Office 2010

Windows 7 and Office 2010 day 3

This article is a little slow coming, as today is actually day 4. If you missed my earlier posts you may wish to start reading my Windows 7 and Office 2010 day 1 post first. I’ve decided that this will be the last post in the series for two reasons. Firstly I am not going to roll back to Vista, I’m a forward looking guy. Secondly, I am off on holiday to a country with limited power and almost no internet, so will be offline for a couple of weeks very soon.

Day 3 started of at the Airport in the small hours of the morning. Cleared customs and found my way to the airport lounge, pulled out my laptop and hit the power button. Windows 7 started in a the blink of an eye, found the lounges wireless network and connected seamlessly. This is how it should be but never was when the same laptop was running Vista and constantly battled to connect to this particular network. Remember it was 5am and I hadn’t had a coffee yet…

After a quick look at Twitter, I fired up Outlook 2010. Wow, RPC over HTTPS is fast! 20 or so emails recieved overnight appeared in an instant and the experience was like sitting at my desk with a 1Gbit network link, except this was over the internet. Now for a real test, connecting to our Citrix Access Gateway, opened IE8 entered the URL and my credentials, installed the Citrix ActiveX control (this was the first time I had connected) and I was able to access network shares and our Service Desk application. In the past this had been a struggle at times.

Boarding time and after take off I fired up the laptop again. Reading a report and editing a document in Word 2010. So far so good, until I tried cutting and pasting a table from one document to another. Word crashed (instantly, not the slow painful death), I chose the option to restart Word and was able to recovery my document.  Time to update some cost models in Excel and update the Word document with new figures. All worked perfectly.  I spent a good 2 hours working with the laptop on top of the 30 minutes or so at the airport and still had 31% battery. This is impressive, the same laptop was lucky to get 2.5 hours doing similar work when running Vista. Some good work has been done with power management in Windows 7.

I spent the rest of the day working happily with Office 2010 and Visio. Lots of cutting and pasting, reformatting, automatic table of contents, modifying document styles and using Outlook via RPC over HTTPS. With the exception of a small Excel issue, where it crashed due to a cut and paste that created an unintentional circular reference, everything was great. Don’t forget that Office 2010 is the technical preview and isn’t the finished product yet, making it all the more impressive.

It is now day 4 and as I said at the beginning, no turning back now!

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Windows 7 and Office 2010 day 2…

Thanks to a huge response to my previous post Windows 7 and Office 2010 day 1… I decided I should keep up the momentum. I’m off to work at a client site a long way from my office tomorrow, so today was about ensuring everything I need to do my job remotely works. A quick description in four words could be either “no need to panic” or “great it just works” or  “why did I wait?”. Needless to say, I am still loving the new tools of the trade.

First thing I needed to do was install a few applications. I thought I might have a few issues as my Windows 7 is  the 64bit edition. Visio, Acrobat Reader, UltraVNC and Citrix Client all installed as expected with absolutely no problems. Connecting to printers hosted on a Windows 2008 File and Print server, painless.

Next step was to try out Word 2010. I opened a 76 page document with created in Word 2007 with large graphics, complicated formatting, table of contents, multiple sections and Excel objects. Initially I was not happy as the paragraph spacing had changed, then I realised that our custom font wasn’t installed. Installing the font resolved all the issues. I printed the document and compared with the same document printed from Word 2007, absolutely identical. Word 2010 is more responsive than Word 2007 in every area I tried. Printing options are a good improvement making common functions like printing multiple pages per page simple.

Excel 2010 is one application that really benefits from being 64bit. Excel has been my favourite application since the Windows 3.1 days. This version is awesome. The sales guff says it will handle enormous amounts of data, so I thought I’d test it out. I created an ODBC data source to our SQL 2005 server and set about importing data. The performance is just incredible, 1850 rows imported in the blink of an eye. Lets go for something larger, 38,000 rows of data, awesome! Right time for a pivot table and some graphs. Again speed was blazingly fast. Checking the memory used by Excel was a pleasant surprise, no massive RAM blow out. Excel is a class product and this version will give rocket scientists and accounts a good reason to jump for joy (if accountants do that kind of thing).

Windows 7 was solid as a rock and so fast I was able to leave work an hour early (well I would have if I wasn’t struggling with a Reporting Services issue). So at the end of day two, it’s two thumbs up. Tomorrow I will test Windows 7 and Office 2010 on an international flight, should be a good test of the power management and wireless in the airport lounge. Details in the next post…Windows 7 and Office 2010 day 3

Windows 7 + Office 2010 day one…

Yesterday I decided to free myself from Windows Vista, formatting my laptops hard disk and installing Windows 7 and the Technical Preview of Office 2010. The experience has been absolutely brilliant, fast boot time, slick user interface, network settings accessible in 1 mouse click and Office is pretty cool for all kinds of reasons.

Installation from USB flash drive takes around 20 minutes and is very simple. I decided to format my hard disk for a fresh install rather than upgrading from Vista. I saw this as a chance for a fresh start and didn’t want to migrate my old issues to the new OS.

One of the biggest gripes I had with Vista was the clunky and inaccessible network settings. As an IT Pro I use these settings several times a day and it was something that constantly annoyed me. Windows 7 fixes these issues and quick access to the large number of PPTP VPN’s I have is an instant time saver. Other network settings are also improved too.

The new task bar is less cluttered and the popup previews of open windows are very handy and quick to learn. Shaking the mouse to hide and restore Windows is a great idea. I’m sure Microsoft have included many other features that I will find over the next few days.

My life is in Outlook and it is probably the application I use the most. Installing Office 2010 is simple and Outlook auto-configured using my domain user account settings. RPC over HTTPS performance seems quicker than Outlook 2007. Lots of nice improvements including appointment requests, email grouping and print options are great.

I will be getting to know Excel and Word over the next few days, but my initial experiences have been good. One issue I have struck is with Macros not running. Further investigation required here. I was using the 64bit edition so this may be a compatibility issue. Remember that this is the Technical Preview, not a final product so some issues are to be expected.

Overall I would say the combination of Windows 7 and Office 2010 is excellent and I can’t see myself rolling back ever! Well done Microsoft.

Read about day two here…