Windows 7

Back in August I wrote about buying a new computer. Basically,
the article was about what to look for in hardware
specifications. All that information is still valid however
there are some additional things to consider.

The August article did not take fully into account Microsoft’s
new operating system, Windows 7. Windows 7 supersedes Vista.
I don’t particularly recommend buying a Vista computer at this
point unless you can get a very good deal. Windows 7 runs
faster and is stable for a new operating system. If you are
thinking of upgrading, plan on buying a new computer
particularly if you have a Windows XP computer. Windows XP
is NOT directly upgradeable. If you have a Windows Vista
computer, that version is directly upgradeable. For experienced
users, download and install the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor from
the following site:

This free program will scan your installed software programs
and hardware for any compatibility problems. Run it before you
decide to purchase or upgrade to Windows 7 on your present

There are some other hardware considerations to think about. You
will see dual core (mentioned in the August article) and quad
core processors when you shop. Dual core processors are the
mainstream – for now. However, quad core processors are becoming
more popular and will eventually take over the dual core market.
For now there is little software available that can take advantage
of quad core processing. If you want to plan for the future, or
do video editing, or are a gamer, then definitely get a quad core
computer. Then there is a choice between a 32 bit and a 64 bit
version of Windows 7. Clearly there are very few programs that can
take advantage of 64 bit processing. Here again the gamers are
driving the 64 bit market. If you don’t play Farcry 2 or do serious
video editing I recommend purchasing a 32 bit version of Windows 7
for a new computer. There can be problems running 32 bit programs
on a 64 bit version of Windows 7 including a slight slow down in
speed along with a potentially more serious problem of your
printer/scanner not working with a 64 bit Windows 7 computer. What
you will see in stores is a 64 bit dual core hardware processor
matched to a 32 bit version of Windows 7. That’s a good combination
and would make a fine choice. For power users a quad core 64 bit
processor matched to a 64 bit version of Windows 7 would also be a
fine choice if you need the additional processing power.

Now, for a downside of Windows 7. For some unknown reason
Microsoft decided to remove their email program from their
operating system. That means no Outlook Express (XP) or
Windows Mail (Vista) email program is installed. This will
not affect you if you use Web mail (Internet Explorer, AOL,
or MSN) to access your email. However, they have a new program
that will substitute for those two. It’s called Windows Live
Mail. It’s free but you must download it from this
site: then install it.

Please review the August article on buying a new PC on our
Hershey’s Mill web site at: Click on
Tech Tips, then on General Computer Tips, and finally on
Computer – Buy a New Computer.

If you are a beginner in computing this article may not be for
you. However, I invite beginners to come and ask questions
because we touch on all levels of experience. We meet the
2nd Tuesday evening of each month at 7:00 PM upstairs in
the Community Center.

Don Trauger – Kennett