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Microsoft Windows 7

Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 7 was released on Thursday October 22, 2009. The buzz around the Internet and traditional media outlets has been overwhelmingly positive, even a week later. Links: Windows 7 reviews still shine one week in, Review: Windows 7 Is Microsoft’s Best Yet, Windows 7 review: like Vista, but good.
As a user who has installed the public beta and the release candidate, I can honestly say that this is the best version of Windows that Microsoft has built and released to date. And you would expect that to be the case, particularly after the disaster that was Windows Vista.
I should mention that I have installed these versions of Microsoft Windows 7 on my Macbook Pro, using Boot Camp, and mostly since I purchased my Mac I have been running Mac OS X (Snow Leopard) exclusively. I have booted Windows 7 using VMware Fusion whenever I wanted to play with it.
Windows 7 is pretty fast, and the Microsoft Security Essentials anti-virus suite runs very nicely. It is light weight and generally stays out of the way while protecting the system.
There are many specifics to be aware of with this release. First, if you have a capable 64-bit machine, you should definitely install the 64-bit version of Windows 7. It has the ability to run faster than its 32-bit counterpart, while utilizing 4 GB+ of memory. The 32-bit version tops out at 3 GB. Also, if you have at least Windows 2000 (XP and Vista included), you are eligible to buy the upgrade version of the operating system, and use it to do a clean install, using what Microsoft refers to as the “Custom” installation option. A fresh install is always a best-practice way to install Windows, and Windows 7 is no exception. Backup all your data (to an external hard drive or USB thumb drive) and have your installation media available for applications like Microsoft Office ready for your fresh installation. You can then use the excellent Ninite to install all the freebie applications from the web: Firefox, VLC, Microsoft Security Essentials, iTunes, etc.
While I don’t think that Windows 7 is bulletproof or the best operating system ever, it is the best Windows OS to date. If you are running the 8 year old Windows XP, you will be better off on Windows 7. Vista users will also be better off on 7, since it runs about 20 – 30% faster on the same hardware.
What do you think? Is Windows 7 worth it? Will you upgrade soon? Let me know.

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