Windows Operating Systems - How to Decide
In the last two issues of Get Connected, we discussed the pro’s and con’s of Windows 7. The new operating system was just released here in Israel and Microsoft is working hard to create a ‘buzz’ around it.
For the last month, our techs have been testing the system. Compared to XP Pro, the differences are minor. There are a few nice new bells and whistles, but we are not certain that switching away from XP will offer that much of an improved user experience to warrant the costs of changing over, plus there are definite hardware and non-support issues that must be reviewed before switching.
Win 7 performance is better than Windows XP SP3 and Vista SP2, but only if you run 64-bit Win 7. One potential gotcha: Much of the performance gains are reliant on having up-to-date 64-bit hardware drivers and components. That may mean buying new hardware, as older hardware may not have the necessary components and updated drivers.
“If it ain’t broken don’t fix it.”
If you’re considering upgrading from XP to Win 7 on the same machine, Microsoft doesn’t directly support this, and recommends that a fresh installation be made on new hardware. Any attempt to upgrade will move the directory structure known as Documents and Settings into the new, Unix-like ‘user’ directory structure, and registry settings for Win 7 will break many applications.
Many applications will need post-Win 7 upgrade adjustments, or even re-installation. Win 7 also needs at least 5GB of extra space to perform an in-place upgrade from XP temporarily.
If you are planning on buying a new computer, then Win 7 is definitely worth installing. Win 7 has the inherent architectural changes that secured XP, but it also doesn’t have the estimated 1,300 patches (including Microsoft Office patches) that XP SP3 has. The user interface has improved dramatically with Win 7, and migrating to a fresh environment rids machines of the clutter that has built up over the years.
On the other hand, if you have a Vista Business operating system, this would be the time to consider a change. Some vendors, such as HP, have Win 7-specific information on compatibility, while others have promised Win 7-specific drivers - especially for 64-bit kernel use. A 64-bit installation is what we recommend, and the drivers need to be 64-bit to gain best performance. The 32-bit version of Win 7 has little performance advantage over Vista or XP, and the 64-bit version can be much faster.
How Far Has Microsoft Come?
If you have a hard time remembering your first version of Microsoft’s operating systems, check out the following Windows commercial from Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s current CEO - he was employee number 24 when Bill Gates started the company.
For those of you who want to make the switch from Vista to Win 7, please call Efrat Networks. The upgrade should be done by our experts to confirm that this is the right move and to avoid loss of data. If you wish to buy a new computer, we can help design the right configuration to fit your needs.