Should You Upgrade to Windows 7? 7 Pros and 7 Cons - Page 2

By Gerry Blackwell | Posted October 22, 2009
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Why You Shouldn’t UpGrade to Windows 7

7. It’s Still Windows 

Out of the box, Windows 7 may, as Microsoft claims, be less vulnerable to security breaches than earlier versions of Windows – emphasis on may – but it’s still Windows. By virtue of that fact, if no other, Windows 7 is going to attract hackers and virus incubators like banks attract robbers.

They will find ways to breach it. You will have to be sure to keep security patches up to date, and you may even still be vulnerable. Note: proponents of alternate operating system solutions – Linux, Mac OS – cite this is as a deal killer. We don’t.

6. The Learning Curve 

We like the new Windows 7 user interface very much, but it is different. That means you and your employees will have to spend time learning it before you become really efficient and productive.

The learning curve will be relatively minor for people familiar with Vista, but much steeper for folks still using XP. Again, this may not be a deal killer, but when you’re calculating the benefits of switching to Windows 7, take this into account.

5. Not Ready for Prime Time

Despite Microsoft’s largely successful efforts to draw ordinary people, including small business folks, into the process of designing and testing Windows 7, this is a new operating system. There will inevitably be bugs. There will be headaches and frustrations.

Cautious IT professionals recommend that you not go through the aggravation of switching until most of the kinks are worked out. They suggest that you wait at least until the first “service pack” of fixes comes out, which will probably happen near the end of first quarter 2010.

4. New Isn’t Necessarily Better

Microsoft has a penchant for leaving long-time customers high and dry when it “upgrades” software. Case in point: the new Media Player in Windows 7. It removes the useful Advanced tag editor feature that made it easy in earlier versions to edit meta data attached to media files. (Media programs, including WMP, use tags to — among other things — organize music and movies by artist, genre, etc.)

Also, our experience of Internet Explorer 8, the new version of IE built for and included with Windows 7, shows that it’s more prone to crashing and freezing than previous versions.

3. A Pain in the XP

While Microsoft makes it relatively easy to upgrade to Windows 7 from Vista, if you’re switching from XP — and many small businesses wisely stuck with XP — you’ll  have to do a clean install. This means completely rebuilding computers after installing the new Windows, reconfiguring settings and – ouch! – reinstalling all applications and devices.

2. A Pain in the Wallet

Upgrading to Windows 7 is not an inexpensive proposition, especially if you have lots of computers. If you’re already running a legitimate earlier version of Windows, here’s what a Windows 7 upgrade will cost you: Home Premium, $120; Professional, $200; Ultimate, $220. New prices: $200 to $320. Now multiply by the number of PCs in your company.

And our number one reason not to upgrade to Windows 7 (another drum roll, please)…

1. If it Ain’t Broke…

Our seven reasons to switch may sound compelling. But are they enough to warrant the disruption and expense involved in a mass migration to a new operating system — especially if your current OS works fine?

You could argue that Windows 7 will make people more productive or reduce IT management and support costs. But such business cases are notoriously difficult to prove. So if it ain’t broke — your existing operating system, that is — why fix it?

The Bottom Line

The decision on whether to switch to Windows 7 will be different — and must be arrived at differently — for every person or company. If you’re using Vista and hate it, or if you’re using XP and worry about support disappearing, think about upgrading to Windows 7 when the dust settles early next year.

Gerry Blackwell is a freelance technology writer based in London, Canada. Read his blog at http://afterbyte.blogspot.com/.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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