R.I.P. Windows XP

Many organizations are asking if the time is right to move to the world of Windows 7. While some have already moved, most are still using the tried and true windows XP. The short answer is yes, now is the time.

To keep debates at a minimum I won’t talk about Vista (it will join Windows ME in the Microsoft Black Sheep club). Most business users will be going from Windows XP Professional to Windows 7 Professional bypassing Vista altogether (wise idea).

We don’t recommend going out and upgrading all your existing workstations to Windows 7 if you are within a year or so of life cycling your existing hardware. If you are in this camp, your replacement workstation will get you to Windows 7 with no additional upgrade costs. If you are more than a year out to replace your hardware, you should consider a complete system upgrade to take advantage of the new operating system.

There are a ton of back end changes in Windows 7 that make things worthwhile but not too many of them are immediately visible to the typical user. Here are some of the nicer features that most people do notice:

-Faster boot up time.
-The “Start” button and taskbar have been redone, it takes a bit to get used to them but once you do I find them much better.
-It has a polished interface, the lines are smoother on windows and the transparency / color options are a nice touch.
-Wireless networks are easier to join and work with.
-Home networking and sharing is much easier thanks to the “Homegroup” feature and shared libraries.
-Accessories are easier to add to your computer (wireless mice and keyboards, webcams, printers, etc.)

The new OS feels like a substantial change and upgrade but still remains familiar enough that you’re not lost when you see it for the first time. I think most people will be able to work their way through the changes without too much difficulty.

Windows 7 won’t completely revolutionize the way you use your computer despite the Microsoft marketing but it’s definitely a solid improvement from XP. After nearly 10 years (it was released in 2001) I think it’s had a good run.

-Al Lefebvre

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