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Are you really ready for Windows 7?  Make sure you are compatible!

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Many of my customers have plenty great things to say about their experience with Windows 7.  However, word of mouth can be a dangerous thing at times.  When word gets around that the latest and greatest version of Windows is out, far too many people run out and upgrade without checking if their hardware or software is also ready for the move.  

It is a horrible feeling when you get all setup on your PC with the newest OS only to find out that the program that you use every day is not compatible on this new OS and your vendor is in no hurry to push out an update anytime soon.  Another instance is getting all setup and you realize that you don’t have any sound; this can come as a pain as well.

Here are some things you can do to assure that you are ready for the move to Windows 7.

You can manually browse through hardware and software lists to determine if you are ready for Windows 7.  The Windows compatibility center is an excellent source for this information.

Windows 7 Compatibility Center: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-7/en-us/Default.aspx

Searching through the compatibility lists can take some time when comparing your current hardware and software configuration, for this you can have Microsoft do it for you by installing the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.

Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/get/upgrade-advisor.aspx
[step=""]Helpful Hint:
Before running the Upgrade Advisor make sure you have all devices plugged in and powered up so the Advisor can check everything connected to your computer.[/step]
Once the Upgrade Advisor has finished you will be shown the results broken down into 3 categories:

System Requirements – tells you the steps you might need to take in order to go ahead with the upgrade as well as system requirements that successfully passed.

Devices – this list will show any of your devices that will not be compatible with Windows 7 or may require an update.
Programs – this list will show any of your software installed that will not be compatible with Windows 7, must be reinstalled or will run with some minor issues.

[step=""]Helpful Hint:
If you are currently running XP and older OS, you will have to reinstall all your software anyway.[/step]
OK, so you are satisfied with the results of your compatibility test or manual search at the compatibility center.  Here are a few helpful hints that I would recommend doing if you are moving forward with your upgrade to Windows 7:

Backup your data!  It doesn’t matter if you are moving to Windows 7 or jumping in your time machine and headed back to take a joyride with Windows ME… back up your data!
If you are doing an upgrade from XP to Windows 7 read up on “Windows Easy Transfer” Link: http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/07/26/how-to-upgrade-windows-xp-to-windows-7-with-windows-easy-transfer/ 
Pricing.  There are several flavors of Windows 7,  you can see the differences and prices at this link: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/compare/default.aspx 
32- or 64-bit?  I hear this question a lot from customers and this is a good link to help you in knowing the difference between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7.  Check out this link for the FAQ: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/32-bit-and-64-bit-windows-frequently-asked-questions.

Your big move to Windows 7 will be a seamless transition.... or you will experience some speed bumps.  Work some of this information into your preparation for the move and it should be a much better experience that you won’t regret later.
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