Why do I love Windows 7?  Today, because it lets me multitask like never before.  Right now, I have no less than 16 applications running.  One of those is a virtual PC of Windows 2000 that I use to connect to my workplace (they use a legacy VPN system).  So really, I’m running two full operating systems and dozens of applications… But you’d never know because the computer is as zippy as ever.  I can minimize, switch, resize, move, compute, and fully use each application without any delay, lag, or even visual glitching that was so common in Windows XP.

This laptop came with Vista, Windows 7’s younger sibling.  Even though Vista began the revolution, it never felt as quick as Windows 7 does today on the same hardware,  Here’s just a few things I have running right now (click for larger images)

  • Windows Live Writer (to write this blog post)
  • Windows Live Messenger
  • Another IM client for social network chatting
  • Sticky notes
  • Windows Live Mail (personal email)
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 Beta for Exchange mail
  • Google Chrome, with 7 tabs across two windows
  • Windows Virtual PC running Windows 2000
  • World of Warcraft
  • Microsoft Office Word 2010 Beta
  • Widows Task Manager (just to see how taxed my system is right now… which is very little)

In the background I also have many services running, including Microsoft Security Essentials, PlayOn, Windows Live Sync, and Live Mesh.

Why is it so easy to multitask now?  To be honest, I never thought my over 3-year old laptop was capable of this.  In Vista, I wouldn’t dare.  Perhaps it was always capable technically and I owe it to the new Taskbar, which really hides the number of tasks and lets me “just do” instead of worrying and micromanaging my computer when I see a crowded array of dozens of running tasks.  It manages itself, I just use it.

  • Update Feb 12, 2012: Windows 8 continues this trend of lowering the walls between running and stopped tasks. Either way, the experience will be the same, and the app will stop itself when you switch away from it (like most smartphones).

Even with the graphics intensive games running, I can use Windows Flip 3D and browse my programs in a rolodex view, and still maintain 50 frames per second in Warcraft.  Simply stunning.

Right now my processor is at 59% and I have 88 tasks running.  I’m sure my battery wouldn’t hold out long under this load, but while docked, this is amazing.