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Some Pros and Cons of the Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System
Originally Published at Suite101.com

Windows 7 offers enhanced features and ease of use that make it the best operating system to date for most users, but there are some compatibility issues.

Microsoft has hit a home run with their Windows 7 operating system, creating a smooth, user friendly interface that runs fast and clean and has few technical issues. Compared to Vista, Windows 7 is far and away easier to use and more powerful, making much better use of system resources.

New Components from Vista to Windows 7  

Drawing on the experiences of millions of Vista users, Microsoft rewrote several key pieces of the operating system to make it more streamlined and offer a better user experience. The interface is clean and the operating system makes great use of resources. It is faster than Vista on the same hardware and offers a more customizable environment along with better security features.

Anyone buying a new computer is urged to buy it with Windows 7 installed from scratch, rather than using an upgrade on a Vista install. This will avoid any issues carrying over from Vista to Windows 7 that could impact the user experience.

Compatibility Issues between Windows Systems  

Those with existing systems should use caution when upgrading to Windows 7, as many drivers and a fair amount of chipset support is yet to be developed at the time of this writing. Trying to install Windows 7 on a machine that has an incompatible chipset or device can be a frustrating and expensive experience, and is to be avoided.

This issue will resolve itself over time as more driver updates are released and Microsoft issues updates and service packs to address the more common complaints. It can be a hassle for those trying to use older equipment such as a Pentium 4 with an AGP video card, for example, as it can cause the familiar old "Blue screen of Death" effect, otherwise known as a memory dump.

Safe Approach to Upgrading to Windows 7

The easy way to avoid downtime when attempting to migrate an older system to Windows 7 is to simply install the new operating system on its own hard drive, and keep the existing system intact on the old hard drive. This can have a few positive benefits to the end user, and eliminates many potential pitfalls.

Buying a new hard drive is much less expensive than it used to be, with huge drives available for well under a hundred dollars. Make sure the new hard drive uses a compatible interface - typically SATA or IDE interfaces are used - and that the capacity is within the range of sizes supported by the motherboard.

This information is typically available on the manufacturer's website or on the website for the maker of the motherboard. Technical support is also usually able to determine this information for most systems. (Many upgrade and repair shops will supply the needed information for free as well if asked for a quote on a hard drive upgrade.)

To perform the operation, simply remove the existing hard drive and replace it with the new one. Then boot the system with the Windows 7 installation CD/DVD in the appropriate drive and follow the simple instructions. If all goes well the new system will be running within the hour.

If it fails, the old hard drive can go back where it came from (and so can the new one!) and everything still works the way it did the day before. This will also allow for two separate operating systems to be installed on the same computer by swapping the drives out, or leaving them both mounted inside the case and swapping the cable.

Windows 7 is an excellent operating system and it will only improve as compatibility issues are resolved and service packs are released, much like every previous version of Windows. The key to getting the most out of it is to install it early and learn the new features as soon as possible, before the next operating system gets released and the cycle starts anew.
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Norm is a 30-year veteran of the IT world and genuine computer guru, offering local businesses a single point of contact for all of their computer-related needs.  TQF.US is Dell Partner Direct authorized and offers professional sales, support and installation of products from Dell, Microsoft, Intel and other top brands.
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