Windows 7 – To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade?
Reviews of Windows 7 have been largely positive, and there seems to be much greater acceptance of it over its predecessor Vista. However, even with all the acclaim, Stephen Vaughan-Nichols over at ComputerWorld finds seven reasons not to take the Windows 7 leap and either stick with XP, Linux or Apple’s OSX.
I’m a relatively frequent upgrader, but don’t change my OS very often. Whenever I do upgrade, I typically follow a three-factor approach to whether or not to upgrade:
- A – Affordability: How much is the upgrade going to run? $25? $250? $0?? Can I get similar features of the upgrade through cheaper means, like a 3rd party freeware app?
- C – Comfort: How comfortable am I with the current version of whatever I’m running? If I like the current one and the newer version may be harder to use or in some way make my experience worse (like using too many resources), is it worth the hassle? Or do I hate what I’m running now and am willing to change?
- N – Necessity: Do I need to upgrade to get certain features, such as increased RAM capacity, or because my software version is no longer supported?
As you can imagine there are many permutations of these three factors. When considering your individual situation, you’ll find that one jumps out at you as being significant. So here’s some common scenarios many upgraders find themselves in and possible solutions. For this example, we’ll presume you’re running Vista’s Home Basic 32 bit version.
- +A +C -N: You have the money to upgrade but are comfortable with what you have and don’t really need any extra functionality. In this case a wait-and-see approach is fine. If you find later that you may need it, take the leap.
- -A +C +N: You like what you have but want to run more, like the Aero interface, but can’t afford it. Here your best bet may be to find a 3rd party application that will do the trick. There are many add-ons on the web that add a lot of eye candy and extra functionality (like WindowBlinds) and many are free (like RocketDock), so browse around and see what fits your need and your budget.
- +A -C +N: You are ready to jump ship from Vista and need extra functionality like increased RAM support that Vista’s 32 bit version can’t give (it has a 4 gig limit). In this case, an upgrade to 7 would again be in your best interest. If you’re fed up completely with Microsoft and can afford it, consider going the Mac route. Consider your investment though, as your Windows software will be useless and you’ll have a learning curve ahead of you.
- -A -C +N: This is the same as the previous situation but you really can’t afford to jump to either 7 or OSX. Ever considered Linux? While not for everyone, Linux offers a very stable operating system – and it’s free as in beer. Another great feature is that many Linux distributions offer the ability to be run off of a CD or DVD without installing it on your system, so you really can test drive it without any commitment. The most popular iteration right now for home users is Ubuntu, but there are multiple flavors out there right now. Go to Distrowatch.com to investigate Linux distributions and see what may work for you.
I hope this makes your upgrade choices easier and more clear. You may now stop chewing your fingernails.