Our new computers are coming with Windows 7, is that okay?

Whatever happened to consumer choice? We are now seeing hardware manufacturers, keen to see a compelling reason for change in the marketplace, putting Windows 7 on their new PC offerings. But we do not yet know if this is the operating system that we are all hoping for.
It is pretty much an accepted fact that Windows Vista was a flop and that the best system in a long time has been Windows XP. We are still advising our clients to opt for Windows XP unless there is a compelling reason for selecting 7. We are not judging Windows 7 to be good or bad, better or worse. In fact we highly recommend getting Windows XP with upgrade rights to Windows 7 because we genuinely hope that Windows 7 is a step forward and offers significant benefits over XP without the downsides on performance experienced with Vista.

It is important from a strategic view point to understand why we give this advice. We are only interested in one aspect of IT and we go after this with a narrow focus: we want to see IT systems that improve productivity in a business and help the business to grow. If the operating system installed performs badly and undermines stability and performance it becomes an impediment to business growth.

This is different to home users who want new gimmicks and gizmos and who want the latest games to look “really cool”. We do not need to get involved in discussions of new features such as media centre and other fun stuff. The important questions are: will Windows 7 increase productivity and will everything still work?

For business users it is often more important to have support for existing peripheral devices such as scanners, bar code readers, specialty printers such as label printers and the like. Where there are expensive devices being driven by the operating system it is very important to ensure the support is there for these devices as replacement of the peripherals can be a lot more expensive than maintaining the older operating system.

Many manufacturers have invested heavily in writing the drivers for each version of Windows and will wait for the uptake to grow before they invest again, especially at a time where the whole world is watching expenses closely. It is advisable to wait awhile in business then do extensive testing before upgrading.

Click here to read more IT Systems expert advice.

David Markus is the founder of Melbourne’s IT services company Combo. His focus is on big picture thinking to create value in IT systems for the SME sector.

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