Making the transition to Window 7 with an older laptop

I have been living with Windows 7 Ultimate on my labtop for the past month and have been exploring the new features incorporated into this latest version of Windows. My laptop is a Gateway Model MP6954 purchased at a Best Buy in 2006. It had Windows XP Media Center 2005 edition installed and has a Centrino Duo T2050 1.6 GHZ processor and 2 GB of RAM. XP has run well for the past 3 years but I decided to see if Windows 7 would give acceptable performance on such an inexpensive, mass market machine. I had experimented with an install of Vista last year and found that Vista was too slow and glitchy on my Gateway. I found myself putting XP back on in a few weeks. Would Windows 7 be the same experience?

I like Vista as an OS if it is installed on a machine that can handle its voracious appetite for RAM. 2 GB was just not enough for it, and even though the Gateway’s Intel 945 Express chipset could handle AERO, the system always felt stressed and close to its limits. Vista really needs 3-4 GB of RAM and plenty of video power. The advance word on 7 has been that it works better than Vista on existing hardware and that it makes more efficient use of system resources.

My first task is get my hands on copy of 7, preferably the Ultimate Edition. Why the Ultimate Edition? Because, well, it’s the ultimate.

One of the best deals around is Microsoft’s TechnetPlus subcription. For about $350 per year you get download access to the latest Microsoft products including Window XP, Vista, 7 and Server 2008. You also get to try out Office, Exchange, SQL, Sharepoint and just about any other software Microsoft offers. Software is officially designated as ” full-version evaluation software without any time limits”. Check it out at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/bb892756.aspx

I selected Windows 7 Ultimate x86 (32 bit addition) because my hardware will not run 64 bit. Ultimate has just about every feature available in any version of Windows 7 ranging from Media Center to BitLocker to Go. Windows 7  also has Windows Live Essentials, which allows downloads of applications such as Windows Mail, Movie Maker, Photo gallery and the Family Safety Toolbar. I especially like Window Mail, a POP3, IMAP4  email client that had junk email filters and Phishing protection. It looks a lot like Outlook and includes calendar functionality.

Windows 7 works just fine on my trusty old laptop. The interface is snappy and responsive, Aero works well,  boot up times are faster than Vista and Memory is managed much better by 7 than Vista.  Windows 7 seems to use the same amount of processor power that XP and only a  bit more memory.

The best indication that the upgrade to Windows 7 is a success is that it has remained on my laptop for weeks. I have no plans to go back to XP. Now that’s an endorsement.

-Mark

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1 comment

  1. cpguru21 Reply

    Thanks for this analysis. My mother has a similarly spec’d machine and wanted to get a little more life out of it. Based on your analysis, I gave her the green light. Hers is same specs but is an HP.

    Thanks!