Since many of us are making the migration to Windows 7, I figured this would be a good time to share a few resources which may help in the transition.
Windows 7, taming the monster:
Okay, it's really not a monster, nor is it a leap into unknown territory. Windows 7 simply tries to improve on stability and glamour. Yes, I did say stability. I've been running Windows 7 on various computers for a few months now. I have not encountered one of those "kernel Fault" errors. Nor one of those really obscure errors that leave you scratching your head wondering why you have to restart your PC again. One thing of note, Windows 7 does need a fair bit of computer power. Your present PC might be able to run this OS, however it's a good idea to run Microsoft's Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor found at:
So you passed the test? Great, let's install Windows 7. Woe there Nelly. It's not that simple. As always, there's a few things you need to consider. If you're using any accessibility software such as screen readers, magnification programs OCR products and the like, it's best to upgrade these to the latest versions to ensure full support of Windows 7.
Due to the nature of this upgrade, you may need to format your PC. In other words, start from scratch. There are upgrade paths available, depending on your PC configuration.
This brings into consideration all that data you want to keep: your family pictures, that amazing music library you've acquired over the years. The backing up of all this data is out of the scope of this entry, but it's definitely something to think about.
Does your head hurt yet?
So we have lots of work in front of us: the backing up of information, upgrading software and possibly hardware, installation of the new operating system and possibly formatting of the PC. This could become quite costly depending on your setup. Not to mention time consuming. So what is a budding nerd to do? I know, speak for yourself Martin. Well, here are a few thoughts.
Go on the cheap:
Since your current PC is working just fine, don't modify it. Use it as you would for your day to day tasks. But you still want to keep up with everyone else? That's fine, buy yourself a netbook and experience Windows 7 in that way. What about accessible software? I love asking myself questions. Well, why not install an open source screen reader. It just so happens there is one. It's called NVDA: which stands for Non-Visual Desktop Access. You can find this product at:
As for magnification, I hear that Windows 7 built-in magnification is pretty good. If someone could chime in here with their own opinion or free solution, that would be great.
So, for between $250.00-$500.00, depending on the netbook configuration, you can experience Windows 7 and have a portable solution to boot.
The other option is to buy a desktop computer. What, they still make those? Yep, there not as popular anymore as everyone wants portability, but you can still find them in your favourite electronics store. Their prices have also gone down to compete against the plethora of portable PC options out there.
But wait, there's more:
How about help. Well, if you're already using Windows XP and/or Windows Vista, you're ahead of the game. Sure, the interface has changed a bit and there are more features, but if you know how to move in the previous operating systems, then you know how to move in this one. Only the layout of the land is different. For a good explanation of Windows 7 desktop, visit the following online tutorial at:
The same company has a slew of Jaws-related guides found at:
This is an amazing resource and sort of blows my Jaws collection out of the water. That's okay, they're not as funny. SMILE
The final option to be considered is, stay put. But but but, everybody's upgrading. Yeah well, to be honest, I have 3 PCs at home happily running Windows XP with service Pack 3 and I have no plans to upgrade them. I don't see the need. They're all running perfectly and have been since 2005. They've gone through lots of modifications and clean up over the years, but I'm just too gosh darned lazy to do the upgrade. Plus, I might lose processing power in the conversion. So, until Microsoft says they're no longer supporting XP SP3, or I get the time and the energy to upgrade, these PCS will keep their current configurations. Everything else in my nerd life can be Windows 7; oh and a bit of Mac to balance everything. But that's for another blog entry.
Anyway, now that I've confused everything with my flip flopping back and forth on the whole issue, this gives you a good starting point for your venture into Windows 7.
It boils down to this. You can upgrade your current PC to Windows 7, with a few caveats. Or, you can buy a new system and experience Windows 7 on an already Windows 7 certified PC. Lastly, you can just stay with the status quo. The choice is yours.