Top 5 Reasons to Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7

19 10 2009

With the launch of Windows 7 being only 3 days away, I have compiled a list of reasons why you should upgrade your OS, especially if you are still running on Windows XP. This list should help Windows XP fence sitters to make their choice soon.

Reason No. 5: You can Enjoy your Media through Windows Media Center

If you get Windows 7 Home Premium and above, your OS will come with a Windows Media Center for you to watch movies, play audio files, view photos and get access to Internet TV. Connecting your PC/Laptop to your HDTV will allow you to turn your PC into an all in one media center without a hitch. Best of all, you can purchase a media center remote for about less than RM100 to turn your PC into a full fledged media center.

The latest installment of Windows Media Center on Windows 7

The latest installment of Windows Media Center on Windows 7

Reason No. 4: You can run Windows XP Programs using Windows XP Mode

When Vista was first launched 3 years ago, many Windows XP users was unsatisfied with the support for programs and drivers that it had. Now with Windows 7, you can download an optional vistualization software called “Windows XP Mode“, which is downloadable here for free.

With Windows XP Mode, you’ll be able to install and run all your XP based programs without any problems on the same machine. However, you will need to ensure that your processor has processor based virtualization support. With this, there are no more excuse for running older applications on Windows 7.

Windows XP Mode running Word 2003 under XP and Word 2007 under Windows 7.

Windows XP Mode running Word 2003 under XP and Word 2007 under Windows 7.

Reason No. 3: You can run your Games on DirectX 10 and 11 with good Frame Rates

Windows Vista promised better looking games with the introduction of DX10, but it came with a big problem: framerate drop and performance issues in complex 3D games. As a result, gamers prefers to stick with Windows XP for gaming as the added DX10 enhancements does not oversell gaming performance.

Now with Windows 7, Microsoft has introduced DX11, but is your gaming performance affected? Based on a few benchmarks being conducted so far on Windows 7 Beta (PCGamesHardware.com, Firing Squad), Windows 7’s gaming performance matches Windows XP and beats Windows Vista in several gaming benchmarks. Take note that these benchmarks were only conducted in the Build 7000 beta version of Windows 7.

I have also ran a benchmark of Street Fighter IV under Windows 7 and I must say I am pretty impressed that it managed to run on 50+ FPS average throughout the entire game in High Quality on my C2D 7250, 8600GT laptop.

Far Cry 2 Benchmark on Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP

Far Cry 2 Benchmark on Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP

Reason No. 2: Windows 7 runs as Quickly and Responsively as Windows XP

Using Vista was a real drag, but after testing out Windows 7 for a month now, I can safely tell you that the performance in Windows 7 matches/is even faster than Windows XP. This is not only based on my experience, but also from other people (fellow colleagues and bloggers) who are already on the Windows 7 train.

With this in mind, it is safe for you to run multiple applications and expect minimal slowdowns unless you have taken up the entire RAM of your PC. With all the additional features available on Windows 7 and minimum hardware upgrade, it is a really good time to upgrade your OS.

Reason No. 1: Improved Productivity with the new Taskbar and Aero Features

And the main reason why you should upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7…. The new Taskbar and Aero functionalities!

With the introduction of the new Windows 7 taskbar now known as the SuperBar, your programs are now grouped together in icons, instead of separate boxes. You can also have a preview of your running programs while hovering your mouse over these icons. Want to close a program without running it at the top of your desktop? Just click on the mini “x” button on the window preview. Want to get the latest list of links or files that you have ran on an application? Just right click on the icon and get the list of latest tasks you have done.

The Jump List with list of media frequently played using Windows Media Player

The Jump List with list of media frequently played using Windows Media Player

And not to forget, there are also new Windows Aero features too. Aero shake, aero peek and aero snap are some of the new functions built into Windows 7. Don’t like cluttered windows, just shake the window that you want to work on and all the other windows in the background will minimize. Want to see the current status of your desktop without minimizing your programs? Just mouse over the right side of your SuperBar to view your desktop and click to minimize all. Want to compare products or 2 separate programs? Drag your application to the left or right hand side of the desktop to snap them up.

Comparing products on eBay is now easier with Aero Snap

Comparing products on eBay is now easier with Aero Snap

With all the new features in Windows 7 with minimal sacrifices in terms of hardware, there is definitely no better reason why you shouldn’t upgrade your PC from Windows XP to Windows 7. Check back this blog for Windows 7 events that will be coming to Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya to experience Windows 7 and win great prizes!

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Changing your Windows 7 Logon Screen

1 10 2009

One thing that I do not really like about Windows 7 is the default logon screen. The wallpaper that is being provided is a little childish and light in color. However, there are no customization tools by default in Windows 7 to allow you to change the logon screen. Fortunately, there is a tool out there by tweak.com which allows you to change that default Windows 7 logon wallpaper easily. You can download it here

Changed Logon Screens

Changed Logon Screens

To use the logon screen tool, just simply run the extracted .exe file and click on the “Change Logon Screen” button to select a background which you want to use. In case you need to revert the background back to it’s original image, just run the same program and click on “Revert to Default Logon Screen”. Pretty simple eh?

tweak.com Logon Changer

tweak.com Logon Changer





Can my PC Run Windows 7?

15 09 2009
Can YOUR PC Run Windows 7?

Can YOUR PC Run Windows 7?

These days when considering an OS upgrade, the main question that will be asked would be: “Can my PC hardware run on this OS properly and efficiently?”. I too, think the same as I do not want to see performance degradation on my PC thus affecting my work. If it does, why don’t I just stick back to the previous OS which worked really well for me all these years? This was why I stuck through with XP even though Vista was around. 😀

Unlike previous installments of Windows, I can safely say that Windows 7 is the only OS which does not require any major hardware upgrade in order for it to run. These days, everyone is talking about installing Linux OSes into their older PC to keep them running. Of course, please don’t expect a 256 MB PC running on Pentium 3 to run Windows 7 because the functions on Win7 takes up a lot more RAM and processing power. 512MB is the minimum target you should set. However, if you wish to try installing Windows 7 on a 256MB RAM PC, here is a guide: Install Windows 7 with 256MB of RAM (Any attempts will be welcomed!)

Below are the minimum specifications required to run Windows 7:

Architecture 32-bit
Processor speed 1 GHz 32-bit processor
Memory (RAM) 1 GB of RAM
Graphics card DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver model 1.0
HDD free space 16 GB of available disk space
Optical drive

So, will Windows 7 run smoothly on my aging PC?  The test PC that I will be using would be a 6 year old PC, running on the following spec:

Architecture 32-bit
Processor speed 2.4 GHz 32-bit Intel P4processor
Memory (RAM) 2GB of RAM
Graphics card NVidia 7900GS DirectX 9 graphics processor
HDD free space 200 GB of available disk space
Optical drive DVD drive (only to install from DVD/CD Media)

If you all did follow my previous post on HTPC, you would have known that I did install Windows 7 Beta into it. So are there any improvements in performance as compared to Windows 7 Beta and Windows XP?

So after trying it out, in terms of performance, it is ALMOST as good or even better than XP at times. If comparing to Windows 7 Beta, there also seems to be a slight improvement in terms of overall response time. Take note that i have even turned on Aero effects, and the slowing down was still almost minimal. Even the startup and shutdown times were faster than Windows XP. Timing comparisons will be added soon!

Conclusion: If you are a Windows XP user with a PC that matches the minimum requirements as mentioned above, do consider upgrading to check out what you have been missing out especially with the new start menu bar, taskbar and search functions which all available in Windows 7. If you are running Windows Vista now, I cannot see any better reason as to why not to UPGRADE your PC to Windows 7 once it launches.

Your Old PC + Windows 7 = BIG WIN!

Your Old PC + Windows 7 = BIG WIN!

This post is part of the Windows 7 Rock Star Initiative

Windows 7 Rock Star

Windows 7 Rock Star





Upgraded from Windows 7 Enterprise to Ultimate!

14 09 2009

Yep, I may have just reformatted my PC from Windows XP to Windows 7 Enterprise last week. However, I received a new package of Windows 7 just last Friday as part of the Windows 7 Rock Star program. Here it is:

Windows 7 Ultimate DVD

Windows 7 Ultimate DVD

This DVD of course, is the final release for Windows 7, not the RTM version so I guess I have access to every single functionality for this upcoming OS.

Unfortunately, there was no function to upgrade from Windows 7 Enterprise RTM to Windows 7 Ultimate. As a result, I had to do another clean reformat. If you are asking me why go through the hassle of reformatting, it is worth it because of the addition of premium Windows games! Windows 7 Ultimate also provides users with over 100+ free downloadable games at http://www.microsoft.com/games/playyourgame/

So if you are going to ask me is it worth it or not, I would definitely say yes!

Will be writing so much more on this OS. There is just too much to be reviewed. Stay tuned!

This post is part of the Windows 7 Rock Star Initiative

Windows 7 Rock Star

Windows 7 Rock Star





Hello Windows 7! Goodbye Windows XP…

8 09 2009

Yesterday I have just did a clean reformatting for my Dell Inspiron 1520 notebook to run Microsoft’s upcoming OS, Windows 7. Thanks to MSDN subscriptions, I was able to get a copy for Windows 7 Enterprise on the spot!

After becoming a loyal Windows XP user for 9 years, I have finally decided to change the OS of my choice. I still remember having the same feeling when I wanted to install Vista about 3 years ago. However, that feeling banished once I had problems with slow access, annoying UACs and cluttered interfaces.

So lo and behold, here are screenshots from Windows 7 Enterprise Edition:

Windows 7 Screenshot

Windows 7 Enterprise RTM Screenshot with Aero Peek

The Spanking New Windows 7 Start Menu Bar

The Spanking New Windows 7 Start Menu Bar

My Activated Copy of Windows 7 Enterprise RTM

My Activated Copy of Windows 7 Enterprise RTM

So far, drivers haven’t been an issue. All I did was to download the Windows Vista drivers from Dell’s driver support site and everything seemed to work without a hitch. I have also read that you can even download the dedicated Windows 7 video driver from NVidia’s website to run your notebook’s video card, if your hardware is running on NVidia’s GPU.

In my later posts, I hope to place in some comparisons between my Windows 7 and Windows XP usage. As for developers, do look out for a post where I will try to install all the development tools to check for their compatibility. As for now, I will just enjoy my ‘7th Heaven’ OS.

This post is part of the Windows 7 Rock Star Initiative

Derek is a Windows 7 Rock Star

Windows 7 Rock Star