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by Ray Carlson

Q. If I get a copy of Windows 7, will I need to save copies of my files and programs and reload them after installing 7?

A. That depends. If you currently use XP, you will need to reinstall everything. If you use Vista, you can add Windows 7 as an upgrade and not need to eliminate anything as long as you use the same version of Vista and 7. More specifically, Windows 7 Home Version can be added as an upgrade to Vista Home, and Windows 7 Professional can be added as an upgrade to Vista Business. Windows 7 Ultimate, though, can be added onto any version of Vista. The other issue is whether you are using a 32 bit or 64 bit version of each. A 32 bit version of 7 can only be added to a 32 bit of Vista and a 64 bit to a 64 bit.

If you do add Windows 7 onto Vista, it is helpful to backup everything just in case something goes wrong. In addition, any computer over time picks up a lot of unnecessary files and registry listings. If you add Windows 7 onto your Vista system, this junk will be retained causing the computer to run more slowly. If you are able to save your files and programs to an external drive or another computer, installing Windows 7 as a new operating system and then reinstalling other programs and files will eliminate the junk and often is faster.

Published: Courier 10/11/09 - Page 5C