by Shane O'Neill

Windows 7 Cracks Starting to Show?

Opinion
Feb 09, 2010
Data Center

Poor battery readings and stability fixes that break stability. Here come the Win7 user complaints. Are they worth the shouting?

You knew the lovefest wouldn’t last forever.

The afterglow of Windows 7 is dimming a bit now that users are running it full time, and although most user experiences are positive, in the last week or so there have been grumblings about a Windows 7 stability update that is creating instability and even louder complaints about the OS misreporting battery life, or possibly affecting the battery life.

As ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes put it: “The Windows 7 honeymoon is over.”

This was inevitable. Things with Windows 7 had been going just a little too smoothly, no? What’s a Microsoft OS without people complaining about something?

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system — including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts — see CIO.com’s Windows 7 Bible. ]

Nonetheless, I think there is more bark here than bite. Microsoft has been fairly quick to address these issues, and the guy who runs Windows (Windows president Steven Sinofsky) wrote an intensely detailed blog post stating that this is a battery issue, not a Windows 7 issue.

Still, Sinofsky’s big brain was not enough to convince users.

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The reliability and stability patch, named KB977074, which Microsoft issued two weeks ago, could be more problematic for the software giant. Ars Technica first reported on complaints about the “fix” and users who have downloaded the patch are telling tales of blue screens and shutdown lags.

Microsoft said this week that it doesn’t consider the problem a “major issue,” but is investigating.

In the grand scheme of things, these are minor issues generated by a relatively small number of users. Many are probably running Windows 7 on old hardware with aging batteries. There has not been much concrete evidence that the reliability patch causes startup and shutdown issues.

I haven’t noticed anything different with my personal laptop’s battery notification, and I upgraded from Vista to Windows 7 last October on a machine that was a year old, making me more of a candidate for battery aging. I haven’t downloaded the infamous reliability and stability patch and I have no motivation to do so now. Why go looking for problems when there are none?

These Windows 7 user gripes are just that — gripes. But they still have me on my toes as a generally satisfied Windows 7 user. The last thing I want is to be sitting on the phone with Microsoft or my laptop’s OEM asking why my screen is blue. Forget the honeymoon — that will be grounds for divorce.

Shane O’Neill is a senior writer at CIO.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/smoneill. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter at twitter.com/CIOonline.