Windows 7 Starter – how is it like XP?

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Earlier I mentioned that my first impressions of Windows 7 Starter reminded me of XP.  It’s the little things, like having

  • an hour-glass next to the cursor to indicate that the computer is doing something
  • partially obscured notificiations, or hover-overs, hanging around on the desktop – poor fit and finnish
  • a task manager that looks exactly the same as XP’s
  • No snipping tool, just like XP. I quite liked this built-in Windows tool, but I guess its not widely used tool

There are some ways that Windows 7 starter is definitely not like my old XP Pro. These are defintiely not little things, for example,

  • Indexed desktop file search. With my thousands of photographs this is wonderful
  • Tagging for files. Excellent, this is a real bonus over XP, especially if, like me, you spend the long lonely winter evenings drinking vin chaud and classifying your lovelly photographs of Matrix
  • No cascading menus. finding stuff in my ‘Start’ menu is easy as ‘search’ none of those fiddly cascading menus. HoooooooooRAH
  • Network and sharing centre. this is lovely, it arrived in Windows Vista and has a network connection troubleshooting tool. While I use it rarely it does a great job worth doing
  • Task based control panels. In the control panel the controls are grouped, sensible groups, easy to navigate by tasks and no option to view them in ‘classic’ (XP or Windows 2000) list format. I like this. It’s relatively easy to find out if a control exists or not
  • No Windows Movie Maker. There is no windows moviemaker onWindows 7 starter. This is an application I rarely used, but it would have been nice to be able to edit the media-clips that my digital camera produces. Ho hum. If a cheaper version has less features this is one that I would vote for excluding
  • No mail client. XP included Outlook Express which I used to use so that I could manage all my email while offline, store it on my laptop. Windows 7 expects you to be online, using the cloud all the time. They provide a complimentary free trial of Office 2007 but it doesn’t include the Office mail client – Outlook. I enjoyed the benefits of having a local store of my mail from multiple email accounts. Now I have to go online or purchase a mail client. Sigh.
  • Sync centre. There is a sync centre with a control for setting-up offline file sync, but nothing happens when I click on it, not even any feedback that says I can’t do this or what I need to do to set it up. I used to use this in XP Professional on Darling
  • Personalisation. can’t change the desktop background, or pick a fun colour scheme, lack of this fun functionality is just silly.  Even ‘starters’ want to personalise thier stuff

A quick look at the questions and answers on this forum for super users implies that they would rather have XP on their Netbooks than Windows 7 Starter. On balance, for me, Windows 7 starter is working well enough with the exception of  not being allowed technically or legally to change the desktop background.

I will probably find more differences as I start to fully use the Cupboard, for now these are the immediately noticable differences.

XP-like graphics - hour glass

Windows 7 Starter – how is it like XP?
1 vote rating 5

8 bits of lovely banter on “Windows 7 Starter – how is it like XP?”

  1. Happy Frog and I writes:

    I am really enjoying the series of posts on your journey through Windows 7. I realise now I should give these things more thought. Excellent stuff.

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    wendy writes

    Happy frog and I – thanks for finding these posts interesting, they felt like geeky self-indulgence so your words feel very kind. In my ideal world the sales assistant told me this before I handed over the cash…

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  2. Mark writes:

    … but then they wouldn’t be in Sales… 🙂

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  3. wendy writes:

    they would be excellent sales people because they’d match me with the right product from their stock leading to increased spend in the long term for related and repeat purchases.

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  4. Adrian Edmonds writes:

    Thunderbird would be a reasonable choice for an email client. Please also consider installing Ubuntu as a second OS. You would find it a rewarding experience.

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    wendy writes

    I am loving all this advice! Thunderbird may join me, though the thought of loading a second OS on such a small machine is a bit too scarey for me – if I could use the OS for a couple of weeks on an identical machine, then maybe that would persuade me.

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    Adrian Edmonds writes

    You could try one of the many Liux distributions on a CD or USB stick. No need to install anything till you’re happy. The second OS thing is only limited by hard disc space. Surely you could spare a gig?

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    wendy writes

    am now using Thunderbird and considering getting a USB drive for back-up and stuff – putting an alternative boot OS on that sounds possible. Friend on facebook who knows what I’m like recommended Jolicloud instead of Ubuntu because its ‘stripped down and easier to use’. Things that concern me are whether my security services work on it….

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