Microsoft’s latest version of Windows — Windows 7 – launches today.
But after 2007′s ill-fated upgrade from Windows XP to Vista, consumers have reason to be wary. That bloated new operating system was released before it was really ready. Should consumers bother with Windows 7?
Since my focus shifted to TV services this year, I’m leaving it up to the rest of the tech world to offer consumers advice. The answer: Yes. Windows 7 is so much better than Windows Vista. But should you upgrade today? Only if you cannot stand Windows Vista. You’ll upgrade eventually, anyway.
Do you want to read more? Ed Schwartz, who answers readers’ computer problems in the Stump the PC Club column has been playing with Windows 7 for months. Here is his experience, plus some technical details and reviews from around the web:
Ed’s Windows 7 highlights:
- Flawless installation, did not require downloading any additional software drivers except for my Epson color printer.
- The new “Jump Lists” (pictured on right) are slick and convenient. This feature displays recent Web sites, documents, music or other files and sometimes commands when you right click the icon in the task bar.
- Networking and sharing more intuitive.
- User accounts is configurable.
- Library feature makes accessing frequent files/folders a breeze.
- Start Menu now keeps the sub menus inside the Start menu, no more of the maddening pause.
- Search is much improved over Vista. You can click Start and enter “indexing options” to modify where Windows 7 searches – great feature!
- You can use “Saved Searches.”
- You can click Start and enter Word into the search box — no need to hit Enter, it’s “search as you type” at its best.
- Items can be pinned to Taskbar — right-clicking brings up recent files if applicable.
- It’s more responsive than Vista.
- I’ve been using it exclusively for a month and really enjoy the “User Experience” — I don’t even think about it unless I’m exploring features.
- Downside? There will be confusion. Trying to get an upgrade question (Do I need a clean install or simple upgrade when moving from Vista to Windows 7?) answered when I called up Microsoft’s support line left me confused after a half hour of listening to a response. My answer: Do a clean install and avoid the upgrade version.
Get Windows 7:
If you want to upgrade, check Windows Upgrade Advisor
to see if your PC is compatible. The upgrade is $120 to $220 depending on which version: Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate. The full version is $200 to $320. Prices and version information is HERE
. If you purchased a new PC recently, it may qualify for a free upgrade. Check with your manufacturer.
Students pay the least to upgrade to Windows 7: Just $29. Check this page for details.
This being Day One of Windows 7, Microsoft has posted some special deals online available today. Some deals include:
- Best Buy Bundle: HP Laptop, Desktop PC with monitor, Netbook, wireless router and setup by Geek Squad for $1,199.
- Dell: Save more than $100 on a Dell Studio XPS13
- Gateway: All-in-one Acer Gateway ZX6800 23″ for $899
Reviews from around the web:
C/Net: “Windows 7 is … where Microsoft needed to go.”
- Pros: Microsoft fixed what was wrong with Vista.
- Cons: Sometimes performs slower than Windows XP.
PC World: “Waiting a bit before making the leap makes sense; waiting forever does not”
- Pros: “It’s the unassuming, thoroughly practical upgrade you’ve been waiting for — flaws and all.”
- Cons: Faster than Vista but not by much. “If your PC’s specs qualify it to run Vista, get Windows 7; if they aren’t, avoid it.”
PC Mag: “Microsoft may just have a winner.”
- Pros: Microsoft has certainly addressed many of the complaints surrounding Vista, such as the lack of backward compatibility, the lengthy start-up and install times, the broad disk and memory footprint, and the inability to remove IE.
- Cons: Windows 7′s system registry slows down systems over time.
- Review, Windows 7 coverage page
More good info on Windows 7:
Earlier Windows 7 coverage on Gadgetress: