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Upgrading Windows Vista to Windows 7

written by: KateG•edited by: Heather Marie Kosur•updated: 8/22/2010

Are you on the fence about upgrading Windows 7 from Vista? If so, then you should read this piece. It provides solid information to help you make your decision. Learn why or why not you should upgrade to Windows 7 now or wait until later.

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    Upgrading to Windows 7

    If you are a Windows Vista user, you may be a little bit skittish about upgrading to Windows 7. For instance, you might have just bought an operating system upgrade not that long ago. You may even still feel a little bit burned from your last Vista upgrade. After all, there was a bit of hype about the upgrade that turned out to be just that: hype. So, should you upgrade to Windows 7? Let’s find out.

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    System Requirements

    A Windows Vista user will find these to be surprisingly familiar. As a matter of fact, they are almost identical.

    Windows 7 Requirements

    • 1GHz processor (32- or 64-bit)
    • 1GB of main memory
    • 16GB of available disk space
    • Support for DX9 graphics with 128MB of memory (for the Aero interface)
    • A DVD-R/W drive

    Windows Vista Home Basic Requirements

    • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
    • 512 MB of system memory
    • 20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
    • Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory
    • DVD-ROM drive

    So, if your system could handle Vista, there is no technical reason it can’t handle Windows 7.

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    Windows 7 adds a new feature to the Windows operating system but not stunning, network management. The new feature, called home groups, has a lot of potential but one fatal flaw. Home groups allows you to securely share media (photos, video, printers, and other media) between computers on your network. Do not get too excited yet. It only works between other systems with Windows 7. So, unless you upgrade the whole house, it will not be of much use. Not to mention, you could do the same thing with the latest update of iTunes, at least for your movies and music. The new homes groups is impressive but only for some users.

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    The Dreaded UAC

    User account controls, or UAC, are easily the most hated feature of Vista. And, they do still exist in Windows 7. The only solace is that you can lower the alert levels at will, so you can be less annoyed. Encryption with bit locker is available to users who shell out for premium versions. Everyone else is stuck with classic UAC. So, you can strike a balance between security and function but only if you are willing to pay.

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    There you have it: the two major changes from Windows Vista to Windows 7 that an average end user will notice. Now that you know why, you will see that the best course of action may be to wait it out a bit before you upgrade from Vista to Windows 7. Besides, if you just bought an upgrade last year, you will not be getting much more for the extra money. If you can live with the poor UAC just a little while longer, you will be rewarded. Windows 7 still needs some shake down time to see how the new OS goes. Most systems do better after the first service pack anyway. My suggestion, therefore, is to wait before upgrading Windows Vista to Windows 7.