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Windows 7 review

Our final and definitive verdict on the best Windows operating system ever

Our Verdict

For

  • Improved performance
  • Pinned icons
  • Live thumbnails
  • Jump lists and window snaps make Aero useful as well as attractive
  • New ways of organising files with libraries
  • Improved backup
  • Less annoying notifications

Against

  • XP Mode isn't an integrated option yet
  • Microsoft backed down on libraries and Ctrl-E brings up My Computer instead
  • You can't add NAS drives to libraries
  • Ultimate edition is almost unnecessary except for adding BitLocker – which should be in the Professional Edition – and rather expensive (as are the Anytime Upgrades)
  • Yes, it's what Vista should have been (but it's more than that)

Windows 7 is complete, but before we begin, this isn't the exact version of Windows 7 Ultimate that you'll get on a new PC. That's because there are still content deals for Media Center to lock down and it doesn't have the Windows 7 web browser ballot scren that users in Europe will see when they set up a Windows 7 PC (new or upgraded).

PC builders and laptop manufacturers are also busy creating their own Device Stage interfaces for some PCs and many more peripherals will have Device Stage interfaces by the release on 22 October.

But this is the final code you'll be using from day to day - the last few bugs and the debug code of the Release Candidate are gone - and it's the first time we can tell whether Microsoft has delivered what Senior VP Steven Sinofsky promised last autumn: "Making Windows 7 compelling and easier to get used to."

Windows 7 desktop
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Windows 7 has to woo Windows XP users who have resisted Vista by offering performance and compatibility as well as extra features, and it has to entice Vista users who feel they should have had the performance and compatibility all along by convincing them that it's more than a service pack.

And given how many people have tried out the pre-release versions of Windows 7, the RTM has to dot the i's, cross the t's and feel truly finished.

It's a tall order. Can Windows 7 deliver all that, compete with OS X Snow Leopard and stave off the attack of Android and Chrome OS at the low end? Is it a Windows you'll actually want to use?

Tech Specs

Product TypeOperating System
Brand NameMicrosoft
Software Sub TypeClient
Distribution Media/MethodDVD-ROM
Licence TypeLicense and Media
Platform SupportedPC
Language SupportedDanish
Licence Quantity1 PC
ManufacturerMicrosoft Corporation
Product NameWindows 7 Ultimate - 64-bit
Software NameWindows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Licence PricingOEM
Manufacturer Part NumberGLC-00734
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.microsoft.co.uk
Marketing Information

Windows 7 Ultimate is the most versatile and powerful edition of Windows 7. It combines remarkable ease-of-use with the entertainment features of Home Premium and the business capabilities of Professional, including the ability to run many Windows XP productivity programs in Windows XP Mode. For added security, you can encrypt your data with BitLocker and BitLocker To Go. And for extra flexibility, you can work in any of 35 languages. Get it all with Windows 7 Ultimate.