Oct. 22 came and went and the PC world did not come to a crashing end. If you are a Microsoft stockholder, rejoice in the bump that the launch of Windows 7 gave your shares. What it bodes long rage is still problematic; nonetheless, Win 7 was received very well by tech writers and Wall Street alike.
Not a lot positive has been written about the 2007 launch of Vista, but there are very hopeful signs that Microsoft learned a lot from it. They demonstrated this by launching the new OS in a professional and on time manner; in direct contrast to the endless delays experienced with Vista’s launch. They also fixed some of the early problems with Vista which indicates that they did indeed listen to their business partners like PC manufacturers, other software sellers and peripheral hardware makers. We should not expect to run into printer and software problems like we did when Vista was first introduced.
In addition to giving us an eye popping new user interface with some great new features (i.e. attractive new Task Bar), Win 7 fixed two of my pet peeves. One shortcoming with XP and Vista was the incomplete and painfully slow “Search” option. Many PC users resorted to third party search engines to find stuff on their PCs rather than put up with Windows Search. No More! It’s easy and faster now to accurately locate documents, pictures, songs, whatever by just typing in a couple of words from your desktop. My other pet peeve was the User Account Control (UAC) which was forever in my face warning me equally about stuff that I wasn’t really concerned about along with stuff that was potentially significant. This part of Windows built in security is much more controllable without the loss of overall security. Windows 7 is significantly more secure than Vista and XP.
So, what is a typical user to do? Here are my recommendations: starting with current XP users. Stick with your XP unit until it wears out or you get tired of it. Go ahead and upgrade to XP Service Pack 3 if you haven’t already and keep up with the critical security updates as long as Microsoft offers them. For the average user, upgrading from XP to Win 7 will be a lot more trouble than it’s worth (requires complete reinstall of the new OS, erases old XP and all your files and programs). If you are a Vista user, buy the Upgrade version of Win 7 and run the upgrade installation. That will keep your files and other programs intact.
You can directly upgrade a Vista PC to the same version or a higher one (ex. Vista Home Premium to Win 7 Home Premium, but not Vista Ultimate to Win 7 Home Premium). If you have a PC currently running Vista, the chances are excellent that your hardware will run Win XP. This is a definite plus with Win 7. If you buy a new PC, buy Win 7 without reservation; for most of you the Win 7 Home Premium version will cover your needs. When you do buy Win 7, you’re safe to use Microsoft’s recommendations for everything except memory. Choose at Least 2 gigabytes of memory for a 32-bit version and 4 gigabytes for a 64-bit version installation of Win 7.