Chapter 1. What Is Windows 7?

In This Chapter

  • Getting to know Windows 7

  • Discovering the new features in Windows 7

  • Understanding how Windows 7 affects your old programs

  • Figuring out whether your PC is powerful enough to run Windows 7

  • Knowing which version of Windows 7 you need

Chances are good that you've heard about Windows: the boxes and windows and mouse pointer that greet you whenever you turn on your computer. In fact, millions of people all over the world are puzzling over it as you read this book. Almost every new computer sold today comes with a copy of Windows preinstalled — cheerfully greeting you when first turned on.

This chapter helps you understand why Windows lives inside your computer and introduces Microsoft's latest Windows version, called Windows 7. I explain how Windows 7 differs from previous Windows versions, whether you should upgrade to Windows 7, and how well your faithful old PC will weather the upgrade.

What Is Windows 7, and Why Are You Using It?

Created and sold by a company called Microsoft, Windows isn't like your usual software that lets you write term papers or send angry e-mails to mail-order companies. No, Windows is an operating system, meaning it controls the way you work with your computer. It's been around for more than 20 years, and the latest whiz-bang version is called Windows 7, shown in Figure 1-1.

Windows 7, the newest version of Microsoft Windows, comes preinstalled on most new PCs today.

Figure 1-1. Windows 7, the newest version of Microsoft ...

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