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Windows 7 – Should I Upgrade?

Microsoft’s latest version of Windows, “Windows 7”, was released at the end of October. Now that it’s been out for just over a month, I’ve been receiving the question “Should I upgrade?” quite frequently. Unfortunately, the answer is not cut and dry. It will depend a several variables.

First off, Windows 7 is great. It is stable, feature-packed, and intuitive. Windows 7 has managed to keep most of the successes of Windows Vista, without keeping all the failures. But, that doesn’t mean you should jump on the upgrade bandwagon. To figure out whether to upgrade or not, it’s smart to first look at situations where you should upgrade.

Situations where you should upgrade to Windows 7:

If you aren’t included in the list above, there is no compelling reason to upgrade. There are a few situations where I would advise AGAINST upgrading.

Situations where you should NOT upgrade to Windows 7:

If you’ve decided you should upgrade, the next question is what version of Windows 7 to buy. Fortunately, the choices here are a bit simpler. First, if you are upgrading from anything pre-XP, you’ll have to essentially “start fresh”, so buy the full retail version of what ever “flavor” of Windows 7 you want (to compare the various flavors, look here [1]). If you are building a new computer for resale, you’ll want the OEM version (check here [2]). If you are upgrading from Windows XP or Windows Vista, you will want to buy the Upgrade version, in which-ever “flavor” matches your current operating system. Windows XP Home and Vista Home and Home Premium users will want Windows 7 Home Premium. XP Professional and Vista Business users will want Windows 7 Professional. Vista Ultimate users will need Windows 7 Ultimate. The product key you get with Windows 7 will work to activate the 32-bit OR 64-bit version of Windows 7. Some packages only come with a DVD for one version (32-bit or 64-bit) though, so make sure you select the right one.