WINDOWS 7 LIVE TRIALS

Itís one thing to test a product and something entirely different to use it day in and day out. With this in mind and considering the fact that our testing was quite favourable we jumped into the fire and upgraded some of our main computers to Windows 7 and so far so good.

With a little experimentation we were able to configure Windows 7 to look at least similar to our old computers at a glance. The new Start Menu takes a little getting used to but itís not overly difficult to understand. Some of what I had read actually turned out to be incorrect. I was able to install MS-Office 2002 without any noticeable problems but chose to upgrade to MS-Office 2007 in either case to help support a number of clients that have recently upgraded to the latest version of MS-Office.

An earlier test installation did experience problems with the printer driver for our HP 2420 printer but this latest upgrade went off without the driver issues. This may have been corrected by a recent Windows update as these are now even more tightly integrated into Windows 7. After a new install several updates come through in quick succession to make sure any installation version problems are corrected quickly. This may seem insignificant but many Windows XP problems were created by users who failed to load their Windows updates when they were available.

Overall, the new Operating System impressed with a consistency not seen in Windows XP. Even though my computer was just over 3 years old with 2 gb of Ram, the performance was quite good with the only lagging issue being high end graphics capabilities. I was able to partially remedy this by adding a high end PCI Video card but you really need a newer PCI Express card to see the graphics really perform. Still the performance was quite solid on this computer and on an even older 5 year old PC with only 1.25 gb of Ram.

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Minimum Requirements for Windows 7:

- Pentium IV or faster processor

- 1gb or more Ram Memory

- 20+gb of free Disk Space

- A decent 64mb Video Card

- A good name brand Audio Card

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Recommended Requirements for Windows 7:

- Pentium Dual Core or faster processor

- 2gb or more Ram Memory

- 100+gb of free Disk Space

- A good 128mb or better Video Card

- A good name brand Audio Card

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How well an older computer will perform seems to have something to do with the quality of the computer components. Most of the computers we upgraded were Dellís or HPís and these seemed to perform well after the upgrade. There may be some models that will perform poorly but we wonít likely know that until we attempt to upgrade them.

Even with an older computer the performance of Windows 7 was good and this was most noticeable in Internet Explorer and when juggling multiple tasks. Internet Explorer took a consistent 3 seconds to load Google.ca and most web-sites came up quickly. The one odd exception to this was the Apple QuickTime Movie Trailer site that was dreadfully slow. Iím not sure if this is Appleís or Microsoftís doing as the two companies seem at odds lately.

Libra and most other programs that I use operated flawlessly under Windows 7. What users have to beware of however is the 64 bit version. That is being marketed far more extensively now and has the potential to cause multiple compatibility problems. For now very few programs are 64 bit ready so there is verry little advantage to going 64 bit and the 32 bit version is by far the safest choice at the present time.