App compatibility, upgrade concerns top Windows 7 worries

Tech support firm tracked online chatter about new OS to develop top 10 list

Users are most concerned about Windows 7's migration and application compatibility issues, according to a sweeping survey of online forums, Web sites and social networking services, a support firm said today.

iYogi, a New York-based tech support company pushing Windows 7 upgrade services, said that it tracked tens of thousands of online conversations during the past week about Windows 7 to come up with the top 10 user worries about Microsoft's new operating system.

The company monitored 10 major forums, including MSDN, TechNet, Yahoo Answers and Google Groups; 25 sites posting user reviews, such as Amazon.com , CNET and Epinions.com ; and social sources including Facebook and the micro-blogging service Twitter.

At the top of the iYogi list was concern about Windows 7's application compatibility and migration from earlier editions to the new OS. One sample question iYogi logged: "Do I need to re-install Microsoft Office when I upgrade to Windows 7?" (Answer: Yes, if upgrading from Windows XP.)

Microsoft has directly addressed compatibility concerns with the Windows 7 Compatibility Center , a site that launched yesterday, which lets users root through a massive database of hardware and software to find which peripherals and programs are up to snuff.

On the upgrade front, Microsoft has posted a several-step tutorial to guide Windows XP users through the process. (For more on upgrading from XP, see Computerworld 's "FAQ: How to prep for an XP-to-Windows 7 upgrade." )

Second on iYogi's list were worries about Windows 7's new features -- how different the new OS is from the familiar XP -- while in third place were questions about its performance. "Is Windows 7 faster than XP or Vista?" asked one user, said iYogi. ( Computerworld 's Windows 7 expect, Preston Gralla, says yes.)

Other concerns ranged from getting ready for Windows 7 (No. 4) and the operating system's user interface (No. 5) to how much time it will take to install Windows 7 (No. 8) and whether its price will ever drop (No. 9).

Not surprisingly, iYogi also touted polls it conducted that claim nearly 70 per cent of Windows users aren't "entirely comfortable" that they would be able to move their favorite applications to Windows 7.

Microsoft has built a Windows 7 help and support site that includes how-to videos, links to company-sponsored user-to-user forums, and answers to what it considers the top user-submitted questions.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
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