I've been using XP for... well, an embarrassing number of years, actually. My current system is about 2 years old and has had XP SP2 on it since it was built. I never installed XP3 because there were issues with it killing systems, especially if you didn't have a valid serial. I could never remember where my serial came from - if it was a crack from who knows how long ago or a genuine key I got somewhere along the way, so I never installed it.
About two weeks ago, I started getting pop-ups from Avast, saying it was blocking a Malicious URL. I ran all sorts of malware and rootkit scans - none of them ever found a thing. Then I wasn't sure if the attack was coming from outside, or if it was something on my machine trying to get out and download something (in which case there wouldn't be anything detectable on my machine yet).
Looking for help on Avast's boards, I basically just got told to update to SP3. I can't. So my final solution was to back up all my files (needed to be done anyway) and format the drive before I finally updated myself to Windows 7. Genuine key, even. Seemed to work fine. Machine was up and running. Got all my files back. No malicious URL blocking. Shiny.
Only not because ClearType is driving me nuts. EVERYTHING looks blurry and fonts are not the same size as they were in XP under the same settings. Firefox was practically unreadable. That I fixed by turning off Nvidia's own anti-aliasing features and disabling Firefox's hardware acceleration (while also using a Anti-Aliasing Tuner extension). It's bearable now.
Except that was not the end of it. Photoshop file type icons are not displaying properly. Oh, file association is perfectly file - .psd files open with Photoshop when double-clicked. The icons, however, are just a blank page "unknown type" icon. Registry key looks perfectly fine. I uninstalled/reinstalled. Same. So, fine, it doesn't work. EXCEPT THEY SHOW UP IN AN OPEN FILE BOX. WUT. I have no idea why that is. I've given up on fixing that. Thankfully, I have show extensions on as default.
You cannot change a file type icon in Windows 7. You can associate it with a different program and change it that way, but that is not what I want to do. You now need a third party program to change an icon for a specific type (ex: Default Programs Manager) or go and fiddle in the registry.
Did you now that the status bar in Explorer no longer tells you the total size of the folder? That's super annoying. Sure, you can find out if you highlight the files and then click "see more details" but only if you don't also have a folder selected. I could install Classic Shell, but WHY DO I HAVE TO DO THAT?! This also affects the Recycle Bin as you can't see the total size of that either.
Speaking of... custom icons for the Recycle Bin break the ability for the icon to refresh when you fill/empty it. You have to go into the Registry and fix the key. Not a big deal... but WTF? It's an option right there in the personalization for me to be able to change the icon. This should work properly!
Instant auto-arrange. YOU CANNOT TURN THIS OFF. I don't mind auto-arrange - everything sorted by name automatically is ace. I don't want it to resort instantly when I've dragged & dropped a bunch of files into my photos folder for sorting or instantly arrange while I'm changing file names. WTF, WINDOWS?! (Yes, I am aware you can turn off auto-arrange on the Desktop. This is not what I mean.) Work around now is to remember to set it to arrange by date when I'm working with a large number of files. Thanks for destroying my workflow, Windows.
Resizing desktop icons with the mouse scroll wheel is kind of cool, though.
And it now reads EXIF info properly when I view the properties for a photograph.
The fact that System Restore now pretty much works is really good because...
I installed Classic Shell to get some features back in explorer (well, just the folder size, actually). Seemed to work fine. I switched back to the Aero theme just because and my machine decided that's when it would lock up. Restarted. Locked up again. Uninstalled Classic Shell. Locked up again in Basic theme. Used System Restore to roll back to a point before I installed Classic Shell. So far, so good. To be fair, my system is currently using 1.35GB of ram with Firefox, Digsby, and Winamp open, as well as whatever background junk is going on. Aero eats up a bunch of memory from what I understand, so it's possible that caused the lock up. More RAM is on the way so I'll soon have 6GB total instead of 2GB, which should help. My graphic performance rating is still crap (3.4), though, so I might stay with Basic.
That's another thing - you can't change the color of the windows or the title bars while using Basic or Classic Windows themes. Sure, it'll let you change them in the Personalization screen, but it doesn't actually do anything. Thanks for that, Windows. In order to change the color of Windows Basic Theme, I need to go in and replace a .msstyles file and thenuse Universal Theme Patcher. SERIOUSLY, YOU GUYS?! (I might try this one
Otherwise, Windows 7 IS GREAT!