It’s been weeks since I managed to upset a large enough contingent to get the nasty comments flowing, like smoke from an Icelandic volcano.  So I figured it was about time to get things going again and what better topic than Windows 7?

Let me state up front that Win 7 works for a lot of people, including some of my coworkers.  It just isn’t playing well with me.

I initially ran Windows 7 Professional in a virtual machine, just to see it work.  Since it seemed to behave, I put it on a physical machine (32 bit Professional).  I had a ton of issues within days.  My boss thought it was broken because I turned Aero off so I didn’t have any exploding graphics.

Then there were the programs that didn’t want to work.  One network monitor flatly refused to cooperate until I ran it as administrator.  The entire OS was horribly laggy.  When I re-enabled Aero, per some polite (and impolite) suggestions, I watched some sort of advanced acid trip on my multiple monitor setup.  My coworkers were most impressed.

To give it a fair shot, I ordered a Dell machine with Windows 7 preinstalled (64bit Professional). This wasn’t laggy, which made me very happy.  Unfortunately it too developed all sorts of interesting little issues, the final one being the inability to stop a program or process via the Taskbar or Process Explorer 64 bit (Sysinternals).  I had to reboot, which took forever.

I don’t have a good relationship with Microsoft.  It’s certainly not for lack of trying though… I wanted 7 to be solid, stable, and a workable OS.  After all, it’s going out on the floor for everyone, so it had better be.

As of yesterday, there are no longer any versions of Windows on hardware.  I am running 7 in a virtual machine (under VMplayer) on a linux box.  Windows simply behaves much better virtually than physically.  A perfect example of this is server virtualization.  After virtualizing twenty five servers, all of the rebooting went away and they’re running flawlessly.

A WORD ABOUT VMPLAYER

I recently upgraded to VMplayer 3 and was very pleasantly surprised.  It runs under Windows or linux and is free, so there’s no downside.  VMware made some serious improvements to VMplayer to make operation easier for all concerned.  You can now create a virtual machine right from VMplayer, whereas you used to have to jump through a few hoops to get everything together with the previous version.  Player 3 even creates a virtual hard drive for you – all you need is a CD/DVD or ISO with the program you wish to install and you’re off.  The programs asks you a few questions and creates everything you need.

VMplayer is the perfect solution when you want to try something out, like a different operating system.  You can test out a different distribution of linux under linux or Windows.   You can try different versions of Windows without disturbing the original OS.

Player doesn’t eat up much in the way of resources, even if the OS does.  I run Windows XP in a virtual machine on a laptop with 256MB of RAM and it runs just fine.