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Software Obsolescence

I have never rushed out to purchase the latest version of a software release. As long as my current software is running my programs smoothly and not experiencing constant freeze-ups, I’d rather not bother with the arduous process of backing up my data and hoping the new software does not stall midway through installation due to some incompatibility with my programs or hardware.

With that in mind, I am nevertheless keeping one eye on Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system, given the fact that I am running an eight year-old operating system – Windows XP – on a four year-old Toshiba laptop PC at home. I am concerned that future software programs I use may be incompatible with the aging operating system, forcing me to upgrade.

But hold on, upgrading won’t be that easy. On its website, Microsoft recommends that users running Windows XP download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to determine whether the PC can accept the upgrade. The company has stated that PCs running Vista – the buggy, slow-selling predecessor to Windows 7 – should readily accept the new software. The IT administrator in my workplace confirmed this is the case, adding that Windows XP users not only have to back up their data, but also wipe their hard disks clean, install Windows 7, and then – assuming everything is running smoothly – reinstall programs and restore data.

In other words, be ready to give up an evening or afternoon to deal with the trials and tribulations of installing new software.

There’s nothing unusual with how Microsoft is phasing out its older software. An eight year-old operating system is a relic in the fast-moving PC world, and I guess there needs to be a reason for the cutthroat PC industry to sell new laptop and desktop machines, hard drives, and graphics cards. Still, no one should be surprised that Microsoft does not show up on any lists of the "most admired companies".

Our Insider blog is addressing Windows 7 in this week’s Question of the Week. We’d like you to chime in with your thoughts by clicking here.