So, I managed to find a working Windows 7 link and downloaded the 32-bit ISO!
I kicked this off under VirtualBox – 985MB base memory (I don’t know why, but VirtualBox wouldn’t let me allocate anymore), 32MB video memory and a 20GB virtual drive.
The installation is simple and relatively quick. A good start. The virtual drive, which I’ve set to expand as required, is 5GB in size, so I’m assuming that’s about the base installation size.
Now, I don’t have Vista but I have seen it and had a brief play. Windows 7 is similar in looks but even with the above virtual hardware it wasn’t too slow. I like the new way of applications in the taskbar appearing as icons – they blend in completely with the quick start tray icons and, indeed, when you launch one, the background behind the icons changes to show it’s in use rather than simply a shortcut. This reminds a lot of the Apple’s OSX.
Anyhoo, it took me a while to get a working network connection (found the Intel Pro/1000 MT Desktop option worked. And then I only got that and sound after installing the Guest Additions (explore the disk and make sure you run the appropriate .exe in Vista compatibility mode).
It’s nice – I can’t really get a proper idea without running it natively and with a decent hardware setup, but I’m impressed with what they’ve come up with in such a relatively short space of time.
My only downer so far is the system tray – or rather the lack of options with it. They’ve introduced new “all in one” system tray options that report issues, etc (this time reminding me of Linux) – however when diagnosing my network issues I was looking for the normal network icons and matching options. Once the network was working all of this disappeared and I was left with… nothing. I’m guessing I have to go into the control panel to then change any options, but I’m just used to havign a nice clickable icon (I bet you can turn this back on with the options, though). I don’t know, my issue is hard to explain, but I was missing some of the more technical options to hand. However, I’m sure all of this makes the OS a lot easier for non-IT minded people.
I’ll keep it installed, have a play occasionally and report back what I find out. All I have to do now is register it… if only the Microsoft site would return long enough to let me do that.