How to see if your system is ready for Windows 7
Windows 7 is getting a lot of press for being Microsoft’s best OS in some time, even at this early phase of the game. It has the possibility to have the widespread acceptance and acclaim that Windows XP still has and Vista never really garnered. So if you’re a current Windows user and thinking about upgrading from either XP or Vista (or any earlier version for that matter) you should do a little preliminary work to see if your system can handle 7 or if you’ll need some upgrades.
To do this, download the Windows 7 upgrade advisor tool and run it on your system. It will check your software to see if your current versions are compatible and see if your hardware meets the minimum requirements. This is an important first step, especially if your system is a little older. When I ran it on mine, it discovered that one of my utility suites, TuneUp 2008, isn’t compatible and that my scanner is not currently supported.
You should also note that 7 does not have the ability to dual-boot with XP, so you will need to do a complete clean install. You can dual boot with Vista, but with 7 having the capability to run everything Vista does, why would you?
If you need more RAM, you’re lucky in that RAM prices are relatively low right now. However if you’re maxed out and the advisor says you need more, you have a problem. Ditto for your processor: if you need a processor upgrade and your current motherboard can’t handle anything greater than what you have, you may want to consider a major upgrade or a new system. If you simply must have Windows 7 now, your system hardware can’t run it, and your budget is small, you should consider getting a new PC from a vendor with 7 pre-installed. As much as I hate to say it, this can save you money over a major hardware upgrade.
You may also want to download the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC), which will allow you to test the OS on a time-limited basis on your current system. Just be aware that if doing so you should do a clean install for best performance and fewer problems.
And make sure that if you’re upgrading your current system with Windows 7 that your important files, photos, email settings etc. are all backed up or on a separate partition.
Finally, if someone would like to send me a copy of Windows 7 to install and comment on, please let me know!!