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Windows 7: The Complete Guide

Updated on June 16, 2009

Microsoft's newest operating system will debut this October, and it can be categorically stated that this may just be the Redmond conglomerate's best OS since the fabled Windows 98SE... and it might just be the best one ever.

It is no surprise to any of my habitual Hub readers that I didn't just hate Vista, I believed that Vista was a spawn of Satan. I'm not going to reboot my harangues about that misbegotten OS as I have tossed thousands of Hub words at its profound repugnance. Let it suffice to say that if someone held a gun to my head and made me choose between Microsoft Vista and Microsoft Bob, I might just opt to go the cartoon desktop route.

However, Bozo Ballmer's Boys and Girls have truly and fully redeemed themselves with Windows 7. It's everything that Vista should have been: It's fast, capable, stable, and has a wide variety of fantastic features that you'll wonder how you lived without. There is no doubt whatsoever that Microsoft went Snow Leopard hunting and they bagged the cat bigtime.

If I had a Mac, I'd consider running Windows 7 on it rather than OS X. Yes, Windows 7 is that good.

For the first time ever, Mac is now getting slapped silly by PC. There is no longer any requirement or real reason to buy a Mac. OS X has nothing, and I mean nothing, over Windows 7, even the legendary (but so far illusory) Snow Leopard.

Without further ado, let's dive into Windows 7 RC1 (Release Candidate 1) by introducing the OS with some very basic FAQ:

How do you get Windows 7 RC1?

Just go to this Microsoft web page and download it away. It's available until July and it's free. Note, don't ever ever ever download any Windows OS from anywhere but a verified Microsoft page unless you are an amateur virologist and want to use your computer for research. There are some Windows 7 versions out there that have more viruses than the Center for Disease Control.

What kind of PC do I need to run Windows 7?

Unlike Vista which required a Cray Supercomputer to run reasonably, Windows 7 has been designed to zoom on netbooks, let alone more capable PCs. I installed it on a fairly low end notebook which was previously panting under Vista Home Premium and the old laptop got a new lease on life. Some functions seem to have speeded up by a factor of five or even more! The Microsoft minimum specs are:

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

Unlike Vista's similar minimum specs, Windows 7 will not just barely run, but actually thrive on a PC configured in such a relatively low end manner. You might even get away with running it on 512MB RAM systems, although I don't recommend it.

How long can I use it?

You can use the current RC1 until March 1, 2010 completely free and with no problems. After that, it starts shutting down every two hours. But you should get the actual release version in late October 2009 anyway so it doesn't matter.

This isn't a finished release, so is it buggy?

The Windows 7 beta process was probably the best one that Microsoft has ever conducted. Although I have used the various betas of Windows 7 and now RC1 for months on four separate computers, everything from my humble little Celeron laptop to my killer Core i7 920 at Turbo with 12GB RAM, VelociRaptor boot, and RAID 1 data drive megamachine, I have yet to have even the slightest problem, crash, or glitch. Regardless, if you don't back up your data regularly you're going to be in trouble no matter what OS you run.

Now that the bases are covered, let's delve into the heart of Windows 7!

Read The Entire Windows 7 Complete Guide!

Windows 7: The Complete Guide
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Getting Started
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Backup & Restore
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Security & Privacy
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Encryption
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Aero & Libraries
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - HomeGroup
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Tips & Tricks
Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Turn Off The Junk & Crank Up The Speed

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