How to choose between Windows XP and Windows 7

Microsoft loves to pump out operating system after operating system every few years. But is it really worth it to dump 100 bucks each time? Should you really upgrade from Windows Xp to Windows 7?

Here are my top 5 reasons to take the plunge, in no specific order:

1. Search function in the  Start Menu

Windows 7 Start Menu

Arguably one of the most important updates to Windows 7 is the new start menu. It is extremely useful and extremely well done. This is the replacement to “start -> run”. Basically put, you enter the name of the program you want in to the search, and very quickly and effectively windows will display the results and launch the program.

This serves as a welcome alternative to crawling through the start menu “all programs” button that Windows XP so favored, or lookign through desktop icons. The new start menu in Windows 7 is extremely intuitive, quick, and the results are very relevant.

2. New Taskbar with Docked Icons

Windows 7 Taskbar

The new taskbar in Windows 7 includes the ability to not only dock icons in the “quick launch” equivalent area, but to store multiple tabs in the actual icon, via mouse hover. This saves room in the taskbar and eliminates frantic searching through overcrowded taskbars we have come to love in Windows XP.

3. Windows Explorer icon in the Taskbar

Windows Explorer task bar

When hovering over the Windows Explorer Icon in the taskbar of Windows 7, windows will bring up all open explorers in a “preview” with live information and contents of each folder. Upon clicking on one of the folders, Windows 7 will automatically open the selected folder in full view.

This is not only more clean that Windows XP, but way more efficient for file management. It helps with browsing, file copying, zipping files, directory management and many more every day tasks that take much longer in Windows XP.

4. Recent Files in all Programs in the Start Menu

Recent Files Start Menu Windows 7

When hovering over any program located in the Start Menu, Windows 7 will automatically show you the most recent files associated with the program. This is probably one of my favorite features added by Windows 7. In Windows XP, this was available via the recent files folder, however the new layout makes far more sense is far more accessible.

5. Simple Window Cascading / Tiling / Maximizing

In Windows XP, cascading Windows wasn’t necessarily hard to do, but it definitely wasn’t as streamlined as it is in Windows 7. By dragging a windows by the title bar to the side, top or bottom of the monitor, Windows 7 will automatically side align or maximize the windows. This is very helpful when doing research related tasks, as having two windows open is a major time management tool.

Another excellent use for this is quick maximization and minimization. Once you become accustomed to using these quick features, you will be wondering how you got along without them.

Windows 7 seems to have focused on ease of use. It may not be more sophisticated, but Windows 7 is certainly easier and faster to use than Windows XP. I strongly recommend the upgrade, it is definitely worth the investment and you will wish you did this sooner.

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