Upgrades upgrades everywhere

Like many people, I spent a bit of time this weekend performing operating system upgrades.

Firstly Snow Leopard, and then (and for me, more importantly) Windows 7 both on my Macbook Pro. Some notes and observations follow, for those who may be interested.

The Snow leopard upgrade was painless, and just worked. It took a fair amount of time for what is essentially a service pack but the fact that you just say “go” and it “goes” kind of makes up for that. Finder feels quicker, and the Expose functionality in the dock looks pretty useful, but other than those things I’m not enough of an OSX user to really get that excited about it – except for the fact that the Snow Leopard picture is very cute, as is his bloodthirstier cousin. I can’t comment on the Exchange functionality, as I use a hosted exchange offering and they don’t currently have the supported level of service pack – which is a bit of a worry. I wanted to use Snow Leopard as an excuse to try and use OSX more – but I develop primarily using Microsoft software, and secondarily using IBM Software, on top of which I’m rather performance motivated – so working in a VM just so I can experience OSX simply doesn’t make sense. I’m still going to try and use MORE of OSX, but I’m afraid I’m just not one of those “once you go mac, you can’t go back” type people.

However, I’ll say this again – my Macbook Pro runs Windows better than any other laptop I’ve seen, and as a web developer it’s incredibly useful to have access to native OSX for testing in Safari in Firefox (which seems to occasionally behave slightly differently to Firefox on a PC).

After upgrading Snow Leopard, I replaced Vista on my Bootcamp partition with Windows 7. For me, my laptop is a portable work horse which contains no data which isn’t duplicated elsewhere – so it should be easy to rebuild. This was a chance to test how true that statement is, and fortunately it turned out to be very true.

At some point after Non-Snow Leopard was released, bootcamp drivers were updated to include 64bit support. So having a new Snow Leopard disc sounded like a good time to install Windows 7 (64bit) – and it was. The installation was flawless, everything detected and installed with no issues. On top of this the new bootcamp drivers added some nice functionality, and changed the way the boot loader works. Small things but they make using the laptop so much shinier.

In terms of Windows 7 they’ve done a great job of improving over Vista. Using Vista on my main gaming box right now is driving me mad, I can’t wait to upgrade (with a double dose of D) that, however I need to wait to source a new SSD or two before I do that. Windows 7 feels shiny and usable – it just suits the way I work. Being able to pin applications to the start menu in order to gain quick access to their most recently used list is an incredible time saver. The smarter docking options are also incredibly handy for people with larger monitors, and the improved smarts of the taskbar are very functional and good looking.

Something I’d not read about is the fact that Windows 7 adds support for reading OSX volumes. I’m sure that’ll come in handy at some point for bootcamp users such as myself. On a random OSX/Windows tangent, I ran my bootcamp partition under OSX via Fusion, which seemed to work pretty well. Slightly reduced graphics capabilities, but basically it was usable. My problems with using the bootcamp partition via Fusion previously seemed related to hibernation, which I blame Vista for entirely - time will tell whether Windows 7 has improved this enough to be noticeable.

One thing I did during the reinstall process was use my Windows Home Server to restore some data from backups onto the new machine. The first time I used the restore functionality was a looooong time ago. I’ve had scheduled WHS backups running on all my machines for a while, but I’ve not needed to use them – so this reinstall was an excuse for a test run. The whole process feels a lot tidier than it ever did before, and left me feeling even more pleased than I already was with WHS.

So all in all the Macbook Pro is running very nicely after the weekend’s fun. I was underwhelmed by Snow Leopard’s new features, but impressed with the smoothness of the process and greatful for the updated drivers disc. Windows 7 was far more impressive for me, but then as an ASP.NET developer that’s probably to be expected. I really am going to try and use OSX more from now on though, I promise.

Posted on Tuesday, September 1, 2009 11:22 PM |

Like this? Share it!

No comments posted yet.

Post a comment
Please add 7 and 3 and type the answer here:
Remember me?
Ensure the word in this box says 'orange':