This past August, I had been conducting testing and research for a practice on the use of Windows 7. It was timely, as Investment News at the time had also covered the forthcoming new operating system (OS) from Microsoft.
I had been using Windows 7 for about 30 days on my own evaluation PC when I commenced the testing in August - and have continued its use through the public release almost two weeks ago. I have been pleasantly surprised - which could be considered significant since all of my primary machines are Macs.
It has always been a practice of mine to maintain a Windows-based PC as a secondary machine and actually am fond of both platforms. I just want my machines to work efficiently, reliably and securely. I converted a Dell Pentium 4 3.0 GHz computer from Windows XP Pro to Windows 7.
I have 3 GB RAM installed and a 512 MB discrete graphics card, an 80GB hard drive and use a 22” LCD monitor. I also run a Lightscribe enabled DVD-RW which works fine under Windows 7. The performance has been totally acceptable to me. One caveat for those of you with similar machines to mine – I added the separate graphics card specifically to increase performance. If you have integrated graphics on a Pentium 4 – I would recommend the upgrade ($59 for me) before running Windows 7 (this helps with the Aero graphics interface).
The biggest benefits have come from improved handling of drivers and increased memory and system tray resources management. For example, for this PC my peripherals include a Logitech Webcam 9000, an Epson V100 Photo scanner and an HP DeskJet printer.
All were discovered and accepted the driver software I already had downloaded during the XP Pro days (which were all XP/Vista drivers). The overall system performance and any resources tied up with pre-loaded background applications (the lower right hand system tray) are managed much more efficiently. I even find the response of opening, closing and minimizing/maximizing applications is snappier.
I was even able to load my favorite utilities such as Dropbox, Evernote, RoboForm and Skype. The only issue I have had to date is my existing PC anti-virus suite did not fully support (in August 2009) Windows 7 (CA Security). I opted to load Panda Anti-Virus Pro and have since purchased it.
For those of you leveraging common web-based tools in our industry there are really no major surprises. Some of the tools I use that have worked as expected without issues (using Internet Explorer 8, which is native to Windows 7):
(Windows 7 is in short - a massive service pack to Vista - with a lot of the same underlying structure. Thus if something worked without an issue on Vista - it should in theory work with little or no disruption in Windows 7.)
If you run into an issue with Internet Explorer 8 with a site (i.e. perhaps a custodian or other web-based application) - try using the Compatibility Mode before becoming overly concerned. This shifts the browsers settings back into Internet Explorer 7 mode - which most every online presence has supported for some time.