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by JB Burke

Q. I'm thinking of upgrading to Windows 7, but I have doubts about my computer. It is a couple of years old, and I am concerned it may not be able to support Windows 7.  How do I find out before I invest?

A. Indications are that Windows 7 does a better job than Vista of supporting existing hardware. But rather than crossing your fingers and taking a chance, here is
something you can do to check your current hardware setup. Do a Google search for "Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor." The first hit should take you to a Microsoft site with a download of the Upgrade Advisor program. Click "download" and save the program somewhere you can easily find it, like the desktop. Double-click the program to install it. Accept the license and click close when it completes. It will start automatically. Follow the directions on the screen, and in a few minutes it will tell you if your system is ready for Windows 7. The report includes both hardware and software issues that may need to be addressed.

Another issue: What OS are you running now? If it's Vista, then you can do an upgrade without reinstalling your applications. If it's XP, then you'll need to back up all your data (unless you have it on a separate drive - a good idea), make notes of your application settings and find all your install disks. The reason is, with XP you'll need to do a "clean install" - format your "C" drive and install Windows 7 as if on a new system.

Published: Courier 11/1/09 - Page 5C