In addition to my recent computer hardware upgrade, I also upgraded the OS jumping from Windows XP to Windows 7 RC and from 32 to 64 bits.
I’ve been a Windows XP user for a long time now, and I had no inclination to go to Vista. The only compromise I’d made was adding some programs like Launchy to incorporate similar Vista-like UI improvements into my XP experience. When the Windows 7 RC came out with so many rave reviews, I decided to try it out on my secondary desktop. I have been very happy with it, and had no trouble with finding drivers for all of my existing hardware or running any of my software.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to pre-test going to 64-bits, so that was the big test on the new machine. Fortunately, I’ve had nearly no problems. Of course, my video card was brand new so that was an easy update from Nvidia’s site. My printers, an old HP LaserJet 5p that I’ve had for over 10 years and an Epson Stylus Photo 820, both loaded drivers with minimal hassle. The Epson pulled drivers from Windows update, but the LaserJet required me to grab the Universal PCL 5 drivers from the HP site. My monitor, keyboard, mouse, game pad, DVD-ROM, and DVD-RW all loaded with no problems. The only issue was with my Epson Precision 1650 scanner, which I was able to get working in 32-bit Windows 7 but didn’t have support for 64-bit.
I was pretty worried, based on past horror stories of moving to 64-bit Windows, both Vista and previous. Overall though the jump to 64-bit has been painless and is definitely worth the performance gains of getting access to 6GB of RAM. The only downside to upgrading to Windows 7 so early is that I’ll need to reinstall once the retail version is released, but I have until (I think) June next year to do it so I’m looking at it as an enforced spring cleaning for my operating systems.