Windows 7: Should I Upgrade?

November 17, 2009

Windows 7 has been out for almost a month now and for the most part has gotten positive reviews. I have been asked by a lot of people if they should upgrade their computers to the new operating system. The short answer is no, but for some users it does make sense.windows7

When you buy a computer from a retailer it comes with a sticker on it that says something like “Designed for Windows _____”, where it will have a particular version of Windows such as XP/Vista/7. This means that the computer manufacturer set up the computer hardware to work with that particular operating system. This means that all of the drivers on the computer have been set up to work with the given operating system. If you upgrade to a different operating system such as Windows 7, there is no guarantee that it will work right away. You may have to do some tweaking and download new drivers in order to get your system to work properly. This is one reason why upgrading to Windows 7 does not make sense for a lot of people.

Newer software requires newer hardware. As software evolves, so does the need for more powerful hardware. Even though Windows 7 runs more efficiently than Windows Vista, it still needs a lot more power than older Windows XP machines have. If you have a computer that came with Windows XP and is a few years old, then it does not make sense to upgrade to Windows 7 because you will most likely have to upgrade your hardware in order to be able to run Windows well. If you want to go to Windows 7 then it makes more sense to buy a new computer with Windows 7 already installed. Then you don’t have to worry as much about your computer hardware.

That does however bring up another point: why do you need to upgrade to Windows 7? If everything is working okay for you right now then you shouldn’t change anything. If you are familiar with Windows XP and everything is set up the way you want it, then there is no need to upgrade. Until Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP entirely (which will happen eventually), there is no need to change. There is nothing magical about Windows 7. It is just a flashier more aesthetically pleasing operating system from Microsoft. Additionally, the upgrade process from Windows XP to Windows 7 is a lot more involved than the upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7, and I would strongly advise against it.

So when does it make sense to upgrade to Windows 7? If you bought a Windows Vista computer after June 26th, 2009, there is a good chance it came with a “free upgrade” to Windows 7. If this is the case, then it is a good idea to upgrade to Windows 7 because the software won’t cost you any money and Windows 7 is a better operating system than Windows Vista. To see if you qualify, see the following article from Microsoft  at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/buy/offers/upgrade-option.aspx.

One last point I would like to make is that if you are buying a new computer then I advise you get it with Windows 7. Some manufacturers will offer a downgrade to Windows XP for an additional charge, but because Windows XP support time frame is limited, it is a good idea to start familiarizing yourself with Windows 7.

If you are not sure if you should upgrade, or if you have any questions, please give us a call at 651-454-7729 or send us an email at help@emersontech.net, and we would be happy to help you.

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