Windows 7 was released on October 22, 2009, and we are approaching the 2 year anniversary of this outstanding Windows operating system. I can say without reservation that this is my favorite Windows operating system yet, and my user experience goes back to Windows 3.1. Make 2011 the year you upgrade to Windows 7.
Windows XP users: Windows XP was released on August 24, 2001, and is close to being a ten year old operating system. Computer operating systems age on the Dog Years scale, and by ten this OS is beginning to show signs of age. Its slow and arthritic. Web site developers and software writers are releasing products that are just too much for “Ol’ Yeller” to handle with anything that looks like nimbleness or speed. Plus that old system is getting ready to have some sort of mechanical or electronic problem. Sure your XP system is reliable and paid for. And there is always the painful and uncomfortable learning curve to gaining mastery of a new operating system. It is time to let go and move on.
Windows Vista users: Windows Vista was released on January 30, 2007. It was late to market by several years. It missed the Christmas computer buying season. And it was slow and quirky, and had other problems. It couldn’t run a lot of XP compatible applications. There were problems finding device drivers. But some of you have Vista systems that you bought because you found yourself in the computer market without another viable choice. Your current computer is probably less than three years old, and has the technical specifications to let it run Windows 7 without a hitch. Plus, it is pretty straightforward to upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7. I have upgraded several Vista systems to Windows 7, and nobody has ever wanted their Vista back. Windows 7 is everything Vista was supposed to be, without all the annoying problems.
Features that make Windows 7 worth the move:
- Networking – Solving network sharing and access problems was difficult for even experienced users and computer professionals under Windows XP, especially after Service Pack 2 closed all the security holes. With Windows 7 it is a simple thing to set up a wireless network for your home or business, to connect to wireless access points when mobile, and to automatically troubleshoot a variety of connectivity problems. Plus the addition of the Homegroup networking concept give home users an easy way to share printers, files, and other resources.
- Where’s my stuff? – The Search Box at the bottom of the Start Menu makes finding files and launching applications and utilities a breeze. No more digging into four layers of nested folders to find and run System Restore. Just type “system restore” in the Search Box. The same goes for Word, Excel, or any other application. Can’t find a file or email? If you can remember anything about the document (who it was from, even document titles or contents), Search will pull up a list of likely suspects for you to select. And the move from Folders or directory based file management to the Libraries system means even documents that were saved to the “wrong” place can be found easily enough with Windows Explorer.
- Better security – Windows 7 is more likely to withstand the kinds of Internet based exploits that are commonplace now. In fact, in my computer support business I see very few Windows 7 systems that come in for virus remediation. So if you have been unlucky enough to have had to pay for more than one virus removal, you should figure out far that money would go toward a new Windows 7 system. When it happens again, maybe that would be a great time to move up to Windows 7.
- Fun and useful features – here are my favorites:
- Aero Snap, which lets you compare two documents side by side.
- The Snipping Tool, which lets you take a “picture” of an area of you display and save it, add it to a document, or send it out in an email.
- XP Mode and Compatibility mode, which lets user run older programs that are not strictly speaking Windows 7 compatible.
- Multiple monitor support, which can let you hook another monitor to your laptop or PC and use the two as one single extended desktop. I have a client who is running six monitors this way. Once you have used multiple monitors, it is hard to do without.
- Troubleshooters – there are so many automatic troubleshooting and repair options that Windows 7 literally can fix many of its own problems for you.
So what is holding you back? The long recession has kept computer prices lower than I have ever seen them. It is possible to get into a pretty nice desktop PC for less than $450, and a decent laptop for around $700. And there are high performance systems out there for less than a grand. If you need help sorting through you options, drop me an email or find a friendly computer expert to give you some guidance. You will be glad you made the move.Share