What you need to know about Windows 7 and Office 2010

Windows 7 has been out for over a year now and Office 2010 was released earlier this year.  We get asked about these products all of the time, so here is the essential information that you need to know.

  • Windows 7 does seem to be a good solid OS, much better than Vista. (We never sold or recommended Vista), but we are recommending the general use of Windows 7 and are selling it on new systems.
  • If you're going to get it for use in any sort of business environment, we recommend the Professional edition
  • It probably doesn't make sense in most cases to upgrade an existing computer, but if you're planning on getting new systems, now is a good time to make the move to Windows 7.  Contact us to discuss hardware and software upgrade plans to make everything go as smoothly as possible.
  • Windows XP is largely unavailable on new systems at this point, though some small exceptions are still out there.  Mainstream support from Microsoft has ended, and only minimal extended support will exist until its final end-of-life in 2014.  In practice, even before 2014 you're going to start seeing more and more things rely on functionality that is only available in newer versions of Windows.
  • In most cases, Windows 7 systems and Windows XP systems will coexist well on the same network.
  • There is still some old software and hardware that is not compatible with Windows 7.  Most people won't have an issue, but some may need to purchase new peripherals or run very old software in the virtual XP environment.
  • Office 2010 is a major change from Office 2003 or older.  It will take a while to get comfortable with the new interface.
  • We recommend that everyone in your company use the same version of Office.  If you're considering an upgrade to Office 2010, let us help you plan a company-wide migration so that everyone is on the same version.
  • Office 2010 uses new file formats (.docx .xlsx) that are not directly compatible with older versions of Office.  If you use them, you run the risk of other people you communicate with not being able to open your files.
  • Office Compatibility Pack is available for free to allow users of older Office versions to open new file formats. If you're sticking with an old Office version, you may want to install this in case you receive new format documents from other people.

If you're still using Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP, now is a good time to upgrade.  Microsoft is obligated to support IE6 until Windows XP support ends, but they have been urging all users this year to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8 due to security problems with IE6 and compatibility problems with the modern Web.  Some old in-house web apps may still have a dependency on IE6, but for most users there is nothing to lose and everything to gain by upgrading to IE8.  Of course, we still recommend safer browsers such as Firefox, but if you're going to use IE, many of the worst problems have been fixed in IE8.

Please contact NSG with any specific questions about how Windows 7 and Office 2010 can fit into your organization.  We can be reached at 877-815-6974.