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Microsoft ships Windows 7- should you buy it?

By Matthew David

Did you hear? Microsoft is releasing a new version of Windows - should you buy it?
Windows 7 is here. In this article you will find out if Windows 7 is worth the wait and whether or not you should upgrade. Or is Windows 7 just another Vista?

What's new to like?
Have you run the gauntlet that is Windows Vista? Let's just say that it was not Microsoft's best move. So, with a certain amount of trepidation users are now looking to see if Windows 7, Microsoft's latest Operating System, is really worth investing in.

Windows 7 comes with a lot of big and small changes. In many respects, it is the little things that make the biggest impact. You may have seen the commercials on TV of people stating that they actually invented Windows 7. You will notice the theme of the commercials is to focus on small features we can all immediately benefit from. This includes a new feature where you can snap two programs together onto the screen. 

Another great ease of use tool is the ability to quickly change you screen resolution. With earlier versions of Windows you have to open the Desktop Properties window to updates your screen settings. In Windows 7, simply right click on the screen and you can directly access your screen resolution settings.
Security has been improved dramatically. Vista blasted you with screen after screen of warnings that detracted from getting work done. Some of Vista's security rules made it almost impossible to complete a simple task. For instance, developers working with Flex, a tool used to create Adobe Flash solutions, have to be both administrators on their PC and have to use a special keyboard combination to simply open their development tools. These annoyances are gone with Windows 7. That does not mean the security is now more lax, it is not. The security in Windows 7 is very good.

Performance is another benefit in Windows 7. The architecture of Windows 7 is designed so it can run on the myriad of devices we are now using. This includes desktops, laptops, tablets and the newer netbook PCs. 
Previous releases of Windows came with premium technologies at different levels. Windows Media Center was a key premium technology. Windows Media Center allows your PC to become a DVR, TV Guide and movie streaming service. All versions of Windows 7 you can purchase come with Windows Media Center by default.

Why you may not want to upgrade you Windows XP machine
My mother in law is running Windows XP. It works great. She can get her email, surf the web and listen to music on iTunes. This is just about all she does. Can she benefit from upgrading to Windows 7? The simple answer is: No. The thought and care needed to upgrade to Windows 7 is the same thought and care needed for Vista. There are benefits to upgrading, but there is also a new desktop environment, different ways of doing the same old things and other changes. Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 is, indeed, more of a challenge as you are jumping two major Operating System releases not just one.

Additionally, the upgrade path from Windows XP to 7 is not easy. To save yourself a lot of heart ache you may want to start afresh. Copy your personal files in Windows XP along with settings for email, news groups and RSS feeds. Take a deep breath and install Windows 7 as a clean install.

Specific Windows XP software can still run in Windows 7. Leveraging Virtual PC technology, your Windows 7 can emulate a Windows XP environment to run those legacy pieces of software you need to support.

Should I wait until the first Service Pack comes out?
Many IT managers will not install the first release of a major operating system from Microsoft. History has taught us that Microsoft does not generally get it right the first time. Wait about 6 months for a special service pack loaded with fixes to correct the issues in the new OS. Windows 7, however, may be the first exception to this rule. The OS is not a full upgrade - if you check the small print you will see that Windows 7 is actually Windows version 6.1. Windows Vista is version 6.0. You can think of Windows 7 as a really big service pack to Windows Vista. The core technologies are the same, but the execution is much cleaner. If you want a new PC, get it with Windows 7. You will be very happy that you did.

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Matthew has written four Flash books, contributed to a dozen Web books, and has published over 400 articles. He is passionate about exposing Internet's potential for all of us. Matthew works directly with many companies as a business strategist coaching IT architects and business leaders to work tightly with each other towards common goals.

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