Ready for Microsoft Windows 7?

Microsoft's new version of Windows, simply called Windows 7, was released in October 2009. The new version requires quite a bit more horsepower than Windows XP to run well; similar to the jump from Windows 98 or Me to Windows XP back in 2002. Windows 7 has the same system requirements as Windows Vista; but for most people, runs a little better on lower-end systems than Vista does.

There are many different versions of Windows 7, ranging in price from $199-$319 for a "full" version, and $119-$219 as an upgrade. Business customers can choose a version that's only available through volume licensing programs and there is also a stripped-down version that is only available on new low-cost netbooks.

Upgrade to Windows 7?

Users with a valid license for Windows XP or Vista are eligible for Windows 7 upgrades, however a format-and-reinstall is required for Windows XP. Vista users can simply upgrade their existing Windows installation.

For the most part, computers and hardware sold at retail in the last 3-4 years will work with Windows 7. Most Vista-compatible hardware is also compatible with Windows 7.

But, if your computer is at least 3 years old and has Windows XP, your best method of obtaining Windows 7 may be to purchase it preinstalled on your next new computer. Upgraders with older hardware may run into compatibility issues or require costly hardware upgrades to run Windows 7.

Our Suggested Hardware Requirements for Microsoft Windows 7.

If you want to run Windows 7, we recommend:

  • 2.0 ghz or faster, dual core processor with at least 1-2MB L2 cache. A processor supporting hardware virtualization is required to take advantage of "XP Mode" found in Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate.
  • a minimum of 2 GB system RAM.
  • 256 MB video card supporting DirectX version 9 (or higher) in hardware. Non-integrated video cards are best, but some newer integrated solutions from ATI, Intel and Nvidia run Windows 7's new user interface pretty well. Gamers will want a newer card powered by ATI Radeon or Nvidia Geforce that supports DirectX version 10.1 (contact us for recommendations).
  • Allow a minimum of 40 GB on a fast hard drive to install, run and update Windows 7.
  • a DVD burner, second hard drive or external storage device for backups.

These minimum recommended requirements for Windows 7 also apply to Windows Vista

Yes, these are higher than the published requirements, but for the best Windows 7 experience and optimum performance, it is necessary to exceed the requirements on the box. Microsoft intentionally understates system requirements to give the illusion that their software will run on more hardware. Think back to how 'well' Windows XP ran on its official published minimum specifications, which included a 233 mhz processor and a whopping 64 MB of system RAM.

A DVD-ROM drive (or DVD burner) is required for installation as Windows 7 ships only on DVD media. A broadband internet connection is highly recommended due to the size and expected frequency of security updates.

Upgraders with Windows XP must back up their data and ensure they have install media and keys for programs they would like to install in Windows 7. Windows 7 requires a clean format-and-install when installing on a Windows XP system.

Windows 7 ships with Internet Explorer 8. If you need an older version for compatibility with existing web sites and applications, there is no way to install IE6 or IE7 on Windows 7. Microsoft's solution is to provide time-limited Virtual PC images with those older browsers.

Still On the Fence?

Give us a call. We can help you decide whether Windows 7 is right for you, or right for you right now.