Thursday, September 24, 2009

Geek Nirvana

Windows 7 will be available to all you little people on October 22nd but us uppity Microsoft authorized professionals received our copies a few days ago. I installed mine a couple of days ago and believe this is the first time that the hype actually approaches realty. I’ve found geek Nirvana!

Unlike its predecessors, Windows 7 is designed to run speed-sapping background services only when you need them. Not using a Bluetooth device? Then the Bluetooth service in Windows 7 stays off. Windows 7 is also less memory hungry than Windows Vista. The end result is that even older systems running Windows XP will see a performance increase by running Windows 7.
When installing a new operating system, a “fresh install” (involving erasing the contents of your hard drive before installing Windows 7) is generally regarded as safer than upgrading. When you upgrade, you stand a chance of holding onto problem-causing issues such as viruses and faulty registry entries. A fresh install of Windows 7 on our decently-equipped, 4 year old system here in the shop took only 16 minutes from start to finish.

Like many of you, I have tons of software installed on my computers so the thought of spending hours reinstalling all that stuff makes we want to hurl so I chose to upgrade my copy of Vista to Windows 7 Ultimate. My upgrade from XP to Vista a couple of years ago was a nightmare but this upgrade was quite painless. My upgrade took about 2 hours but most people can expect up to 4 hours for older systems.

Before the upgrade, my computer took 2 minutes, 38 seconds to go from off to displaying my desktop icons. It took a total of nearly 6 minutes to fully load my antivirus software and get settled down enough to actually use. After the upgrade, my computer boots to the desktop in 1 minute, 30 seconds (one minute less than before) and only took 3 minutes, 30 seconds to get to the point of usability. For those that cannot perform advanced Alabama math in their head, my system now boots up in roughly half the time as Vista.

Before you rush out to purchase your own copy next month, you should be aware of some “gotchas.” There were 4 different versions of Vista. There are only 3 versions of Windows 7, Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate. Like its predecessors, there are some upgrade paths and roadblocks that you must consider before upgrading to Windows 7. The first thing to keep in mind is that there is no upgrade path from XP to Windows 7. XP Users will have to erase the contents of their hard drive and perform a “fresh install” of Windows 7. The next thing to keep in mind is that Microsoft will not allow you to “upgrade” from the Business or Ultimate version of Vista to the “home” version of Windows 7. Microsoft considers that a “downgrade.” So if you insist on going from a “professional” version to the Home version, you will have to perform a fresh install of Windows 7.

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