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Is your computer ready for Windows 7?

A few years ago when Microsoft released Windows Vista, I was pretty quick to install the upgrade. I just like new software. But I was also pretty quick to uninstall it and moved back to Windows XP. However, those who have worked with pre-release editions of the new Windows 7 have reported that Microsoft's newest operating system upgrade, due to be released to the public on October 22, 2009, should be much smoother.

The best news is that our Legacy Family Tree software has already been tested and is compatible and ready to work with Windows 7.

New features in Windows 7

The new features and screenshots of Windows 7 look impressive. Here's a summary:

  • Desktop: introducing improved taskbar previews, bigger icons, pinning, and creative ways to personalize
  • HomeGroup: takes the headache out of home networking, so it's easier to share files and printers
  • Jump Lists: speedy access to your favorite pictures, songs, websites, and documents
  • Snap: a quick (and fun) new way to resize and compare windows on your desktop
  • Windows Live Essentials: must-have software for your PC - free! Get Mail, Photo Gallery, and other favorites
  • Windows Search: at least, searching your PC is as simple as searching the web
  • Performance improvements: it's designed to sleep and resume quicker, be less memory hungry, and spot USB devices faster
  • Full 64-bit support: Windows 7 makes the most of powerful 64-bit PCs, the new desktop standard
  • Power management: new power-saving features are designed to help laptops run longer
  • Easier wireless networking: Windows 7 gets you online in fewer clicks
  • Windows Media Center: watch, record, and pause live TV (additional hardware required)
  • Windows Touch: pair Windows 7 with a touch-sensitive PC and you won't always need a keyboard or mouse
  • Many more new features

For a complete list of features, tours, and videos, click here.

Is your computer ready for Windows 7?

Windows 7's system requirements are:

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

If you're not sure what all that means, you can run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. It's a small download (6.3 MB). After installing it, the advisor will perform some quick tests on your computer to see if it meets the upgrade requirements. It will let you know if there's anything that would need attention. For my computer, the advisor stated that

"you'll need to perform a custom installation of Windows 7 and then reinstall your programs. Make sure to back up your files before you begin."

Since I currently use Windows XP, it appears that the upgrade to Windows 7 will take a bit of effort. First, I'll need to backup all of my files, including pictures, email, genealogy files, etc. Fortunately my computer already does this automatically every day. After installing Windows 7, then I'll need to first reinstall all of my software, then copy all of my files back to the appropriate directories. So it will take a little time, but I like to do this every year or so anyways so I have a "fresh installation".

Click here to download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor software.

Compare XP, Vista, and 7

For a comparison of Windows XP, Vista, and 7, click here.

What are your thoughts?

Experienced computer users usually wait a little while to install newly-released software while the kinks/bugs get worked out. What are you going to do?


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Super information and ugh....to have to reinstall software....ugh! So happy to read that Legacy 7.0 will work with Windows 7.0---interesting numbers!

I'm going to wait a while -- maybe even until the first service pack -- because the upgrade from Win XP is a lot of work.

I just bought a new laptop with Vista pre-installed (which - Shock! Horror! - I actually like) but I can get a free upgrade to Windows 7, so I'm also very interested to see what other people think of it.

Will all the licensing numbers have to be reentered for each software application?

Even though I have pre-ordered i7 to take advantage of a very low price I won't be installing it until the first bug fixes are available. I will be installing over Vista 32 bit. I have used this Vista just after service pack 1 was annouced and have not problems caused by Vista. I have my ideas on why a lot of people have had trouble with Vista but this is not the forum for that issue.

I cannot wait, but will to see how it goes. I have had severe problems with VISTA and no one knows why. They range from freezing mid stream requiring a cold boot, to slow network access on a fast home network, to not being able to print double sided on two HP printers (hours with HP support on this one, and both machines did just fine in W2K environment), to not being able to run Quicken at all. I have the professional version. I have also had severe problems with Outlook 2007 and Word 2007, but not with Excel or Access. Go figure. I am glad to hear the Leagcy will work fine as it constitutes about 5 per cent of my computing tasks. But printing reports double sided would be so nice. Now this is a manual process. Eureka, I say.

Before you upgrade to yet another operating system, consider it well and ensure hardware and software compatibility. I bought a new computer about a year and a half ago with Vista Ultimate. My existing printers lost most of their capabilities because the existing software/drivers included with them did not work in VIsta and I couldn't make them backward compatible sufficiently to enable them to work. As a result, I lost some benefits on one printer and replaced a second otherwise good but incompatible printer. Software that worked well in Windows XP Pro did not work in Vista. HP didn't rework their software to the levels of Windows XP for Windows Vista. I'll wait until new software and hardware are produced specifically with Windows 7 in mind. That should make it into late 2010 or later.

I upgraded my Vista Pro to Windows 7 RC1 (Ultimate) and was reasonably happy. A while later something went wrong, and I ended up having to do a ground up install. A pain having to reinstall all software, serial #'s etc, but it's been very stable. Only one program doesn't work -- Family Tree Maker 2009, and they aren't supporting it on Windows 7 (they just say "buy 2010, it probably works" ). Legacy 7 seems flawless -- well done!!

Just want to make sure I read you correctly: you're going from Windows XP to Windows 7? I have both, i.e., Windows XP (laptop) and Windows Vista (PC), it would be nice to leap from XP to 7 if it's possible! Will Windows 7 be necessary for Legacy 7.5?

Ed - yes, I'm going from XP to 7. No, Windows 7 won't be necessary for Legacy 7.5.

Ed, I am a Technet member so have been running the release version of Windows 7 since September. I upgraded my wife from XP to 7 running Legacy. No problems to report. Using HP printer and Microtek scanner. For me the upgrade was simple, because I do not wipe out the XP drive, I buy a new hard drive, install 7 on it, install the apps. My old XP drive is "D" drive and I just copy data and other stuff I need from the old drive to the new one when I need it. Only other suggestion is to support UNC naming conventions in data file path selections so you do not have to map drives on a network. Other that that, Legacy is GREAT SOFTWARE! BTW I largely skipped VISTA except for compatiblity testing. Windows 7 is VERY stable, no need to wait for a service pack, and it far superior to XP (and Vista). Jack

I have a Vista Home Premium laptop, only 6 months old - terrible problems (especially with Quicken, printers and broken System Restore) and I'm desperate to move on.
Just downloaded the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, but it fails with "Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor ran into a problem scanning your devices ... we need to be able to scan your devices to determine if your computer is capable of running Windows 7. Please let us know about this problem." Same result whether all devices are attached or removed.
I'm seriously thinking of scrubbing this machine and investing in Windows XP - it's reliable, and compatible with my printers and fave programs.

I have been using Windows 7 release Candidate for about 4 weeks. I upgraded from XP, doing a clean install on anew hard drive, ;leaving my old XP installation intact so i could dual boot. Slowly I have been migrating applications over. A few don't work. Nero 7, Partition Magic 8 & Xara menu maker which eventually I managed to install using safe mode. My computer is now much faster, windows 7 is stable & a big improvement over the Vista on my laptop. its a a worthwhile upgrade even if going direct form Xp is a hassle.

Upgrading to Windows 7 from XP will take much effort but the good news is your PC will operate much better & faster. Over time unless you really get rid of junk files a clean install is a good thing. Sorta like putting a new engine in a car. Your PC will then operate the way it did when you took it out of the box. When I upgrade from Vista I will still do a clean install. Many folks when using Vista did not update their drivers. Also when reinstalling your software be alert to those that want to be in your "Start Up". They will really slow your PC and sometimes give you those annoying nag screens such as HP constantly telling me "Your Printer Is Ready", etc .etc

I had the same problems described by Jim Alexander, in Vista, perfectly good all in one HP printers not working properly as they did with XP etc. I'm going to wait until the service pack comes out and the bugs are worked out.

I've been running Windows 7 for about a month now.
They have fixed quite few minor glitches already,
by issuing updates to the system. Be SURE to have an internet connection and do updates as part of the installation process. It's great to hear that Legacy works with Windows 7. I was about ready to try installing it using the Vista instructions but was a liitle hesitant to do so. I will probably install and update next time I have enough free time to do so uninterrupted.

I tested Legacy 7 (and other programs) with Windows 7 on a high resolution monitor (1920 x 1200). It coped fine apart from when I used Windows 7's scale text and icons to 125% (or more) Some of the text then went outside the visible area.

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