Windows 7 – Is It Worth It?

I have had a number of questions from readers of last month’s newsletter about Windows 7.  Are there problems or issues that people are having with Windows 7?  It is worth the effort and expense to upgrade?  Should I upgrade my existing PC or buy a new one?  To I have to upgrade?

To answer the last question first – no, you do not have to upgrade.  If you are running Windows XP or Windows Vista, and are happy with your computer’s performance, then you can continue to use those two operating systems for a while longer.  Microsoft has announced an official end of support date for Windows XP for April 8, 2014, and may extend it once or twice at the insistence of their largest corporate clients, but support for XP will end eventually, and you will probably want to move up before then.  Vista users will have more time, and what I can tell you is that as long as Vista’s performance quirks, like the “swirl of death”, are a problem for you, then you can continue to use Vista as well.  Vista owners have the least expensive and easiest upgrade path to Windows 7, so if running Vista is a problem for you, it makes sense to move now.

Is it worth the upgrade?  I ran Vista on my own laptop for the last two years, and moved to Windows 7 two months ago.  It is a big performance improvement over Vista, especially for memory and processor intensive applications such as photo editing or web design applications.  Hanging on to older operating systems like XP can become a pain as application revisions begin to expect the same performance characteristics that are found in Windows 7.  If your internet Security software is running slower than normal or making your computer sluggish, or you are having problems with certain web sites or web applications, it may be in indication that its time to move up.

If you have had your computer for more than 4 years, it probably makes more sense to buy a new PC than upgrade your old one, especially if it was designed to run with Windows XP.  Windows XP will run on 256MB of RAM, and most PCs came with 512 MB.  You would need at least 1 GB of RAM for Windows 7, and I recommend 3 or 4 GB.  I am running 4 GB.  I would suggest replacing a 4 year old or older PC running XP with a new Windows 7 system.  Hand the XP system down to your kids or use it for a cheap backup and file server.  That said, I have successfully installed Windows 7 on older machines and it runs fine.  As for Vista computers, anyone who purchased a system running Vista can upgrade the existing computer to Windows 7 and see a modest increase in speed and performance.  I would still recommend getting more memory, but you can do without it.

Are there problems or issues with Windows 7?  Not really.  I certainly haven’t had any, and the word from the field is pretty uniformly positive.  I like the new Jump Lists feature a lot.  Changes to the Task Bar took getting used to, but I am fine with the changes.  Networking, which was greatly improved under Vista, has been improved further with he addition of the Home Group concept.  I predict this will be a very popular operating system, and will be quickly adopted by many business users.  Consumers will of course have no choice but to buy Windows 7 when then buy a new computer.  There is a short learning curve, but overall, I think most people will be happy with Windows 7 once they get the changes figured out.

Bottom line – it is worth it.


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

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