Which Operating System Should I Use?
Should I Upgrade Windows?
Which Operating System (OS) is right for you, Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7? If you are using something that predates Windows 2000, you should seriously consider upgrading. However, your PC itself, may be too far out of date to be worth the trouble and expense of upgrading, it may be time for a new PC. Most PCs being sold now come with Windows 7 installed.
Windows 2000 was the successor to the Windows NT line. NT was a more sophisticated OS for large businesses and business networks. Windows 2000 was a robust OS that blended the niceties of Windows 98 with the complexity and reliability of Windows NT. It is an excellent OS; however it is now obsolete, being replaced by Windows XP, Vista and now Windows 7 Professional.
Windows XP, was released in October of 2001, and came in two common versions, Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional, for home use and business use respectively. A third version called Media Center was available for use with a PC that brings together traditional PC tasks with Home Entertainment systems. It provided controls to enable the use of your PC as a video recorder, DVD player, slideshow projector, game controller and other features in conjunction with your TV and home entertainment system. The XP iteration of Windows stood for nearly six years until it was replaced by Windows Vista.
Windows Vista, was released for home users in January 2007. It came in a whopping five versions;Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate. Most home users were happiest with Home Premium. Upgrading to this platform was demanding of a PC, especially the memory and the graphics adapter.
*Update: As of December 2008, some agencies concluded that it did not provide an adequate benefit for their organization to upgrade to Vista. Some PC manufacturers began offering more systems, not less, with the older Windows XP. Many Windows users found Vista to be unnecessarily difficult to use. A variety of software did not work well under Vista.
Windows 7 promises to do everything Vista promised, but without the headaches. Security features that made Vista infuriating have been addressed in Windows 7. Access and navigation have also been improved. Released in 2009, this most current OS is a success and making the jump from all earlier versions is a worthwhile upgrade.
Windows 7 runs with all hardware and software that ran under Vista. This meant no waiting for manufacturers to update drivers and provide patches to get their product working with the new OS.
As a general rule of thumb, we prefer to purchase a new PC with Windows 7 already installed to upgrading an existing PC. The cost of new PCs make this an attractive option and eliminates the risk of compatibility issues.
For a comparison of features between the three different versions of Windows 7, visit this comparison chart.
What about other operating systems like Linux or OS X? Linux is a wonderful OS and it is free. However, Linux is not for the novice; it requires a higher level of PC knowledge to be comfortable with its installation and use. Furthermore,it doesn't support nearly as many software programs as does Windows. OS X is for the Apple platform while this article focuses only on the PC platform.