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Windows 7 is coming soon, and all reports are that it's a better, more reasonable Windows than Vista. Should you switch?
My computer is an Acer PC Model Aspire M3201; Processor AMD Phenom(tm) 9100e Quad-Core (x4) 1.80 GHz; 3.00 GB RAM; 32-bit Operating System. At the present time I run Windows Vista Home Premium with Internet Explorer 8, but it crashes quite a lot. I have been thinking of trying out Windows 7. Would you recommend this and how would i go about it?
Now that Windows 7 has been on the market for some time, this article has been replaced with an update:
Early reports on Windows 7 are very promising. Some have even gone so far as to call Windows 7 the best "service pack" for Windows Vista ever.
After having played with it some myself, I have to agree: Windows 7 looks very promising.
But as I write this, it has not yet been released. That means that there are serious issues using anything you might have downloaded.
Patience is required for Windows 7. I would not switch to it just yet.
The only copies of Windows 7 that are available for download as of this writing fall into three categories:
Release Candidate (RC) versions
Beta versions are technically not supposed to be available, though I expect they're out there. Install one and I believe one of the first things Windows Update will recommend you do us update to the RC build.
It's not that difficult to get a Windows 7 release candidate build, at least until some time next month. Check the Microsoft site and only download from there, so as to avoid any potential malware added by others.
A pirated version is, of course, quite illegal and I won't address it here further.
The most obvious problem with the test versions (Beta or RC) is that they will expire - quite literally sometime next year they will stop working (or at least severely cripple themselves) and require that you install the actual released version of Windows 7. In addition, once the final version is available officially the test versions won't be supported - not by Microsoft, and not by any software or hardware vendor you might need help from.
Finally, when the time comes that you must upgrade your test version, the recommend approach is, as I understand it, reformat and reinstall. (That's my recommendation for all paths to Windows 7, but that's a discussion for another day.)
Do not install the test versions as a way switch to Windows 7.
Wait for Windows 7 to be released and obtain it through official, legal, channels. Yes, that might be a couple of months from the time you read this.
What you can do is test.
For example, I've used Parallels Workstation to install a copy of the Windows 7 as a virtual machine on my Windows XP desktop. That's given me a great opportunity to test and play with it to see what it's all about without impacting anything else on my machine. If you have a spare machine, that's another great way to test it out.
If you truly want to try it on your machine - pretending it's your final upgrade to Windows 7 - then the process is actually pretty simple, if a little time consuming:
Take a full image backup of your machine. Make sure that you have whatever tools are required to be able to restore this image to an empty hard disk later.
Install Windows 7 (probably the RC version at this point) as either a clean install or an upgrade.
Play with Windows 7 RC as much as you like.
When you are done, restore your machine to that image you took in the first step.
This approach, and the only proper way to use Windows 7 before it's released, is to consider it, and everything you do with it, disposable.
If that's not a viable approach for you, then I strongly suggest you wait at least until the release version is available through official channels. (And even then I typically caution to wait for "a while" as others flush out any issues that might remain.)
The good news is that, particularly if you're running Vista, Windows 7 may be an appropriate upgrade when it is available.
Kind of like a service pack.
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