Yesterday Microsoft launched Windows 7. It’s the next version of Windows, following on from Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000.
As a software vendor we had early access to Windows 7 and have been using it daily for approximately 6-8 months. Our impressions are Windows 7 is very reliable, stable, much faster than Vista, and is an upgrade we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
Under the hood, dramatic improvements have been made. Start-up time is reduced so Windows 7 is ready to use from cold-start or hibernation far more quickly than Vista and even XP. In normal use it also feels much faster and more responsive.
Usability is improved significantly, with many slick user interface improvements especially for managing applications on the task bar. Many users will be relieved to know that the learning curve is shallow though – the user-interface isn’t such a departure from Windows Vista that you’ll be less productive for the days after upgrading.
Probably the biggest concern when upgrading is backwards compatibility: will it run the software and work with the hardware you already have. Unlike Vista, the answer seems to be yes.
As you might expect, Analyse-it is fully compatible. Office 2007 runs perfectly, as does Office 2003 so if you’re not ready for the Office 2007 Ribbon user-interface yet you won’t be forced to upgrade Office at the same time.
Generally it seems most applications released in the last few years will run without any problems. If you do have a particularly old Windows XP application that isn’t compatible, Windows 2007 Professional/Ultimate Editions offer Windows XP mode, a very slick feature whereby you can run an application in a virtual, yet fully fledged, Windows XP environment. The application runs in a true Windows XP environment, yet appears like any regular application as part of the Windows 7 desktop, on the start menu, and on the taskbar.
Finally, Windows 7 offers better out-of-the-box support for the myriad of PC hardware available, so in most cases you won’t be forced to search the internet for suitable hardware drivers.
To check the compatibility of any of your existing hardware or software, before upgrading, take a look at the Windows 7 Compatibility Center .