Small-businesses frustrated with Windows Vista's assorted hardware
incompatibilities, ceaseless battery of pop-up alerts, and puttering
speeds can officially unclench their jaws and ease those quivering fists
away from their screens. is actually good enough to make even holdouts still clinging
desperately to Windows XP want to upgrade.
Albeit no revolution in desktop computing -- it's essentially a revamp
of Vista that addresses owners' most common complaints and tightens the
user interface -- Windows 7 provides a welcome evolutionary step forward
for the platform, significantly improving security, stability, and
Granted, some aspects may confuse. Cases in point: Multiple versions
with negligible feature differences are offered, you have to manually
backup and reinstall data to upgrade from Windows XP, and certain
programs (including e-mail and calendar applications) must be downloaded
separately from the OS. But these hiccups can't detract from what is
easily the most significant upgrade the hoary old software standby has
seen in years.
Here are 10 reasons why you'll inevitably want to earmark room for it in
your IT budget:
Reason 1. Lower system requirements
Unlike Windows Vista, which required significantly more memory and
processing speed to power its graphical user interface, Windows 7 isn't a
system resource hog. As such, the same machines you now having running
Vista should easily be able to accommodate the new OS, which in many
cases loads programs and boots or shuts down faster. Less money spent on
hardware upgrades translates into immediate cost savings, while a
decrease in downtime twiddling your thumbs waiting for software to load
provides a corresponding productivity boost. Furthermore, even a
relatively slow 1GHz PC with 1GB of memory can run Windows 7 (though 2GB
of RAM is recommended and 4GB for the 64-bit edition), making it
suitable for installation on low-end netbook computers on up to high-end
Reason 2. Simpler navigation
A trio of improvements to the user front-end makes Windows 7 easier to
navigate and multitask within than its predecessors. To begin with,
using features, Windows 7 users can more easily view desktop
contents by turning all open windows transparent. With Aero Shake, you
also have the option to simply grab an active window and physically
shake the mouse to minimize other panes cluttering up one's monitor.
Last, but not least, functions automatically resize windows to take up half the
screen when they're dragged to either side of your display.
Reason 3. Better multitasking
Borrowing a trick from Apple's Snow Leopard operating system, Windows 7
now offers a more aesthetically pleasing, icon-based taskbar that lets
you permanently pin and organize favorite programs on it. You can
additionally point to icons to get thumbnail previews of open files and
windows associated with each program, all accessible with a click.
Everything's displayed in as minimally intrusive a way possible as well,
helping cut down on clutter and making it possible to keep track of
everything that's happening on your desktop. Jump lists for each piece
of software, available when you right-click on the respective program,
even let you immediately pull up recently opened files and documents--a
Reason 4. Greater stability
Unlike Windows Vista, most hardware and software is readily compatible
with Windows 7 and will work right out of the box, with no need to
download and install additional drivers. Happily, in instances where
necessary, locating and adding these updates to your PC proves a
relatively painless procedure.
Reason 5. Enhanced security
Instead of making you play watchdog and constantly click to approve
program access, .
Users can now control the relative amount of prompts regarding system
security they receive using an intuitive slider bar control, with alert
messages minimized to avoid becoming a nuisance. In addition, the
Internet Explorer 8 Web browser is better-guarded against external
threats. Purchase the Ultimate Edition, and you can further encrypt
drives and data using to protect sensitive files and even portable USB keys
from unauthorized intrusion.
Reason 6. Multi-touch capabilities
If you have a compatible touch-screen PC or laptop, multi-touch physical
gestures can now be used to navigate the operating system and pull up
documents and data with a flick of a finger.
Reason 7. Simpler file organization
Libraries, which serve as all-purpose containers, allow you to
conveniently catalogue photos, music, video and files in single
locations, no matter where they live on your hard drive. Because of
this, it's a breeze to keep all materials related to the same work
project organized in one readily retrievable location.
Reason 8. Optimized network setup
Brisk, painless network setup via new HomeGroup features makes it simple
to share devices, documents and printers between other PCs running
Windows 7 on a password-protected home network. Small businesses that
need to access a larger companywide network may need to upgrade to the
Professional Edition, which allows connectivity with more complex
Reason 9. Less clutter
Don't like all the so-called "bloatware" -- useless applications that
traditionally come installed on any new operating system or PC? You'll
be right at home here, as programs like Windows Mail, Windows Calendar,
Movie Maker and Photo Gallery aren't even included with installation
except in cases where they're pre-bundled by certain PC manufacturers.
Instead, you choose to optionally download them for free from Microsoft.
While some may balk at these typically preinstalled apps' omission, for
others, it'll be seen as an effective way to cut down on unused
programs that needlessly waste hard drive space and system memory.
Reason 10. Overall performance
Given its suite of welcome upgrades, Windows 7 is sure to inspire more
third-party developer support than Windows Vista, and enjoy a larger
business software library that takes advantage of its built-in features.
As the system's improvements significantly enhance users' everyday work
and online experience, it's inevitable that your enterprise will want
to take advantage of programs which natively support these updates. Even
those who opt for just the basic Home Premium edition and never buy
another application will be able to appreciate extras like faster and
more reliable desktop search functions and simpler document retrieval.
Making it infinitely simpler to organize, store and navigate both your
desktop and supported applications, more than a few small businesses
will find that Windows 7 has been well worth the wait.