The numbering is wrong. Windows is not the seventh version of Windows at all, it's the third. Windows 3.x was DOS with a bad GUI, while even Windows 95 and 98 retained bits of it for convenience, with a ‘thunk' bridging 16-bit DOS to the new 32-bit personality. Windows 2000 and XP were really Windows NT with the some shoeshine, while Windows 7 is just Vista with the broken bits fixed.
Can we prove it? Get into the guts of any of the above and look for the error and status messages, which tell you what the OS and its creators thinks it really is. Microsoft generally doesn't bother to change them for a while because they they are not normally seen by humble users. Earlier versions of Windows NT were notorious for returning OS/2 error messages...but that's another story.
Conceptually, Windows is obsolete. Load a huge, complex, proprietary piece of software on an over-specified and unreliable piece of hardware called a PC and then figure out ways to knock the rough edges off so people can load simple pieces of software called browsers, built on top of open standards. The average PC owner is trapped in this workstation idea of what computers do, and anything that offers a lower-cost, more open approach (Linux, netbooks, mobile devices), is seen by Microsoft as threatening. At least until it can lever the whole Windows franchise into the cloud at which point the desktop version of Windows will probably become free.
'Users have a choice about whether to upgrade to Windows 7.' Poppycock. Every new PC will offer it as standard, and anyone determined to stick to the old versions of Windows, XP, and Vista, will gradually be weaned off them with reduced support and updates, whether they like it or not. The real choice people have is not to buy a PC at all, which a small but slowly growing number of consumers are choosing to do, replacing them with mobile devices of one sort or another.
Windows 7 is trumpeted for its stability, driver support, improved performance, etc, etc, but that won't help much in the inevitable event that it goes wrong. Trying to troubleshoot buried system error messages in 7 doesn't look any easier than it was in Vista, which is to say that the OS's troubleshooting tools fret about routine errors while managing to downplay possibly quite serious ones. Why couldn't Microsoft improve troubleshooting tools for mere mortals in Windows 7? Because troubleshooting something as complex as Windows 7 without causing even more problems for the uninformed user is very hard work. "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And so is a lot," as Einstein once put it.
At least, after two decades, you can now use Windows to make a system boot disk without too much fuss...
Consider the statement that ‘Windows 7 is more intuitive'. It is more intuitive than older versions on Windows, which weren't intuitive at all. Remember how earlier versions of Windows XP had to be turned off by clicking on the ‘Start' icon? The most successful and best-resourced software company in history let that idea slip through and for a simple reason: computers are designed for people who already know how to use them.
Consider the poor souls who find Windows 7's revised window behaviour (maximising windows by dragging to the top of the screen, say) a bit distracting. Well they can get rid of this behaviour by running Regedit, finding the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop and setting the WindowArrangementActive to 0, followed by a reboot. Intuitive indeed.
They charged us for it at all. Having shelled out for Vista in 2007, less than three years later, a few added apps, a bit of tweaking and a slightly upgraded interface later and Microsoft is back for another bite at user's wallets, and in the middle of a recession too.
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