Yesterday was Microsoft's big day. Windows 7 was released. Did you go buy your copy already? Are you waiting? Whether you have or haven't doesn't really matter but I'm going to give you my five reasons why you should switch to Windows 7 and five more why you shouldn't. Both are compelling and perhaps might change your mind one way or another.
This list might seem odd coming from a guy who ordinarily writes on Linux topics, but as an IT professional I have to work with all operating systems and deal with their quirks accordingly. This is my list of reasons to switch and not to switch based on my experiences with both Windows and Linux--and more specifically Windows 7.
The Five Reasons to Switch to Windows 7:
1. It's new. That's right; simple enough. It's new. What's better than a new version of an operating system (OS)? Windows 7 is a new OS which brings a lot of new promises and hopes to a world that has either held on too long to Windows XP or had issues with Windows Vista. In either case, Windows 7 is a refreshing change and it's long overdue.
2. It's not Vista. Vista was Microsoft's biggest mistake since Windows Me--and no, I won't let it go. Windows Me was bad. Really bad. Windows Vista is also very, very bad. It's slow, it's clunky, it's often unresponsive and it is not a pleasure to use. Every computer, except one, I have upgraded to Windows XP from Vista every time I see it on a computer that I have any control or say so over. Being Not Vista is a very compelling reason to switch. I think Microsoft owes Vista owners a huge discount or a free copy of Windows 7 and an apology for Windows Vista but that's just me.
3. Performance. Windows 7 boots way faster than any other MS OS since Windows 3.1. It's impressive to say the least. It also was an almost complete rewrite of all subsystems from a performance standpoint. It takes advantage of multi-core processor technology and it has the same hardware requirements as Vista--so that means you don't have to go out and buy a new computer to run it. Windows 7 feels "lighter" and snappier than even Windows XP. It runs comfortably on Netbooks, which is a huge boost over the not recommended for Netbooks Vista.
4. XP Mode and Virtualization. All of your applications should run fine on Windows 7 if they run on XP. 7 also has built-in virtualization with Virtual PC if you purchase the Ultimate or the Enterprise version.
5. Smooth Upgrade Path from Vista. Windows 7 upgrades from Vista without issue but don't expect that behavior from a Windows XP to 7 upgrade; it won't work. To do this upgrade, you'll need a third party product or you'll have to wipe out your Windows XP installation and install Windows 7 fresh.
The Five Reasons to Not to Switch to Windows 7:
1. It Isn't Windows XP. To this you might be saying, "Duh" but I have a good reason for saying this: Windows 7 is more 'Vista-esque' in its behavior than XP is. So, if you're expecting a smooth cutover to 7 from XP, fugettaboutit. It's not the same. Oh there's still the familiar Control Panel, Programs and so on but when you look for your "My Documents" folder, surprise, it isn't there. There's a Documents folder under Libraries. Libraries replaces My Documents for some odd reason. Libraries is where you'll find your documents, music, pictures and videos. But, there's another surprise for you. If you go poking around a bit under your user name: C:\Users\username, you'll see a My Documents folder which is an alias to your Documents folder under Libraries. Cool, huh? Why the change? Who knows? Basically, Microsoft has "Macified" Windows 7 with all this 'I don't know where on the actual disk my stuff is' design. Oh, well, get used to it; it's what you've always wanted: A Mac for less than half the price.
2. It Isn't a Desktop Savior. If you're going into a Windows 7 upgrade with the hope that Windows 7 is the finest operating system since DOS, you're sadly mistaken. Windows 7 is Microsoft's apology for Vista. Windows 7 is really a transitional operating system for Microsoft. It is the OS that will keep you quiet long enough for them to work on and launch the true next generation of operating system, which will be something totally unique.
3. It's Expensive. Microsoft made no real apologies for Vista in the way of a cheap upgrade to Windows 7, so go into this with your eyes open to a cost ranging from $100 to just over $300, depending on the version you choose to use.
4. It's Still Windows. Another 'Duh' moment but allow me to explain that statement. "It's still Windows," means that you'll still have the same issues that you've always had with Windows operating systems; this one is no great stray from the mother ship on that matter. Expect lots of patches that require rebooting, driver issues, security fixes that also require rebooting and a fantastic array of new viruses, malware and spyware specifically designed to target 7's weak spots.
5. It Ain't Linux. OK, yet another 'Duh' for the list and I'm sure that I'll receive rancid attacks from the Microsoft Fanboy Cheering Section on this but hear me out first. People are so quick to call some new version of an OS as a "Insert your least favorite operating system here" killer. Well it ain't. It ain't Linux and it ain't a Linux killer by any stretch. In fact, there will be a great number of people and companies who will mull the switch from their current operating system to either Windows 7 or some Linux distribution. Windows 7 prompts us to take a good long look at vendor lock-in, fewer freedoms and more expense. It ain't Linux and it ain't free.
Have you seen Windows 7 yet? Do you expect to upgrade soon or are you going to wait? Tell me about your plans to switch or to wait and why.