Microsoft's latest OS is barely even two months olds, yet early adopters have given Windows 7 the thumbs up. We look at why they're happy and any issues they've got.

Windows 7 isn't even two months old yet. Most of the people who will eventually use it haven't gotten around to trying it yet; those that have are still settling in.

And the Windows 7 experience will change rapidly as remaining bugs are squashed, missing drivers arrive, and compatibility glitches are ironed out. Even so, it's not too early to start gauging what real people think of Windows Vista's replacement.

So are Windows users better off today than they were a few weeks ago, back in the Vista era? We decided to ask the our readers.

Starting on November 16, respected Technology blog Technologizer surveyed its readers (and Twitter followers) about their experiences with Windows 7.

The goal: to do a reality check on the mostly favourable initial reviews of the new OS.

The 550+ Windows 7 early adopters who took the survey mostly echo the positive response that the upgrade has received from professional reviewers, pundits, and users of pre-release editions.

A sizable majority say they're extremely satisfied with the OS and rate it as a clear improvement on both the now beloved Windows XP and the widely panned Windows Vista.

Crippling installation problems - the bane of every upgrader's existence, and always a legitimate reason to postpone switching OSes were rare.

Our full report follows. But first, some quick facts on the people who took the survey:

  • Prior to using Windows 7, 46 percent of respondents ran Windows Vista, 32 percent ran Windows XP. 17 percent ran Vista and XP about equally, 5 percent ran an OS other than Windows, and a whopping 0.7 percent used a version of Windows other than Vista or XP.
  • 73 percent upgraded an existing PC to the final version of Windows 7, while 8 percent are running it on a PC that came with the OS pre-installed. 14 percent are still using a pre-release version, and 6 percent are running it on a Mac via Boot Camp or a virtualisation program.
  • 64 percent of respondents rate themselves as expert Windows users; 35 percent say they're intermediate ones. Less than 1 percent call themselves beginners.
  • 61 percent are using Windows 7 entirely or mostly for home/personal use. 25 percent are using it about equally for home/personal and business use. Just 14 percent are using it entirely or mostly for business use.
  • 61 percent are using a 64bit edition of Windows 7 and 31 percent are running a 32-bit version.
  • 82 percent did a 'clean' install of the OS from scratch; 19 percent installed it over Windows Vista.
  • 59 percent say they've used Windows 7 extensively, and 36 percent say they've done so a fair amount. Just 5 percent say they've used it just a little so far.

It's important to note that the goal of this piece wasn't to survey a representative, projectable, normalised sampling of all Windows 7 users. The responses that follow are from members of the Technologizer community who chose to take the survey.

Their opinions are their own - but we think they make for interesting reading even if they're not the last word on how average users will react to Windows 7.

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NEXT PAGE: Getting up and running

  1. We look at just what early adopters think of Microsoft's new OS
  2. Getting up and running
  3. Judging the features
  4. Comparing and contrasting
  5. Since you asked
  6. The bad...
  7. The mixed