Microsoft releases free beta for Windows 7 upgrade advisor

While simpler than Vista advisor, it fails to tell users one potentially key thing

Microsoft Corp. on Thursday released the beta of a free app that helps users determine whether their PC is powerful enough to run the upcoming Windows 7 operating system.

The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor gives a user's PC a pass/fail grade in four areas and checks to see whether there are any compatibility problems with hardware devices such as mice or printers or with applications.

The Advisor, which is available for download, requires PCs running Windows XP SP2 (with .Net 2.0), Vista or release candidate versions of Windows 7.

The Advisor software can also be run on Intel-based Macs under virtualization to test for Windows 7 compatibility.

It tests whether users' PCs meet the minimum requirements of:

  • A 1-GHz CPU

  • 1 GB of RAM for a 32-bit Windows 7 and 2 GB for 64-bit Windows 7

  • 16 GB free space for 32-bit Windows 7 (20 GB for 64-bit)

  • and a graphics card/chip powerful enough to run the Windows Aero graphical user interface.

Microsoft says users should plug in all of the external devices that they want to check for Windows 7 compatibility.

Unlike the Vista Upgrade Advisor, the Windows 7 Advisor does not recommend a specific version of Windows 7 to users based on the results of the scan. Windows 7 comes in six versions in the U.S., though Microsoft is emphasizing two main ones: Home Premium for consumers and Professional for companies.

The Advisor also does not tell users whether their computer can handle Windows 7's new XP Mode.

That compatibility feature requires PCs equipped with hardware virtualization. Intel Corp. and AMD Inc. slowly began releasing CPUs equipped with hardware virtualization more than three years ago. But some PCs shipping today, including many netbooks, lack either Intel VT or AMD-V.

Users wanting to check compatibility with XP Mode can download a free third-party utility called Securable.

Intel users can download a different free utility.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindows 7

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?