WINDOWS 7 APPROACHES

Microsoft received a lot of criticism when Windows Vista was first released due to the myriad of incompatibilities that cropped up. Many programs some of which had only just been released in 2006 would not run on this 2007 version of Windows. Users complained, and rightly so, that many functions were not as intuitive or easy to find as they were in Windows XP. Similar complaints were logged by users struggling with MS-Office 2007.

Still, Microsoft pushed on, trying to force the world into compliance. They faced the most opposition from the Business World where companies had too much money invested in programs that would not run on Vista to readily make the conversion. So Microsoft made concessions to allow businesses to continue to purchase new computers with Windows XP Professional installed rather than the newer Vista Business Edition.

Now with the pending release of Windows 7, looming sometime between now and next January, the question is has Microsoft finally got it right? It should be noted that Windows 7, as they are planning to call it, is actually an improved version of Windows Vista. They have opted to change the name since Vista has gotten too much negative press lately.

Microsoft has stated that there should be no significant compatibility issues for users migrating from Vista to Windows 7 as these versions are basically extensions of the same operating system family. There is also some evidence, located within Vista Service Pack 1, that many compatibility issues faced in the initial release of Vista have been addressed.

Reviewers of the Beta version of Windows 7 do seem somewhat happier with the general improvements in features and performance and have commented that Windows 7 seems quite stable compared to Windows Vista.

LIBRA AND WINDOWS VISTA

In earlier reviews of Windows Vista, in 2007, we found numerous incompatibilities that would make conversions to Windows Vista difficult, if not impossible, for Libra users. Our most recent testing, with the newer Service Pack 1 version, seems to indicate that most of those earlier problems have finally been addressed. We experienced none of the problems with either the Btrieve Database or Libra Printing we originally ran into and it appears that Vista is actually somewhat Libra friendly now.

For this reason we are issuing a cautious OK to any user that wants to run Libra on a Vista Business Edition computer. Providing the user purchases a properly licensed XP/Vista Dell computer from us and we install it, we will also downgrade it free of charge to Windows XP Professional should problems arise while operating Libra.

On the other hand many Windows based programs such as MS-Office 2000 will still not run on Windows Vista. It would appear that Microsoft has addressed issues that would prevent older software users from migrating to Vista but that they do not wish you to keep your older versions of their products in operation. MS-Office 2003 is the oldest Microsoft Office version that is fully Windows Vista compatible. Most older hardware will not operate as well, as there is no incentive for manufacturers to write the necessary drivers.

Other large software companies have likely pushed Microsoft for compatibility with their newer products but feel that problems with many older products are just good sales opportunities to promote their newer wares.

With the release of Windows 7 just around the corner there may be little reason for users to struggle with Windows Vista unless they have to. Reduced sales at Microsoft may push them to release Windows 7 sooner rather than later.

Let us hope that works out well for everyone.