Will it be a perfect 7?

2009-08-01 00:00

LIKE Windows Vista, Windows 7 will be offered in several versions, or “editions”, each geared toward a specific class of PC user.

Windows 7 Starter Edition is for those with less powerful hardware and who do not ask much of their PCs. This edition will not include the Aero interface, which gives Windows 7 its three-dimensional, polished look and feel, and it will not be available in a 64-bit version.

Windows 7 Home Premium will be aimed at the home market, which Microsoft believes focuses primarily on ease of use and less on office connectivity. It will include Aero, Windows Media Centre, and touch-screen controls, but no corporate networking features.

Windows 7 Professional is aimed at sophisticated home and small business users. Included are all of the features of lesser editions as well as remote desktop functionality for connecting to other PCs remotely. A Windows XP Mode will be available to run applications that are incompatible with Windows 7.

Windows 7 Enterprise adds to the features of Professional by offering BitLocker Drive Encryption, which helps corporations protect data by ensuring that removable media, such as USB drives, can be password protected and encrypted. Corporations will generally purchase this edition with volume licences.

Windows 7 Ultimate contains most of the features of other versions, including Enterprise.

Thanks to Microsoft’s Anytime Upgrade system, all editions of Windows 7 will be distributed on the same DVD. Upgrading can be done online. New product keys will allow users to upgrade their existing version by using their original DVD. — DPA.

• A 1 gigahertz (GHz) processor or faster,

• 1 gigabyte (GB) of system memory (RAM),

• A graphics card that supports DirectX 9, and

• 16 - 20 GB of free hard drive space.

Microsoft’s official hardware requirements have always left users dissatisfied and it will be no different with Windows 7. Note that better hardware will always result in better performance.

IF you are currently running Windows Vista, the switch to Windows 7 should be filled primarily with pleasant surprises. Windows 7 is remarkable during installation in that it typically finds drivers automatically for a wide range of PC components. Install Windows 7 from scratch, and chances are good that you’ll end up with a functioning system for which you need no additional drivers.

Will you be able to upgrade an existing Windows XP or Windows Vista installation with Windows 7? It depends. Windows XP users will have no direct upgrade path to Windows 7, which means that if you’re running Windows XP, you’ll need to do a clean installation of Windows 7. If you currently run Windows Vista, there are some upgrade options. If you run Vista Home Premium, you’ll be able to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium. Vista Business users can upgrade to Windows 7 Professional. And Windows Vista Ultimate owners can upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate. A clean installation of Windows 7 will ensure maximum performance and minimum hard drive clutter.

The official launch date for Windows 7 is October 22 and the new operating system should be available in stores in many parts of the world. Windows 7-equipped computer systems should be available before then.

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