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The State of Windows 7 Satisfaction

WINDOWS 7   IS only a few months old. Most people who will eventually use the new as haven't tried it yet; those who have are still set¬tling in. And things will change rapidly as bugs are squashed, missing drivers arrive, and compatibility wrinkles are ironed out. Even so, it isn't too early to start gauging what people think of Vista's replacement.
To do a reality check on the mostly favorable initial reviews for the new operat¬ing syste
(nno.pcworto.corm 64223), we at Technologizer ( decided to ask for opinions from our community, a group of tech
enthusiasts with a high pro¬pensity to acquire new ass quickly and to push them
to their limits. Starting on November 16, 2009, we sur¬veyed the site's readers (and Twitter followers) about their Windows 7 experiences. Positive Response About 615 Technologizer readers responded. A sizable majority said that they are extremely satisfied with the as and rate it as a clear improvement on both the beloved Windows XP and the widely panned Windows Vista. Crippling installation problems-always a legiti¬mate reason to postpone switching aSs-were rare
Prior to using Windows 7

46 percent of respondents ran Windows Vista; 32 per¬cent ran XP. Just 17 percent used Vista and XP about equally, 5 percent ran an as other than Windows, and 0.7 percent used a different version of Windows
Among those surveyed, 73 percent upgraded an exist¬ing PC to the final version of Windows 7, while 8 percent use a PC that came with the as preinstalled; 14 percent are working with a prerelease version, and 6 percent run it on a Mac via Boot Camp or a virtualizaticn program.
As for Windows knowl-

edge, 64 percent of respon¬dents rated themselves as expert; 35 percent said they were intermediate. Less than 1 percent were beginners
For 61 percent, Windows 7 is entirely or mostly for home or personal use; 25 percent are using it about equally for home and business. Just 14 percent are using it entirely or mostly for business.
Also, 61 percent of respon¬dents use a 64-bit edition of Windows 7; only 31 percent are running a 32-bit version.
A whopping 82 percent did a "clean" install ofthe as from scratch; 19 percent

?How did Windows Ts installation go
installed it over Vista
Finally, 59 percent report¬ed they've used Windows 7 extensively, and 36 percent said they've done so a fair amount. A scant 5 percent said they've used it a little.

It's important to note that our goal wasn't to survey a representative, projectable, normalized sampling of all Windows 7 users. The re¬sponses here are from mem¬bers of the Technologizer community who chose to take our survey. Their opin¬ions are their own-but we think the results make for interesting reading

Installing Windows 7 With ass, as with all things, first impressions count. And if you've purchased a new as as an upgrade, the first impressions it makes come during the course of the in¬stallation process.

Among survey takers who installed Windows 7, the number who ran into major hassles was very small, pre¬sumably in part because Windows 7 is so similar to Vista under the surface. The fact that the vast majority of respondents performed dean installations rather than installing on top of Vista surely helped, too.

In our survey, 84 percent said the process went off without significant hiccups; 13 percent said it went fairly well. Only 3 percent reported major problems, two-thirds of which were resolvable. Pretty impressive-when PCWorld surveyed Windows XP users shortly after that as shipped, half reported significant installation issues

Windows Tips: Something OLd, Something New


Windows Tips: Something OLd, Something New

AH, THE VENERABLE Windows tips story! If you've been reading PCWorld for any length of time, you know that when a new version of Microsoft's operating system comes out (in this case, the well-received Windows 7), a fresh batch of shortcuts and timesavers for the OS can't be far behind.

These mega tip extravaganzas, though, always present a problem-namely, which items should we include? Be¬cause each new version of Windows builds on previous incarnations of

the as, loads of the most useful Win¬dows 7 tips are also the most useful tricks for Windows Vista, not to mention the still-popular Windows

XP. Ifwe were to include a sampling

of classic time-savers in a brand-new tips collection, we would risk alien¬ating readers who want just the lat-

est goodies. But excluding time-

tested tips would mean some of the best Windows advice would be

absent from the issue.

The solution we came up with this month? Along with a spanking-new collection oftips (see "Essential Windows Tricks," page 66) and timely advice on how to overcome Windows 7 upgrade gotchas (see "Fix Four Common Windows 7 Up¬grade Problems," page 101), we've pulled together a two-page clip-and¬save pullout of the 26 "Greatest Win¬dows TIps of All TIme" (see page 75).

If you're a longtime Windows user, you're probably familiar with most of these tidbits-though I'm betting you will find a few pointers that will be rediscoveries or that you somehow missed in the first place. For instance, I had completely forgotten the keystroke combination -L (a shortcut to lock your computer when you step away from the screen). Finding it here was like finding a long-lost friend.

TO assemble a collection of the "Greatest Windows Tips of All Time," we turned to the reaL experts: everyday users,

Admittedly, any "greatest hits" list

is somewhat arbitrary; it's based on in¬dividual tastes, and it's guaranteed to generate controversy. After all, who will make the decision? And what con¬stitutes greatness in a tip anyway?

To answer those questions, we sent staff editor Patrick Miller into the field to canvas users for tips that were not

STAFF EDITOR PATRICK MILLER: A hard-core Mac user receives a crash course in Windows shortcuts.

only broadly applicable, but worked on multiple versions of Windows and made everyday computing tasks substantially faster or easier. He reached out to read¬ers at, scoured a broad range of online forums, sought nomina¬tions on our Facebook page (tmd.pcwortd. com/60983), and tweeted his requests

to our Twitter followers at @!pcworld.

With a hefty stack of potential win¬ners in hand, he then descended on the editorial staff, going cube to cube. He also tapped the techie whizzes in the PCWorid Labs, cross-platform experts

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at sister publication Macworld, and "just about anyone else I ran into over the course of several days."

"My basic approach was to ask, 'When you watch someone else using a Windows PC, what drives you crazy about the way they do it?'" Not surpris¬ingly, that approach yielded a massive list of candidates-and a tricky win-

nowing task that he attacked with relish, and with some assistance from other editorial staffers.

Making the FinaL Cut

Patrick brought a fresh perspective to the task. Until nine months ago, he had been primarily a Mac user¬and a power user at that-meaning he had few preconceived notions about the Windows platform.

"Though I use Windows every day," he says, "many ofthese tips were new to me, especially the shortcut keystrokes and anything that made use of the search box." In making his final cut, he first transferred tips with multiple nominations into the Yes pile. Then "I began by looking for common problem areas with common solutions." He also put his

Apple experience to use by looking for standard Mac shortcuts that Windows users often must live without.

After extensive hands-on testing, wheedling, and weeding out, he and a team of fellow editors came up with the magnificent 26 in this issue.

Did we miss a favorite tip of yours?

Send your suggestions to letters@!, and we'll print a selec¬tion in an upcoming PCW Forum.

Until then, happy tipping .•