The title of the post expresses my gratitude to Microsoft and Windows 7... OK, I am not sure you can actually express gratitude to an inanimate object...However, Windows 7 has enabled us to save money on a new system. We have had Windows 7 now for almost a year and have been happy with the system. It was originally going to be on the computer in the home office which was about 3 years old at the time we received the upgrade. However, after contemplating energy usage on that larger box and finding a better set up for the home office, we decided to put the Windows 7 upgrade on the EEE box which the children use. It has made life easier and less cluttered.
After upgrading the memory on the MacBook Pro, we learned the same memory could be used in the EEE box. Two upgrades in one. Since the Windows 7 runs better with at least 2 GB of RAM, we were hopeful this would run smoothly. With better power management and the capability to run different media types, Windows 7 and the tiny computer within the EEE box made a logical match for us. One problem arose, we had the DVDs, but no DVD player on the EEE box. Using the USB tool from Microsoft, this became easier.
The install went smoother than expected. Given the last update we performed with a Windows machine was XP to Vista, the 1,2,3 install was a pleasant surprise. After some updates, we were ready to install the standard set of software..Office, Flash, Nod32, and others. The interesting thing was that unlike the Vista upgrade, we had internet connection via the wifi right off the bat. No worries about drivers definitely paid off.
The machine goes to sleep during most of the day and is ready when the children want to explore Disney.com, write a story, or even watch a show using Slingbox, Netflix, or the MP4 files on our network drive. Without having to install additional codecs or additional programs, our pictures, music files, and videos can be played directly on this minimal machine. Now, don't get me wrong, I do actually appreciate and use VLC and iTunes. However, the children do not need to know how to use anything other than what comes with Windows 7. That just translates into...it is difficult to explain what program to use and when to a 5 and 7 year old...so, we have a picture of a tv for Slingbox, a picture frame for the pictures, and a film strip for the videos. They get that.
The computer and most of the software updates in the middle of the night and is ready to go in the morning when our seven year old has most of her story inspirations. The computer, which did I mention is attached to the back of an Energy Star monitor, goes to sleep during the day while the children are in school and is woken up by our 5 year old and the Logitech bluetooth mouse and keyboard when she gets home from school. Since we can lock down their login, we do not worry about and random button clicks.
I can honestly say that this one upgrade has been the easiest and most productive we have had from Microsoft. In fact, it made me think differently about how to use our technology and the pains that do not need to exist as a result of having the technology. The money we saved on a new system along with the electricity savings from the older, power hungry desktop was used to purchase other technology...an iPad, iPhone, and a set of USB speakers later, the Windows 7 experience has been good for us. We are hoping to expand our Windows 7 experience onto the virtual or dual-boot MacBook Pro in the near future, removing the now ancient XP.
Thank you Microsoft for Windows 7!
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