Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Windows 7 - Make or break for Microsoft?

(By Richard Holway 21st Oct 09) Tomorrow, Microsoft’s Windows 7 hits the shops so the news media is full of reviews. Indeed I note that I was quoted in the The Times today giving my views. Windows 7 really is ‘make or break’ for Microsoft. It’s admitted what we all knew for years – Vista was a flop. But that needs a bit of further explanation.

If you bought a brand new, top spec PC or laptop which came with Vista installed, it was fine. We have such a machine and I can’t fault it. But we have quite a few other machines. Firstly we have a clutch of relatively old PCs which work fine with XP but just don’t have the power to run Vista. So we, like the vast majority of others in such a situation, have not upgraded. We then have several netbooks which, although new, have Intel Atom chips which again can’t really run Vista.

Now, here’s the rub. I know that Windows 7 will run on both older/less powerful PCs and on netbooks. Indeed, if I was buying a new netbook today I’d probably opt for Windows Seven. But will I upgrade from XP?

The reviews say that an install from Vista takes about an hour. But that’s not the case from XP where you have to do a ‘clean install’. In other words, you then have to re-install your application programmes and data. Reinstalling applications is a nightmare – mainly because I spend ages finding the discs and then they tell me I’ve used them too many times and I have to go out and buy a new version – which quadruples the cost of installing Windows 7 in the first place! And I bet our various iPods won't work once I reinstall my huge iTunes record collection. Multiply this dilemma in a few hundred million other users – individuals and corporates – and you have a lot of extra hassle and expense.

But there is another dilemma. As you can see from Golden Apple’s wondrous results yesterday, more and more people are saying “to heck with this, if I have to change anyway, I’ll move to Apple Mac”. Of course, you can now substitute Google Chrome too.

Windows Seven is a step forward for Microsoft. But whether it will ‘stop the rot’ is another matter altogether.

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