Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate [Old Version]
Your Garage Summer Reading Amazon Fashion Learn more Discover it Songs of Summer Explore Premium Audio Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Patriotic Picks Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer AnnedroidsS3 AnnedroidsS3 AnnedroidsS3  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 All-New Kindle Oasis AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Best Camping & Hiking Gear in Outdoors STEM

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on April 6, 2011
I ordered this product in December. In March I started getting "This software is not genuine" warnings. Upon investigation of the actual materials shipped, it was all forged!

The product arrived in a blister package as shown, it had the Certificate of Authenticity, and the holographic imagery on the DVD. It installed correctly, and the provided license codes worked fine. 90 Days later it all began to fail. The copy received was some developer or evaluation edition, not sure which.

Upon contacting Global Buying Service I got "Sorry 90 days have elapsed." Selling faked/forged goods does NOT have a time limit! Do not let this deter you if you have been the victim of this! Call Amazon directly: 800 201 7575. Amazon opened up and investigation right away and I had a refund in 6 days.

How to spot the forgery: 1) the "Certificate of Authenticity" should have metal strips imprinted in the paper, the forgery just has printed lines. 2) The DVD hologram should be embedded into the DVD, the forgery is a scalloped-cut label. 3) The software itself will be giving you warnings: This software is not genuine" or "This copy of Windows 7 is Forged" at the end of 90 days.

DO NOT LET GLOBAL BUYING SERVICE KEEP YOUR MONEY. THEY ARE NOT LEGALLY ALLOWED TO PROFIT FROM FRAUD AND THAT'S WHAT THIS IS!!
[...]

Good Luck.
1414 comments|137 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon October 27, 2009
Let me preface this review with my qualifications so that you may understand the extent I've gone to with operating systems to end up proudly claiming, "I'm a PC."

I use Linux (RedHat) at work, I've tried Ubuntu and Lycoris long before it, I've tried Debian and Slackware and however many other flavors of *nix in the past just to say I tried them. I've messed with BeOS (Zeta development was an exciting time), I've played with Mac OS X on numerous occasions (beautiful OS), and I've tried countless obscure operating systems that I doubt even 1% of those reading this would know about (and trust me; there's a reason for you not knowing about them, lol). Why have I messed with them all? Because I enjoy operating systems and I find them to be amazing achievements. There's no denying that Mac OS X is a beautiful OS that performs quite well within the structured hardware environment Apple has created. Linux is hella useful on an enterprise level (though Windows Server is easily comparable these days) and even home flavors of Linux have become quite nice (Ubuntu)! The fact of the matter is that I'm partial to Windows through my experiences with having tried just about every flavor of every OS out there over the past 10 years or so. I used to collect beta versions of operating systems (not just Windows, but others as well), so I've not only tried the final products, but I've also gained appreciation for them by seeing them and playing with them through their development cycles. Where Windows is concerned, at one point or another, I've instally just about every build of every version currently out there (and trust me, there are TONS of builds - alpha and beta bits from every version of Windows, including obscure bits like Windows Neptune). I've ridden the roller coaster through the highs (Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, and now 7) and lows (Windows ME, Windows Vista's initial release) and I couldn't be happier that I've stuck it out.

Enter Windows 7.

Windows 7 is amazing. There is no other way to put it. It's being hyped as, "Vista done right," or something of that nature. Well, Windows 7 is soooo much more than that. True, the user interface may resemble Windows Vistas, but only at first glance. The single-most revolutionary aspect of Windows 7 is the new task bar. It has provided so much additional functionality that you would never know you wanted (or needed). The ability to pin tasks, the ability to move items around on the task bar, the privacy of not having titles of your windows down in the task bar for anyone to see, the new interactive thumbnail previews, the new placement of the show desktop button... I could go on. It may take you a bit to get used to the new task bar, but trust me... you will and you will absolutely come to love it. Going back to anything less just won't feel right.

Next on the docket is HomeGroups. Look, file sharing between home computers has never been easier. NEVER. I have Windows 7 on my desktop and on my laptop. The desktop, I recently built, so while awaiting my wireless card for it, I wanted to see if I could tether my laptop's internet connection. In the past, it wasn't exactly difficult to set it up, but it was much more involved than it is now. All you need is a regular ethernet cable, connent one end to your laptop and the other to your desktop, give permissions to share (made simple through HomeGroups) and voila! I can use the internet on my desktop via my laptop's internet connection. And not only that, I was able to set up the laptop and desktop to share files between one another via the same cable... and it was incredibly simple! I won't walk through the steps here since this review is already getting a bit lengthy, but the long and the short of it is that file and resource sharing between Windows 7 computers is RIDICULOUSLY intuitive.

Lastly, are you still on XP? Are you one of those business who decided way back when that you would just skip Vista and roll out Windows 7? Well, guess what? Windows 7 is here and it's time you make good on your decision. As the title to my review implies, Windows 7 bests both Vista and XP. There is no longer any excuse for you to stick with XP when Windows 7 performs EVEN BETTER. The only learning curve for XP users will be getting used to the new user interface and the change in location of certain files/folders (which admittedly irked me at first, but those changes came about in Vista, so I've been long used to them). Bite that bullet. It's worth it, trust me. Oh, and cost? Windows 7 is worth its weight in gold. It's an operating system. Think about everything it does for you, all the applications it allows you to run, the tasks it allows you to perform... in the grand scheme of things, the cost of Windows is one of the best investments you can make for yourself, so go ahead and treat yourself to Windows 7. Seriously. Don't buy into the stupid Mac hype videos of, "more of the same" and pay no mind to the Microsoft commercials where people say Windows 7 was their idea. Go try it for yourself. Download a free evaluation copy, install it, and give it a whirl. See for yourself.

Since Amazon removes links from posts now, search Google for Windows 7 Enterprise 90-Day Evaluation. You will need a Windows Live ID and though it's an evaluation of Windows 7 Enterprise, it looks and feels like every other SKU.

-Stephen
MSFTKitchen (Google it)

I thought about placing this review on all the SKUs of Windows 7, but since I use Ultimate on a regular basis and not the other SKUs, I think it's only appropriate to leave it here, as-is. Thanks for reading (if you made it this far, that is)!
1919 comments|211 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon September 6, 2011
I've installed Windows 7 at least 50 times on both laptops and desktops - usually Ultimate x64 or Enterprise x64. My issues with Windows 7 is that it takes a while to configure it the way you really want it to work. Microsoft chooses the worst possible defaults and it's up to you to figure out how to change them.

For example, from a clean install (assuming you have all of the required drivers), I have to configure the following every time:
1) Desktop icons - Yes, I want an icon to get to my files and my computer. No, I don't really care about the recycle bin which is the only default icon.
2) Recycle Bin - No, I don't want to confirm every time I delete a file so right-click->Properties and uncheck the checkbox.
3) File Types - I like to use single click. I want to see file extensions (e.g. setup.exe vs. setup). Turn off Simple File Sharing.
4) Customize the task bar - I like links for computer, control panel and administrative tools. I also need the Run command. I don't access any of my folders this way so I get rid of almost all of them. My start menu has 6 items, Computer (as link), Control Panel (as link), Devices and Printers, Administrative Tools (as link), Help & Support and Run...
5) Since I'm probably using the account I started with that has Administrator rights, create a User account for daily use.
6) Enable Remote Access so other computers can connect to you computer. Add the Administrator and the User accounts
7) Setup for auto-login. This is a two step process: Start->Run->control userpasswords2 to enable auto login. Use the User account not the Administrator. On control panel, Power Options, In advanced settings,click on Change settings that are currently unavailable and then select No for Require a password on wake up.
8) File associations are not setup. I like to set things like when I put in a DVD, play it full screen and don't ask me any questions.
9) Install need Adobe Reader and Flash
10) Download Chrome and pin it to the task bar.
11) Install office and configure Outlook and pin it to the task bar. Enable Windows Update when prompted. Add Outlook to the startup folder so it starts automatically upon bootup.
12) Install Microsoft Security Essentials (a free anti-virus program).
13) Login as the User and configure everything again.
14) Make a system image backup.
15) Run Windows Update about 10 times.
16) Activate Windows and Office (if necessary).
17) Check Device Manager and make sure there aren't any devices without drivers.

And that's all you have to do. I totally expect a layman to know where each of these settings are and to be confident enough to change them.

Similar to Vista, Windows 7 asks you to Confirm, Accept, Install, Agree (up to 8 or 9 times in rare cases) before doing something. This review isn't a how-to manual. I just want to point out how many steps are involved after you install Windows 7.

Now if you're unfortunate enough to get a pre-loaded OEM version of Windows 7, who knows what useless junk they installed. I just got an Acer laptop and it had all kinds of useless applications and desktop icons. I located a hidden folder with the required drivers and installed Windows 7 Ultimate x64 over the Windows 7 Home Premium that came with it. The whole process takes about 2-3 hours of hands-on over a much longer period of time.
22 comments|29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 22, 2009
When I got my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate, I really wasn't sure what to expect. I had not been running any beta or release candidate, so I had no idea how I would like Windows 7 or even the install process. I am running a Dell XPS desktop, and I had recently installed 8GB of memory in anticipation of formatting and installing Windows 7 64 bit edition. Sounds like overkill I know, but I got a great deal on the memory and wanted to go to a 64 bit version when Windows 7 came out. I will get into some of the differences shortly, but let me just say that the installation was painless...I mean really painless. My desktop is a few years old, and I expected to be hunting device drivers online to get everything working. I didn't have to! I was quite surprised when the install process completed and everything was working great. I didn't have to download a single device driver...and that IS a first for me when changing operating systems!

There is a small learning curve because some things have changed and you will have to spend a few minutes trying to find them, but it's not a big deal.
I wold suggest spending some time just looking around to see where things are located as well as what new shiny bells and whistles are available.

The Start Menu: I was one of those guys who always changed my start menu back to the Windows 2000 type. I hated the XP menu with a passion.
Imagine my horror when I figured out there was no way to change it in Windows 7! I was certainly upset at first, until I started actually using the new menu.
I have a habit using the old start-run option and typing in some of the programs I use. For example, I would use start-run winword to open Microsoft Word. I know, it sounds crazy, but my computer days started with DOS, so I still have some love for the command line! I noticed in Windows 7, there is no run command...but after using it I realized it didn't need one because the search box actually does the same thing. Once I figured out how to pin programs to the start menu, I realized that I am finally happy using a new menu interface.

Windows 7 32 bit or 64 bit?

Windows 7 comes with two disks, one for 32 bit and one for 64 bit. You can choose which one you want to use based upon your devices, and your needs.
If you are upgrading from another version of Windows, you can't change unless you do a fresh install. If your computer supports 64 bit and you aren't using extremely old software, I would suggest going to 64 bit if you are doing a new install anyway. It will still run 32 bit programs, and you will may benefit from the 64 bit version. You might consider adding some memory as well if you want since you can use more than 4GB memory with the 64 bit version. If you are using an older computer with minimal memory anyway, I would just stick with the 32 bit version. Microsoft has a nice feature on their Windows 7 website to check compatibility with Windows 7 in both 32 bit and 64 bit, so you can see which of your programs may be an issue.

Summary:

I am really happy with Windows 7. Not only was it easy to install, without needing me to find any drivers, etc...but the interface is also easy to use. You won't be having to make a hundred changes just to do something as you may have in Windows Vista. There are no more major issues with User Account Control for those of you who are using Vista now! Is Windows 7 worth the upgrade? I think it is. I have two versions, one is the full version of Windows 7 Ultimate and the other is Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade for my laptop (currently running Vista). I have found Windows 7 to be stable, with no cryptic error messages to stop me from doing what I want to do. I believe Windows 7 is an operating system that people will actually enjoy using...it's a big improvement from Vista, and I think most people will be happy to finally have a reason to upgrade from Windows XP.
55 comments|71 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 27, 2011
Be very careful. I purchased Windows 7 ultimate boxed DVD through global_buying_service on Amazon in NOvember 2010 and I have just been informed by Microsoft that it is a fake based upon MSDN developer keys. Timing could not have been worse. I will now pursue a refund and apology from this vendor.
33 comments|24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon November 5, 2009
Having been a loyal Windows customer and paying full retail price for Vista Ultimate the pricing for this product when compared to the other versions of Windows 7 is a slap in the face first of all so one star off just for that! Microsoft should've provided some discount for prior Vista Ultimate customers at least.
Charging an extra $200 or more for a couple of features that noone will use and some outdated ones like Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications is just plain tacky.
The only one that really adds any value is the new feature called "VHD Boot". With that you can boot your entire Windows out of a Virtual Hard Disk file as those used with Virtual PC or Virtual Server which can come in handy if you are a developer or like to install alot of beta products or games and want to make sure you don't screw up your main install.
If you are already running Vista I wouldn't be in a rush to go out and grab a copy, especially not at the current price, since the improvements are little and subtle coming from Vista. If you are still running XP on the otherhand though you should've definitely upgrade asap.
I've used the bitlocker feature on a 2TB drive and it works as advertised and that's one area where the improvement compared to Vista are noticeable. For one you know longer have to create your own partition to install bitlocker since windows 7 takes care of it for you but it still takes forever to encrypt a 2TB drive, roughly several hours, but at least it's a one time deal unless you need to decrypt it to clone it or update your bios for example. Actually, one of the less known new major technical features Win7 has over Vista is support for more than 256 processors. Future Intel processors are supposed to provide full decryption support for bitlocker but haven't even been released, so maybe encryption/decryption speeds will be greatly improved then?
If you are trying to scrimp on hardrive space or memory Win7 does use a bit less than Vista but still more than XP, since Movie maker, mail, and several other programs that always used to come with Windows have been removed and are now a optional download. That won't make the few people that use or depend on those programs happy but for the rest I'm sure they are happier for a slimmer Windows. The other changes people upgrading from Vista will notice is the annoying sidebar is gone and the taskbar is huge and works way different than Vista so it takes some learning to figure out where Microsoft moved everything to. It took me a while to figure out where all my stuff went since Win7 tries to be helpful and hide more stuff from you like Macos x. For example your taskbar notifications are still there but hidden by default. Nothing else really impressed me since almost all the stuff in Win7 was already there in Vista. Problem Step Recorder is a nice addition for those that help others troubleshoot their computers or is a quick and dirty way to make your own tutorials. And contrary to what others are seeing Win7 is not noticeably faster than Vista for most stuff except maybe networking and hibernation does seem to work better now. Then again since it never seemed to work before now that it does work is certainly an improvement. Windows 7 is also alot more helpful in trying to troubleshoot incompatible applications and games since a little wizard pops up trying to help you but if your program/game didn't work in Vista it most likely isn't going to work in Win7 either. Oh and another thing I turned off right away was Aero snap since it kept trying to be helpful by rearranging my windows for me which I hated. Alot of others seem to love this feature though. Other little things that Microsoft finally got around to adding to Windows is native burn support for ISO so you don't have to install Nero, usually one of the first pieces of software I install, and Blu-ray burn only support. This still doesn't make up for the lack of virtual desktops support, which Linux and Mac OS X have provided for the longest time and is one of the most useful features ever devised. This is one of the biggest oversight Microsoft continues to make which each new release. Maybe if they threw in native Blu-ray playback support for the Ultimate edition it would make sense to charge more.
So that's my take from someone that used Vista since the day it was released and has been using Win7 since it was released roughly a month ago.
Oh and finally I'm not too happy that even this latest more secure version of Windows can easily be rendered non-functional just by installing an old game. Any old game that using StarForce will install a driver that will immediately cause a blue screen of death upon reboot. For example Namco Museum 50th Anniversary Collection. Microsoft should really put a hardblock on this since I was only able to recover my system due to my technical skills. So much for compatibility with older games.
1616 comments|60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 13, 2011
I bought a Windows 7 Ultimate boxed CD from an Amazon reseller and Microsoft tells me it's pirated, therefore no good and stuck in reduced functionality mode until I buy another license key. Amazon refused to refund my money because I waited a few months to install it. I'm out 250 dollars.
22 comments|30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 25, 2011
After 90 days - just long enough to bypass the Amazon protection stuff, this software now shows "This copy of Windows is not genuine" on my screen. Called Microsoft - they said it is demo version - not "real" license. Microsoft would NOT help me other than to sell me another copy of license.

This was purchased from the Global Buying Service. There was no mention of this being a restricted version.

Do NOT buy from Global Buying Service!! I will be reporting this to Microsoft and BSA.
11 comment|21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 22, 2009
Here comes Windows 7, nearly three years after Windows Vista and eight years after Windows XP. By most accounts, Windows 7 is what Vista should have been. Do we finally have a worthy successor to XP?

PROS:
- Fast startup and performance
- Stable
- Nice aesthetic and functional changes to the desktop
- Improved networking, power management & security
- 32-bit & 64-bit versions included
- Windows Media Center
- Windows XP Mode
- Disk encryption
- Multi-language support

CONS:
- User Account Control still annoying
- Upgrade can be challenging
- Expensive

There are only two Microsoft operating systems I've personally skipped since DOS 6.x-- Windows ME and Windows Vista. Windows ME was so terrible that PC World coined it the "Mistake Edition." Vista, when initially released, was considered to be bloated, relying on higher hardware requirements than XP, while being outperformed by XP on identical hardware. With Microsoft fast-tracking Windows 7, I decided to skip Vista altogether and upgrade to 7. This review briefly touches upon some of the key features and enhancements of Microsoft's latest OS.

PERFORMANCE & STABILITY
One of the welcome enhancements Microsoft made was start-up time. The shutdown time has been improved as well. Also, in my non-benchmarked experience, Windows 7 has been at least as fast as XP if not faster. The kernel changes and ability to run the 64-bit version probably has a lot to do with that. Most benchmarks from around the Internet seem to support my observations.

64-BIT
I am elated to finally upgrade to a 64-bit operating system in order to take advantage of more memory support and modern processors. I have Intel Core 2 Duo processors in both my systems with 4GB of physical RAM but XP only allowed 3.25GB for system use.

DESKTOP
At first login, you'll notice the changes to the taskbar. The taskbar is no longer just a place to store quick launch icons and view open windows. It now provides functionality in the form of Jump Lists, which allow you to select your most frequently opened files or links from the apps you have "pinned" on the taskbar. The clock and calendar are improved and the Show Desktop icon is now integrated in the far right corner. Other desktop enhancements include Aero Peek, Aero Shake, Snap, new themes and wallpapers. You also get gadget support. All of these features combine to create a much improved and enjoyable desktop experience.

LIBRARIES
Windows 7 introduces a new feature called libraries. Previously, your system had shortcuts to My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, etc. which had files residing in only those specific folders. Files can now reside anywhere on your system and be organized inside libraries. It's similar to how many music and photo applications organize files.

NETWORKING
Even as good as XP was, networking was cumbersome. Windows 7 makes connecting two or more Windows 7 systems together easy, using HomeGroup. This enables easy sharing of files and devices. One downside is that HomeGroup is only supported between Windows 7 systems. File transfer performance between computers has been vastly improved and connecting to a wireless network has never been easier on a Windows machine.

SECURITY
Security in Windows 7 is good and comes with Windows Firewall and Defender. Still, you'll probably want to invest in a more comprehensive Internet security suite, Norton Internet Security 2010. User Account Control (UAC) has been tweaked in order to give user accounts more flexibility in controlling their own security as well as providing more detailed information so the user can make better decisions about whether to allow certain actions. Coming from XP however, it is still annoying and I chose to turn it off. Also, in Windows 7 Ultimate, you can encrypt entire hard drives as well as external portable storage devices, like USB thumb drives. Though this is a welcome integrated feature, much of the functionality can be found in a popular open-source program called TrueCrypt. If you want encryption but not multi-language support, you could just get Windows 7 Professional and use TrueCrypt.

POWER MANAGEMENT
Power management has been improved overall and you should be able to squeeze more battery life out of your laptop, even when using your DVD drive. Sleep and resume has also been improved. XP wasn't always consistent when entering or resuming from sleep mode, but Windows 7 has been perfect.

WINDOWS MEDIA CENTER
I've only briefly played around with WMC but it looks promising. It has some fun options for media, especially when you're connected to the Internet. It may even be an adequate replacement for component DVR's should you choose to use it as the centerpiece to your entertainment center. The biggest advantage for me is that Windows 7 now includes a DVD decoder. This means that I can now watch DVD's natively. WMC is available in all Windows 7 editions except Starter.

WINDOWS XP MODE
For applications that ran in XP, but won't on 7, there is now XP Mode. It isn't perfect and your system has to have virtualization support and turned on. Go to your system BIOS to check. If supported, then install Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode. Check your hardware if you intend to use XP Mode.

RECOMMENDATIONS
If you're an XP holdout, like I was, I recommend upgrading. Vista SP2 users may have less reason to upgrade but might want to just for the changes to the taskbar and the UAC improvements. For users who don't need to use their computers in a corporate environment, then Windows 7 Home Premium edition is a good choice. I'm guessing most power users will choose Professional, which adds XP Mode and Domain Join. Ultimate also adds drive encryption and multi-language support. I suggest a clean install for best results. If you're a Mac OS X user, there is probably nothing in Windows 7 compelling enough for you to consider switching.

SUMMARY
Windows 7 is the premium Microsoft OS that Windows users have been waiting for. It's fast, secure, stable, visually appealing and fun to use. Windows 7 will make your old system feel fresh and new again. New system owners with Windows 7 pre-loaded can feel confident that they're getting the best Windows OS ever produced.
33 comments|25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon November 19, 2009
If you're looking at the full version of Windows 7 Ultimate, chances are it's for one of these reasons:

1) You are migrating your settings and/or programs from a Vista Ultimate machine to a new machine and don't want to lose them
2) You want BitLocker hardware-level encryption. Keep in mind that you'll need either do some tinkering (see the Comments to this review) or have hardware that supports it
3) You speak multiple languages and need to easily switch from one to the other
4) You have a new machine and are planning on installing the OS from scratch: this is the most common reason to buy the full version.

If you are planning on upgrading an existing machine, you no longer have to purchase the full version of a Windows OS to have the ability to format and install clean: Windows 7 (and Vista, actually) will allow you to use the Upgrade edition to cleanly install the new OS.

Unlike Vista Ultimate, Windows 7 Ultimate doesn't offer DreamScenes or any other eye candy different from its cousins Home and Pro. In fact, if you were a fan of the Windows Vista DreamScenes, you should know that you will be losing them when you step up to Windows 7.

What you gain in Windows 7 Ultimate over Pro is BitLocker drive encryption and support for multiple languages (beyond the previous functionality of the Language Bar in Vista and XP).

Compared to Windows 7 Home, you also gain DomainJoin (which makes connecting to corporate networks easier), an automated system backup tool, and "Windows XP Mode", which is a step beyond the "XP Compatibility Mode" seen in Vista. These three features are also available in Windows 7 Professional.

You should know before purchasing Windows 7 Ultimate that if you are wanting to use "XP Mode" your hardware will need to support "Virtualization Technology". Similarly, if you are looking at the Ultimate-exclusive "BitLocker" Drive Encryption feature, this will only work if you do a bit of tinkering with a USB key (see comments to this review below) or if your hardware contains a Trusted Platform Module (TPM)--a specific piece of hardware that is required for BitLocker to be enabled. The Microsoft website explains this in further detail, as does JaimeMoreno's comments at the bottom of this review.

PLANNING
If you really want to be thorough about your install of Windows 7 Ultimate, you should stop by the Microsoft site and look for the "Windows 7 Compatibility Center." This web site will let you look up programs and hardware and confirm that they are compatible with Windows 7 Ultimate (or if not, whether there is a workaround). I strongly recommend you take the time to do this. The Compatibility Center also indicates whether it is telling you about 32-bit compatibility versus 64-bit compatibility: keep an eye on the page to be sure you're looking at the right thing. Windows 7 ships with discs for both 32 and 64-bit editions in each package, so choosing which version to install is no longer a difficult buying decision: it's as simple as pulling out the disc you want.

You may also find that some devices are "kind of" not compatible: for example, my Creative Sound Blaster Audigy sound card is "kind of" not compatible: the software to manage the sound card is not compatible because it is no longer needed...and support for the sound card itself is native to Windows 7. What that means is, I didn't need to reinstall any Creative software; the sound card came up automatically when I installed Windows 7 because Windows 7 had its own software to support it. When in doubt, stop by the manufacturer's website to confirm your suspicions.

You may also see devices that are absolutely not compatible with Windows 7. If you need this hardware, make sure (via the manufacturer's website and/or support forums) if it's supported natively by 7 (like my sound card) or if there are any workarounds to get it to work.

INSTALLING
If you are taking programs and settings from an old machine and wish to carry them over to a new machine that you are purchasing the full version of Windows 7 for, there are some very useful tools to help you:

Do you just want to carry over your user accounts and settings? Microsoft makes a program called Windows Easy Transfer that's already in Vista (and XP users can download it from Microsoft) that will export your accounts and settings and let you import them back again on the new machine. It's very easy to use and does a good job of putting your accounts back together again, even when going from XP to 7.

Do you have programs that you want to bring to the new machine, but don't want to reinstall? Laplink has an offer both here at Amazon (as a boxed product or digital download) and through their website. The product is called "Laplink PC Mover Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant", and it will let you use a special version of their program "PC Mover" to migrate one machine one time. Read the documentation in detail. I have used it successfully on the 32-bit platform, but I cannot verify that this will work for anyone migrating from 32-bit to 64-bit.

If you are migrating from 32-bit to 64-bit with the full version of Windows 7, I highly recommend you take the time to manually re-install your programs. You can still use Easy Transfer to carry over user accounts and settings, but 64-bit operating systems make decisions about how to run 32-bit applications, and this is easier done when the application is installed directly on the 64-bit OS instead of migrated from a 32-bit installation. I realize this is the harder path, but it will probably save you compatibility headaches down the road.

ABOUT WINDOWS 7
So what are some of the things Microsoft doesn't tell you in the description above?

Windows 7 isn't just "fixed Vista": it's a full overhaul of Windows based on a ton of feedback collected directly from Beta and RC 1 users (of which I was one--I let them have an earful and I think they actually listened)

Windows 7 does things drastically different from XP in that, like Vista, it does a lot of the eye candy in a smoother way. XP and earlier used to send graphics work through your processor before it would get to your video card...now, it bypasses the processor and goes straight to the video, clearing up what was a pretty substantial bottleneck. This system was imperfect (to say the least!) in Vista, but it's been improved here, particularly in the area of being compatible with older games.

Windows 7 is trying to slowly "trim the fat" we normally have to put up with by making itself more compatible with other devices. Where you often have to install a new device of any complexity (such as a printer or a sound card) by running the manufacturer's setup disc, installing a bunch of junk and tray icons, and etc., Microsoft is making native support more common. My sound card is a good example of this: where I used to need about 5 or 6 "helper" programs that would drain my performance and occasionally annoy me, now it's just using the drivers that came with the installation of 7.

New Operating Systems are always a bumpy road: your journey might not be as easy as others. However, compared to previous Windows releases, Windows 7 is a substantial improvement, and I'm pleased to say that I haven't been burned by 7 like I was with Vista (and Windows Me--agh, the horror, the horror). If you just want to get yourself onto the 7 platform and don't need a lot of customization, Windows 7 Home will be enough for you. If you need more for your work environment (or you are building a workplace environment), then 7 Pro is the way to go. If you regularly work in multiple languages and/or want to have BitLocker drive encryption (and your hardware supports it!), then Ultimate is for you. Otherwise, it really isn't 100% necessary to install the full version of Windows Ultimate: you might consider either Professional or Home Premium.
44 comments|10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you've entered a valid question. You can edit your question or post anyway.
Please enter a question.
See all 13 answered questions


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.