At long last, Windows users can finally find an operating system they can call home.
Sure, we all remember Vista. It was bad, it was slow and it single handedly kept most people from upgrading their computers from the now ancient Windows XP.

My own experience with switching to Vista last semester was about on target with the rest of the world’s reaction. The constant bombardment of use access controls, asking me every time I wanted to do anything of any importance on the computer, the mess with getting the right drivers even at this time after launch and the amount of system resources used by Vista cause an immense amount of negative feedback that keep Windows users from upgrading. Vista became so hated that even non-computer people would often be able to tell me how horrible it was and why it was bad. That’s hatred if I’ve ever seen it.

So what of Windows 7? Was it able to come out of the gate and offer an improved version of Windows that finally gives people a reason to upgrade their older operating systems?
To be frank, yes and for a number of reasons.

While upgrading from XP to Vista had been quite an unenjoyable process, Microsoft has made the upgrade process very simple for Windows 7.

Most computers operating Vista can do a direct upgrade, with no need for a complete wipe of their hard drive or a loss of files or other programs. For other users, Microsoft has made an easy transfer program to allow for the movement of files between the operating systems.

Most important to me, however, was the cost of upgrading. Being a college student I wasn’t going to pay the 100 or so dollars for a normal Windows license. But Microsoft has offered many preorder deals, knocking the software down to an affordable $60, and discounts for students with a college e-mail address, bringing the price of upgrading for me down to a $30 gamble. Even if Windows 7 didn’t end up being all that it claimed to be, I figured I could take a risk at that heavy discount.

But what about the system itself? Nobody wants to throw money away, even if it is just $30.

Since upgrading to Windows 7, I have noticed performance and speed on all of my programs, a much improved start-up and shut-down time over the snail’s pace the Vista loaded at and even a noticeably longer battery life. Windows 7 just runs cleaner and faster than Vista, and that is probably the most important factor for people looking to upgrade.

And even having done a clean install of my computer, the driver problems and program incompatibilities that bothered Vista from day one have been nonexistent for me during my Windows 7 trial, allowing for almost no reasons not to finally ditch both Vista and XP.
Cosmetically, Windows 7 has also added several new features to the outside look. A new glowing Windows symbol greets the user at the start menu, and a new toolbar allows user to ‘pin” any program they want directly to it for easy access.

Also of note is the new Aero Peek feature, which allows users to peek behind all their open windows as well as the ability for users to move open windows to either side and have them arranged in an easy side-by-side viewing array.

Looking back, after the disaster that was Windows Millenium Edition, Microsoft answered with Windows XP. And while many people still cling to XP, Microsoft has created a user-friendly operating system that maybe one day will help people forget all about the Vista years.


Clark is a member of the class of 2012.



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