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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Education
October 2, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Taming Windows 7



Matthew Little

Now that Microsoft has released Windows 7, you may be wondering if it will work on your Faculty of Education Toshiba laptop.  The short answer from Toshiba is yes.  Toshiba has drivers on their website for all three laptop models: A200, U400 and S300L. Be sure to download all the needed drivers before you start the upgrade process and store them on a CD or USB stick. 

For those who have the A200 laptop you would definitely want to upgrade the installed memory from 1Gig to 4Gig.  This means removing the existing 2@500mb memory modules and replacing them with 2@2Gig modules. The U400 could also be upgraded but with 2Gig already, it is workable.  The S300L is fine.

So which version of Windows 7 do you want?  I am assuming the 32 bit version only.  “Home Premium” will be fine for most moderately demanding people.  “Professional” adds strong XP compatibility and advanced networking capabilities; this would be my choice.  “Ultimate” adds the option of 35 languages.  So pick what works for you.

What about applications?  Office 2007 will work with Windows 7.  For your other applications you should check their websites for details.  Most of the applications you use will be available for Windows 7, if not now then in the near future or they risk extinction.

How should you do the switch, upgrade or clean install?  Before you go either route be sure to backup all your data first… really do it or risk losing it.  The upgrade will work only if you are already running Vista on the laptop.  It has the advantage of not requiring you to reinstall all your applications or restore all your data.  It has the disadvantage of keeping any problems or junk installed on your laptop to possibly cause Windows 7 problems.  If you choose to do a clean install you benefit from a good “spring cleaning”; everything is fresh again, but you will have to restore all your data and any custom system settings.  I advise the clean install.  For those who feel really adventurous you could do a dual boot and have both XP and Win7.  Do a custom install and follow the instructions on this one.

But before you do any of this be sure to ask yourself the question “Why am I considering this upgrade?”  If you have a great answer, then go for it.  If your answer isn’t so great, reconsider.  There is always the risk of data loss and extended downtime for your machine if you undertake this sort of change.  Cross your fingers and good luck to everyone!