Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Should you upgrade to Windows 7?

Windows 7 Release Candidate is here. I have a Windows 7 Ultimate DVD which I got from some friends at Microsoft and will beli neder, get round to installing this on my HP Intel Centrino laptop on Friday morning. All the reviews I’ve read on Windows 7 so far have been very positive.

Last week I spent a day at Microsoft in Ra’anana getting my hands dirty on IIS 7.0 and ARR new load balancing clusters and I noticed that everything there was already running Windows 7. I never upgraded my XP machines to VISTA and here’s why. Microsoft has a history of revamping their apps every two years or so. These are not just upgrades to existing apps. The menu options are different. It won’t run data from previous versions etc etc. For example, I’ve been using Office 2003 for a while now. When I installed Office 2007 on a new machine it took me 10 minutes to find the Print option!

Upgrading Visual Studio 2003 to Visual Studio 2005 was very painful. The problems I had rewriting applications to run on .Net 2.0! Then, last year Microsoft brought out Visual Studio 2008. With trepidation I installed it on my XP workstation. To my pleasant surprise, it converted old .Net 1.1 and .Net 2.0 applications to .Net 3.5 automatically with no problems. The interface looked and behaved like VS 2005. In fact, you would not have noticed that it wasn’t VS2005 had it not been for the flash screen upon startup. At last, Microsoft are beginning to realise that people don’t want revolutions every two years but real upgrades and improvements to existing apps that they already enjoy using and have gotten used to.

That’s why VISTA was a flop! It’s slow and clumsy. It demands too much memory. Things that were a doddle to do in XP take you three times as long while you click through all the “Are you sure” and permission pop-up windows. Options have been moved to illogical places. It’s incompatible with your favourite video card / printer / scanner etc. I won’t go on…

Initial impressions are that Windows 7 is a worthy successor to good old trusty Windows XP. I have been told however to stay away from the 32 bit version and only install the 64 bit version. I don’t know yet how this will affect any old 32 bit applications but in theory Microsoft say that the intelligent 32 bit emulator ought to mean that it should still run on Windows 7. We shall see.

If you wish to know if your existing PC will run Windows 7 then download this tool. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/upgrade-advisor.aspx

After installation, it runs for about 10 minutes and then gives you a nice compatibility report. I can tell you that my IBM workstation at work failed the VISTA compatibility test when I ran that two years ago. However the Windows 7 test came back with all green ticks! It’s looking good. The screen card, sound card, printer, everything passed! I did get some application warnings though. I'll keep you all updated.

*** UPDATE ***

I ran the Windows 7 upgrade Advisor on my HP nx8220 laptop and it failed on the driver for the Intel Pro Wireless 2200bg device. I spent 2 hours trying to find a driver for this device but so far have been unsuccsessful. The Intel site said that the driver was no longer available!!! I left a few posts on various forum sites to see if anybody else knows where to get a driver for this device. Obviously I cannot install Windows 7 on my laptop if I can't use my Wireless network device.

1 comment:

Bouncer said...

I'd drop Windows altogether and use Ubuntu. Free, doesn't crash, low on resources, and infinitely configurable. You wouldn't be wasting time and energy getting your wireless working for one thing.