Monday, July 13, 2009

Windows 7 - Should you upgrade?

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Windows 7.

I think it's fair to say that most others running the current Release Candidate have reached the same conclusion.

In my case, there were a variety of reasons I embraced Microsoft's latest:
1) It's the closest to 'plug n play' Microsoft has ever gotten.
2) Lots of flexibility on turning on and off features and tweaking CPU / memory use.
3) Dramatic improvement in graphics rendering on many platforms.
4) Literally out-of-the-box networking, back-up, repair, and more.

I've been running the Windows 7 RC on 4 PC's ranging from relatively current to about 6 years old. The only box that had problems was one using a legacy Intel chipset (845GV) on an ECS motherboard. Despite numerous attempts by Windows Update (and directly by me), the drivers, at least so far are not there. On the other hand, this is NOT the 'Vista problem', where both hardware and software updates simply weren't ready on time (or for a long time).

On the other hand, every dual (and quad core) machine I tried found all the drivers necessary from either the install disk or Windows Update. I'd call that pretty impressive.

Problems are greeted with an easy, plain English screen that allows you to troubleshoot quickly.

There's obviously a lot more under the hood.

The bottom line for personal or enterprise users on upgrading to Windows 7 is once again hardware, but in this case, pre-release drivers and full release drivers are either already on-board (in most cases) or being released as I write this for the new WDDM architecture.

Use the tools! The latest Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (version 5.5) can be found here.

There's also a simple Windows 7 Upgrade Adviser here and ....
A brand-new Windows 7 Compatibility Center is being readied here and is set to launch simultaneously with Windows 7.

Numerous other links, videos, walkthroughs, and other information are already posted to TechNet, MSDN, and the dedicated Windows 7 website.

Overall, it's a pretty safe bet that your IT guy (or gal) may sleep a little better with a Windows 7 network. They'll still need to be around ..... but the 3 AM 'Help!' calls should go down dramatically :)

Edited July 13, 2009 2 PM cba