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MS Windows 7 Professional

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      14.03.2011 13:52
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      A recommended upgrade from Microsoft

      I have recently had my work PC upgraded and not through choice my Microsoft Windows version was elevated to 'Windows 7 Professional' from a very old school 'Windows 95' version which I was using on my ancient office PC. This is the latest Microsoft product for home and small business use and was initially released in 2009, which is when all the irritating adverts started (I'm a PC and Windows 7 was my...Blah Blah). I find it quite amusing that they are using 'normal people' in their advertisements claiming they invented and helped design the product, perhaps in case this one goes the same way Vista did.

      At home and through my studies I used Windows XP Home Edition and found it to be a very good programme for my laptop, its functionality was fine with any other programmes I used and the software was simple to operate. Windows 7 is a fair jump from this, but not unrecognisable and I believe this was the intension after the disaster they had with Windows Vista, I have not had the pleasure of using this on a regular basis but have heard horror stories of its inept design.

      So Windows 7 has all the standard software you would need for home and work purposes such as the office suite with Word; Access; and Excel 2010 which are all able to be saved as older versions with little or no effort on the author's part. There are a large number of extra features that I will never use as part of my work but perhaps if I were to have this at home or a lot of time on my hands would make more use out of. These include a newer more in-depth/techy version of Windows Media Player, touch and handwriting recognition (why?!) and DirectAccess connections. More basic improvements include the calculator function which is more like a statistical calculator than the previous versions. The security and maintenance of the machine has also been improved and renamed Windows Action Centre.

      One of the chief changes with Windows 7 is the display and task bar, which I must confess are a huge success in my opinion. The task bar has been renamed and re-launched as the 'Superbar', which users can now pin icons and shortcuts to and thus access them without having to go to the start menu or return to the desktop. When you hover the cursor over these pins a small image of what you have open in the programme is viewable, which enables easy and swift window changes and allows you to keep track of all the files you currently have open. You are also able to close any of these windows without having to maximise them. There is also a button on the 'Superbar' that allows the desktop to be brought forward and any windows open invisible, again a nice little time saving function.

      Another great feature I have discovered with Windows 7 is the split screen function which allows you to have two consecutive documents or windows open and usable on one screen. This is great for things such as report writing or data entry when you have to reference documents together. Rather than having to continuously skip back and forth they can be viewed in sync, this is known as the 'snap' function. Explorer for file locating is again massively improved for users, with the separate folder links being able to be independently clicked in the display bar, allowing you to jump to folders rather than clicking through each one. The speed of searching files has also been improved, though whether this is just my machine I am unsure.

      The compatibility of Windows 7 seems to be good, I use a lot of high powered specialist software (Coda; ArcGIS) and have found no problems installing and using these on the newer version, thus far. The software was installed on a new machine and so I cannot comment on upgrading from previous Windows versions.

      I am not able to comment on the value for money of this product as I did not purchase the software myself, however it is definitely much improved from the previous versions I have had chance to use such as Windows 95 (very old I know), Windows XP and Vista occasionally and thus I think it is a worthwhile upgrade. I have found it a lot more user friendly than previous Windows versions and a huge effort has gone into time saving and making the desktop and explorer look smart. Overall I would definitely recommend this product for anyone looking to upgrade or change to Microsoft Windows.


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      08.02.2010 14:56
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      • Reliability


      The best OS from Microsoft for many a year!

      This review is under the Windows 7 Professional section. Although I actually have the Enterprise version, it's basically a business version of Professional. There are a few extra features, most to do with security and I don't have anything to do with that side.

      Microsoft shot themselves in the foot with Windows Vista, which I have on my personal laptop. It was hyped up so much and Microsoft gave everybody such great expectations of it, that it was a real slap in the face when it came out, everyone bought it and discovered what it was really like. Windows Vista was a disaster. It was sluggish, did things in a very odd way and it was hard to actually find things on it.

      Windows 7 has changed all that. Microsoft has upped its game with Windows 7 and I salute them. Compared to Vista, it's absolutely fantastic. Of course, there are features in it that I will probably never use, so this review will look at the new features that I, and most people, will take advantage of.

      Aeropeek: This is where you can look at your desktop without minimising everything. You swing your mouse over to the right side of the toolbar and it shows your desktop. I have mixed views about this. On the one hand, it's good to look at my little applications I've put on there, but on the other, when I pick the phone up (having my phone on the left and a left-handed mouse), it shows my desktop, therefore hiding the number I need to dial. I'm undecided on this one yet.

      Applications: In Vista, these were tied to the right side of the screen, but with Windows 7, they can go anywhere on the desktop, which can be very handy, if for example, you've got a screen background that has detail on the right.
      BitLocker: This allows you to encrypt USB pendrives with the click of a button, meaning that you need a password in order to view the files. In Vista, this was a complicated process so Microsoft have speeded this up vastly.

      Pop-up Warnings: These have been greatly reduced from the ridiculous amounts that Vista used to flag up. It can also be changed by the user, so it can be set to flag up only the super-important things. Which is a relief!

      Snap: This feature allows you to control your open windows. If you drag a window to the top of your screen, it automatically maximises it and dragging it away puts it back to how it was. You can also use two windows side-by-side by dragging each window to the opposite edge. There is also the option to focus on one window. If you've got lots of windows open and you want to minimise all but one, you can just shake the top of the one you want to stay open and all the others will minimise.

      Programs open very quickly. Although they're not as fast as the TV advertisements would have you believe (a little like the i-phone advertisements which show things 'with sequences removed'), it's still a much faster process that the same thing was in Windows Vista.

      Compatibility: Unlike a lot of Microsoft's previous releases, Windows 7 doesn't need any new upgrades or any new hardware if you're already using Vista. It will work fine on any machine that currently runs Vista.

      Connectivity: If you have more than one Windows 7 computer on a network, they will automatically link together. A Windows 7 PC will also find the closest printer, which can be very handy if your PC or laptop isn't static. This is great for people who split their work between home and an office.

      In all, I'm very impressed with Windows 7. There are Mac users out there who will recognise some of the features and claim that Microsoft has stolen them from Apple. I don't particularly care if they have - I like these features and I don't want to have to buy a Mac in order to get them.
      So I say well done Microsoft, you've played a blinder with Windows 7!


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        01.02.2010 21:48
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        • Reliability


        A good build up towards Windows 10

        Latest Operating System from MICROSOFT Windows 7.

        There is no doubt that Windows Vista had done a lot of damage to the reputation of Microsoft. They have tried their level best to incorporate to some of the expectation of the users with the release of Windows 7 which were raised after a very successful release of the Windows XP series. It will not be unfair to say that XP series is very impressive and hardly had any compatibility issues that were difficult for users to comply with. The expections about Windows 7 have not been wholly belied. It will be an error to conclude that it's an improvement of the Vista, in fact it's a whole new OS. Windows 7 does not demand the hardware upgrades that Vista necessitated nor will it be fair to conclude that since the Vista upgrade requirements has become common Windows 7 has capitalized on that. The simple reason is Vista was a monster as far as resource handling was concerned but Windows 7's biggest achievement is that it handles available resources to the fullest extent. There has been at least one big step forward as for the security of the OS is concerned. For most users it will be very simple to migrate to Windows 7 intricacies as it is very user friendly and easy to understand. I always believed that design has never been the forte of Microsoft but that belief at least has been proved untrue with the arrival of Windows 7.


        The upgrade from Windows XP Professional to Windows 7 has been a great experience for me. Let's take a look at some of the new features that has impressed me very much:

        * Windows 7's new task bar is a really fabulous experience. To my mind this is the best incorporation. There is no reason why it should not compete very well with the Mac OS 10 dock. Programs can be pinned permanently or if you want to preview the programs just mouse over and previews of all the associated windows will be available. Again mouse over the preview painter they will close down. If hover over the mini preview it will show a full size preview and a click will bring it right in front of you. It is just wonderful

        * Another new is the jump list. It is a wonderful tool to get to your recently opened documents. Right click/left click and then drag on any program and pin it to the task bar it will show all the recently used files. You need not open the program and then go to the file menu to see the most recent files that have been opened.

        * It's astonishing, on the first sight that the Show Desktop icon is apparently not there. In fact it had been tucked into the task bar itself. Just mouse over to the right hand corner and hover over the Show Desktop and there you see the desktop and mouse away it goes in hiding.

        * The task of resizing the program windows has gone over a sea change from the usual maximize/restore control that we are used to since Windows 95. Just drag the program to the top of your monitor and it goes to the full screen mode. Go a step further, if you want to work with two programs at a time drag one to the left edge and the other to the right edge, not only will they open separately but will also automatically split the width of the screen into two equal sizes. Dragging one program away from the top it will resize to its original size.

        * The innovations done to the Windows Media Player is a revelation and it is more useful now than ever. Even the WMP mini mode is damn cute bringing out the true album art. But I believe the controls have become less visible in this mode but still a fantastic improvement. Now media files can be streamed from one computer to the other only with the restriction that the computers you are streaming to must have Windows 7 installed. This can be done across the web or out of the network, Windows Live ID is hardly a big deal (it's required).

        * The theme option has gone through quite a bit of update in a sense that just access the Appearance and Personalization tab from the control, download any one from those lovely customized themes by clicking it, desktop's background and theme changes immediately no rebooting is necessitated. That's not the end of it, you can create personalized themes to suit your ideas.

        * Managing peripherals, like printers, external portable media players and cell phones is just that much easier with the new Device Stage. It supports for older devices meaning they need not be upgraded, makes Windows 7 exceptional.

        * As I have mentioned in the first paragraph it has taken at least taken one very important step to stop infiltrations of bugs like a bad malware since Windows 7 will not autorun any removable keys like external hard drives or USBs. Now you need not spend time making zips so that when these removable devices autorun, the system is not infected.

        The remarkable improvement is that the programs launch faster and the cold booting. The Windows 7 has gone through a lot of improvements in its native search features in a sense that files are added to the hard drive faster and are indexed at lightning speed. You can search for a file that has been added a few seconds ago.

        * It's wonderful that Windows 7 supports touch screen right from its core, it means that the programs which had never been designed with touch features will be compatible, as long as you have the hardware. Tap and drag, scroll, right click, back/forward, zoom and rotate touch features are all available.

        It may be an issue that it does have problems reading multi touch gestures but it is commendable that Microsoft has made an honest effort to promote them.

        (*)INSTALLATION: (*)

        Number of recent Desktops and Laptops are being pushed into the market with Windows 7 as the installed Operating System. Upgrading from Windows XP or Windows vista is simple and there is no problem in a clean installation. Where as a clean installation of Windows XP ideally takes 39 minutes Windows 7 takes ideally 30 minutes.

        (*)UPGRADING: (*)

        Upgrading from Windows XP.

        From both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Pro upgrading to Windows 7 need to back up their data and just choose Custom from the Windows 7 disc and follow the simple instruction and their data will be saved in a folder called Windows Old.

        Upgrading from Windows VISTA

        It is easier migrating from Vista just click Upgrade Option fro the Windows 7 installation disk.

        But I would strongly recommend that you log on to Microsoft's site and download the Windows Upgrade Adviser and run it on you PC so that your installation is smooth and with out hiccups, in case there are some compatibility issues to be redressed.

        (*)RAM & HARD-DRIVE SPACE(*)

        As expected it occupies less disc space than Vista does. Windows 7 has both 32-bit and 64-bit support.


        For 32 bit:

        * RAM: 1 GB
        * Processor Clock frequency: 1 GHz
        * Hard disk space: 16 GB
        * DirectX 9 graphic device with WDDM 1.0

        For 64 bit:

        * RAM: 2 GB
        * Hard disk space: 20 GB
        * Rest is same as for 32 bit.

        (*)ADDITIONAL: (*)

        To exploit the touch screen features it is only obvious that you require a touch screen monitor.

        (*)RECOMMENDATIONS: (*)

        Although according to the specs 1 GB RAM should perform perfectly but I have had my share of problems and ultimately I had to add an extra 1GB RAM for expected performances. The reason could be I had some other application which used some RAM space and as Operating Systems are launched externally, i.e., the OS is first copied to the RAM and from the RAM that it is actually launched. So I highly recommend a 2 GB RAM.

        (*)FOOTNOTE: (*)

        May of no use in practical terms for PC home users but for some business application Windows 7 comes with an XP mode which is to say it creates a XP environment within Windows 7 to run those programs which are specifically designed to run in Windows XP. This works fine but I have not tried it since I found it too difficult to understand and set-up. But all the some it does work that is for sure.

        PRICE: No point underlining. It's worth the value

        Best action: Upgrade right now, you will love it.

        (Also on other sites with the same user name)


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          21.11.2009 20:00
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          Fantastic operating system and well worth the upgrade!

          I had been using Window Vista for about 2 years before I upgraded to Windows 7. Vista was an improvement over XP in many ways, but was very clogged up with junk and was badly designed for the user.

          Along comes Windows 7. I can now say that without a doubt, Windows 7 fixed any issues I had with Vista. The interface is brilliant, clean and incredibly customisable (Change colours, transparency and the size of the super bar). You only get security warnings when you need them, and they're alot more organised now.

          Windows 7 adds a whole new taskbar dubbed the "Superbar". Programs will now show up as 1 square icon, no matter how many windows you have open. When you click on the Icon, all your windows open of that program will be previewed neatly in a row. This makes managing programs alot less messy, and somewhat easier to find the windows you need. However, it can be slightly annoying if you want to quickly find and close a pop up and spam window - you have to click on the icon, locate the window, open it and THEN close it. Which brings me onto the next feature. If you preferred how the windows were handled in XP and Vista, then you can still change the settings to have multiple windows from the same program all out on you taskbar. The bar may also look big in screenshots, but it can be reduced to regular size.

          Programs can also be "pinned" to the taskbar. So whether they are open or not they will always be there ready to be launched. This makes it similar to the dock in Mac OS X.

          3 new features have been added if you have Aero enabled. Aero Shake, Aero Snap and Aero Peek. Aero Shake lets you grab a window with you mouse and literally shake it. This will minimise all other open windows if you are starting to get a cluttered desktop. Aero Snap lets you drag a window against the top, left and right edges of the screen. Drag to the top and the window is maximised, drag to the right and the window fits to the right half the screen and the same on the left side. This is useful if you are working on two documents at once and need to transfer things quickly between them. Or if you are doing one thing and want to watch youtube at the same time. Aero Peek allowed you to hover over a little button in the bottom left corner of your screen. This will cause all windows to go transparent and you can view your desktop. If you click, all windows will be minimised and you can go straight to your desktop.

          Overall Windows 7 is a fantastic user experience presenting a clean, compatible and user friendly operating system from Microsoft and is well worth the price.


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          05.11.2009 23:06
          Very helpful
          1 Comment


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          Glad I've got it - but full price is too much

          Although I work, I'm a part time student too so that qualified me for the Microsoft Utlimate Steal and Windows 7 came up via this a few days before its launch and I bought it for £39. Bargain.

          As instructed I ran the update advisor (a short program you download from the microsoft website) and it advised me that a 32 bit version was better than a 64 bit, but I had to increase by RAM as Windows 7 32 bit needs 1GB of free RAM and I didn't have that (read Crucial review tro see how that was remedied. (The 64 bit version need 2GB of free RAM).

          Most importantly the upgrade advisor advised me that my version of Windows could be upgraded whereas the 64 bit version was a clean install.

          If a clean install were to be carried out Windows recommends you transfer all your files to an external hard drive (including programs) using their Easy Transfer programs. Importantly I need bothered with this as they advised my system could be upgraded.

          Windows 7

          The disc arrived - I loaded it and part way through the installation a message popped up to say my system couldn't be upgraded it created a file called Windows old and dumped all my files in there (so luckily my precious photos of my daughter were safe). Once the process was complete I had Windows 7 but nothing else.

          I set about transferring the files back but they didn't work and I had to reinstall everything - slightly daunting at first but it didn't take too long (just an unplanned activity). The photos moved back no problem. I even had to re-download adobe reader and cute pdf as these didn't work and the ghostscript you need for the cute pdf. Norton had to be re-loaded too.

          After all that - what I like about Windows 7:
          Pin to the taskbar / start menu or desktop - so any programmes or documents can be easily pinned to an accessible point. Pinning to the taks bar also means that by scrolling over these icons with the mouse you can gain a preview of the document / programe concerned.

          Snap - if you have two documents open and you want to see them side by side, drag one to the left and one to the right (or one to the top and one to the top) and it immediately snaps them to the side and re-sizes them equally.

          Jump Lists - so all your latest documents you have used can easily be jumped to from the start menu, this can be cleared and activated and deactivated.

          Peek - if you got a few documents open you can hover over a transparent square in the bottom right of the top document and it makes all your open documents transparent so that you can see your desktop and gadgets and programmes.

          Shake - again lots of documents open and you want to focus on just one but not close any down then just click and hold down your mouse on the document you want open and shake your mouse - the other documents disappear - do it again and the other documents magically appear.

          Just like Vista you get Movie Maker and DVD Creator - I love these and have used them to transpose my mini DVDs into proper DVDs and I love trying out the special effects.

          This operating system is clean and simple to get to grips with, particularlyif you are upgrading from Vista. Particularly from the upgrade advisor view point although it wasn't correct about the upgrade the information on the RAM was key.

          I think its got some useful gizmos that Vista doesn't but whether I would have paid the full price for it is a different thing - I think it computes (no pun intended) to better value at the ultimate steal price.


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