What’s the difference? Window 7 vs. Windows Vista SP1 vs. Windows XP SP3

With the release of Windows 7 there are now three versions of Windows available for a desktop or laptop computer. This makes for interesting times for us who work in the IT field. Which version will we be supporting for the next few years? Many who use Windows XP are happy and feel no need to make a change. Some have just completed the — sometimes painful — migration to Windows Vista and will do just about anything to avoid making another change. And there are always those that must have the latest and greatest and have been excited by the favorable pre-release buzz for Windows 7.

I like each version of Windows for different reasons. XP seems like an old friend whose ways you know so well and with whom you are completely comfortable. Vista is like a new acquaintance that was hard to warm up to but eventually won you over with unexpected virtues. And Windows 7 is like a brand new race car stuffed with new technology and brimming with potential.

So which is the Windows to choose? I have a weakness for comparison charts that goes back to my high school years when I would pore over car magazines and baseball statistics deciding who was the best of class. When I came across Microsoft’s own comparison chart that listed the features of the last three Windows Desktop operating systems I had to download it and print it out for analysis. Get it at: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=FA0177CC-7E82-4993-B0D6-FEC84216DD9C&displaylang=en

My conclusion? Windows 7 wins hands down if your criteria is the sheer number of new or improved features but you have to use the operating system for a while before you can be really sure.

By the way, one of Microsoft’s best little known offers for IT Professionals is the Action Pack Subscription which includes permanent, not trial copies of new software. For only $300 you get copies of the latest versions of Windows with which you can make your own judgement. Check out the Action Pack at: https://partner.microsoft.com/40016455.

And have fun with it.

-Mark Menges

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