Early Windows 7 Complaints

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-04-21 Print this article Print


Some initial complaints also centered on a lack of drivers for certain devices. This problem seems to have been solved in many respects-Hewlett-Packard, for example, subsequently introduced Windows 7 drivers for the HP LaserJet 4100 printer series that some IT pros complained were missing-but it also seemed to be a point of contention for the first few weeks and months after Windows 7's release.

"Even the Windows 7 Ultimate hasn't got a full set of the popular HP printer, plotter and scanner drivers," wrote one IT administrator based in South Africa. "Microsoft, it seems, is not interested in a smooth transition from the old XP to the new Windows 7. Anyone hoping to make a painless -cold turkey' switch had better be very careful."

Communication with devices running on the network also proved an initially thorny issue for some.

"They have created something great," wrote another IT administrator at a major auto manufacturer, "but alienates anyone with OS's other than 7 for sharing devices.

"I tried in excess for seven hours and went to any forum I could that I thought would be helpful," that administrator continued. "I made sure that I did local loads for printer drivers and then went looking for network devices. I also tried various host/server scenarios back and forth with older to newer OS's acting as the server; still no sharing!"

In the months after the release of Windows 7, Microsoft also dealt with complaints of poor battery life for some laptops upgraded to the operating system, with a percentage of users reporting a drastically reduced charge. In a Feb. 8 posting on the Engineering Windows 7 blog, Windows President Steven Sinofsky suggested that the fault ultimately lay in the batteries themselves, not anything having to do with Windows 7.

"Every single indication we have regarding the reports we've seen are simply Windows 7 reporting the state of the battery using this new feature and we're simply seeing batteries that are not performing above the designated threshold," Sinofsky wrote. "It would stand to reason that some customers would be surprised to see this warning after upgrading a PC that was previously operating fine. Essentially the battery was degrading but it was not evident to the customer until Windows 7 made this information available."

Supposedly, Windows 7 sets a threshold of 60 percent degradation for the battery, after which it displays a "change battery" warning. Microsoft insisted to eWEEK at the time that it was unable to reproduce the reported cases where new or nearly new batteries spontaneously failed while powering laptops with Windows 7.

But that didn't stop a number of comments from users who nonetheless encountered battery issues under a very specific set of Windows 7-related circumstances.

"I have an HP dv6000 with Windows 7 now running on it. And I can tell you, for a fact, that this is an actual problem," one reader wrote in an April 11 comment on the Microsoft Watch blog. "I replaced [the laptop] battery with a brand new HP battery. Right off the factory floor, so to speak. After barely two months, my second 88800 mWh battery is down to 28890 mWh capacity. I'm a technician so of course I have tested my hardware such as the power regulation on the motherboard, made sure all my caps were still good, etc. The computer is just fine otherwise."

That one commenter continued: "So yes, Windows 7may USE more power, but that does not explain the drastic drop in battery capacity very quickly. This is clearly an issue with how Windows itself is interfacing with the battery's memory to report proper values."

Another commenter wrote: "In November, I received HP's free upgrade from Vista to Windows 7."

Rumors have circulated recently of a Service Pack for Windows 7 in the works. At the beginning of April, a purported build with a compile date of March 27, and the string "build 6.1.7601.16537.amd64fre.win7.100327-0053," leaked onto a variety of Torrent Websites. Screenshots quickly leaked onto sites such as GeekSmack, which described the download and installation process as "faster than the install process for service packs on Vista."

The release date for such a Service Pack, not to mention any issues it would specifically address, is still a matter of conjecture for anyone outside certain offices in Redmond. However, given Microsoft's focus on user feedback for its latest string of software releases, it's likely that at least a portion of current IT pro complaints will be taken into consideration.

Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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