Windows 7 vs Vista

I have been running Windows 7 for about a month now and there do seem to be a couple of things that I feel are a backward step compared to Vista.

Despite lots of people grumbling about the Vista sidebar, I actually miss it now it’s gone in 7. In 7 you place your gadgets directly on the desktop, which is fine if you only have one monitor, but I use a laptop with a docking station and second monitor. When I was running Vista it would automatically put the sidebar on the right hand side of the second monitor (along with the associated gadgets), and when I undocked it would move the sidebar to my laptop display. When re-docking it would put it back on the second monitor. It all worked a treat, but now that the sidebar is gone there doesn’t seem to be any way to achieve the same thing. If I move the gadgets to my second monitor manually, when I undock, Windows 7 will move them to my laptop display, but after re-docking they won’t move back, and I haven’t found a setting yet to put them automatically on my second monitor when docked.

I have heard of people copying the files for the Vista sidebar onto their Windows 7 systems, so maybe this is something I need to look at, but it does seem to be a bit of an omission. This reminds me of the "channels" feature in IE4 – Microsoft made a big song and dance about it, people started to use it, then they just dropped it with the next version of IE. Why bother doing stuff like this in the first place if you aren’t going to continue it?

Secondly, I know MS have made the taskbar and buttons bigger to accomodate touch screens, but I really don’t like the way this works and would much prefer the old style Vista task bar and quick launch toolbar. As my laptop doesn’t have a touch screen why can’t I have an option to set this back to the old style task bar? It seems a bit of an oversight to force everyone to use a "touch capable" task bar when the system is not touch capable. 😦

Some of the menus on the Start button took a bit of getting used to, for instance I use "Connect to" a lot to connect to work via VPN, and this was missing on the Start menu. I had to keep digging around in the control panel/network sharing centre in order to find it, but eventually I figured out you could customise the Start button and put the "Connect to" option back on there.

The only other thing that seems to be annoying me at the moment is the lack of a stock watcher gadget – I had one on Vista but this seems to have been pulled from Windows 7 and I haven’t found a decent 3rd party one yet (and it needs to do UK stocks, not US).

I can’t say whether the OS is any quicker or not as I am using 7 on a meatier laptop than I was with Vista, but there do seem to be a whole bunch more processes running by default than under Vista. Also a lot more memory is being used, although most of that seems to be cache, but again my laptop has 8GB whereas my old one had 3GB, so this isn’t really an issue either.

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