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Windows 7: consumer heaven?

Windows 7Kudos to Microsoft: Windows Vista is iconic. Even outside the confines of the tech ghetto, Vista is now a byword for failure, recently appearing as a punchline in Radio 4's venerable News Quiz. Vista has arrived.

That level of public recognition is an achievement, and unfair. I mean it. Vista isn't a bad piece of software. It isn't.

But it didn't match expectations - given the hype, how could it? And anyway, even if Vista had arrived fit for purpose, features and peripherals working seamlessly (and it palpably didn't), there'd have still been disappointment. Because, in line with all other Windows OS releases, Vista's system overhead is greater than its predecessors.

Think about it: if you bought the hype and purchased a Vista licence at launch, you'd have put it on to a machine used to running XP. The result of your investment - instantly slower PC. Slower, more expensive PC. Boo.

Even if you bought a brand-new Vista computer, the chances are it would cost more and run more slowly than a similarly priced XP rig. No single feature in Vista made this a worthwhile proposition. (You've got to really love UAC to buy that deal.)

Windows 7 changes this. In line with the current mania for less is more, Windows 7 is, in fact, easier on your PC than its predecessor was at launch. As processing power gets faster and cheaper year on year, this makes a Windows 7 PC a faster PC.

Consider it: the computer is now a consumer technology purchase. The majority of modern PC buyers are non-techies who require only web browsing, iTunes and productivity apps. They buy on price and looks, and they want their 'pooter to, well, just work. Such users care little for underlying technology: speed counts. A lot.

Vista's good name was battered by yer average punter trying it, finding it unfamiliar and slow, and slating it. Imagine then the PR effect of the reverse: a surprisingly fast, familiar OS. Could be that Windows is back.

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