Windows 7 logo

Now that Windows 7 is over the finish line, it's clear that Microsoft really has delivered on its ambitions. Windows 7 includes all the features that were promised, with the performance you need, wrapped up in an interface that makes them easy to find and use.

These range from the trivial but popular personalisation options to the clearly useful tools, like built-in 3G and GPS support, native ISO burning and remote streaming, to significant work under the hood, including significant performance improvements.

There's no confusion over which version to buy for what features and apart from network backup there are really no features missing from Home Premium that a home user would actually use.

We liked

Windows 7 is a modern operating system with an attractive but functional interface, a host of new features that do what home users need and excellent performance.

We disliked

Performance and battery life can be hampered by poor settings in third-party software and hardware, and Microsoft hasn't included a tool to warn you about such problems.

Legacy dialogues still lurk in some corners of Windows 7, and multi-monitor support, while improved, still has too few options. And if home networks are common enough to make media streaming useful, they're common enough to use for automatic backup.

Final verdict

Windows 7 combines the security and architectural improvements of Windows Vista with better performance than XP can deliver on today's hardware.

No version of Windows is ever perfect, but Windows 7 really is the best release of Windows yet and Windows 7 Home Premium is the right version for home users.