Windows 7; what's the big deal?

Question

What makes Windows 7 better than Vista or XP?

-Jacob

Answer

This question was answered on October 14, 2009. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Windows 7, the long awaited replacement for the much maligned Windows Vista is due to be released on Oct 22nd (although many custom-build computer shops like ours are already delivering Windows 7 systems.) The reasons for considering an upgrade to the new OS are numerous, but the reality is that at some point most users will have no choice.

No matter how much users like Windows XP, there will come a time when Microsoft won’t support it, including the very important security patches that plug security vulnerabilities With this in mind, the Windows 7 question isn’t really a question of WILL you upgrade, but WHEN will you upgrade (a month, a year, 5 years?).

By all accounts, Windows 7 is a significant improvement over Windows Vista, primarily because Microsoft got to strip out the bad and add lots of new good to what is essentially Windows Vista 2 (but they knew better than to call it that!)

Regardless of how they got here, Microsoft listened to the complaints of Vista users and continued to improve the built-in security and the combination has created a pretty solid operating system.

Here are some of the major improvements:

It actually requires less hardware than Windows Vista For those of us that have been around since Windows 1.0, we were shocked to learn that Microsoft didn’t ratchet up the hardware requirements like they have with every previous version Systems light on power that struggled to run Windows Vista will likely run better with Windows 7 (you will even see lots of Netbooks running Windows 7 shortly, which would be unimaginable for Vista).

A kinder, gentler and more flexible UAC (User Account Control) In Windows Vista, the UAC feature was so over-bearing (remember the humorous ‘accept or deny’ Apple commercials?) that many users simply turned it off, which disabled one of the best features that made Vista much more secure than Windows XP In Windows 7, you can decide where and how this very useful and powerful tool is implemented (a great way to control what the kids can and can not add to the system).

With the sneaky malicious software that is plaguing the Internet at the moment, this updated version of the UAC is just what most consumers and small businesses need to fight the malware battle.

Faster boot times The goal from the engineering side at Microsoft was to target a 15 second startup time, which may or may not be possible for everyone (your start time will have more to do with what you install) but by all measures, the tech community agrees that 7 boots faster than Vista.

Easier home networking setup Anyone that went through the nightmare of trying to integrate a Vista system into an existing Windows XP network will appreciate this improvement.

Better support for multi-monitor configuration If you haven’t experienced the joy of having dual monitors installed on your home or office computer, you are really missing a huge improvement in productivity (add it to your holiday wish list, you will thank me for it!) Windows Vista was pretty picky about what it would support, whereas Windows 7 has wider support for different video cards coexisting in the same computer for a dual display configuration.

There are a whole host of other improvements such as auto-sizing side-by-side windows, consolidated and clearer security messages, Taskbar previews that are actually viewable and control over those irritating balloon notifications in the bottom right corner that make Windows 7 worth considering.

At the end of the day, if what you are using is working fine, don’t be in a huge hurry to fix what ain’t broken, however, if you are struggling with security, stability or performance, Windows 7 may be just what the doctor orders!

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on October 14, 2009