Windows 7 Resources

The buzz in the tech world over the last few weeks has been all about Windows 7, the newest release of Microsoft’s operating system. After the confusing press about the reliability and features of the last Microsoft system, Windows Vista, there are a lot of questions about Windows 7 and whether it is a good idea to upgrade. While the choice is ultimately up to the user, there are a few resources that can help you make the decision. I’ll outline a few below, but first some thoughts and highlights about the new software.

The biggest advantage to Windows 7 is it is a more polished version of Vista, which in some areas seemed incomplete. Having said that, for those of you running Vista that may have qualified for the free upgrade or are frustrated with that system, moving to Windows 7 is a pretty safe bet. Some bloggers and reviewers are even calling a Vista to 7 move a no-brainer. The good thing about an upgrade from Vista is you can keep your old files and settings. XP users need to do a clean installation and have to back-up all data before making the move since the installation clears the hard drive. Of course, if you are comfortable with XP, you may have little need to move to Windows 7, especially if you have an older PC. In any case, you should run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor before even thinking about buying a copy – this handy program will tell you about any hardware or software problems you may encounter. Note to iTunes users - you should de-authorize your PC before upgrading, something that isn't mentioned up front.

Of course Microsoft has done a good bit of advertising the new Windows, including a website that lists all the new features. The site is a good starting point for exploring the software and includes videos that show some of the features in action. The biggest additions are the live taskbar previews, snap, shake, and new home networking features like HomeGroup and Play To. The first three features are nice time-savers for multi-taskers since they let you flip back and forth between Windows fairly easily with a mouse click instead of having to constantly resize or minimize open windows. The networking features are designed for multi-PC homes that want to share resources such as printers and photo files, but don’t have advanced gadgets like servers or media sharing devices. The Play To feature, for example, lets a user play music or video from their desktop to a laptop in another part of the house. One feature that is missing from Vista are the add-on programs such as Photo Gallery and Movie Maker. Those have been removed from Windows, but are still available as a free download as part of the Windows Live Essentials package.

If you want to see more balanced reviews of the software and take a look at the third-party add-ons that are available (such as new goodies for Firefox), I suggest taking a look at the Cnet, PC World and PC Magazine pages on Windows 7. The sites contain reviews, tips, screen shots and other information you won’t find on Microsoft’s website.

- Laura N.


  1. I think Windows 7 is a definite improvement-I'm positive all the disgruntled Vista users will be happy!


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