So, you made it through the unfortunate introduction of Windows 8 and the forced retirement of Windows XP and, one way or another, have ended up with a Windows 7 machine. Good for you, but you may have jumped out of the XP frying pan and into the Windows 7 fire.
Is Windows 7 a good OS?
Basically, yes, it is. So was Windows 8.1, when it was finally introduced, but marketing decisions made that a dead end choice. Windows 7 addresses many of the problems with the old XP OS and includes many of the improvements touted for Windows 8 (except for the user interface that made so many XP users lose their minds).
It is lean, fast, handles the newer hardware, has good security and performs cloud synchronization well. So far, so good.
The Windows 10 stalker:
If you are running a Windows 7 or 8.1 system, you have no doubt seen the message pop up from time to time informing you that there is a reserved copy of Windows 10 just waiting out there for you, which you can access at the touch of a button with the greatest of ease. That last part is actually true, as many Win 7 users have accidentally initiated the Win 10 update, and so they are now part of the world of Windows 10.
If you are one that has retained your Windows 7 integrity, but you are wondering if Windows 10 is may be a better way to go, here are a few things to consider.
Reasons for keeping your Windows 7:
- It takes less RAM: In benchmark tests, Windows 10 takes nearly twice as much RAM to run as Windows 7. Now RAM is fairly cheap and is often on sale, so this is not a big issue unless you are running a very old machine which is already maxed out. But not a big issue is still an issue, so if you are not in the mood for beefing up your rig, upgrading may be something to consider next year.
- It runs older software: The list of XP compatible programs that will not run on Windows 10 not huge but there are some programs that will not make the jump. This is especially true of legacy applications that may have been developed for your business, and there have been reports of games that refuse to launch when installed on a Windows 10 machine. In most cases, you can use the Windows compatibility mode to run older apps that are giving you trouble on the new machine. However, if you have a mission critical piece of software that you need to keep on running, you might want to test it in Windows 10 before you sign off on your free upgrade.
- User Interface: Windows 7 is closer to the classic XP user interface than Windows 10, which features a combination start menu and active tiles screen, giving you what Microsoft considers the best of both worlds.
Reasons for taking the plunge into Windows 10:
- General Support: Free support for Windows 7 has already been discontinued. Microsoft will send out security updates for the foreseeable future but any other support will require a paid subscription fee.
- Hardware and Data Support: As new systems are developed, the base code of Windows 7 will gradually become less able to work properly.
- New Applications: As new apps are developed for Windows 10, developers may not make the extra effort to make them backwards compatible with Windows 7.
- New Features: Windows 10 has access to new data and application features that are not available to Windows 10 users:
- Universal Apps: With 8.1 and later 10, Microsoft introduced the Microsoft store that allows you to purchase apps that can be run on your PC as well as Microsoft compatible tablets and phones.
- Cortana: With Windows 10, Microsoft introduced an integrated voice or keyboard activated virtual assistant that is designed to help you make the most out of using Windows. While the early versions don’t do much more than a Google search when it comes to answering questions, Cortana is able to launch apps and do basic functions within the Windows OS. While still a bit primitive, Cortana is sure to be developed as an answer to the other assistants being marketed by Google and Apple.