One of the most common doubts when changing operating system is whether or not your computer will work with the new platform. This week, Microsoft finally launches Windows 7, and one of the most important tasks for us at home is to find out if we'll be able to say "Yup, I'll be able to install Windows 7 without a problem" when it arrives. As well as finding out if our computer is up to the job, we'll also want to know if our favorite programs will work with the new operating system.
To get started, Microsoft has developed Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, which will give you a complete report on your PC's compatibility with Windows 7. The analysis only takes a few minutes - depending on your computer - but will list everything you need to know about your hardware and software. This is Microsoft's official solution, but as we saw with the Vista version of the tool, it's not infallible.
Luckily, Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor isn't the only option. Despite the fact that DMS Clarity Metrics Tracker has absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft, it actually does the same job. The only difference is that it carries out a slightly more in-depth analysis and, as a result, takes a little longer.
Windows 7 itself ensures 'retro-compatibility', something that should reassure people thinking about upgrading. If you currently have Windows Vista, you're likely to be able to use pretty much all of your favorite programs with Windows 7.
If you are running XP, Windows 7 (Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate versions) will have an integrated Windows XP mode. Basically, this makes it possible to run a virtual version of XP, not just for compatibility-checking purposes, but actually using XP's source code to run a fully-functional system. In order to use this feature you need to make sure that your computer can support 64 bit instructions; SecurAble is a good tool to check if it can.
Remember that on Softonic, all Windows 7-compatible programs have a symbol to help you identify them easily. Now that all your compatibility problems are solved, there's just one decision left to make. Will you keep XP/Vista, or upgrade to the new Windows 7?