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Do you think I should upgrade my computer operating system to Windows 7? Sarah P., Casper

Dec 10, 2009

I have been wondering the same thing, so I looked-up some of the reviews.  CNET editors rate the system as “Outstanding,” 4.5 stars.  Unlike Vista, Windows 7 is described as “more than just spin.”  CNET describes the program as, “stable, smooth, and highly polished, with new graphical features, a new taskbar that can compete handily with the Mac OS X dock, and device management and security enhancements that make it both easier to use and safer.”  The reviewers believe that Windows 7 is the best version of the operating system to date, combining the stability of Windows XP, with the look and feel of Vista. 


Microsoft is offering six versions of the operating system:  Starter, Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, OEM, and Enterprise.  They are primarily promoting Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate.  The program will support both 32 and 64-bit processors, and you probably want to have a minimum of 1GB RAM. 

Installation takes about 30 minutes.  The process to upgrade your current system depends on whether you are running Vista or Windows XP.  Vista users merely need to back-up their data and upgrade.  XP users have to back-up and then do a “Custom Install.”  If you are uncertain about whether your computer can run Windows 7, you can download and run the “Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor” from Microsoft. 


The desktop looks very similar to Vista, but “7” is described as a full replacement operating system.  Microsoft has added a new taskbar and accompanying notification area to quickly access programs and recently used documents.  “Homegroups” are used to share files between networked computers.  You can select the folders you want to share, and Windows 7 will automatically connect to other networked Windows 7 computers, so files can be viewed and edited remotely.  Microsoft is now using “Libraries” to move away from the traditional file system, where there are absolute paths to each file and folder.  A “Library” will show all of the request file types in one place in an organized fashion. 


There is also a new side-window shortcut process.  If you click and drag a window to the far left or right side of the screen and release, the system will automatically cut the window in half horizontally, allowing you to tile two windows side-by-side very quickly.  You can resize by dragging the window to the top of the display.  The new Control Panel is easier to use than the former Device Manager.  The new operating system also has a number of specialized programs, such as Windows Journal, that allows you to handwrite notes and convert them into typed text.  Much emphasis has been placed on tablet PC functionality, due to the growing market for touch computing. 


They recommend the system for those of us who are still using XP and were afraid to upgrade to Vista, or for current Vista users.  The program is not recommended; however, for users with pre-XP operating systems and hardware.  Best of all, reviewers state that the majority of their existing hardware worked “out of the box” with Windows 7, without having to download updated drivers.  A variety of software tested was also compatible.

Category: Web/Tech

Cindy Unger

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