Virtualization: VirtualBox – Windows 7 Preview

Posted: 10/05/2009 in Software
Tags: , ,

So I got around to actually putting my preview ISO to good use. After all, I’d be wasting valuable disk space costing less than $0.50/GB if I don’t at least do something. I wonder why I bothered in the first place, but I decided that this is purely technical and has no significance to the opinions I have regarding Microsoft’s softducts.

Wait..I lied. This was not just for the sake of knowledge. I surmise from the hype that this time Microsoft actually fixed a mistake (which we gladly call “Vista”).  As such, it will be on my list the next time I’m told to upgrade a Windows box. Maybe I should start planning my consultation rates.

First, I’d like to thank VirtualBox. This is one of those software that really gives its proprietary alternatives a run for their money. Usage is such a no-brainer that I thought it was a video game from the future. You didn’t get that, did you? Of course not.

CPU: Intel Core Duo 1.6GHz
Available Memory: 2GB
Allocated Memory: 1GB
GPU: Intel GMA 950
Available VRAM: 128MB*
Allocated VRAM: 64MB

* There’s a discrepency here between Linux and Windows. With the former, the system has access to 256MB of VRAM. VirtualBox itself sees 128 as well. No idea why but I’d probably find out if I Googled.

So on to Windows 7. I don’t know if this release is the latest preview, but it’s the one I have and I won’t bother to get a new one.

Installation has been made graphical entirely. Almost as noob-friendly as Ubuntu, so it’s a good sign. The whole process went smoothly, but I can’t recall if I expected anything to happen. Would you? Hey, this is Windows. Even the login screen was anticipated. Everything is so predictable here. Then again, I believe Bill Gates does deserve credit for the idea of a screen where you enter your name and password. And yeah, it completed pretty fast.

Considering that I once virtualised (I’m against American spelling – all Zs are for the sake of standard conventions) a Linux distribution and found it utterly slow, I won’t comment on the performance this time. I’ll only say this: it’s usable. In fact, it’s more usable than the Linux one. There, I said it.

Uhmm..WTF? Has Microsoft decided to go all KDE 3.5 with the huge panel? Or did KDE anticipate this move? I’d guess so. That’s why KDE 4 panels are now a little smaller – just in time.

Wallpapers. Windows 95 had the best one. I love bright stuff, so this one gets a thumbs-up. A thumbs-down for the WTF-fish, though. I could understand grass, leaves, wood, trees, supernovae, blistering barnacles..but not fish.

The one thing that Windows has over Linux is graphical polish. If we were to put Mac OS X in the ring, it’d be a double-fatality-flawless-victory. Just look at how smooth the gadgets are, and they didn’t show any signs of lag during the run either. Anyway, my KDE 4 plasmoids are far more beautiful, though not “polished”. I love my KDE, yes. My wallpaper is generic, I know. But it fits the system style and theme well. I love consistency as well.

So it looks like things are inversely proportionate to each other. There’s a good benchmarking utility to see whether we qualify for desktop effects, but not so much as a hint on what effects the system is actually capable of. I’d at least like to know that if I purchase a better GPU, I’ll be able to turn on so-and-so feature.

Nevertheless, I’m happy to have a score of 1.0 and no be able to play the only playable game Microsoft decided to slot in for this preview. It just lagged like hell and I got an error about incapable graphics software extensions before the game started. The rest are the usual Windows 95 games, just different variations.

Inverse proportions yet again. We have a nice set of system sounds to choose from, but little themes. The collection of wallpapers is modest, but not adequate for an operating system that can cost as much as a netbook. The least I’d expect is a set of colour themes to go along, but it seems the user has to do it manually and configure each and every window component colour if he wants anything different.

Overall, not amazing. Not too bad. It’s just Microsoft being Microsoft, and Windows being Windows. We’ll see how this turns out by the time the RCs are ready.

  1. techwoo says:

    Virtualization: VirtualBox – Windows 7 Preview .Thanks for nice post.I added to my twitter.

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