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<firstimage=”http://main.makeuseoflimited.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/winlogo.png” />Windows 7 was received with open arms both by bored Windows XP and plagued Windows Vista users. After Vista was a fail, it seems that 7 is catching on with the crowd.

Haven’t we all been craving for the sleek look of a Mac OS, combined with what we’re used to? So are you ready to make the move?

Here is a quick overview of Windows 7 requirements and installation tips and resources that will make the switch a breeze.

Minimum Windows 7 Requirements

Before you consider buying Windows 7, you should make sure your computer meets the minimum requirements. In case you’re already running Windows Vista with 1 GB RAM, you’re safe. Generally your computer should have at least the following specs:

  • 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor

If you are unsure how to manually check whether your computer meets the above Windows 7 requirements, you can use a program called Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. Download, install, and run the program. Follow the instructions on-screen and wait patiently while the program is checking compatibility. On my computer it took a couple of minutes to finish. Excerpts from my exemplary results are shown in the screenshot below.

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windows 7 requirements

As you can see, the tool not only checks your system specs, but also installed devices and software. Furthermore, you can switch between a 32-bit and 64-bit report, which is useful if your processor allows you to upgrade to a 64-bit operating system.

Varun also discussed the Windows Upgrade Advisor in detail in his post How To Make Sure Your Computer Can Run Windows 7 How To Make Sure Your Computer Can Run Windows 7 How To Make Sure Your Computer Can Run Windows 7 Read More .

Edition

A central question, of course, is to decide which Windows 7 edition is right for you. You can use the simple comparison table provided by Microsoft, which reveals the main differences.

windows 7 requirements

Basically, you’ll want to get the Professional edition if you require Windows XP Mode and extended network support, i.e. inbuilt VPN (Domain Join), and backup to home or business network solutions. The Ultimate edition comes with BitLocker and you can work in up to 35 different languages.

32-bit Versus 64-bit

If your system supports 64-bit, you should definitely get the 64-bit OS, unless you :

  • have a legacy device, such as a scanner or printer, that do not have 64-bit drivers.
  • are not going to upgrade to 4GB RAM anytime soon.
  • want to run 16-bit applications.

Mahendra has written a very good article which he explains How To Choose Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows 7 Operating Systems How to Choose Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows Operating Systems How to Choose Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows Operating Systems When you install Windows, you can pick between the 32-bit and 64-bit version of the operating system. We help you choose the version that is right for you. Read More . He also explains what 32-bit and 64-bit actually is.

Upgrade From Windows XP

An upgrade from Windows XP requires a custom installation. Here are the things you need to prepare in that case:

  • Backup your personal data.
  • Make sure you have the original installation discs or setup files of programs you wish to continue using under Windows 7.

To launch the custom installation, either start the installation file you have downloaded or insert the disc and run setup.exe. For the rest of the installation, follow the instructions on screen.

In his article How To Upgrade From XP To Windows 7 In 4 Easy Steps How To Upgrade From XP To Windows 7 In 4 Easy Steps How To Upgrade From XP To Windows 7 In 4 Easy Steps Read More , Varun explains the essential installation steps.

Tips & Troubleshooting:

  • Maintain an internet connection during installation, so that you can directly get important updates.
  • When you’re going to upgrade from Windows XP 32-bit to Windows 7 64-bit, use a Windows 7 installation disc or USB flash drive and reboot your computer with the installation source inserted or plugged in.
  • If your hard drive is currently formatted with FAT32, you will receive an error message when attempting to install Windows 7, as it requires NTFS.

How To Convert From FAT32 To NTFS Before Installing Windows 7?

  • Log into Windows XP as user with Administrator rights.
  • Click > Start > Run.
  • Without the quotes, type “convert <drive>: /fs:ntfs” into the command prompt and press Enter.<drive> typically is C, i.e. the letter identifying the drive at which your system is installed. So if your system was installed on C, you would type (without the quotes) “convert C: /fs:ntfs“. Note that there is a space between “C:” and “/fs:ntfs“.
  • To force a dismount on this volume, type Y and hit Enter.
  • To schedule the drive to be converted the next time the system restarts, type Y and hit Enter again.
  • Close the command prompt and shut down (do not reboot) your computer.
  • When you turn on your computer, your hard disk will be converted to NTFS.
  • Proceed with the custom installation after your computer boots back into Windows XP.

More Resources

windows 7 requirementsThe most detailed guides to installing or upgrading to Windows 7 are provided by Microsoft. Besides providing great step by step descriptions and screenshots, you’ll also find troubleshooting guides and information on how to install external devices. An added bonus: the site is available for different countries in the respective languages, for example in Türkçe, Português, Deutsch, Français, Nederlands, and many more.

Below are the links to the English installation guides, which you can also download and print. Look for “Print this tutorial” and the XPS and PDF links in the sidebar.

Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 (custom installation)
Upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7
(upgrade)
Upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7
(custom installation)

Although based on the release candidate, The Ultimate Upgrade To Windows 7 Guide part 1 The Ultimate 'Upgrade To Windows 7' Guide The Ultimate 'Upgrade To Windows 7' Guide Read More and part 2 written by Jim provides great instructions and information regarding the new OS.

Also have a look at the following articles on MakeUseOf:
Mahendra covered 15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks 15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks 15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks Read More and 12 More Windows 7 Tips & Hacks 12 More Windows 7 Tips & Hacks 12 More Windows 7 Tips & Hacks Read More .
Karl compiled The Only Windows 7 Reviews You Need To Read Windows 7 Reviews: The Only Ones You Need To Read Windows 7 Reviews: The Only Ones You Need To Read Read More .

If you have any specific questions regarding Windows 7, please use MakeUseOf Answers.

  1. Keith
    February 10, 2010 at 4:59 am

    I've been running 64bit Wondows 7 with only 512Mb of RAM of I'm amazingly surprised at how well it runs. I haven't had the cash to upgrade my pc at the mo, but i will as I'm sure as I install more and more apps it will start to grind to a halt, but right now it still does the business, whereas I know that Vista wouldn't as previously i had trouble with that on a 1Gb machine where i worked.

  2. Robert M
    February 9, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Nice Tips. To Anyone still using XP, please make the jump soon. You won't regret it.

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