Is Windows 7 a good idea for charities?

Charity IT expert Robin Fisk gives his verdict on Microsoft's new operating system

Robin Fisk
Robin Fisk

The next version of the world's most widely used operating system is in the pipeline. Windows 7 carries on where Windows Vista left off, but Microsoft will be hopeful that it meets with more approval than its predecessor.

In a recent interview, Steve Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft, said: "We made some choices in Vista to improve security at the expense of compatibility. With Windows 7, we're able to build on the compatibility of Vista and really just tune the user interface, the performance."

But apart from fixing any compatibility issues, Windows 7 - which is available to download now if you want to be part of Windows' 'Beta' feedback programme - sports a number of improvements.

The taskbar now shows larger icons and full-screen previews of the applications that are shown on it. Users can see recently used files for a specific application in a 'jump list' without needing to load the application. Internet Explorer 8 - which you can already download now and use with older versions of Windows - is part of Windows 7 and has a dynamic search facility that suggests results as you type your search.

Microsoft claims that Windows 7 is faster in areas that matter, such as startup and shutdown. There are also more sophisticated power management features to extend your battery life. A new feature of Windows 7 is Windows Touch, which means that if you have a touch-screen monitor you have an alternative to the traditional keyboard and mouse operation.

Don't hold your breath for the release of Windows 7, though - Microsoft is rightly saying it'll be ready when it's ready. Speculation that it will be out in 2009 may prove to be optimistic.

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