Upgrade Vista to Windows 7
I'm currently running Vista on my home computer, but I've heard that Windows 7 is faster. Should I upgrade my Vista to Windows 7, or leave well enough alone?
Should You Upgrade from Vista to Windows 7?
So you finally got comfortable with Windows Vista, but now Windows 7 is on the horizon. Should you upgrade or stick with Vista? Let's explore the differences in the two Windows operating systems.
When comparing Vista to Windows 7, the most important things to consider are performance, security, usability, compatibility issues. Many Vista users have experienced problems in these areas, and Windows 7 goes a long way to address and improve each one.
Windows 7 Performance and Security Improvements
Windows 7 should launch faster, since it has fewer start-up services and those will run in parallel. And once you've booted up, you should notice that Windows 7 just feels a lot faster than Vista. The main reason for this is improved memory management. In Windows XP and Vista, every application that's open ties up video memory, even when minimized. In Windows 7, only visible apps consume video memory. If you normally run with a bunch of programs active, you should notice better performance. I could definitely feel the difference on my 4-year-old Sony VAIO laptop. And speaking of laptops, you can expect improved battery life in Windows 7.
It goes without saying that Windows 7 builds upon all the security improvements that have been rolled into XP and Vista, as exploits are discovered and patched on an ongoing basis. But there are also some new security features in Windows 7, most notably DirectAccess and BitLocker To Go. DirectAccess will be helpful to telecommuters, since it provides a seamless and secure connection to the office network. BitLocker To Go adds data encryption to USB flash drives and other removable storage devices.
Windows 7 Usability Enhancements
Windows Vista had a huge User Account Control (UAC) problem, making it annoying to install any program or change a setting. Microsoft has heard your cries, felt your pain, and has removed many of the annoying UAC prompts in Windows 7 UAC, making it quicker and easier to make system changes.
You'll also find that the taskbar on Win 7 is greatly improved. Instead of those little icons on the bottom right corner of Vista, you can decide which ones you want displayed. You simply mouse over an icon to get a full screen preview that disappears when you move the mouse, and the icons can be rearranged by click and drag.
Jump List is another new feature on the taskbar. Right clicking on a program that you used recently will show your most recent documents. For example, clicking on the Word icon will show Word documents. Another nifty plus is that you can put other files that you use often on the Jump List so that they are only a click or two away.
Win7 also offers some nifty Mac-like features to move and resize open windows. Check out my companion article Windows 7 Desktop Customization to see how Aero Snap and Aero Shake work.
Win 7 has included multi-touch for all supported hardware. If you like the kind of multi-finger screen and image manipulation you can do on the iPhone, you'll be happy to have those features in Windows 7.
And in the fun category, Windows 7 comes with online Spades, Checkers and Backgammon. The media center will feature Internet TV with MSN channels as its default and a sidebar for control. Just add a USB TV tuner and you have an instant TiVo.
HomeGroup is another feature new to Win7. Automatically set up when you run the first PC, you can add other computers to share files or peripherals. This means you can store photos on your main PC and view them with your laptop. View Available Network (VAN) allows one click access to available networks. Libraries will keep those photos, documents, and music organized as well.
Windows 7 - More Compatible
One of the biggest complaints about Vista was that hardware and other peripherals that worked fine with XP wouldn't work under Vista. Windows 7 includes a more up-to-date set of drivers, so it SHOULD automatically recognize your printer, scanner, external drives and other devices.
And here's a feature that I think is very cool: application crash resiliency. If a program crashes, Windows 7 can actually figure out how to configure things so that program will run correctly. Don't worry about the details, just file this one under Magic. :-)
Vista or Windows 7 - The Bottom Line
To me it looks like a slam dunk. The word from most reviewers is that Windows 7 is going to be everything we hoped for in Vista. It looks good AND it runs good. Performance and security have been beefed up. Win7 runs faster, with less RAM, than Vista. The user interface sports a bunch of improvements that go beyond eye candy. You can actually get things done quicker with some of the new usability features. People are comparing the slick Win7 with Mac OS X. And it seems that the annoyances and nagging compatibility issues that made Vista a thorn in so many sides have been remedied.
Am I saying you'd be a fool NOT to upgrade your Vista system to Windows 7? No. But there are plenty of advantages, and little downside to doing so. Except maybe, for the money... The Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade goes for $119, but you will have the option to purchase a Windows 7 Family Pack, which allows you to install on 3 machines for $149. Oh, and if you purchase a computer with Vista now, you'll get a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it's released in late October.
Got comments or questions about upgrading from Vista to Windows 7? Post your thoughts below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 25 Aug 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Upgrade Vista to Windows 7 (Posted: 25 Aug 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved