Should you Upgrade to Windows 7?

by Jim Guld:

Windows 7Windows 7 has recently moved from testing to the RTM phase.  That means that Microsoft says it is ready to go, or Released To Manufacturing. What does that mean to you?  Windows 7 is the computer operating system that will succeed Windows Vista.  It will be in stores October 22.

Why People didn’t Like Vista

It needs more RAM than most people have: Vista got a bad reputation when it was released nearly 3 years ago.  Most of the bad press was because Vista needed more system resources than its predecessor, Windows XP.  Computer manufacturers were loading Vista on under-powered systems and it just didn’t work very well. When Chris got her laptop with Vista it had 2GB of RAM Memory and she had problems. We upgraded her to 4GB of RAM … problems gone. Most computers in stores today do come with 3-4GB of RAM. 

It works differently than XP: XP had been around for several years and was the most stable Windows OS to date.  People got used to that and liked it.  It was very similar to the previous version of Windows.  But it had some serious flaws when it came to security. 

Vista was substantially different than XP in looks as well as “under the hood.”   Some who bought Vista were confused and frustrated because Vista didn’t work the same as XP.  And, more importantly, if the computer didn’t have enough resources of memory (RAM), speed (processor), and disk space, it didn’t hardly run at all.

Windows 7 continues on the Vista track

Windows 7 looks much the same as Vista and expands on the good points of Vista.  You will have to change the old (XP) way you find and run programs.  Use Search.  It makes computing so much easier. We will have a series of Windows 7 ‘Show-Me-How’ videos for our members by the end of the year. For now, the Vista ‘Show-Me-How’ videos have helped many people get friendlier with the new interface.

If you have older peripherals like printers or scanners, you may need to upgrade those.  Make sure they have drivers for Vista.  So far, I’ve found everything that works with Vista will work with Windows 7.

Pay attention to 32 bit or 64 bit

It’s in the small print – Vista and Windows 7 both come in 2 distinct flavors – 32 bit and 64 bit. Make sure you know which one you’re getting. 32 Bit is what works for most existing programs, but doesn’t take advantage of the speed and performance of newer technology. 64 Bit is the way things are going, but some programs don’t like it.  If you choose the 64 bit OS, make sure your programs will work with it, or that you can upgrade to a 64 bit version. You can check your software at this compatibility chart. And, here is more information about understanding 64 bit PCs.

Computers in stores today all come with fast processors, big hard drives and 2 or more gigs of RAM.  I recommend 4 Gigs for the 32 bit version and 8 Gigs for the 64 bit version for both Vista and Windows 7.

Recommendation

My recommendation is if you are using XP, don’t upgrade that machine to Windows 7.  Wait until you need a new computer and get it with 7 installed.
If you are running Vista, go ahead and upgrade.  You might want to add memory at the same time for best performance and speed.

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