Windows 7 beta 1 reviewed, promises the world and more

It’s about time Microsoft released an OS worthy of some hype and excitement. Mark my words, friends: Windows 7 will be Microsoft’s watershed OS. If it’s not, then MS in in serious trouble. Like Palm, Windows is beloved, hated, and long overdue for an overhaul. Unlike Palm, Microsoft’s executives have so much money that they line hamster cages with it. That’s why I’m particularly interested in this review of beta 1: it has all the promise of Palm’s Nova with the means to deliver.

The interface is considerably cleaned up – the task bar doesn’t look like an army of ants invaded it. Two interesting improvements:

# Aero Snap
Aero Snap is a simple little feature that I find myself using all the time. This is a gestures driven method of organizing Windows. Drag a window to the top of the screen and the app is maximized. Drag it to the side and you get it to tile to one half of the screen. Drag the app away from the top of the screen to restore it. It;s a very handy feature indeed, especially for people who work with multiple applications.
# Aero Peek
Ever wanted to see what was on your desktop without minimizing all your applications? Aero Peek is the feature for you. Mouse over the small area on the right-hand side of the taskbar and you get a glimpse of what’s on your desktop, allowing you to see shortcuts and gadgets. Aero Peek is of limited usefulness though since you can’t interact with anything on the desktop because as soon as you move the mouse off the Peek spot the applications all return.

The OS itself is described as “solid and fast,” terms that could be applied to both Windows and my latest bowel movements – no interesting news there. You’d expect that after the bloat of Vista anything streamlined by Microsoft would be solid and fast.

My dream? That W7 will be great enough for me to use on a daily basis. I’m out of the Windows habit but I’d love to be sucked back in with a good, strong showing from Microsoft.