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Windows 7: Get your system ready for a Windows 7 upgrade

04 Oct 2009   #1
Night Hawk

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Get your system ready for a Windows 7 upgrade

Windows Secrets Newsletter Issue 216 2009-10-01


Get your system ready for a Windows 7 upgrade

By Scott Spanbauer

Removing unneeded applications and making sure your hardware devices will work with Windows 7 are good things to do before you purchase and install the new operating system.

A merciless approach ruthlessly excising software clutter prior to the OS upgrade will help ensure that the process goes smoothly.

With Windows 7's official release to consumers just weeks away, you may be champing at the bit to upgrade your existing system. If you choose to install Win7 on an old Vista machine, however, a wise precaution is to clear out some of the clutter the machine has collected over the years.

First, determine which version of Windows 7 is best for your needs. In his July 16
Top Story, WS contributing editor Woody Leonhard examines the various Win7 editions. He concludes that, for most people, the less-expensive Home Premium version is a better choice than either Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate.

(Note that Windows 7 Starter Edition is available only preinstalled on netbooks. Woody's
June 4 Top Story discusses the design limitations Microsoft is placing on netbooks running Windows 7 Starter.)

Once you've selected a Windows 7 version, download and run the beta of Microsoft's Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, which you'll find on the company's
Get Windows 7 page. The utility will indicate whether there are known Windows 7 compatibility problems with any devices on your PC. If so, the advisor may even suggest how to resolve the problem.

Microsoft's page states that systems running Vista will usually have no problem moving to Windows 7. Conversely, if you're currently using XP or any other operating system, the company says you should "experience Windows 7 on a new PC." That may be good advice, but I'm the kind of guy who likes to find out for myself rather than take Microsoft's word for it.

To be sure, many (most?) Windows 7 hardware and software incompatibilities won't become known until after the OS ships on Oct. 22. This means you should take the advisor's results at this point with a grain of salt.

The current beta version of the advisor is available only in English. Also, using the page requires that you share information about your system with Microsoft, though the company promises that "no information will be used to identify or contact you."

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