More Info on Windows 7

I've been getting asked a lot of questions about Windows 7 lately and wanted to share the answers so that everybody could benefit from them.

First, you've heard before that Windows 7 was due to be released this summer around August. The official release date (as of today) is October 22, 2009 (just in time for the Christmas season).

How did Windows 7 get its name? According to Microsoft, this release is the 7th significantly different operating system they've released, so they named it "Windows 7". What were the others?
  • Windows 1 (released November 1985)
  • Windows 2 (released November 1987)
  • Windows 3 (Win3.0, Win3.1 & WinNT)
  • Windows 4 (Win95, Win98, Win98SE, & WinME)
  • Windows 5 (Windows 2000, and WinXP)
  • Windows 6 (WinVista)
  • Windows 7 (Win7)
How does Windows 7 compare to Windows XP and Vista? Let me first say that Windows 7 looks and feels like Windows Vista. So if you're looking for Win7 to look and feel more like WinXP, you're out of luck. You'll still have to get used to the new layout, terminology and features. And like Vista, there will be several different versions of Win7 released (including Starter (or Basic), Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise).

Okay, so folks hate change ... I get that. But aside from those changes, the real complaint against Vista was that it wasn't as stable as WinXP. Aside from that, Vista has some nice new features (but many folks weren't willing to give them a chance). And those features are still present in Win7.

There was another big complaint about Vista - and that was compatibility. When XP was released, any hardware or software programs that were less than four years old pretty much worked. You may have had to update a driver or two, but at least you could still use that piece of hardware or software. When Vista was released, compatibility became a major issue. Folks were forced to buy new hardware and software that would work with Vista. Unfortunately, the same will be true in Windows 7.

Perhaps Microsoft didn't have to "fix" something that wasn't broken when moving beyond WinXP. But they are in business to make money and therefore need to stay fresh by releasing new products. I like XP - but I do like some of the features of Vista too.

Except for a few startup problems from time to time, I personally never had any real trouble with Vista. I used to get annoyed by the popup window asking me if I really want to continue my action, but I quickly learned to ignore it ... and I do understand that they incorporated that extra step to help stop people from inadvertently messing up their software. So I'm willing to overlook that minor annoyance.

Why Microsoft felt the need to change the normal folder menu options from (File, Edit, View, etc.) to "Organize", "Options" and "Tools" - I don't know. But it's not hard to relearn the new naming conventions. These are some of the little changes that will annoy a lot of folks at first.

But some the advantages of the Win7 will be these.....
  • More stability (than Vista anyway)
  • Improved performance (according to Microsoft)
  • Cool features first introduced in Vista (like Gadgets)
  • Better computer search capability (personally, I hated this improved feature in Vista, but others loved it).
  • Improved Taskbar
For more information about Windows 7, click the links below:
Keep in mind that every time Microsoft releases a new operating, they eventually stop supporting older versions. So while Microsoft will continue to support XP for a little, they will eventually stop. This means that the day will come when you will no longer be able to get Windows Updates for XP - thereby putting your computer and data at risk from hackers and other malware programs.

Microsoft is in the driver seat and unless you want to dump Microsoft and go with Linux, MACs or some other system, you'll be forced to "upgrade" at some point (either through a new computer purchase or upgrading your hardware and software). So if you're still using WinXP (like I am), then enjoy it while you can and don't worry so much about the changes when the time comes.