This is our first look at Microsoft's newest Operating System Window 7.  It's not flashy, but it is effective.


The first question everybody ask is "Do I have to upgrade to Windows 7?"  The answer is no!  But, be aware Microsoft officially discontinued Windows XP on June 30th, 2008.  On April 14th, 2009 Microsoft stopped mainstream support.  Windows XP will be completed terminated on April 8th, 2014.  So you still have a few years if your Windows XP is running OK.

If you have Vista and like it (insert joke here) then again "No.  You do not need to upgrade."  However, the upgrade to Windows 7 from a Vista computer is a lot easier the from a XP computer.  The first thing you must do is go here and find out if you computer is even upgradable to Windows 7 without a lot of hardware changes.  Download the adviser, run the adviser and it will tell you if your computer is compatible with Windows 7.

If your computer is "upgradable" then the next question you must answer is "Which version of Windows 7 do I need?"

Currently, there are three versions of Windows 7.  Home Premium $120, Professional $200 and Ultimate $220.  Most new computers bought today will be the Home Premium version.  Professional and the Ultimate versions are more for business and government agencies.  (They have mega secretes they wish to keep secrete).

Another question you must ask yourself, before you upgrade "Do I have software that may not run on Windows 7?"  The general rule of thumb is - If it runnes on Vista it will run on Windows 7.  If it runs on XP, it might run on Windows 7.  (Windows 7 does have a XP mode you can download to run most of your older software.)  You must have a paid copy of XP to install this downloadable application.

Windows 7's Ten Best Features

1. The Taskbar reloaded: Windows 7's version of the Taskbar is less cluttered than Vista's, and it handles both running and nonrunning apps with equal aplomb.

2. Slicker, quicker Taskbar Previews: Now they show you all of an application's open windows, all at once.

3. The convenience of Jump Lists: These context-sensitive Taskbar menus let you start accomplishing things in applications before you even open them.

4. A System Tray you can love: New controls prevent the System Tray from overflowing with unwanted apps and distracting you with unhelpful, irrelevant messages.

5. A more media-savvy Windows Media Player: Love Apple's iTunes Store but hate iTunes? New file-format support enables Windows Media Player 12 to play back unprotected audio and video from Apple's online store.

6. Alerts via Action Center: Windows 7's version of Vista's Security Center queues up system messages so that you can respond to them on your schedule--not when Windows feels like interrupting you.

7. User Account Control that you control: If you're okay with this security feature's raison d'Ítre but can't stand the rapid-fire prompts in Vista, take heart: You can tune Windows 7's versions to make them less paranoid and intrusive.

8. Library privileges: You can bundle folders from locations all across your hard drive into Libraries designed to provide one-click access from the left pane of Windows Explorer to related files.

9. Reasonable hardware requirements: Historically, new versions of Windows have gobbled up twice the amount of CPU power and RAM that their predecessors did. But Windows 7 runs a bit better than Vista on the same system; it's even tolerable on a netbook.

10. The potential of touch: Windows 7's support for multitouch input doesn't change anything overnight--but it does lay necessary groundwork for third-party developers to build their own software. If they build killer touch apps, Windows 7 deserves some of the credit.

Before You Upgrade

Before you upgrade you have to do some homework.

This is another reason why I teach BACK-UP, BACK-UP  and BACK-UP.

Presuming your Windows XP hardware is upgradeable to Windows 7, You will most likely need ALL the installation disk for ALL the programs you have on the computer.  This is because, you will be doing what is called a fresh install.  Basically wiping out the hard drive and installing Windows 7.  The, you will need to install all the software.

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