So I’ve been running Windows 7 for about a day on an Intel motherboard. And I don’t know for certain if it’s the shoddy Intel hardware, or Windows 7, but I don’t think I’ve been this un-impressed since the first time I laid eyes on Windows ME.
Yeah, it’s that bad. I’m sure the Microsoft fanboys will jump in and chew me up, but let’s see if they can explain this away.
Windows 7 refuses to use anything but the generic video driver. So it uses weird video modes that look terrible on my HDTV-derived monitor, and it’s slow. Intel video is pathetic anyway, but this drags performance back 10 years.
The Intel video driver gives a Code 43. A Google search shows people have been having this problem for about 18 months, but nothing short of a bunch of convoluted voodoo, including turning off driver signing, works. Even that doesn’t always work, and turning off driver signing hurts security. If I’m going to do that, I might as well run Windows 2000. Either Microsoft or Intel should have fixed that issue by now, but they haven’t.
Worse yet, it won’t print. Not consistently, anyway. I’m using a PCL 6 printer attached straight to a parallel port. You can’t get any simpler than that. DOS can print to it. A Commodore 64 could print to it. But Windows 7 struggles. Usually if I reboot, the failed print jobs finally print as the machine comes up. Hmm. Progress.
I assign some blame to Windows 7 because a Linux live CD worked fine on the same hardware, and gave me nice 1600×900 video. It’s pretty obvious I’m having driver issues, but I don’t know if it’s Microsoft’s fault or Intel’s.
I hadn’t intended to necessarily move my everyday work to Windows 7 yet, given that it usually takes about two years after their release for Microsoft operating systems to be reliable enough to actually, you know, use. Everyone told me Windows 7 is different. I don’t know. Looks like the same old game to me, if not a bit worse. Gold XP was pretty bad, but even it could print to direct-attached printers without issue. It just didn’t like network printers.
Since my main PC died horribly and I was going to have to do a rebuild, I figured I might as well move forward. But now it looks like I may have to do a crash Windows XP build if I can’t work out this printer issue. Or drag the ancient Windows 2000 computer in my basement upstairs.
Maybe SP1 would help, since that will officially signal the end of Windows 7’s consumer beta period. But in the meantime, I’m really trying to figure out what I paid $125 for. After wasting a weekend working on this, I’ve just about had it with Windows 7 and with Intel hardware.
Linux isn’t a realistic option, since there are several Windows-only programs my wife and I rely on every day. One of them is flaky anyway, so I need to run it in supported configuration.
I’ve built much more complex systems in an afternoon. This has been disheartening. If SP1 came out tomorrow, I’d actually install it tomorrow. And that should tell you everything you need to know. You never, ever want to be the first guy to install a Microsoft Service Pack, but if there were a line I could camp out in the be first, I’d probably go do it.
That should tell you all you need to know.