I’m a big fan of Windows. For years, I have made a point of installing the latest version as soon as possible. Yes, I’ve dabbled a bit with other operating systems, but I always come back to Windows. And I’ve always made every effort to use the built-in windows tools whenever possible. Windows rocks: it’s customizable, widely used, and very intuitive.
But on my latest Windows install, here are five things I did NOT do:
1. Stayed with Windows 7 instead of upgrading to Windows 8.
I have used Windows 7 for over two years, and I love it. Before deciding not to switch to Windows 8, I researched the new OS online. Yes, there were plenty of people bashing Windows 8, but there were also plenty of people praising it. Have studied both sides of the issue, I decided to stick with Windows 7 for now. I will most likely install the Windows version after Windows 8: let them work out the kinks on someone else. I did finally install the 64-bit version of Windows 7, though.
2. Did not install Windows Media Player or Windows Media Center.
I have used WMP and WMC for years. But recently, I got fed up with their issues, especially with WMP. I got tired of my music library being corrupted every week, and I was equally tired of the freezing, lost music, screwed up playlists, and lack of good organization tools. I switched to Winamp for music playback, Media Monkey for music organization, and VLC for video and DVD playback. So long WMP & WMC. I don’t miss you.
3. Did not install Windows Gadgets.
I used Windows Sidebar in Vista, and Gadgets in Windows 7. But recently, I got fed up with the performance issues of Gadgets. Every day, the service needed to be restarted, and it was a resource hog. Plus, it wasn’t very customizable. So, with my latest Windows install, I said goodbye to Windows Gadgets and hello to Rainmeter. Rainmeter is customizable, light on resources, doesn’t freeze and crash all the time, and looks great.
4. Did not turn on Network Shares.
Once again, Network sharing has been my go-to method for sharing files across our home network. But I haven’t used the feature in well over a year. Dropbox, combined with Directory Lister Pro, allows me to easily share files in several ways. I can allow other users to have full access to a file, or I can publish an HTML page of linked files so others can download files, but not change, edit, or upload files. This is so much easier than Window’s network sharing. And it allows me to protect my media files from less tech-savvy family members while still giving them the access they want.
5. Did not install Microsoft Picture It!
I have used Microsoft Picture It! for years. But it’s time to say goodbye. I have found several nice online apps to replace the features I use the most, and for serious editing, there’s always IrfanView and Paint.NET. Clipping Magic quickly and easily removes the background from an image. Pixlr and Ribbet both offer quick image corrections, filters, and effects. And these days, finding high quality clip art is just a google search away. So, really, I have no use for Picture It! any longer.
I had hoped to replace Windows Live Writer with Word 2013 as my blogging client. Alas, Word refuses to post to my blogs for some mysterious reason. And the “help” files are no help at all. Oh well. Another time, perhaps. Until then, Live Writer remains king.