A few years ago when Microsoft released Windows Vista, I was pretty quick to install the upgrade. I just like new software. But I was also pretty quick to uninstall it and moved back to Windows XP. However, those who have worked with pre-release editions of the new Windows 7 have reported that Microsoft's newest operating system upgrade, due to be released to the public on October 22, 2009, should be much smoother.
The best news is that our Legacy Family Tree software has already been tested and is compatible and ready to work with Windows 7.
New features in Windows 7
The new features and screenshots of Windows 7 look impressive. Here's a summary:
- Desktop: introducing improved taskbar previews, bigger icons, pinning, and creative ways to personalize
- HomeGroup: takes the headache out of home networking, so it's easier to share files and printers
- Jump Lists: speedy access to your favorite pictures, songs, websites, and documents
- Snap: a quick (and fun) new way to resize and compare windows on your desktop
- Windows Live Essentials: must-have software for your PC - free! Get Mail, Photo Gallery, and other favorites
- Windows Search: at least, searching your PC is as simple as searching the web
- Performance improvements: it's designed to sleep and resume quicker, be less memory hungry, and spot USB devices faster
- Full 64-bit support: Windows 7 makes the most of powerful 64-bit PCs, the new desktop standard
- Power management: new power-saving features are designed to help laptops run longer
- Easier wireless networking: Windows 7 gets you online in fewer clicks
- Windows Media Center: watch, record, and pause live TV (additional hardware required)
- Windows Touch: pair Windows 7 with a touch-sensitive PC and you won't always need a keyboard or mouse
- Many more new features
For a complete list of features, tours, and videos, click here.
Is your computer ready for Windows 7?
Windows 7's system requirements are:
- 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
- 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
If you're not sure what all that means, you can run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. It's a small download (6.3 MB). After installing it, the advisor will perform some quick tests on your computer to see if it meets the upgrade requirements. It will let you know if there's anything that would need attention. For my computer, the advisor stated that
"you'll need to perform a custom installation of Windows 7 and then reinstall your programs. Make sure to back up your files before you begin."
Since I currently use Windows XP, it appears that the upgrade to Windows 7 will take a bit of effort. First, I'll need to backup all of my files, including pictures, email, genealogy files, etc. Fortunately my computer already does this automatically every day. After installing Windows 7, then I'll need to first reinstall all of my software, then copy all of my files back to the appropriate directories. So it will take a little time, but I like to do this every year or so anyways so I have a "fresh installation".
Compare XP, Vista, and 7
For a comparison of Windows XP, Vista, and 7, click here.
What are your thoughts?
Experienced computer users usually wait a little while to install newly-released software while the kinks/bugs get worked out. What are you going to do?