**Part 1. **

I realize I am long overdue for a blog post — my apologies.

I’ve had many clients ask me — “Windows XP works great. Why fix what isn’t broken?”

First off — they are right. Windows XP isn’t broken. However, Windows 7 also isn’t a fix.

I usually find myself having to remind those still on XP of the lifespan of their current OS.

10 years. What happened 10 years ago?

Bill Clinton announces that GPS access equivalent to the U.S. military would be available for regular citizens.

–          Today, I can go to any local electronic store and pick up a GPS system for about $200 easy.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth book in J.K. Rowling’s hugely popular Harry Potter series, is published.

–          J.K Rowling published her 7th and final book in the Harry Potter series a few years ago.

The Playstation 2 was released in the United States of America

–          Christmas 2009 season offered the PlayStation 3 for $199 to all gaming consumers

The first crew arrives at the International Space Station.

The United States Supreme Court releases its decision in Bush v. Gore, deciding the presidential election of 2000.

–          8 years of George Bush has come and gone and we now have our first African-American President.

That’s right. 10 Years is a long time.

And Windows XP is now 10 years old. Now XP does work and is still widely chosen by many consumers, small business and even enterprises — however it has been a long and windy road to arrive at the XP we know and utilize today. 3 Service Packs and countless security updates later, we now have an OS that is proven to be stable and reliable — but is it efficient? Rather, is it as efficient as it can be?

For the average home user, a response may be that one who does not need “Professional” features would be best off sticking with something familiar. Yet, I know too many “Average Joe’s” who yearly (or monthly) run out and purchase additional hardware or basic components to enhance their computer experience. A new printer. More RAM. Larger hard drive. Better graphics card. If even the simplest is wanting to maintain the same level of speed and performance as they achieved the first day they bought their machine. Just because one doesn’t need to connect to a domain or utilize Remote Desktop Connector does not mean they couldn’t use an extra five minutes in their day when surfing online or reading email.

We’ve all heard the TV Commercials — “Windows 7. It just works.” “I’m a PC. And Windows 7 was my idea.” Well, not to reiterate TV but the commercials are right — it just works.

Argument 1: Migration / Clean Install takes too long…

Back in the day operating systems used to take several hours for install or upgrade. It’s pretty much a rule of thumb that a clean install provides the best results. For the average to moderate computer user it would be a pretty painful experience to backup and transfer all data, music and picture files from one installation to another. And re-installing applications — hours!

Now what about those users who no longer have the software CD’s for their applications? I deal with several clients on a daily basis who struggle with finding the media for their Office 2000 and Antivirus 2004 – here’s something to consider: it’s not 2000 anymore! I know it’s a harsh reality to consider not only upgrading OS’ but now to also factor in the price point of software? “That’s too expensive!”

I’m going to tell all my readers exactly what I tell my clients: “Consider it an investment. Would you rather invest in yesterday? By yesterday I mean – if your computer were to be infected by a virus (there are so many going around today) and the damage would be beyond removal, what would you do? A clean install would have to be performed regardless of whether you don’t want to purchase new software. The key point here is that Windows 7 offers many advancements in the areas of security, performance and reliability. What if you were to suffer a hard drive failure? We can recover data, and do so successfully daily, however we will not be able to pull your applications. You will have to purchase a new hard drive, pay a professional for installation and worry about what may or may not fail yet on a computer that is already half of a decade old. The wisest investment one can make is one that will offer a return in the years to come – that means buy the new software, move to a more stable and secure operating system and sleep soundly. When a computer becomes more of a slot machine than a tool – you may want to consider taking a jump.

Not to mention, installing the operating system alone could take up to an hour or more with 5 questions, that need to be answered, asked in between. Oh! And then drivers? Forget it! Back then a full “restore” or “rebuild” could take days — well no more!

For those considering an upgrade to Windows 7 — imagine a 15 – 20 minute clean or “custom” install with nearly all drivers installed for you. Reinstallation of all applications takes at most a few hours and you can begin a transfer of all data files from your backup to your current OS while you run to the store. Most “upgrades” or migrations to Windows 7 can now be completed in less than a day — what a difference!

What about those considering purchasing a new machine? You could use the Windows Easy Transfer tool to transfer not only your data files but also your settings to your new machine with only a few clicks!

Argument 2: Networking takes too long….

Home networking has been greatly improved and simplified. You can now share files, music, photos and even printers with just four clicks. A new feature is also introduced with Windows 7 called “Homegroups.”  Homegroups allows you to more effectively manage your shared files – even for domain-joined computers.

In part 2, we’ll go deeper into the networking and security advantages of Windows 7 for not only home users but also businesses as well. Stay tuned…