I took the time to test Windows 7 thoroughly I was amazed how much improvement I saw and I am still experiencing in comparison with previous Windows versions.
Although Windows 7 is based on a recoded and optimized Vista core, it is much faster than Vista and a bit faster than Windows XP.
This operating system is very responsive and clear structured. It feels like a programmer was sitting next to a standard user, asking him every time “what do you expect here? What would you like to see? What would make sense to you here?” Even the help files are the best I have ever seen in any program.
A few weeks ago I had the chance to test the new Snow Leopard operating system from Mac — so I had a good chance to compare these two. Trying to install a network printer on the Windows network, I consulted those help files and immediately ran into trouble because the described steps were not available in that operating system. It was strange to receive the guidance of click A and select B, where B. was not even listed. In the Windows machine the network printer was automatically installed. Wow!
Wherever I went, the computer choose the available wireless network and connected to it as a public network. Wow again!
The annoying confirmation pop ups that we saw in Vista has been dramatically decreased. It now actually serves the purpose it was originally made for — making users aware that they are making changes to their computer.
Should you upgrade?
If your machine has at least a dual core processor — definitely yes.Â To be sure, run the Windows upgrade advisor from the Microsoft website. It will also tell you which of your old programs won’t run under Windows 7.
Upgrade or new install?
If you run XP, your will have to make a fresh install. There is no way to upgrade directly. But be advised that the new Windows 7 Migration Wizard make that a charm: You can even choose which programÂ settings to migrate!
Vista Users can upgrade directly, but seeing the ease of installing and migrating to the new Operating System via Migration Wizard, makes you think twice.
To keep your PC running smoothly, some things should be done frequently:
- A regular virus scan (weekly)
- regular defragmentation (weekly to monthly depending on your usage)
- Clean up unnecessaryÂ files (weekly to monthly depending on your usage).
Some files that collect during installing new programs and browsing the Internet can be deleted after a while.
To do that click on My Computer, right — click on your local drive C.
It will open a context menu showing properties as the last item.
Opening the properties menu you will see several tabs, General being the first one.
Here you see how much your hard drive has filled up, generally any computer that has less than 25% of free space left will slow down noticeably.
If you click the clean up disk button, Windows will calculate how many files can safely be erased to free up space on your hard drive. You can review this offer and click OK.
Be aware that this can take a long time if you don’t do this regularly.
You will also notice that Windows offers you to compress old files. These are files that you have not accessed in a long time. It will take additional time to do this.
It will make sense to run a defragmentation afterwards.
Defragmentation also takes care that files that are being used more frequently are easy accessible. We suggest performing this task regularly. There is software out there which does that automatically for you, Diskeeper being one of them.
One of the most common mysteries on Windows computers is the unintended moving of the task bar.
Usually it happens by mistake, and the task bar ends up on the sides or on of the top of the screen. Getting it back into the normal position is actually pretty easy:
put your mouse pointer on one of the spots highlighted on our image (if it ended up vertically, these points will be below the start-button), hold down the left mouse key and pull the task bar back to its normal position. Release the mouse key — done.
Note that the task bar can only be moved when it is unlocked.
So if your task bar ended up in the wrong place, it was certainly unlocked. To lock it again, just right click on an empty place on your task bar and check mark look the task bar.
Now you will not see all the quick launch buttons, but you certainly will not misplace it again.
With the stability of Windows XP, computer crashes have become pretty rare. I haven’t seen a crashed Vista machine so far. Still, when something happens, there are a few things you should know:
If your computer freezes and does not respond anymore, press the power button for a few seconds until the system switches off. Disadvantage: when your computer is shut down like this, some files often become corrupted.
Although we think that a restart does all that needs to be done, it is better to run and error checking or check disk [CHKDSK] .
Frequent crashes can even damage your hard drive.
To do that, go to ‘My Computer’, right-click on your local drive C, and on the opening context menu go to Properties and open it.
On the opening box click on the second tab called ‘Tools’, and press on Error-checking, Check Now. It will open another box with two check marks to be set. Once you click Start, Windows will ask you if you would like to schedule a disk check. You just confirm this, close all the windows and restart the computer. It will restart in a non-Windows mode with white letters on a blue screen (in Vista on a black screen), checking all details of your hard drive in five steps. This might take an hour or even longer, depending on the speed of your system and the size of your hard drives.
It makes sure that all files over your system in best shape. It increases the stability of your computer.
You only need to do this after crash or abrupt shut down.