Many users have had a chance to evaluate the Windows 7, both inside Alliance and by our customers. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Unlike previous versions of Windows where waiting for the first service pack was recommended, Windows 7 was a great operating system when it was first released.
Windows 7 improves over previous Microsoft operating systems in a number of ways. Management of program windows is now much more intuitive, allowing multitasking to be perform much more efficiently. Instant file search, a feature that began with Windows Vista, is now fully integrated with Windows 7. Due to a preemptive file indexing system, file search is now fast and reliable, unlike the slow and clunky search interface included in Windows XP. Device management, including driver accessibility and usability, are also vastly improved in Windows 7.
The operating system has better security and support of new hardware, too. It’s faster than Vista, and that should be reason enough, but many of our clients are still using the old standby, Windows XP.
Of course, the real problem with Windows XP is that’s its really starting to show its age. This is the real upgrade motivating factor, especially for business owners. Windows XP was released in 2001 and Microsoft will completely halt support for the product in 2014. That date is still a few years away, but Microsoft is already dropping XP support as a priority. There have been several patches and security features released in the last six months that will not be added to Windows XP, including the shoring up of known vulnerabilities. This means that there are usability and security holes in Windows XP that will never be fixed. It’s simply not worth Microsoft’s time to keep the old operating system running perfectly and safe, though the official date for discontinued support is still a few years away.
What does this mean for the business owner? It’s time to move onwards and upwards to Windows 7.
So what’s the next step? Upgrades from Windows Vista are available, but unfortunately Windows XP users must purchase Windows 7 outright – there is no easy upgrade path. For the most part, this means that most businesses will experience Windows 7 for the first time when they buy new hardware. Windows 7 with an XP downgrade is still available, but we recommend if you buy new hardware, you go with Windows 7. Since the typical hardware lifecycle is three to five years, it’s conceivable that a machine bought today could still be in use once Windows XP goes from extended support to nonexistent. In the meantime, if the hardware can support it, 7 is the better choice.
Windows 7 Hardware Requirements:
1 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit), 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit), DirectX 9 graphics device