I spend most of every work day typing away at my computer. Lately I’ve spent a lot of time doing software testing for the latest release of SystemVision – SystemVision 5.7 which is due out by year’s end. Like many people, I literally depend on my computer to feed my family. Since I work in the software industry, no computer means no work, and now work means no paycheck – not trying to be melodramatic here, just stating a fact. So anything that might disrupt my laptop’s generally reliable operation raises warning flags on my radar screen. One of the biggest potential hiccups is the computer equivalent of a brain transplant – changing operating systems.
Until a few days ago, I was happily using Windows XP — Microsoft’s workhorse for a number of years, and an operating system (OS) I’m generally happy and comfortable with. But Mentor Graphics corporate mandate requires a company-wide transition to Windows 7. Rather than sending my laptop to IT for the update, IT simply loaded Windows 7 on a spare disk drive. I just needed to swap out my laptop’s WinXP drive for the new Win7 drive, and then turn my WinXP disk into an external USB storage device so I have access to the gigabytes of data I’ve created over the last couple of years.
During my two decades in the EDA industry, I’ve worked through my share of OS changes and updates. If you have ever done the same, you know the process can be a bit bumpy; I wasn’t looking forward to the process, despite industry kudos for Win7.
Happily, the drive swap went off without a hitch and Win7 booted without a problem. But other than Microsoft Office and a few utility programs, my laptop’s new 500Mb drive was empty. I’ve spent part of my time over the last several days installing programs from my list of must-haves (I’ve recently decided to try and keep my computer disk drive free of the clutter that creeps in – a few utilities here, a “gee-whiz” program or two there, and before long my disk drive gets stuffed with seldom-used programs whose drivers slow system start and degrade system performance).
Most of my installs centered around support for SystemVision: Simulink from The Mathworks for simulating control algorithms and mechatronic systems; LabVIEW from National Instruments for developing system test programs against virtual protypes; Visual C++ Express Edition from Microsoft for writing C++ routines to execute with SystemVision. Oh, and of course, both the standalone and overlay versions of SystemVision. Several gigabytes of disk space later, SystemVision is up and running on my new Win7 machine.
Win7 is certainly different than Win XP, but overall the learning curve isn’t too steep. In general, I like what I see. Usability is up along with incremental gains in productivity. To paraphrase a co-worker’s comment who has used Win7 for a handful of months now, “…it’s a worthwhile update and works the way Windows is supposed to…” Brain surgery successful…
By the way…Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!