Q & A: Windows 7 Upgrade

Question: Windows 7 is available to those who bought a new computer recently. How about the older computers? Do we buy them separately or are they available through our existing software?

windows7_versionsAnswer: Windows 7 can indeed be purchased as an upgrade for older computers. The exact price will depend on which version you choose, but should be approximately $100. The two most important considerations to keep in mind are 1) will your computer run Windows 7 adequately and 2) what will be involved in the upgrade?

If your computer was purchased within the last 3 or 4 years or is currently running Windows Vista, you should be good to go. If it was purchased earlier than that, you will want to visit the Windows 7 Upgrade adviser at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/get/upgrade-advisor.aspx to download a small test program that will determine if your machine is Windows 7 capable.

No matter what the age of your machine, if you are currently running Windows XP and want to upgrade to Windows 7, you will have to perform what is called a “clean install.” That means that your hard drive will be totally wiped out and all software will have to be reinstalled. Therefor, before you do that, you want to make sure you have all of your original software media, the registration information, and a good backup of all your personal data. Actually, no matter what upgrade route you decide on or even if you aren’t doing an upgrade, you should have a good backup!

Note: This is part of a column that originally appeared in The Daniel Island News in the weekly issue for November 18, 2009.

Microsoft Vista and Office 2007

Ok, lots of questions asked about these two products. The basic answer is that they are both good but not overwhelming. There is nothing wrong with either one of them. Both work just fine. And there lies the problem. The are “good”, “ok”, “fine”. They are not “amazing”, “revolutionary”, “compelling”, or even “must-haves”. At the moment at least, there is nothing that you can do with either of these products that you can’t do right now. Maybe the new software will allow you to do it in a different manner or with a prettier interface, but you can do it none-the-less.

Which then begs the question of why should you shift? If you are buying a new computer or have a way to get a free upgrade, then it is always cool to have the latest and greatest. But if you have a machine that is working just fine now and you would have to shell out your own hard earned money for that upgrade, there really is no reason to do so.

This is what most reviewers, businesses, and consumers all think. And besides, who wants the first iteration of a software release anyway?