That’s why I think they’ll “get away” with these upgrades, and I think Windows 7 is going to be a hit. It offers increased usability without sacrificing performance on older machines, like Vista did. It only takes a few days to get used to, and productivity doing simple tasks like window management will skyrocket. I fail to see how this is the “wrong” direction, and you’ve given absolutely no examples of where 7’s or Vista’s interface falls short of XPs.

  6. smarterthanyou June 17, 2009 at 8:08 pm #

    I don’t want to start cataloguing and compairing tasks but if I did the results would certainly be as I stated. In XP’s favor.
    You should be able to see these things yourself easily. Or maybe not.. You do mention category view in XP which really makes me wonder.

    I’ll point out one little thing though since you mention the control panel.

    There are 21 icons in XP in classic view. I can find things quite easily without search and links get me mostly direct to what I want.

    There are 47 icons in win7 in small icon view. (I might need search too.) On top of that many things you could do before after one click from here now has a troubleshooter or is buried under 2 or 3 more menus than before.

    Another note about the control panel..

    Classic view was a feature put into XP as a transition to what was default in win98. Everyone hated the category view and switched to classic view right away.
    -Vista comes out and what did MS do? Make things way more categorised and buried under menus. People liked it even less.
    -win7 comes out and things are again more categorised and moved around for no apparent reason.

    Are we just resistant to change or are the people behind these ideas at MS the biggest idiots on the face of the planet.

    Lets not forget the new thumbnail icon for folders.
    Two larger images you can’t really see and takes more than double the resources to show previews for is better than four smaller images you can see 100% of and easily tell what’s inside with much less resource usage.
    I guess that answers the question above..

    I really am giving it a fair chance but the truth is that win7 is much less productive than XP.

    • krisrm June 17, 2009 at 9:09 pm #

      Of course. Certainly. I’m just going to believe you on that, even though you’ll state no advantages. Right.

      Why do you make a bunch of blanket statements that assume your opinion is held by everyone else on the planet? “Everyone hated the category view and switched to the classic view right away.” I didn’t… the only reason people switched to the classic view is because they were used to doing it the old way. Categorizing makes a lot more sense when you have nearly 100 different things in the control panel. Which is why the search is so handy: 7/Vista’s control panel gives you many more icons, that’s true, but you don’t even have to worry about them. If you know what you want to do (i.e. defragment the hard drive), just start typing “defragment”, and it’ll find what you want. None of this “just knowing where everything is.” Searching is something that a computer can perform just fine, why on earth would you do it manually?! Instead of Google Search, maybe you’d appreciate a list of uncategorized links to every page on the internet, sorted in alphabetical order? Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but there’s a reason for those 47 icons: Windows 7 offers a substantially increased number of features over XP. If you’d like me to name some, I’ll be happy to.

      Yes, you’re just being resistant to change. The UI designers that work at Microsoft have had years of training and experience, as compared to yourself, who can’t even recognize the advantages of typing something in a search box over clicking around to find what you want.

      As for that last point, I’m really not sure what you’re trying to say… though I can tell you, folder icons have not impacted performance in either Vista or Windows 7; any resource inefficiency you’re referring to is likely too small to even measure accurately, let alone notice on any computer made in the last 5 years.

      How is refusing to pay attention to common sense interface changes, and then calling Microsoft’s employees “the biggest idiots on the face of the planet” giving it a fair chance? Quit pretending that your opinion constitutes that of “everyone” – the majority of people who’ve used Windows 7 so far have loved it, and many have said it’s Microsoft’s best operating system since Win 95. I think your “everyone” is going to be missing the majority of the population, but we’ll see what people do when Windows 7 hits the market.

  7. smarterthanyou June 17, 2009 at 11:28 pm #

    If it makes you feel better.
    I have noticed that overall the whole OS could be lighter and faster based on the new kernal but because of the UI features it bogs things back down to a point that it’s not generally any faster than XP. It’s an accomplishment but is tainted by failure hand in hand.

    One thing 7 does soundly beat XP at is raring/unraring speeds. (much faster than XP)
    I’ve also noticed that video encoding is a little faster than XP.
    There are some other small things but this is not exactly impressive considering the time and money they’ve put out since XP.

    The majority of people by a large margin hated the category view in XP and Vista and the same for win7.
    It’s true. Regardless of my personal views or yours.
    Especially people in the tech support industry hated Vista. Not because it was different and they had to relearn but because when you’re used to haveing a bunch of lines of troubleshooting for various issues and you’ll notice big time when everything is deeper in menus, requires more steps to get to and it’s more difficult to coach people through the steps.
    I’ve been there. It wasn’t pretty and everyone knew it was way worse than XP.

    You should know where everything is on your PC.
    It’s windows. You should be able to handle it easily without search. You’re better off not using it as a crutch.

    Actually, I probably have similar experience as many of the people working on the UI. But that’s not really an issue. Anyone should be able to see these changes aren’t great improvements. More often then not they are a step backwards.

    I don’t click around trying to find something. I know just where it is and like needing only a few clicks to get there.

    When set to thumbnail view, open the same directory with many subdirectories with images inside those and it takes more than double the time to show previews of those subdirectories in 7 than XP.
    It has nothing to do with hardware and yes, anyone who thinks that is a better way to show folder contents is an idiot. They had the chance to revert to something better in 7 and they still didn’t. That makes them even bigger idiots.

    Vista only holds about 15% market share and XP about 75%.
    I expect Vista users to be much more likely to upgrade since they were stupid enough to go to Vista in the first place and because 7 fairly easily beats Vista but at best is disputable whether or not it beats XP so I think it’s less likely MS will be able to talk XP users into it. Ofcourse the more time goes buy they may end up getting XP users simply out of necessity but most will hold out as long as they can.
    In the end 7 might get upto 10% from Vista and upto 10% from XP which leaves us at around XP 65-70%, Vista 5-10%, win7 20%’ish. Before 8 comes out at least. Maybe they’ll smarten up by then. I really hope so.

  8. krisrm June 18, 2009 at 12:23 am #

    There’s a point where “faster” can’t be accomplished on a hardware level, and has to be strictly software driven. XP’s slight speed advantage is mitigated by two things: it’s inability to use more than 3GB of RAM (unless you’re running the shoddily supported x64 edition), and it’s feature-barren UI. Perhaps if you’ve run it on a computer with even an older dedicated graphics card, you’d notice the difference: what’s your experience index?

    I don’t buy that the “I just know where everything is” method is better for the average user, either. It’s one thing if you have maybe 10 to 20 programs in your start menu. If you start adding utilities, games, productivity software, etc… searching through it is just easier. I’m not sure what it would take to prove it to you. I can run any installed program on my computer by typing two words, often as few as two letters. And, if I feel like it, I can go rummaging around through menus and such, just for old time’s sake… As far as the category view goes, it’s become rather necessary. Let me explain:

    When you go into the control panel, there are two possibilities: you know exactly what you want to do, or you know *sort of* what you want to do. If you have no idea what you want to do, no user interface is going to help your situation…

    If you know exactly what you want to do (i.e. I want to allow something through the firewall), start typing. “f … i…” and by the millisecond you’ve finished hitting that “i”, what you want is right there at the top of the screen, along with a bunch of related options that you might need (maybe I want to check the status of the firewall, afterwards?). No memorizing spots in a control panel. How is that a crutch? It will always work… why not use it?

    If you don’t know quite exactly what you want to be doing (i.e. I’d like to see what options there are for security), you can either use the search, or click on the security category and get a narrowed down list. Let’s just face it, there are too many control panel options to fit in a long list of non-categorized programs. I also don’t see why tech support people have a problem with this, because this is far more convenient… isn’t it easier to tell people to type a word than “click on the icon that says…”, and have the computer narrow down what you’re looking for? Tech support places are notorious for having a limited understanding of how things work (and I can’t blame them… the last thing I’d want to do after a day solving computer problems would be playing around with OS features…); they follow simple formulas given to them, and don’t have a lot of knowledge of their own.

    For the thumbnail thing… I’m still not exactly sure what you mean, but I think I might know. (this is in Vista, so it might not apply; I’ll check on my 7 machine later) If you click Tools, then Folder Options, then under “View” check “Always show icons, never thumbnails”. I think that solves what you’re upset about, though I’m really not quite certain what it is that’s causing you a problem… For the record, “not reverting” to something prior isn’t a dumb move; they’d be called on not making any attempt to innovate and simply relying on previously successful strategies that worked 8 years ago.

    And while it might be true that Vista only holds 15% market share, think about the direction that XP’s market share is bound to head in. Those are fairly static numbers, and by any estimates, a lot of home users are going to be buying new computers in the coming years as this recession turns around. Are those computers going to come with XP on them? Most certainly not. Any business that feels like using XP is eventually going to find itself pressured to change, too: with the majority home users on Vista or 7, I can bet that they’re going to be pressured more than ever to upgrade. I know that I couldn’t stand working on XP, after using Vista for only a few weeks… the Start Menu is just that much better. I don’t really understand what you’re hoping for in an operating system, here… nothing “new” seems to please you in any way. The rest of us will be the ones laughing when Microsoft finally refuses to support it’s 8 year old operating system. Remember all the people that cursed XP when it first arrived… and look at where they are now. Standing on it, cursing Windows 7 because it isn’t Windows XP.

    • jasonk June 18, 2009 at 9:17 am #

      I read all of the dialogue between you and “smarterthanyou”.. So here is my two cents.

      First, I’ve been a Window’s user since 3.11 W4Workgroups. That isn’t an appeal to experience or authority it is just a qualifier that I’ve seen a lot of their (MS) product. I have been, and continue to be, fond of things that reduce keystrokes and click to perform a task. Enhanced productivity is worth memorizing a few key combos, etc…. So I am not just the internet / solitaire casual user. I like to tweak and customize my OS.

      I also agree that the search feature in Vista / 7 was not a little bit of an enhancement, it was a real innovation with deep reaching practical applications.

      here is another example of how the search “crutch” saves me loads of time:
      I download LOADS of TV shows and movies. I am a full time student, and when I get home there is nothing on TV. So I download. I have lots of avi file on this thing. I don’t want to take the time (like I would have back in the days of XP) to create a “movies”
      and “TV” shows subdirectory, and then every time I download a new file go a tell the software “dload to this folder, not that one”.. Now it just all goes to a media folder. If I want to watch Iron Man, I click start and type “Iron”. If I want to play Diablo II, I type that. I don’t minimize to desk top, or squeeze it onto the launch tray. That is just more clutter. The search “crutch” has saved me tons of time by not having to root around in a folder.

      Additionally I have a thing or two to say about the control panel. I am reasonably proficient with the control panel. I know how to do most anything in it. However there are times when I, the guy who fixes everyone’s computer, am a little foggy about what I am doing, and at that point I use the category view. When I know exactly what I am doing I just type in the search… It is as fast as typing “defr” as it is clicking “control panel”.. Or if I want, I can click “start” then type “msconfig”, and hit enter.

      If you prefer the extra clicks to pull up the “run” feature, go ahead… But in Vista / 7 it has been aggregated into the search box.

      Additionally, the glitz that the hard core just delight in lambasting has real value for some people. When I go for a cup of coffee, I am equally close to the old donut shop and a fancy, upscale coffee place; you know the type. The coffee place is 50 cents more for a cup and their coffee isn’t as good as the donut shop. But I go to the coffee shop anyway. I have a stressful load and i really enjoy a relaxed, calming atmosphere. The soft tones, smooth jazz (which I am not a huge fan of, but it is relaxing), climate control, and professional presentation will be what makes me decide where to go spend my 30 minute break every time. It has nothing to do with coffee choice. By contrast the donut shop is 70’s yellow with asbestos floor tiles, a boom box blaring the oldies, and a display case that has long outlived its lifespan. It feel dingy there. I don’t want to spend 2 minutes in that environment waiting for coffee, much less 30 sitting idly. You can call it superficial, but that would be narrow minded. That said, the aero affect offered in Vista / 7 is absolutely important to a large portion of the market. I like window translucency, flip view, color accents (7 only) in the task bar, and less clutter from running tasks on the task bar (7 only) are important to people like me. If you don’t value it, that is fine, but don’t pretend I don’t exist, or that there aren’t more people like me. Lots of people value aesthetics.. Microsoft has figured this out. Look at the new Office Suit. I can’t say that I’ve noticed it is more funtional (my novice friend claim it is due to grouping) but it is prettier, and that is the reason that I had to have it when I saw it. I didn’t care about what features they had enhanced or anything else. It looked slick. So it was out with 2003 and in with 2007. Maybe that is silly, but it is what I value and that view isn’t anecdotal, there are whole industries predicated on it. Ever heard of yachts? There is nothing practical to the

      Just because you cannot see its value doesn’t mean there isn’t any. You are just refusing to accept that anything but your preconceived idea of the world is wrong. Smarterthanyou, you fit the classic definition of a “reactionary”.. You were that guy who was crying out against automation via the steam engine. There are always guys like that. I am glad to see that you can at least recognize there are advantages to the new software, but i really think your bias is what is in your way. Vista ought to be a Godsend to tech support.

      Additionally, the glitz that you wrote off as not valuable is actually valuable to a lot of people. I enjoy aesthetics and gadgets. I prefer an upscale coffee shop with bad coffee to a dumpy donut shop with good coffee. In that sense, the glitz of Aero does add real value to people like me. Hell, I’d never go back XP on aesthetic principle alone.

  9. Robert June 18, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    I completely and utterly agree with jasonk.

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