back to article Moving to Windows 7: Is it worth it?

Windows 7 may be prettier than XP; but does it really pay to ditch a working Windows XP network and replace it with Microsoft’s shiny new version? Every organisation is different, so there is no definitive answer, and migration is costly. That said, sticking with XP has costs as well. It is coming up to ten years old, and …


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  1. Duncan Hothersall
    Thumb Down


    "We are also beginning to see significant applications that do not work on XP, like Microsoft’s forthcoming Internet Explorer 9. Support is another issue, with Microsoft set to end extended support in April 2014."

    Surely this merely represents Microsoft deliberately forcing users to upgrade, as it always has? There are no reasonable reasons why IE9 shouldn't be engineered to work on XP, and Microsoft ending extended support is also a marketing decision.

    1. bobbles31

      You mean aside from...

      The need to refine and improve an underlying architecture and then make software that utilises said architecture.

      By that rationale, a modern Sat Nav should be engineered to work on a 60's era car (one with a Dynamo and not an Alternator). The point is it won't because cars don't have dynamos any more and engineering a modern device to work on a legacy architecture is just fallacy.

      1. Martin Usher


        A SatNav system will work fine with a dynamo. You may need a bit of tweaking to work it on a 6 volt system but then the in-car system is largely redundant since a decent phone does the same job (plus a whole lot more).

        Complex systems are made from a collection of relatively simple components. Once of the complaints people have about Microsoft is that they don't use this approach in the design of their systems; from the earliest days of MS-DOS they've used excessive complexity as a marketing tool, a way to corral and retain customers. They don't fool everyone; if you've got enough experience you can see the underlying mechanisms that they've appropriated, customized and so made their own. They're usually -- not always, but usually -- half-assed copies of standard mechanisms.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Not a problem ...

        Simply replace said dynamo with a modern alternator.

        What's yer problem with than? Some people want to hang on to their '60's classics and will pay handsomely to keep them within regs.

        Anyhow, such people still use proper maps. To hell with these satnavs of which you speak.

    2. whiteafrican

      @Duncan Hothersall

      "There are no reasonable reasons why IE9 shouldn't be engineered to work on XP, and Microsoft ending extended support is also a marketing decision."

      ... where to begin... OK, first up, there is a perfectly valid reason that IE9 shouldn't be made to work on XP - IE9 is designed to use elements of the OS and hardware to augment browsing, but XP just wasn't designed to run on modern hardware, which makes it harder for IE9 to work with. Plus, XP hasn't had a service pack in about 3 years. Security-wise, it is going to get harder and harder to justify spending resources on securing XP vulns AND Vista/7 vulns. Designing IE9 to support XP is simply not a good use of time or money.

      Second, Microsoft is in business to make money (unlike Apple, Google and Mozilla, who are clearly all just here to fill our lives with candyfloss and joy... obviously...). From a money-making perspective, it is perfectly reasonable of them to decide which of their products they will let you use with which other products. Apple does it too, and does it to a far greater degree (that's not an anti-Apple dig, just an observation).

      Third, it is perfectly valid for a company to stop extended support for a product that will be 2 (possibly 3) versions and FOURTEEN YEARS old by the time they drop it - particularly in the software world.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Age differences past adolescence...

        > but XP just wasn't designed to run on modern hardware

        This is just hilarious.

        The hardware that XP was shipped with 10 years ago is much the same as hardware it was shipped with recently or even hardware that's shipping now. Not that much has changed in the intervening time. Machines are much the same on the lowend. Even machines on the high end are not that different fundementally.

        Multiple cores, MMX/SSE, 64-bit, large memory, 3D acceleration, video playback acceleration?

        What exactly did you have in mind that's in XP-hardware that isn't in Win7-hardware?

        It's a WEB BROWSER we're talking about here, not Crysis.

        It's not like the beginning of the 90s versus the end of the 90s.

        1. Ammaross Danan


          "Even machines on the high end are not that different fundementally.

          Multiple cores, MMX/SSE, 64-bit, large memory, 3D acceleration, video playback acceleration?

          What exactly did you have in mind that's in XP-hardware that isn't in Win7-hardware?

          It's a WEB BROWSER we're talking about here, not Crysis.

          It's not like the beginning of the 90s versus the end of the 90s."

          ASLR for one. The method of sandboxing perhaps? An underpinning need for DirectX11 to run their DirectWrite calls? Perhaps jump lists and taskbar previews? There's a whole proverbial boatload of underlying APIs that only work (or work best) on Win Vista/7, DirectX10+ included, which doesn't run on XP either btw.

          Other, more hardware related things? SSDs for one. WinXP starts partitions at sector 63, whereas sector 64 is better, for alignment purposes to prevent unnecessary write amplification. Win7 can tell the difference between a "virtual core" and a real core in your CPU, and gives priority to the real cores, rather than what XP does of mindlessly chucking your Crysis process on a Hyperthread core rather than a "real" one. Great game performance there I bet....

          Perhaps you should actually research what underlying changes were made before laughing that XP could inherently support modern tech. It fails on many counts. Just try loading SATA drivers for WinXP without a floppy or slipstreaming the ISO. Yeah, thought not. Win7 allows drivers from USB if they're even necessary.

          1. Retro Man


            ""Perhaps you should actually research what underlying changes were made before laughing that XP could inherently support modern tech. It fails on many counts. Just try loading SATA drivers for WinXP without a floppy or slipstreaming the ISO""

            Loaded SATA drivers on MANY XP SP3 machines with no floppy or slipstreaming of the ISO required.

            Perhaps a little more research is needed . . . . .

          2. omegax

            XP service pack 3 has SATA support

            XP service pack 3 has inbuilt SATA support - no need for floppy or slipstreaming

    3. Code Monkey


      Regardless of what you think the reasons for not supporting IE9 are, the facts are XP doesn't support it. If that's important to your business you need to upgrade.

      I upgraded because the XP box I was using wasn't up to the demands I had of it. Eclipse was slow then upgrading to [recent] MS Office was the final nail in its coffin.

      Once I'd turned off Win7's more obnoxious graphics I actually like it. It's a tiny bit crashy but much better than XP. Updates are handled automatically and it does get out of the way and let me get on with my job (and commenting on these fora).

    4. Darryl

      Hear Hear

      and I want them to engineer it to work on Windows 2000, NT4, NT3, ME, 98, 95 and 3.1

      They can leave DOS 5 support for a later update

    5. G_C


      Don't worry about XP... it didn't work on Windows7 either... uninstalled...

  2. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Another option?

    A good article to cover the subject with less FUD than most.

    But my own preference, and it certainly won't suit all, is to make a VM of the working XP system and run that on a Linux host. No more hardware & activation issues for XP and you can segregate the software-useful but malware-vulnerable OS from the web/email facing part.

    Should you need IE6 for some God forsaken reason, set it up so the VM only has internal connectivity and won't route to the big bad world outside. Then use a proper browser on Linux, taking your pick of Firefox, Chromium, Opera (and obscure others).

    Also need Win7 for some application? Got packages that won't cooperate if installed together? Simply use a 2nd or 3rd VM solves that issue.

    1. A. Nervosa


      Yeah, and there's absolutely nothing long-winded, overly complicated and utterly unnecessary about that setup that might stop you doing a company wide-deployment of it.

      If you took that to the board as a realistic proposal two things would happen. The first is that they'd look at their calendars to make sure it wasn't April 1st and the second would be you getting laughed out of the building.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        No, that sounds perfectly reasonable. It's not long-winded to suggest to 'the board' that they can roll out VMs across their network by just copying a single drive image. Sounds pretty easy to me.

        A really easy way would be to run Win7 in a VM with XP support enabled (Win7 Pro/Ultimate only) to handle your legacy XP stuff. SIngle VM with a single OS and enhanced security.

    2. Martin Maloney

      Hear hear!

      Any one who gets onto the 'net with ANY version of Windows, regardless of browser version and email client, is asking for trouble.

      Running a Linux host with (a) virtual Windows machine(s) works. If you're accustomed to IE under Windows, then Firefox under Linux is a dead ringer. You couldn't ask for a better email client/organizer than Evolution; it's an Outlook clone, except safe.

      I run Linux Mint 9 LTS 64-bit as host. VirtualBox 4.x handles virtualization. They are both free. I set up 32-bit WinXP and 32-bit Win7 virtual machines, for running programs that require either. The only 'net access that the virtual machines get is for the monthly Windows updates and other updates, like Flash, Java, etc.

      This arrangement also facilitates my support of clients, regardless of whether they use WinXP or Win7.

      Regardless of your choice of platforms for host and virtual machines, check out VirtualBox. Even if you want to run Win7 as host and WinXP as virtual machine, use VirtualBox rather than Virtual PC.

  3. tony 33

    win7 backup

    i have had two laptops with win 7 on (both home premium) maybe other versions are different, but i doubt it

    after about two weeks of using the backup to a DVDrw it wont do it anymore

    no matter how much playing formatting etc you do, it just wont

    the DVD can be used for anything else, except backup then

    and with service pack 1 it still hasn't changed

    of course you can use another and another and another every 2 weeks and have a library of all the backups i guess

    maybe it is a feature !

  4. jake Silver badge


    I've been happily Redmond & Cupertino free for about 15 months. Both my bank balance and my digestion are better for it ... Try it, kiddies. There are alternatives out there. All mod cons & none of the drawbacks ... Even me DearOldMum and GreatAunt are Slackware users these days, not that they really understand it/why ... but then they have both been using telnet (now SSH) to access my email system for around a third of a century. It's all in the presentation ;-)

    1. AndrueC Silver badge


      ..and yet you still feel the need to take a cheap shot at the opposition. Fly away, penguin - this article is not for you.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        She just wants other people to hear the penguin gospel and lead a happier life.

    2. Rob Moir


      There really is nothing more tedious than an OS zealot. Except possibly one that adopts the patronising tones you seem to prefer.

      All hardware sucks and all software sucks, deal with it. I'm glad that you've found a solution that works for you but one size doesn't fit all...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Whatever indeed...

      Whatever the relative pros and cons of Win vs [INSERT OS HERE], if you fill an entire office/university/hospital/callcenter with non-Windows machines the average users will go utterly fucking mental at the brain overload.

      For better or worse, they want Office and IE and freecell - outisde of certain high tech companies they don't give a hoot about any of this, they just want what they're used to. You should be glad that MS are at least moving in the right direction.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Tathan Jones

        "outisde of certain high tech companies they don't give a hoot about any of this, they just want what they're used to."

        They won't like moving from XP to 7 then.

        1. Yag

          "They won't like moving from XP to 7 then."

          Actually, we still have some NT4 around here... But don't worry, there's plans to upgrade them to XP.

          I'm pretty sure I can also find some 3.11 if I look hard enough...

    4. jake Silver badge

      @ various commentards ...

      AndrueC writes:"..and yet you still feel the need to take a cheap shot at the opposition."

      It's a cheap shot to point out that an alternate methodology can be better/cheaper/faster? And please note that I'm not "opposition", rather I'm "let's get this done as easily and smoothly as possible, given current technology".

      "Fly away, penguin - this article is not for you."

      Whilst I do use Linux for (most) of my internal installed desktops, the backend systems are nearly all BSD ... and the public-facing systems are pretty much all eComStation. More to the point, why do you want my to "fly away"? What are you afraid of?


      It's not a matter of happier. It's a matter of just getting on with it. And what's with the assumed "she"? Grace Hopper is going to hit you right in the mouth when you get to the other side ...

      @Rob Moir: "There really is nothing more tedious than an OS zealot."

      Where, in mine, did I comment on my personal OS of choice?

      "Except possibly one that adopts the patronising tones you seem to prefer."

      Um-kay. Please note that I'm not an OS zealot. Why did you read that into mine? Are YOU an OS zealot? Am I putting a dent into your personal opinion?

      "All hardware sucks and all software sucks, deal with it."

      Agreed. In addition, all OSes suck, and all fanbois suck. And I'm a zealot?

      "I'm glad that you've found a solution that works for you but one size doesn't fit all..."

      Again, agreed. Am I still a zealot?

      @Tathan Jones: "For better or worse, they want Office and IE and freecell"

      All of which are far more trouble than they are worth, from both a business perspective and a sysadmin perspective. (You allow fucking GAMES on business computers? You are a part of the problem ...)

      "You should be glad that MS are at least moving in the right direction."

      Post proof or retract.

  5. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    "This is lighter weight and less risky than VPN"


    Yeah, right. Really. So you are going to hang a Windows new-shiny-now-its-secure-honest file sharing port out on the Internet, 'cos it's all fixed now?

  6. Gordon Barret

    forthcoming Internet Explorer 9

    "forthcoming" ? Nope - it's already out.

    There is no reason for an organisation to spend thousands (or more ?) upgrading all of it's PCs from XP to Windows 7, if the PCs and applications are currently working fine then there is no reason for them to "stop" working fine, no reason to justify all of that expense.

    And "XP fails to take full advantage of today’s hardware" just doesn't cut it - first of all if a PC had "todays hardware" then it would in all likelihood be a new PC that will have been bought recently with Windows 7 already installed on it, and I'm not aware of much hardware that Windows XP doesn't like, power management works fine with existing motherboards, I've only ever come across a couple of really old laptops where it didnt like the ACPM.

    And Duncan is quite correct - there is no genuine reason why IE9 couldn't work with XP unless it was "made" deliberately to NOT work with XP.

    1. copsewood
      Gates Horns

      hardware that XP doesn't like

      "and I'm not aware of much hardware that Windows XP doesn't like"

      I certainly am. My partner bought a new PC with Windows 7 about a year ago. She was intending to use Windows for a single legacy desktop publishing application as most of her work uses Linux Ubuntu. She previously used a dual boot Linux/XP system.

      Unfortunately her legacy application didn't run on Windows 7. So, having installed Linux on it as a dual boot I thought an XP downgrade installed onto the Windows 7 partition would solve this problem. Like hell it did.

      Result, entire Windows 7 and Linux system blown away, all partitions destroyed and beyond my understanding or capacity to recover them. Attempting to do a clean XP install on the now bare hardware failed, I think due to incompatibilities between XP and modern partition tables and BIOS. I've installed dual boot setups dozens of times previously, and never seen such a complete mess. Just as well we keep good backups...

      When I finally got her system working as intended this involved using Linux as her main system, with Windows XP running as a virtual machine using VirtualBox and Samba to share some disk space between the 2 OSs. She much prefers not having to reboot in order to use her Windows applications. As she does all of her networking on Linux, Windows insecurity problems don't affect her which saves on the cost of antivirus.

  7. JDX Gold badge

    There are no reasonable reasons why IE9 shouldn't be engineered to work on XP

    Speaking as a software developer with experience in the technologies IE9 uses for acceleration (DirectX), there are. The more valid question is whether DX10 should have been supported on XP , DX10 dropped XP support years ago and that's what IE9 uses.

    FF4 for Windows uses DX10 where possible but also supports DX9 and thus provides hardware support on XP... IE9 is built linked with DX10 and therefore simply doesn't run on XP.

    For a company as obsessed with backwards compatibility as MS this is rather unusual.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      What are MS playing at?

      I agree that not backporting some form of IE 9 to XP is a mystery, hardware acceleration is irrelevant. MS is touting its new browser to all and sundry only for them to find out that it "doesn't run on their system". A system which will be supported until 2014... So, the alternatives are for safer browsing are: shell out for software and possibly hardware upgrade or install a free browser. IE 9 is not much of a reason to install Windows 7

      Back to the article - nice overview. From what I've seen of Windows 7 I think most Windows users will like it.

  8. Torquemada
    Thumb Down

    Isn't this article about a year too late?

    Next week - MS Office - is it any good?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Most corporates won't look at an OS or other major software, until it's got to service pack 1. Service pack one is just out, so this article is bang on time.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Not really ..

    It is indeed quite polished looking, but I don't see how it is going to speed up my browsing/emailing/video watching habits ...

    > Direct Access, which requires Windows 7 and at least one instance of Server 2008 R2, lets users connect to file shares across the internet and without VPN ..

    SSH + IP tunneling ?

    > When support is needed, Remote Assistance in Windows 7 is easier for non-technical users to enable, and more resilient than in earlier versions of Window

    I don't want some techie spying on my screen. Is there any way you can tell when someone is accessing my screen through Remote Assistance.

    > A related feature is thumbnail previews, which give users visual information when selecting between running instances, just by using the mouse. This is quicker and more intuitive than cycling through applications with Alt-Tab

    Except when you're using virtual desktops under Ubuntu ..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You sound like a linux user just trying to find fault:

      Windows uses CIFS, that's just how it's done, there is now a server option which allows end users to easily move files out of their local environment, presumably under centralised control, and you complain that it's not SSH? Even if SSH were the right tool, it's going to be too complicated for your average desk jockey.

      If you don't want someone to assist you ("spy" on you) just don't send any remote assist requests, and don't accept any. There is an icon that tells you you're being watched as well, do you really think that they didn't think of this?

      As for virtual desktops in Ubuntu, it's a nice feature, but it's not a task swapper, it's err, virtual desktops - each desktop still has multiple apps running on it and you don't get a nice image of what each app is doing at that time.

      Now I really like Windows, but I also really like Linux, Unix and Mac OS, this trying to slag off other OSes by people who don't use/understand them is wearing very thin indeed.

    2. Rob Moir

      You need to remember something

      **I don't want some techie spying on my screen. Is there any way you can tell when someone is accessing my screen through Remote Assistance.**

      If you're at work then it isn't _your_ screen.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Reply to post: Not really ..

      "I don't want some techie spying on my screen. Is there any way you can tell when someone is accessing my screen through Remote Assistance."

      Yes, there is.

      First, there are two ways to get Remote Assistance: either the user can request it directly or an admin can initiate it. Obviously, if the user initiates a request, he knows it's coming. If an admin initiates the session, the user will see a pop-up window on their screen saying that an administrator has requested to see your screen. The user can then choose whether to accept the RA offer or not. If the admin wants to directly operate the mouse or keyboard, the he has to request that from the user as well.

      Second, once RA has been initated, the computer in question will have a Remote Assistance window pop-up. This window contains useful things like a chat box for the user and admin to talk to each other. It also has an icon at the top that displays the status of the connection, i.e. whether the admin is still connected.

      Third, since simply closing the RA window is enough to kick the admin off the computer, as long as you don't see it on your screen or in the taskbar, then noone is using Remote Assistance to access your computer.

      There are other, non-Microsoft solutions that aren't nearly so transparent about what the admin has access to though.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me fix that for you...

    'The biggest usability feature of Windows 7 is the taskbar, which both shows running applications and enables users to launch them.'

    should be

    'The biggest usability FUCK UP of Windows 7 is the taskbar, which both shows running applications and enables users to launch them.'

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Sort of agree

      I think the TB works fine but the previews do annoy me for some reason. Perhaps it's because I normally know what each icon is anyway. I hardly ever resort to Alt+Tab and for stacked items I'm happy to make the menu pop up.

  11. fredds
    Gates Horns


    Well Tim, that was a nice MS advert you produced, I hope they paid you well.

    "XP fails to take full advantage of today’s hardware in areas such as power management, graphics and multimedia." Why is that, one operating system rendering graphics with a video card, or playing noise through a sound card,is much the same as any other.

    IE9 won't work on XP, another reason to use firefox.

    Vista was not a step forward, it was, and is, a steaming pile of shite; have a look at this article.

    Win7 is a bit more shiny but it still has problems, and no real compelling reason to update.

    Bite the bullet, change to Ubuntu and use the money you save to train people on it; couple of hours should see them up to speed. They update every six months, for free:)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      So Tim is a corporate shill for doing a positive article about Windows.

      I take it that when a positive article about Ubuntu is written whoever wrote that will be a corporate shill too, or is that different?

    2. Rob Moir


      Your comment that a 6 monthly upgrade to any system is "free", especially as the article was clearly talking in the context of a business and not a home user, shows just how unqualified you are to have an opinion on this area.

      I'm glad you like ubuntu, but please be quiet while the grown ups are trying to have a discussion eh?

      1. JEDIDIAH

        You should follow your own advice.

        > I'm glad you like ubuntu, but please be quiet while

        > the grown ups are trying to have a discussion eh?

        Your house is made of glass.

        Business users will be dominated by concerns of obscure 3rd party apps. They will be fixated on vendor support. Therefore, the single most important factor here is what your app vendor supports. It doesn't matter if it's a $50 copy of WinDOS or a 60K copy of Oracle's clustered database. "it's the apps stupid"

        That said, I know small business users that found Office 2007 and Vista annoying enough that they considered defecting from Microsoft entirely. It was those obscure 3rd party apps (the sort you've likely never ever heard of) that kept them from doing so. When it comes to any upgrade, you have to first consider what your applications support and then whether or not you want to potentially break everything by adding new variables (changes) to the environment.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        wow ...

        "I'm glad you like ubuntu, but please be quiet while the grown ups are trying to have a discussion eh?"

        Its news to me that grown ups use Windows, so there you are.

        Patronising, much?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Businesses can't afford to upgrade every six months....

        In which case we'd be talking about LTS releases, or RHEL and CentOS for businesses.

  12. MeJ

    Xp till '14 for most...

    As a company we dumped XP as a principal desktop system for ourselves as soon as 7 came out. But we are a consultancy, and for most of our clients we'll be leaving them on XP until it is no longer supported. Why?

    - problems with vertical market software

    There's hundreds of special VM applications out there, for solicitors, EDM, accounting, design, electronics, - you name it, that won't work either under Windows 7 or Office 2008 or Win7/64 bit (thank you Sage). These are business-critical and until they are working there will be no change of OS.

    - problems with new tech

    XP install = 4GB, 7 install = 17GB, SSD = 60 GB. Which OS would you prefer?

    - problems with training

    Most people who claim to be computer literate mean that they can type a letter in Word 2000/3. Moving to 7/Office 2008 means a complete retrain. For zero gain, mind you.

    - costs

    Everything needs to be replaced. CBA says 'no'.

    OTOH, some new PC's from HP that are supposed to give downgrade rights do not have XP drivers. Really!

    So overall we'll wait 'till '14, when we will also need to replace the rest of the infrastructure as IP4 will be dying...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Only PHBs will sign up for the W7 ride in the big corps

      Yep, at my shop, about 2,000 desktops, we only moved wholesale to XP about 2 years ago from Win2000, fat chance of us dumping XP for at least another 2-3 years! Everytime there is a new desktop upgrade we have about 350 in-house written client-server apps to test ( some people will not let go of their old crap apps and no one will tell them they have to, so stupid! ) , it's not much fun for the Windows lads when the upgrade cycles start, they have my sympathy.

      Personally I use an Ubuntu desktop with double head for my admin work, the XP box just runs Outlook and the IE6 coded apps we are forced to use for the various documentation systems. I've asked about getting it VM'd only to be told it's not supported, in the meantime a bit more polar ice melts and we pay a little bit more to the leccy company! Only PHBs who have been given new W7 laptops will be bleating about everyone needing W7 on their desktop, the rest of us are happy if we come in and the apps are working OK.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IE9 ??

    So IE9 doesn't work on XP? Oh dear, the world will end.


    Our CAD doesn't work on Win7.

    Our MathCAD / Matlab don't work on Win7.

    Our internal programs (VB shudder!) have to be ported to

    We have to shift to Office 2010 on Win7 (even more cost!)

    Office 2010 refuses to open the crystal reports generated files by our PDM.

    Office 2010 is not compatible with the new document manager / paperless authorisation system.

    Yeah, having IE9 is really going to make up for all that.

    Basically it looks like everyone will have Win7 and Office 2010, but with Win2K servers acting as terminal servers and everything running on them. Oh and the terminal servers are going to have to be bought as well; is this the most expensive desktop refresh ever?

  14. CADmonkey

    I used to hate Windows 7

    I skipped Vista and stuck with XP64* before migrating last year. Now, having lived with it for several months, my hatred has transformed into a mild, teeth-grinding annoyance that surfaces several times a day.

    Obviously, Windows 7 (x64) is smoother and more stable, but I should be able to take that for granted, so no brownie points there. I've also turned off most of the eye-candy because I suspect A'desk, M'soft, Nvidia and Direct3D are still not 100% happy bedfellows and are more interested in bells and whistles than stabilty.


    - finding files is still a mystical art with unpredictable results (i use Agent Ransack for any serious digging)

    - autosorting is unavoidable

    - explorer tree-lists jump the folder you just expanded to the BOTTOM of the page (so you have to scroll down to see the sub-folders) (this can be fixed with some free app I can't remember the name of)

    - explorer doesn't sync the left-hand tree if you start clicking through folders in the right-hand window (fixable as above)

    - explorer refuses to open more than 16 files in one go (this is by design, and unchangeable)

    - If a measure of efficiency is to count the number of interactions (ie clicks) to perform a task, then win7 (explorer, taskbar, etc) is a lot less efficient than XP

    * I don't care what anyone else thinks, AutoCAD+XP64 was an awesome combination. Ran all my hardware, played all my games too.

    1. irish donkey
      Thumb Up

      Agent Ransack

      Good call. Will be using that in future.

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      @CADmonkey - I used to hate Windows 7

      Finding files - I've found the search box in Windows Explorer to be quite useful for simple searches. For anything more complicated (much rarer) the I'd obviously use a better tool.

      To fix the explore tree-list operation, in Windows Explorer, click Tools > Folder Options and tick both boxes in the Navigation pane "Show all folders" and "Automatically expand to current folder". That's all it takes to restore a little sanity.

      Disturbingly enough, Win 7 out of the box is crippled by the "effects" and other stupdity that effortless turn a fast system into something that feels like it runs like a snail nailed to sandpaper... unfortunately this detritus isn't as easy to find where to turn off. Right click on Desktop, select Personalise, then select "Ease of access centre" (bottom left of window), select "Make the computer easier to see" and in the "Make thing on the screen easier to see" section tick the "Turn off all unnecessary animations (when possible)". Hit OK and all of a sudden your experience will improve immeasurably as no longer are there pointless and annoying delays while Windows fades, slides and expands stuff into and out of view. It's not that nice effects are bad, it's just that they shouldn't make things slower just for the sheer hell of it.

      To fix one of the other dumb-ass problems in Windows 7, that of password expiry notifications typically being on screen for around 5ms is, again, to go the "Ease of Access Centre" but this time select "Make it easier to focus on tasks" and change the "Adjust time limits and flashing visuals" and set the drop down box for "How long should Windows notification dialog boxes stay open?" and set it to a sane value - i.e. minutes (don't forget, 5.0 seconds seems to include windows decision and dithering time so the display time is somewhat less than 5.0 seconds).

      Likewise, one of the "new features" is that the notification area on the task bar has a whizz bang and utterly useless feature to stop popups. This generally prevents the user from seeing anything important and its implementation makes the entire feature not only pointless but actually a problem. The best option is to just disable the feature. To do this, right click on task bar, select "properties", then click "Customise" in the "Taskbar" tab and in the "Notification Area Icons" page tick the option "Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar". Now you won't miss sometimes critical notifications.

      Start > Run option - this can be restored by going to the same "Taskbar and Start Menu Properties" dialog, clicking on the "Start Menu" tab, clicking the "Customise" button and two thirds of the way through the options is an option to restore the "Run" command to the start menu ("Run command").

      Not that there aren't some remaining real ass-hattery things in Win 7, but I've found that with these tweaks it's generally smooth and fast again. The remaining real annoyances are the ludicrous file copy dialogs that tend to spend more time "discovering items" than actually copying and the batshit insane control panel that can now only be used by using the search feature in the explorer window that displays it - not that this search doesn't work well (it does) but it's more clicks and key presses to perform a once fairly rapid task.

    3. DJV Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Classic Shell

      Aha, I think Classic Shell is what you are talking about. It's a free download from Sourceforge - I'm playing with it now... Hmm, seems good so far and all the settings are customisable. Neat!

  15. Refugee from Windows

    Useability my foot

    Being here at work and on XP, they are threatening, once the CAA approves Gloucester Old Spots for takeoff, to upgrade us to W7 within the next few months. Trouble is it'll feel like a move backwards. We've already sneaked Open Office in under the radar and our all singing and dancing CRM we've been advised to run under FF by our own IT bods.

    The trouble is "upgrade" really translates as "wiping out" - we can stick a lot of our work elsewhere on the network but all the tweaks and shortcuts will be lost in the meantime. Of if there was some way to pull off all your stuff in one lump and reinstall it in one go. Sorry, just considering this other OS that a significant proportion of us here use at home for a minute - we'd just backup the Home directory...

    We're not looking forward to it, but it's on the way.

  16. Mage Silver badge


    Windows 8 will be out before 2014 XP EOL.

    People are best to look for alternatives to Exchange and Sharepoint which are clunky, proprietary and need expensive Windows Servers. Servers is one thing Linux does do well.

    So the netbook/Laptop/desktop choice is Windows 8 if you insist on being locked to MS Server apps. and Windows 8 or Ubuntu for XP replacement if your Server side is "open".

    I see no compelling need to upgrade to Windows 7 unless you have vista.

    1. Andy Fletcher

      Windows 8?

      Have a bad feeling about that, given that MS appear to alternately release gems & dogs:

      Windows 3.1 Gem

      Windows 95 Dog

      Windows 98 Gem

      Windows ME Dog

      Windows XP Gem

      Windows Vista Dog

      Windows 7 Apparently this one does work

      Windows 8 Get ready for a true abomination

      Totally agree IE9 doesn't make for much of an incentive, and equally sick to the back teeth of MS blocking access to their latest browser based on OS in an attempt to force upgrades.

      1. Pawel 1


        Missed win NT and 2000 over there. Doesn't work out so nicely then.

      2. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Windows 8?

        Er, neither 3.1 nor 98 were "gems", as both had significant problems which were ironed out in 3.11 and 98SE respectively, both of which qualify for the "gem" tag in my book. You have to call both of 'em seperate releases rather than patches or SPs as they were paid for releases rather than free upgrades on existing licenses.

        At least with 3.1 / 3.11 they could sort of justify this as 3.11 had the "Windows for Workgroups" crap in it, a.k.a. the ability to connect to something else without crashing all the time. I guess they had to fix 3.1s network problems in there to make the whole "Workgroup" thing anything other than a sick joke with a really bad punchline. As far as I can make out, 98SE was no more than 98 SP1 in new money and the upgrade cost there was just pure thievery.

        I reckon you can upgrade 7 from "Apparently this one does work" to "Gem" meself.

      3. omegax

        post of the year award :-)

        i am laughing my head off!

  17. Forget It

    Windows classic - best stick to XP

    If you like plain vanilla Window Classic - stick with XP .. the lobotomy done to basic windows-shell is really a step backwards - stick with XP.

    The total innovation is when you press F2 to Rename a file - it preselect the filename not the extension - Joy!

    If you want an audio driver with Stereo-Mix to rip live streams etc - stay with XP - more then likely you won't find it for your WIn7 audio.

    If you have an olde scanner or HP printer - stick with XP - your drivers may drive you mad on Win7.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The thing I hate the most is the lack of an up button in explorer. You can just imagine the gui designer. "An up button in a hierarchical tree structure? Why would anyone want that when you can just go straight to your powerpoint presentations? I suppose a few devs might want it, but most people don't need to navigate up a tree. Oh, and while you're on, how about my nice new design for the Office Ribbon, lots of pretty pictures to go with whatever outfit I'm wearing. I know people do like names, but anyone who uses it all day will get used to it."

    The thing I like the most is Diskfile caching.

    1. Fuh Quit
      Thumb Up


      Just click in the address bar on the folder name "above" the one you're in. Like an up button but with changing names?

      I know it's not exactly what you want but it is functionally the same.... :-)

    2. Paul Powell

      Easy solution

      The up button was removed because the path is clickable to go up a single level or multiple levels at once - hence the last but one clickable element in the file path is the up button.

      1. CADmonkey
        Thumb Down

        "easy" solution?

        Big Blue static button versus text string of variable length?

        I resent the over-reliance of hand-eye coordination. Anything i can acheive by 'touch typing' commands means I don't even need to look at the screen or keyboard.

        From an ergonomic point of view such functionality would appear to be a no-brainer. I'm at the grindstone 8-14 hours a day. If I get RSI or my eyesight goes then my career goes with it. It should be an obvious design goal, but it's not. If anything, MS (and Autodesk) have removed a lot of the 'flow' from their interfaces. Some call it 'streamlining' but I call it 'dumbing down for the sake of the numpties'

        Why can't we have a Home GUI as well as a Professional one, like pre-XP days? Why can't they just allow things a few more options?

  19. irish donkey
    Thumb Down

    Maybe a schoolboy error

    But I upgraded from XP to WIn7 so that I could utilise the 6GB of RAM I had stuck in there.

    I purchased Win7 32Bit and low and behold it doesn't see any more RAM than WinXP so my main reason for the upgrade turned out to be a damp squib.

    Then I had to upgrade my 20 ''TFT to a HD LCD as things appeared 'fuzzy' on the old one. I also had to upgraded my Graphic Card trying to solve the fuzzy problem.

    It does look nice and shiney... but it takes an age to boot up and isn't massively faster or more advanced than WINXp in my humble opinion. The most useful new feature I have found is the XP Mode. I just wish I could switch teh taskbar back to WinXP Stylee without a 3rd party app.

    So was it worth the upgrade for the shiney new desktop? I've had to spent a lot of time and money trying to get it to work as well as the WinXp for little improvement apart from the shiney desktop.

    My vote is no

    1. Parsifal


      You should have taken the time to upgrade to 64bit Win7 (Both versions are available on the upgrade disk). Because 64 bit does utilized all the memory and is noticeably faster than 32bit XP (although the speed increase may be more to do with 64bit addressing that the fact that WIN7 is faster than XP).

    2. DJV Silver badge

      6GB RAM

      32-bit systems (by the very nature of using 32-bit addresses) can only access 4GB max. 32-bit Windows (XP and 7) usually only accesses 3 of those 4. 64-bit systems can access more. 2^32 = 4,294,967,296 bytes (= 4GB). 64-bit systems can, in theory, access 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 bytes though MS restrict maximum memory access depending on which version of Win7-64 you have - they even limit the Starter version to 2GB! See:

      1. JEDIDIAH

        What is this? Amateur hour?

        > 32-bit systems (by the very nature of using

        > 32-bit addresses) can only access 4GB max

        My 32-bit Ubuntu system happily takes advantage of 8G.

        64bit vs 32bit is always one of those things that cause support issues because absolutely everyone has to be on board with it or you run into trouble. It might not be a lot of trouble but it will likely be as inconvenient as possible.

        XP has an excuse for being limited (age). Win7 does not.

    3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      @irish donkey - Maybe a schoolboy error

      The schoolboy error may be that you did an upgrade. The *only* way you should ever upgrade a Windows OS installation is to slam in a new disk or format the old one and install from scratch.

      Not sure if you did though, as I can't remember whether or not it is even possible to do an in place upgrade from Win XP to Win 7...

      The "fuzziness" on your screen was almost certainly due to not driving the TFT monitor at it's native resolution (a very common problem). One other possibility may be that it's just the desktop icons that look shite - in this case click on the desktop, hold down the Ctrl key and spin the mouse wheel until the icons look sane again!

    4. Anonymous Coward

      IT Crowd

      It's a damp squid?? What the hells a squib?

      And yes, I do know the answer to that but I always laugh when someone uses that phrase now


      yes, you made a mistake...

      You should have gone with 64-bit to utilise all of your 6GB.

      Aside from that most of these comments are driving me nuts:

      Aero - Is good if you have a reasonably modern machine, can be switched off for those that don't want the extra fluff.

      Taskbar - Not to everyone’s taste however absolutely flexible to have it work in the style of days gone by (XP). Turn off combine, turn-off aero peek and it's the virtually the bloody same!

      Search - leaps and bounds ahead of any previous incarnation of windows (obviously not of you turned off indexing). No worse and no better than any other OS in-built system.

      Office - you can still run office 2003 if you really want to.

      CAD compatibility - maybe it's time to upgrade after running the same version for the last 10 years! In all seriousness, there are old and legacy applications that aren't 'supported' however will work after tweaking with the various troubleshooting options.

      Explorer - It's called innovation... have you actually tried using the dropdowns in the breadcrumb-ish address bar? Maybe you don't like that? Fine, your choice - if you want that more 'XP' feel go in to folder options and right there on the General tab there are two options for the navigation pane, namely 'Show all folders' and 'Automatically expand to current folder' - turn them on. No need for 3rd party software for that.

      There are literally a hundred reasons corporations should look to upgrade to Win7 and any decent administrator that works at a company which runs windows would agree from a security & administrative stand-point.

      Time to move on and stop being a luddite!

    6. Anonymous Coward
      IT Angle

      Schoolboy error indeed :)

      > I purchased Win7 32Bit

      > so that I could utilise the 6GB of RAM

      Schoolboy error indeed.

      No 32-bit Windows OS will be able to see more than 4GB of RAM (more like 3.5GB in practice).


      (and note also how Win 7 X64 artificially limits maximum address space depending on which version you have... Home Basic? 8GB. Ultimate? 192GB.)

      Doesn't the Win 7 installation box include both 32- and 64-bit versions? Mine did.

      1. No, I will not fix your computer

        Re: Schoolboy error indeed :)

        >>No 32-bit Windows OS will be able to see more than 4GB of RAM (more like 3.5GB in practice).

        Actually, some 32Bit versions could use 37Bit addressing, not very efficient but would give up to 128Gb.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Schoolboy Error

        > I purchased Win7 32Bit

        > so that I could utilise the 6GB of RAM

        As the only way you can buy just a 32bit version of 7 is by getting an OEM copy* (which you need to be an OEM to install, or the licence isn't valid) you did go wrong somewhere.

        All the retail versions of windows 7 are both 32 & 64 bit.

        *There really should be some tightening up to stop shops selling these without any explanations of what they are, as they are a hell of a lot more restricted than retail, even if they are cheaper, and you get no support!

        1. irish donkey

          It was a Microsoft Student License

          Bought directly from Microsoft as part of a promotion £40 . Same price for both but you must chose one or the other. 32 or 64 bit.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Windows 7 Enterprise

    We've moved to Windows 7 Enterprise here from XP SP3 (skipping Vista)

    Group Policies on the domain, patch management of client machines, VPN and network connectivity, smart card authentication to domain (and VPN), and a host of other things have made it just fit right in with no real issues on the corporate network.

    I give it a thumbs up, as it simply work and seems (touch wood) very reliable.

  21. A B 3

    It's like the car Homer Simpson designed

    It had a bit of everything, but a large price tag and nobody liked it except Homer. It's the same sub-par Windows only it takes up 10GB (bad if you have a small SSD) and it's hard to delete the default applications to use better ones. The only visible improvement is the ton of drivers they added to the install disc.

    The OS I want is a tiny Linux install with several VMs to run any program ever released. Including the occasional Commodore 64 game.

  22. John Smith 23

    voted with me feet

    macbook pro arriving this evening

    hate the steeming pile of shite xp has now become.

    in windows 7 explorer you cant even see how much disk space you ? this is an improvement ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      If those bar graphs underneath my disk drives that say "50.8GB free of 74GB" aren't telling me about my used disk space, what are they doing?

  23. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    The good and the bad

    There are numerous improvements to Windows 7 that I like and allow me to work more efficiently, however I also have a huge pile of third party addons running just to restore useful functionality that's been inexplicably removed or broken since WinXP. Some of these things I just don't understand.

    One of the worst is the explorer preview bar that causes MS Office to report that a file's in use because the preview bar was trying to access it at the same time! WTF. There's no status bar so if you turn off the preview bar you can no longer see the size of files in a directory or selection. Double WTF.

    1. Sooty

      you know

      you can switch the status bar back on, just tick the option in the view menu... ok, after you've re-enabled the menu bar with the organise button??? :)

      pretty much everything is still there, it's just hidden away by default, and not in the most obvious of places.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Status Bar

        That's one of the first things I turned back on when I first got Win7 in a vain attempt to get all the useful functionality back. It doesn't show file sizes, all it tells you is how many files you have selected. Useless.

  24. Tigra 07
    IT Angle

    Nice article and informative...but...

    "It is also more responsive, and while not immune to those mysterious, aggravating pauses that characterise Windows, version 7 is a marked improvement. This does translate to higher productivity."

    What aggravating pauses?

    I've had Win7 since January or February last year and i'm stumped by that "aggravating pauses" bit.

  25. deadmonkey

    I am stupid, but am I missing something?

    Can't see how much disk space you have - don't you just click on the computer and it tells you for all the drives?

    Can't find files - don't you just type the name in that box in the top corner?

    You bought the 32 bit version and it still used the maximum amount of ram available to the 32 bit o/s, do what?

    Things appeared fuzzy - did you try setting it to the native resolution perhaps?

    Have some people had a couple of shandys today?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rreceived 42 per cent fewer operating system support calls after the deployment of Windows 7

    Compared to what?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      compared to what?

      possibly since they got rid of XP

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: compared to what?

        No way. This is Microsoft's *own* network, so almost certainly everyone had been forced onto Vista. Suddenly it just isn't surprising anymore. Even Ubuntu is good compared to Vista.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Ok, and over what comparable period of time?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No Pig Slop for YOU!

    My gosh, a future without IE9!

    This is like being denied pickled chicken gizzards.

  28. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Facts of support life

    It's quite simple really. Win7 is here, XP is here. All support organisations have to deal with both versions NOW, and will have to continue dealing with them for some years to come. Whether you like that or not is immaterial - unless you are in a position to issue a diktat that everyone in your company will henceforth, only use the one or the other.

    For the rest of us it means we will support Win7 - generally on all new desktop boxes that turn up during the 5-year replacement cycle and the diminishing number of XP boxes, until someone issues said diktat and tosses them.

    It's not really even worth discussing the ins and outs, or advantages and disadvantages of either flavour. But it is worth talking about the least painful way to manage the transition and to realise that any talk of "cost saving" is thinly veiled talk of reducing support staff numbers.

  29. Smudge@mcr

    A 14 year old car...

    If you had a 14 year old car and the manufacturer stopped making parts for it, banned anyone else from making parts for it and kept certain information private so you could not repair it yourself you would be up in arms.

    However we seem to tolerate this behaviour “because its software"

    If Microsoft is refusing to support a "legacy product" they should either licence the software to third party developers to support it or open source the code.

    Why should they do this? Well quite simply because they have a virtual monopoly and they are abusing their dominant position in the market by forcing people to upgrade by not fixing their broken product.

    1. N2


      Were Microsoft

      & you, you're the customer, you're dog shit if youre not using the latest version of Microsoft Windows 7, Office 2010 & anything else we make until we change it & you have to buy all our stuff over again because we code it that way.

      Well, the only thing I like about Windows 7 is that it runs Lotus 1-2-3 aka Smartsuite 97.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I also...

    Would like to thank Vista for persuading me to buy a Mac, the one Windows machine I have left will stay on XP until windows 10, which shoudl be a gem...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Win 7

    What is the point of 'upgrading'. For most people Win XP is fine. The UI in Win 7 is awful. I moved from Windows to OS/X about 18 months ago, and have never looked back.

  32. JDX Gold badge

    re:MS blocking access to their latest browser based on OS in an attempt to force upgrades

    Again, that's not how it works. It's not IE9 can work on XP but they disabled it. IE9 is built on low-level functionality that simply isn't IN XP.

    To make IE9 work on XP would have meant either writing a 2nd version of the hardware acceleration at great cost, or sticking with old tech which isn't as good.

  33. antonis42

    Alt-Tab with Z-order of 6

    My most annoying gripe is that the Z-order Alt-Tab size of 6six(6) and the rest are sorted alphabetically.

    My second most annoying gripe is that sorting in folders is *not* lazy, new files appearing in explorer view get added in sorted location immediately

    It seemed to me that XP and the previous interfaces were more thought out.

  34. phuzz Silver badge


    Ok, this isn't really intended as a troll, but might come across as one:

    As part of our staggered upgrade to Win7 (ie we couldn't get XP any more so new purchases are on WIn7), we've started upgrading the machines that have a license already to Vista.

    Now it's been service pack-ed it's about as stable as any other version of windows (I've not seen a blue screen round here for years), and crucially, offers most of the advantages of Win7 (eg WIM based images, up to date group policy options and crucially for us; working offline files).

    Sure, it means I'm now supporting 3 different versions of windows (plus 2.5* different server versions), but it was a cheap and easy way to refresh some older hardware that came with a vista license but an XP install.

    Speeds are about the same across XP, vista and 7. Yes, I know XP is supposed to be all streamlined, and vista and 7 are bloated monsters, but I'm afraid that on the actual machines we use there's no noticeable difference. Sorry :(

    *2003, 2003 R2, 2008 R2, I count 2k3R2 as a half version

  35. Defiant

    Yea Right

    "We are also beginning to see significant applications that do not work on XP, like Microsoft’s forthcoming Internet Explorer 9."

    Er yes that about it though.

    I personally hate NT6.x and so will stick with XP till the last

  36. The Unexpected Bill

    In a word, the simple answer is...


    If the software you have is working well on your current version of Windows, and does everything you need, why put yourself through an upgrade?

    The actual answer is a bit more complicated and depends upon a number of factors. You do have to consider that older operating systems frequently lose support for newer applications. Security update support ends at some point for all systems, which is probably the real deciding factor for a lot of business operations. So far, though, Windows XP refuses to die and (so far as I know -- may vary depending upon who you ask) has the largest user base of any release of Windows thus far. And so far, any software that I can think of or would want to run...well, it runs just fine on Windows XP.

    (In truth, I'm still using Windows 2000 as a production OS on many machines, though not any longer in a commercial setting. I'm not stupid. Well, OK and perhaps more honestly, I'm not that stupid. It simply does what I want, need and nearly all of the programs I use regularly run just fine on it.)

    The operating system just doesn't matter like it used to, and that's a fine concept by me.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    This is a discussion about an article on Windows

    Would all the Linux twattocks kindly find somewhere else to play.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: This is a discussion ...

      I agree that we need fewer people making utterly useless posts, and more people like you and me.

  38. Mage Silver badge


    If win 8 is Bad, switch to Linux or wait for Win9 ^_^

  39. Kevin Bailey

    does it have...

    Can windows 7 natively connect to an ssh share? Is the whole system and all installed software applications updateable in one click? Does it have multiple desktops? Are all upgrades free forever? is it extremely fast even if you have 30 apps open and you're using the cheapest dell laptop?

  40. anonymuos

    Windows 7 is a gimmick

    Windows 7 is just like Vista rehashed. There are many good useful features of XP removed and broken. Poor usability. See and . Unnecessary GUI changes. Vista was innonative but horrible usability wise and removed things. Windows 7 is Vista with two or three features and again many features removed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I've been using Windows 7 for more than a year now, having moved from XP to Vista first.

      Gotta say that I've never missed the majority of those 'removed features' listed on the Wikipedia piece:

      "The Share overlay icon for shared items in Explorer has been removed."

      "Automatic horizontal scrolling in the left pane and the horizontal scrollbar have been removed."

      For fuck's sake...

      The stability of Windows 7 has been outstanding, and usability is vastly better than XP. I suggest you actually try the OS, rather than relying on Wikipedia for your view of the world.

  41. Damian Turner-Steele

    Fail for most commentards

    I heard all this bollocks with the change from Win 98 to XP. I guess that most of the haters are just not old enough to remember all the driver problems and DOS reliant programs that wouldn't run back then. Win2k's support was even worse for a long while. Get the F@#$ over it. Even bollocks from the browser w*&^%ks. Try and run Safari on an old Mac or FF4 on a 12 year old Linux distro, it just ain't going to happen. Once upon a time there were IT professionals here, perhaps they are too buy working to read this nonsense any more.

    1. Bob. Hitchen
      Thumb Down

      You rang?

      Upgrading an OS is not something that cash strapped organisations take lightly especially if the applications they are running have no forward path. IT professionals work within the constraints set for them usually by the clueless talking to salesmen from MS or elsewhere. It has already been stated that there is a cost benefit analysis to decide if it is worth doing. I use Linux for home use except for some strategy games and a TV package. I have no interest in browsers from MS Chrome works fine even on my old dell laptop under mint. For an IT guy linux offers much better tools than Windows

  42. Revelationman

    Just time to move on

    Windows XP had it's time in the Sun now move on !

    I remember when it first came out the Fisher Price look to it as we called back then, it was such a difference from Windows 98

    But it is about money that is all, damn I run Vista SP 2 Business it runs smooth as silk not one problem rock solid but I know I will be force to get the latest and greatest Microsoft Operating System

    Well this year I will go to Windows 7 Ultimate, nothing wrong with my Vista but being IT everyone is going to Windows 7 so better on get on board.

    I always loved the Linux way of upgrading just a patches kernels etc to bad Microsoft could not do that but like I said earlier it is about money

  43. dajames

    A lot of people missing the point(s), here ...

    1. If the hardware you are running was designed for XP you are probably best off leaving it running XP. You don't have any hardware there that Win7 can drive but XP can't, and you may not have enough power to make the most of Win7 anyway.

    By the same reasoning, if you particularly want to run Win7 you're best off buying new hardware to make the most of it -- so you can keep your old machine and continue to run XP on it.

    2. Win7 is different from XP. It behaves differently and it looks different -- it won't even be able to run all 3rd-party applications that run on XP. If you upgrade you may also have to upgrade or replace other applications, and will certainly have some relearning to do. Corporations who publish their own internal user guides and training materials will have to update all these documents -- which is not cheap. All of this suggests that you should not upgrade lightly - especially as there may not be any material benefit in upgrading at all.

    3. There will come a point, for any user or organization, at which a cost/benefit analysis suggests that machines running XP can no longer hack it (for either hardware or software reasons). At that point one should look around at the alternatives and choose the OS that offers the best price/performance. Some users will need to stick with Windows (perhaps because they have a lot of in-house software that is built on Microsoft technologies) but others will have an opportunity to look elsewhere. Some of those may decide that there will be benefits in moving to solutions based on other OSes or the cloud -- the look and feel have changed so much between XP and Win7 that familiarity is hardly an argument to stick with Windows.

    Ultimately, the decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis and cannot be answered in general by any one article such as this.

  44. bahamut


    My biggest problem with XP was that it doesn't handle hyper-threading well. Example, we have 2 cores with hyper-threading enabled, so have 4 logical cores, and we have two tasks. XP puts the tasks on logical core 1 and 2, so on the same core. Win 7 puts them on logical cores 1 and 3.

  45. Jean-Luc


    Missed the whole Vista debacle, but, as a power user, Windows 7 isn't hugely better than XP. Not 10 yrs worth anyway and the world has moved on. I am not a Windows hater, but nothing here really rocks my world - I guess Vista set the bar pretty low for everyone else.

    It takes ages to boot, probably due to encryption or some kinda login scripts. In XP, it was easy to profile the boot and spot the laggards. Not so, Win 7, you have to download 240 MB of .Net dev crud to get the boot profiler and that's _after_ finding a blog explaining how to trim it down from >1 GB.

    Event Viewer is even slower than XP and even more complicated to use. It helpfully tells me my boot time is critical. No s^*t, Sherlock.

    Win 7 tends to freeze at times and goes gray and I can't switch to another program. Doing what? Holding up what? Who knows?

    Search is awful compared to OSX Spotlight. Libraries are cool, until you see how difficult it is to coax a simple C:\xx\yy path of Explorer. Still, M$ has managed to get rid of the " " in "My Documents", an amazing amount of cleverness considering how well that feature worked in a DOS command line. DOS blows, as usual, but it is much clearer than Powershell. Oh, for a Bash shell.

    The one pretty good feature is the Task bar, jump lists and ability to quickly set up parameters on your launch icons, something the Linux window managers could learn from and Apple will shy from in the name of simplicity.

    Oh, and security. Obviously, XP with its run-as-admin / no prompts model is really looking dated so Windows 7 is a big step up, if you have to stay on Windows. But it isn't near as clever as it's made out to be. Linux would be eating its lunch, if not for the KDE 4.x fiasco (never been a fan of Gnome).

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