The next business computer you buy will most likely come with Microsoft Windows 7 – are you ready?
Windows 7 is the newest Operating System from Microsoft, replacing Vista. It is more efficient than Vista and comes in 3 versions. Which one is right for your business?
Don’t just drop in to your local computer store and buy whatever is there! For maximum effectiveness your business needs the right version!
Many small businesses, including my customers, avoided Vista as much as possible so they are still running Windows XP Professional. However due to the normal rotation of computers, Windows 7 will be coming in your door shortly.
What version of Windows 7 should you buy?
As in XP and Vista, the version of Windows 7 you want for business is:
Windows 7 Professional.
Why? Windows 7 Professional allows you to do three things the Home Premium version does not:
- Run programs in XP Mode (for those legacy systems)
- Be part of a Windows Domain (provides better security)
- Allow Remote Desktop connections (great for remote support)
Unless you have very special requirements there is nothing in Windows 7 Ultimate that you need for business, why pay the extra money? Here’s the official comparison chart from Microsoft: Windows 7 Editions
Stay with XP?
Mainstream support for Windows XP already ran out in April 2009, extended support runs out 2014. Vista mainstream support runs out April 2012. At some point you’ve got to bite the bullet and upgrade. The question you need to ask is, “What is the best way to upgrade to Windows 7?”
Two Ways to Upgrade
Neither upgrade path is “better” than the other, it just depends on how your office works.
1) Upgrade through attrition
As computers die, purchase the new ones with Windows 7.
For cash flow, this is the most cost-effective way to upgrade. Spend the money when it is needed and work out the wrinkles on the first one or two. In the long term you will probably spend more money due to individual staff training and support costs, but you won’t break the bank.
2) Upgrade office-wide
Purchase new or upgrade all computers throughout the office at one time
All staff can be trained at the same time and prepared for the cutoff date for the transition. Staff can help each other out with questions – efficiencies are gained here. There is a higher up-front cost to this and you may feel nickle and dime’d a bit as some computer components may have to be swapped out, but you will have spent less in the long run.