Our recent Top 10 Windows 7 features article on V3.co.uk prompted quite a few responses from readers, with several asking why we didn't compare Microsoft's new version of Windows with XP, as this is the operating system most people will currently be using.
That article was actually a light-hearted look at what we like about Windows 7, now that the code will soon be available, but if you want a brief opinion on moving up from XP, read on.
Firstly, Windows 7 is much less resource-heavy than Windows Vista, but it still requires a minimum 1GHz processor, 1GB memory and at least 16GB free space on your hard drive.
This level of hardware is easily surpassed by just about any PC bought within the last couple of years, but if you have been clinging onto XP since before Vista was launched, you're probably better off investing in a new box with Windows 7 rather than installing it on your existing system.
Secondly, how does Windows 7 compare with XP? Well, as several comments to our article pointed out, Windows 7 is much closer to Vista, both under the hood and in its user interface.
But don't let that put you off. With Windows 7, Microsoft has addressed most of the things that were really annoying about Vista - such as its sluggish performance and the pop-up nag prompts - then added in some neat extras as well. This is why many experts regard Windows 7 as "Vista done right".
On the other hand, if you have held off from upgrading to Vista because of compatibility problems with software you are running on XP, then Windows 7 isn't going to solve those problems. As just pointed out, it is based on the same core code as Vista.
Microsoft currently has a beta release out of a tool called Windows XP Mode that offers Windows 7 users an XP virtual machine in which to run any problem applications. However, this requires even more memory (2GB recommended) and only works with AMD or Intel processors that have hardware support for virtualisation. It is unlikely to deliver a satisfactory experience for playing games.
That said, I've been running Windows 7 on a laptop ever since the first beta was released, with one or two applications that were written for XP, and encountered no problems at all.
If you want my personal opinion, Windows 7 is a worthy successor to XP, although it may take a short while for upgraders to get used to where some things are in the new user interface.
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