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Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
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355 of 371 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 22, 2009
I'll admit, I've been running Windows 7 for six months now: the preproduction version of it and have just upgraded to the gold code. So I have quite a bit of experience with the operating system. Let's get to the nitty gritty:

Should you upgrade from Windows Vista? YES! I mean it - upgrade today.
Windows 7 is quite simply faster, more stable, boots faster, goes to sleep faster, comes back from sleep faster, manages your files better and on top of that it's beautiful to look at and easy to use. Even the preproduction version of Windows 7 was better than my Vista with SP2.

Should you upgrade from Windows XP? Maybe, but for different reasons.
XP is a good operating system and if you don't need to add new hardware or software, XP is good. However, XP is old as an operating system. Also chances are that if you're running XP, you might not meet the minimum requirements for Windows 7 - check the compatibility site at Microsoft to see if your system will support Windows 7. That said, Windows 7 is light years ahead of Windows XP in terms of functionality, ease of use, etc - to me it's worth buying a new system.

64 bit or 32 bit?
If you don't know what I'm talking about, that's ok skip this section. If you have a core2 duo or core 2 quad or a multi cpu machine, go with the 64 bit OS, it handles memory and the CPUs much better. If you have a single core CPU, one CPU or run special programs that require 32bit, then stick with 32 bit for now.

BEFORE INSTALLATION:
I recommend you have:
-a core 2 duo or core 2 quad machine
-4gig of RAM (That's about $50 in today's market)
-good hard drive with (200 gig - it doesn't need that much but that's another $50)
-back up your files to a USB drive like Western Digital My Passport Essential 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive WDME5000TN (Midnight Black)

-check to make sure your computer is compatible with Windows 7

INSTALLATION:
Installation was very straight forward. You put in the CD and reboot your machine. You might have to enter your bios and enable the "boot from CD" option. Once the machine reboots a nice screen comes up to guide you through the installation. You have the option to upgrade your PC or do a clean installation. I did an upgrade and it brought in all of my files and settings from my windows Vista system. It worked great.
The upgrade did take about 2 hours for me so definitely consider.
I noticed that early on in the installation the operating system went out to Microsoft's site to look for the latest and greatest updates, so I think this should help Microsoft respond quickly to any hiccups with compatibility.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK:
The driver from my old HP Inkjet printer for 2001 doesn't work on Windows 7 so there are some things that will not transition. I had to use a generic HP driver which doesn't give me the quality that I got from an injet - so overall, I'm up and running with that printer but I'm degraded on the inkjet front. That said, I recently upgraded to a HP CP2025DN Color LaserJet Printer that I love so no real loss there. I'll likely pick up a cheap inkjet for the occasional photo that I might need to print. Everything else upgraded.

BENEFITS
-faster boot time
-faster go to sleep
-faster wakeup
-faster about 20% to 30% faster at running applications than my Vista - seriously (but those are my results without any benchmarks or anything like that, just seeing how fast Adobe Illustrator loads, and how fast all the applications respond)
-joining wireless networks is much easier
-the interface is just plain beautiful
-my wallpapers are now a slideshow that can be set to change every few minutes (I'm not stuck with the same picture)
-Gadgets - these are wonderful little small applications that you can drag onto your desktop. I have a weather gadget and a calendar gadget on my desktop that tell me
-Better taskbar management - hovering over the taskbar icons shows me mini windows of what's running
-Better file management - I can organize my files into Libraries that are sortable not only by type but by folder or other data. It's great! I can browse through my presentations or illustrator files!
-Windows Media appears to be smoother which I love.
-You get some virus protection and firewall with Windows 7 but consider something more comprehensive like McAfee Total Protection 3User 2010. Yes, it'll make your computer run a bit slower but

CONS:
- Some older programs might not work and some drivers might not be available like my inkjet driver.
- Other than that, there aren't too many drawbacks to Windows 7 - it's a great OS.

WHICH VERSION SHOULD I GET?
I got the ultimate version because I have clients who ask, "is your hard drive encrypted?" -- I wanted to be able to say yes and have sensitive data encrypted one of my computer volumes - Bitlocker is only available in the Ultimate version. Ultimate also includes Multilanguage support.

If you're a home user that doesn't do a lot of networking, you might consider just the home premium edition. If you're using a laptop and connect to networks at work, you might want the Professional version of the operating system to help you with domain joining. Also Windows Professional gives you the option to run applications in XP mode so if you have old applications you can use that nifty feature. I already have 1 application running in XP mode - it's nifty to run an old application.

NOTE:
The box contains both the 32 bit and 64 bit OS.

OVERALL:
It's very hard to write a comprehensive review on an entire operating system so I didn't even try - I'm sure magazines will devote entire articles to the operating system and several books will come out. My goal here is just to give everyone a glimpse of what I've found to date with this new OS. I do hope this has helped you in making a decision.

Hats off to Microsoft on Windows 7. It's more of a refined Windows Vista than an entirely new operating system but it was needed. Thank you.
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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2010
Verified Purchase
I purchased this full version so I could load it on my Macbook via bootcamp and it worked flawlessly. All of the drivers for my computer peripherals were loaded correctly. The At&T Uverse wireless internet was configured in a snap. Bootcamp is a great utility. I was only able to load 32 bit version because my mac was just on the outside of the requirements for 64 bit. But it still works great! I really like this version of windows. We use XP at work and it was great for a while especially after win 95 but Win 7 is incredible. We skipped Vista so this upgrade was long overdue. Everything seems to work better. The Adobe CS 5 suite is amazing on Win 7. I wish there were better font management options. All in good time I assume.

*update* 7-23-2012
I have finally upgraded my Mac to lion and Win 7 still runs perfectly on the bootcamp drive. I had waited longer than I usually would to upgrade Mac OS X because I was reading that there was some issues with the bootcamp partition and OS X lion. Well, I had no issues whatsoever. I wish I would have upgraded earlier. This dual boot machine is the best thing that I have ever done. It's like have 2 computers with you at all times! I can't wait to get my hands on Win 8. It looks great!
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244 of 273 people found the following review helpful
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 (Professional & Ultimate only)

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, like Norton Internet Security 2010 or Kaspersky Internet Security. 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 choose 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 Home Premium 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. XP Mode is only available in Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate editions.

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.
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94 of 111 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 22, 2009
I've been using Windows 7 since its beta release, but my laptop's been running the final version for weeks now. I really disliked Vista and preferred XP still, but Windows 7 has tipped the scales...finally. Windows 7 has been reliable and it's snappier than Vista. Windows 7 sips laptop battery power so my 1-year-old Dell XPS M1530 runs longer under Win7 than it did under Vista. But what I really like about Windows 7 are the new and improved features it offers. Here's a list of my favorites:

#1 VIRTUAL LIBRARIES
With virtual libraries, the special folders like Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos have all become libraries. Instead of being a physical storage location, they're indexes that point to one or many locations on the computer you're using, as well as other computers you're networked with. In a home setting, where you're running Windows Home Server, you can now easily direct file stores to your server. Also in the home, housemates can easily see each others' data by including their respective folders in one another's libraries. When you search a library, you're searching your computer and any other computer that has folders you've added to your library. You determine which physical location will be the default location for saving new files to your library. This is, for me, the single best feature of Windows 7, and is an excellent reason to upgrade.

#2 START SEARCH
The Start Search has been improved in Windows 7 so results appear instantly as soon as you click the Start button, and then either type the name of a program on your computer, or a task you'd like to perform (like, "change my display settings"). No more hunting folder hierarchies to find that elusive program, or spend time figuring out where Microsoft has placed something in the Control Panel. This is a tremendous time-saver.

#3 AERO SNAP
The Aero user interface has three new tricks -- Shake, Peek, and Snap -- but only Aero Snap is a major leap forward. Have you ever tried comparing the contents of two windows together, side-by-side? It's painful to do because you have to fiddle with resizing the two windows. With Aero Snap, now all you do is grab the title bar of one window, sling it to the left, and Windows 7 will automatically resize the window to fill-up one-half of your screen display. Do the same with a 2nd window by slinging it to the right, and it'll fill-up the right-side of your display. You can start comparing two windows in...an Aero Snap. Aero Shake and Peek are cute, but not nearly so helpful.

#4 TASKBAR
Gone is the Quick Launch bar that too many people didn't know existed. Now, the whole Taskbar is a quick launch bar -- drag and drop any program icon onto the bar, and you're one click away from starting the program. Also, it's so easy to move the taskbar around now. I keep it on the left vertical on my computer. Gone is the system tray, too -- Notification Area takes its place. The Action Center alerts you to anything you need to do to keep your computer working smoothly.

#5 PROGRAM COMPATIBILITY
Any program can be run in one of many compatibility modes now. Windows 7 has a wizard that will help you pick the right, earlier version of Windows under which to run an older program -- just right-click on the program icon and choose "Troubleshoot Compatibility". Or, You can do the same thing more quickly by right-clicking on a program icon, click the Compatibility tab, enable Compatibility mode, and select the earlier version of Windows you want to run with your program.

#6 STICKY NOTES
Less functional that the Vista Sticky Notes -- which nobody used -- but now I actually use Sticky Notes to put reminders on my Desktop. They're quick, easy, and work just like a regular Post-It note only you don't get fingerprints on your screen!

#7 JUMP LISTS
There are two kinds -- Jump lists that let you quickly pick a task to perform, and Jump lists to quickly select a document to open and edit in the associated program. Jump lists include most recently used files, or you can pin your own files, too. These are nice time-savers.

#8 SAVED SEARCHES
In Windows Explorer, you can create filtered searches and then save them in your Favorites for later use. This is handy to find filtered data in the future. When you re-execute the search, it creates a dynamic results set (so your search is never stale).

#9 CONTENT VIEW & ARRANGING
Also in Windows Explorer, two new features. Now you can arrange a folder into subdivisions by date (great for your pictures folders!). You can use the Content view to combine thumbnails of files along with details that usually are found only in the Details view.

#10 USER ACCOUNT CONTROL
Most everyone hated UAC in Vista (even though it helped to keep your computer safe). In Windows 7, Microsoft tamped down the annoyance factor of UAC. You can change your date and time without setting off UAC, for example. You can also decide whether UAC should go into secured Desktop mode whenever it does get triggered (secured Desktop is when your screen darkens and you're forced to respond to UAC's dialog box asking permission to run a program or make a change to your system). You can easily turn-off UAC, too.

#11 PAINT, WORDPAD, CALCULATOR
All three of these utilities got updated. Wordpad and Paint have the Office-like "ribbon" now, and Calculator has a few new memory keys, touch sensitivity, and a Programmer view for those dealing with hexidecimals and binaries.

#12 HOMEGROUP SHARING
This is the easiest way to share data with others in your (home) network. HomeGroup creates a password that is shared among computers, and that takes care of all the issues with user accounts, file permissions and "access denied" problems. This is great for unsophisticated home networks. I made this feature last because I'm not using it -- I just think it's a great idea for inexperienced users. Note: all the networked computers need to be running Windows 7 to make HomeGroup sharing work.

In short, think of Windows 7 as Windows Vista done right.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2010
Stable and works well. Visuals are very appealing using the "Aero Desktop". Windows 7 is all-around a great OS.

I marked it down a star due to the install limitations on one machine only. Come on Microsoft... I think a 4 machine install limit would have been more appropriate so families could install their new $200 software on all computers in the house. But we know that's not going to happen as Microsoft still thinks it's customers are criminals.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2013
Verified Purchase
I bought a new laptop, with Windows 8 installed. Hated Windows 8. (To repeat a Roger Ebert's movie review, 'I hated it. Hated it. Hated it.') For me Windows 8 was too hard to find the control panel, and with no 'back' button, too hard to get rid of screen sites.
So I bought Windows 7 and installed it instead. The Windows 7 CD uninstalls Windows 8 before installing Windows 7, so that segment of the process is good. A word of caution: If you choose the single installation, getting rid of Windows 8 completely, then after Windows 7 is installed, you won't have any drivers to connect to the Internet, so will have to re-install them. If you do the side-by-side intallation that keeps Windows8 along with Windows 7, then you might be ok regarding Internet access.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
I purchased this to perform a fresh install on an HP laptop - the laptop was one that previously came with Vista and I had subsequently upgraded to 7 with a three user license software package. Somehow, a family member (who will remain anonymous in case they read the review) managed to screw up a lot of the functionality which led to crashes, hanging, you name it. While I like to think I am pretty tech savvy, I could not fix it nor could an IT professional who does things like this each and every day.

What to do? Take a copy of My Documents and do a clean install with this disc, then re-load Office 2010 and My Documents.

Worked like a charm. It did take some time to install, and the machine needed to do a lot of updates for Microsoft patches and fixes - I couldn't tell you how long it took as I just left the machine running to the side most of the day, checking up on it and clicking a few buttons here and there, as I worked around the house.

I now have a stable platform and the install went off without a hitch. A little extreme on what I had to do to resurrect this laptop, but it sure beat paying another two grand for a replacement machine!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2009
HARDWARE ISSUES: I guess I'm a believer now. I had an absolutely flawless transition from a 3 year old XP system to Windows 7. My XP system (like most at this point) is basically a patchwork of individual setup programs for each device and a whole slew of updates. So I always had things conflicting with one another. Thats all over now because Windows 7 itself seems to know exactly what to do with all my old crappy hardware. So I don't have to load the dumb HP software (thank God!) nor the sound card files, nor the monitor, in fact I didn't load any drivers at all. Cleaning my hard drive and starting over with XP was about a 5 hour process but with Windows 7 I was able to pop in the disc within XP and within about 30-40 minutes it was up and ready to go. Even though the printer functioned after installing Windows 7 there was a yellow exlamation point warning symbol for my printer. The troubleshooting, to my disbelief, actually figured out the problem, downloaded something, and fixed it--all in about 2 minutes. Even with XP I was really about ready to go get a new printer because it always had issues but it looks like I wont have to now.

SOFTWARE ISSUES: I was sort of freaked out when I ran Microsoft's compatability test that they have online because several of my programs (and hardware) were listed as having questionable compatability. With office for example, I still use an old Office 2000 which it (of course) said I would need to upgrade to Office 2007. This is not true, my old Office 2000 stuff works just fine in Windows 7. So far all the old stuff I used on XP has worked.

I'll update my review if there are any changes to my windows 7 experience.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2013
Verified Purchase
A heck of a lot better than Windows 8, anything's better than Windows 8. I hate Windows 8 very much..
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2013
Verified Purchase
This software is simple and easy to use, while still utilizing the desktop interface we PC users are so used to. I don't have any mobile devices, so I rely on easy to use home software for my PC. This is MUCH easier to use than Vista, with far fewer issues. It's like a revamped version of XP. Sad to see it get pushed out by Window 8, I like this interface much MUCH more.
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