Windows 7 RC Available: Why You Should Upgrade From XP


logo_windowsFirst released in 2001, Windows XP is now somewhat of a dinosaur, yet because Vista never really caught on, it’s the OS that’s installed on most PCs. Today Microsoft (s msft) made the Release Candidate (RC) of Windows 7, the newest version of the OS, available to download.

If, like me, you stuck it out with XP and skipped Vista, you should consider upgrading. As Martin Brinkmann at gHacks explains, Windows 7 greatly improves on XP in several key areas:

Speed and Performance: This is perhaps the most important reason for upgrading. Windows 7 beats XP in all performance benchmarks.

Security: Windows 7 will provide much better “out of the box” security than XP, while at the same time cutting down on the annoying UAC prompts that plague Vista.

Hardware Compatibility: While it should be possible to continue running XP for quite a while, some future devices might not support the older OS.

Design: Windows 7 features a much more contemporary design scheme, coupled with a huge range of customization options and themes.

There is also some brand-new functionality, including multitouch support — a feature that, at first, I thought was a bit gimmicky. However, having now owned an iPhone (s aapl) for a while, I’m looking forward to seeing the new hardware that will be enabled by this move.

You might be concerned about the ability to run Windows 7 on your hardware. The good news, as ZDNet notes, is that the requirements of Windows 7 are not much more onerous that those of Vista:

  • 1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of disk space (or 20 GB for 64-bit users)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

If you’re planning on adding XP Mode (a virtualized copy of Windows XP that ensures full backwards-compatibility), you’ll need 2 GB of RAM, an additional 15 GB of disk space and a CPU that supports hardware visualization.

As the RC is not the final version of the OS, you won’t get much in the way of support from Microsoft, so if you’re not reasonably tech-savvy it would probably be better to wait until the full retail release (due out in October, if the rumor on Pocket-lint is correct). You’ll need to be able to burn an installation DVD from an ISO and be able to back up and restore the applications and data on your computer, because if you have XP you have to do a clean install of Windows 7. Microsoft has posted full installation instructions.

The RC should be available to download through July, and you’ll have until March 1, 2010, to buy a full Windows 7 license.

Will you upgrade to Windows 7?



Tried Vista and 7 and both didn’t impress me at all. Stick with XP, its the best desktop O/S MS ever created – solid, capable and just feels nice over all. It functions great on both laptops and desktop systems with great hardware and software compatibility. Just make certain you have at least service pack 2 installed, SP3 is a bit more hardware intensive as far as I understand, so for older systems SP2 is best. I agree the XP user interface is a bit dull, I created a more interesting one brining XP’s looks more in line with newer versions of Windows. If you are interested in improving XP’s looks and make it look more modern, I am certain you will like my free visual style for XP (32bit versions only) It is available free from Instructions are included and it is very easy to implement but if you do not feel confident enough to implement it yourself approach an experienced person. I do not feel the few small “improvements” justify an upgrade. Just because XP is getting older doesn’t mean its useless. Just be alert and use good internet security software. I have been using XP since its introduction and it has been providing reliable service ever since. OEM’s unfortunately do tamper with and customize installations of Windows which negatively impacts on the experience of users, I have seen this many times. A copy of XP directly from Microsoft when it was still available works extremely well. I am crazy about XP and even obtained a 64bit version with great difficulty. Thank you for reading! Jennifer


what and be hacked again and again no no no no and if you do have vista or windows 7 (vista 2 ) you have give your computer to microsoft they are not telling what is in vista or windows 7 vista 2

Ray Ives

Sheez Simon, that list of reasons sounds like you’re clutching at straws.

The 1st (and only) ‘reason’ turns out to be false in the final release – benchmark tests show Win7 muuuuuch slower than XP.

The rest of the reasons aren’t!

Simon Mackie

Clutching at straws? From ZDNet: “Windows 7 performs better than Vista and is also faster than XP, although XP remains more capable for devices with limited memory and outdated graphics.” (;post-22006) If you’re running an outdated machine, then, yes, you might be better off sticking with XP performance-wise. Win7 is certainly not “muuuuch” slower according to the benchmarks I’ve seen.

I’m not sure why you think that improved security, future hardware incompatibilities and design aren’t reasons.

David Jones

The upgrade to Windows 7 should be free. Get rid of Microsoft
altogether and install Ubuntu / Linux.


I have XP running on three PCs in the house. It works fine, I have no, I mean NO problems with it. WHY should I upgrade? I’ll keep XP until it stops working for me or the computer dies. I keep my virus protection current.

Stop sending Microsoft your money!!!

Simon Mackie

“Stop sending Microsoft your money!!!” — why? If Windows 7 is a good product (and by all accounts, it is) then why shouldn’t people buy it?


If you buy new PC then Win7 is good, but for most people with older pcs I would stay with WinXP.


Windows 7 is really good, I would suggest to get installation package from torrent


I have win7 rc. Its the best Windows yet bar far. Yes windows Vista sucked!! Windows xp is way better than vista. But Windows 7 is awesome. Its very fluid and fast. It is most definitely not a resource hog and even allows me to play games that my cpu shouldn’t be able to handle. If you want a perfect pc then build one yourself. Its not hard. Windows 7 is not perfect but compared to Vista and even XP its much better and makes them look like toddler toys. It allows alot of freedom and control. and someone will say no it doesnt its windows. well you dont know much about computers and are simple minded. try windows 7 you will like it. It takes half the resources of vista and looks way better. and XP is old and outdated. If your afraid to lose your data by doing a full install and dont know how to partition or anything of that sort than go buy a 30$ flash drive with 16gig =s and save it to that. Windows 7 is a great OS. It may not be a linux but for The majority of people linux is to complicated for them. Windows 7 is a great choice for anyone. I dual boot Linux Ubuntu and Windows 7 and I hardly ever use my linux now. Just try it people. Microsft made some mistakes but they really worked on 7 to make it work. and no im not a fan boy. Just stating the facts. Ive used multiple linux OS’s and mac and Windows from 95 to 7. Win7 is a great deal.

Nicholas Manie

having original win 2000, I use an upgrade disk of win XP will i be able to use an upgrade disk of win 7 ? or is it going to demand vista to upgrade ? My machine is capable of running win 7 so I just wonder.


It’s just idiocy that you won’t be able to buy an outofthebox Win7 machine until October. What about the back to school market?? My son is going to college and needs a laptop – I am not spending money on a Vista or XP machine in August just to have to upgrade it in October. The timing is beyond stupid. He’s going to have to haul his old XP desktop with him and use it until November.


A few advantages; many disadvantages.

Pro: Easy to install, unlike XP it can partitian larger than 138 mb drives, and it installed all my drivers. Other than appearance, the only desirable feature I found is auto alignment of two windows side by side.

No email and the recommended Windows Live Mail sucks to high heaven. It’s extremely complicated for multiple accounts if attempting to import messages and creates over 250 folders, including over a dozen inbox and sent folders.

Everytime you do something, even if you the identical thing hundreds of times, it ask you to approve. Security perhaps; however, at the very least, you should be given an option to always allow approval for that particular program.

Quick launch is removed. Search for files and folders is basically removed. And, if you have four windows open, instead of all 4 windows showing on the bar at the bottom, they are all in some folder. It requires two rather than one operation to retreive.

It does have a launch for Internet explorer but to open a second IE window, you must click, start, programs, IE.

It is not backward compatable. MS office works. Outlook Express is not possible. Adobe Professional does not work. Photoshop works, but has issues. I am sure new versions of my software will work. However, In addition to the cost of Windows 7, I don’t wish to spend $500 replacing software that is perfect for me when using Windows XP.

I recommend staying with Windows XP or Linux. Microsoft is just trying to sell everyone a new operating system that is inferior to Windows XP. People working for Microsoft or people that can be bribed will give Windows 7 a good review. Unbias people will not.

Ray Dennis

I really believe that Microsoft is missing the boat by not providing an upgrade path from XP to Windows 7. Many people I speak with are saying thay can not reinstall all aplications due to lost, misplaced or factory installed applications. This is short sighted of them.


I appreciate knowing this info. I hope that this new MS program is better that the XP or VISTA


I have a Dell D610 laptop (1.6 GHz Intel Celeron, 2 GB RAM) which is about 5 years old, and I decided to install Windows 7 Beta on it. I first used Clonezilla to make an exact copy of the disk with the XP OS and my files, then I did a clean install of Win7. I was very impressed with the speed of Win7, along with the fact that it ran quite well on a laptop with older hardware. Win7 is basically what Vista should have been when it was first released, and it seems very polished even in beta form.


@Adam Bradley

I believe Microsoft has stated that Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional are going to be the vast majority of versions that users will encounter while buying a new PC. The feature sets of these are comparable to Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.


Phil, thanks for asking the upgrade from Vista question and Simon thanks for the answer. :D


I might upgrade my three-year-old XP laptop (Core Duo proc, 2 gigs RAM) out of curiosity if I lived alone, but for my wife’s sake, I’m definitely going to leave it be. I just wiped it and reinstalled XP and it’s running great. Windows 7 might be a little flashier and faster, but that’s hardly worth the risk, time, and inevitable cost on 3/1/2010.

Adam Bradley

You forgot one big downside: It’s intentionally crippled to force you to upgrade.

Because of the smaller size of Windows 7, three versions of the program will come loaded even on lower-end machines. If a consumer on a cheaper PC running the “Standard” version tries to use a high-definition monitor or run more than three software programs at once, he’ll discover that neither is possible. Then he’ll be prompted to upgrade to the pricier “Home Premium” or “Ultimate” version.

Simon Mackie

@Phil Bear I believe so. MS says: “You can install the Windows 7 RC on a PC running Windows Vista without backing up the PC—but we encourage you to make a backup for safe keeping.”

Phil Bear

Great article, thanks for the pros/cons list. Something in your article popped out to me, and I can’t seem to find much information anywhere else. I have Vista – does this mean I don’t have to do a clean install, and my files should remain?

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