7 reasons not to upgrade to Windows 7

Windows 7 boxI’ve barely been able to think this week due to the Microsoft marketing machine going into overdrive. Mainstream, and even not-so mainstream media, have been singing the praises of the new operating system like it’s some kind of revelation.

In my humble opinion, it’s clearly not a revelation. It’s yet another blatant copy of Mac OS X by Microsoft and merely the final version of Vista that they messed-up so monumentally 3 years ago.

If you’re in two minds about whether to upgrade, here are 7 reasons not to believe the hype or make the switch:

1. Little difference to Vista

Yes, there are a few juicy new features such as the “Superbar”, Libraries and it’s quicker but it remains essentially Vista. As some people are already realizing, Windows 7 isn’t much more than a Vista Service Pack. If, Vista is Windows 6.0 then Seven is merely 6.1.

money2.png2. It’s expensive compared to other options

A cursory glance at other operating systems shows that Windows 7 is still very expensive. Ubuntu and other Linux releases are free, and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard costs only around $75 and just $45 for a version upgrade.

Windows 7, depending on the version chosen, costs between $119.99 and $219.99 for the upgrade and between $199.99 and $319.99 full version.

3. XP and Vista work fine

XP was released in 2001 and remains a good option thanks to the service pack. Even though it’s 8 years old, it still remains the world’s most widely used operating system and almost completely dominates the netbook market. As for Vista, despite an awful start, Microsoft updates have served to clean up many of it’s problems if not solved the bloatedness and speed issues which plague it. If you’re happy with your current Windows, why change?

needle2.png4. It’s still built on the same old insecure infrastructure

Compared with previous versions, Windows 7 is more secure, yes. But at the end of the day, it’s still based on the same old vulnerable NT kernel that Windows 3.1x was based on 17 years ago. It’s still also necessary to activate the firewall and make sure antivirus updates have been kept up to date. Other systems are more secure where to install anything you need to be the Administrator.

5. Upgrading XP requires a clean install

While Vista users can choose a convenient “Upgrade” option which takes less than 30 minutes to install Windows 7, XP users  – which is the vast majority of Windows users out there – have to perform a clean install. Even a brief glance at the BBC’s guide to upgrading to Windows 7 tells you that there is no way offices and general home users are going to go to the trouble – or even feel confident – to perform a clean install of a new operating system.

warning.png6. Incompatible programs

Windows 7 will be compatible with far more programs than Vista was on release and most major developers have been updated their software for it. But there will inevitably be tools or small business applications designed for particular businesses which don’t work well with it. The only solution to this is the XP compatibility mode only available in the more expensive editions.

7. Windows remains a closed system

Years ago almost everyone had Windows installed so interoperability wasn’t an issue. Now there are many users sharing Windows with Mac OS X and Linux. While these two operating systems have endeavored to facilitate coexistence, Windows hasn’t. Thus while Mac and Linux can access Windows files and install the two operating systems together, this is not the case in Windows 7, which still reads HFS or EXT3/4 natively.

Will you be one of those that sticks with what you’ve got and doesn’t upgrade to Windows 7? Do you think that Windows 7 is worth upgrading to? Have your say.

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