Ed Wilson: The infamous six words

Whenever a group of IT Pros get together the discussion invariably turns to user stories. While some are amusing, and others tell more about the IT Pro than the user in the story, there is one class of stories that knows no cultural boundaries … the story where the user walks up to the IT Pro and begins his tale with the infamous six words … “I have this computer at home.”

If you have been following me on Facebook, you know that I recently attended a family reunion. While at the family reunion I was … wait before the family reunion, the first thing I had to do was fix my mothers computer. Then at the family reunion, I spent most of the day giving tech support and computing advice, instead of learning the latest scholastic achievements of little Johnnie … (maybe it is not such a bad thing after all.)

A few years ago, my wife had to take me to the emergency room. While I was being admitted, the person at the receiving desk was looking at my health insurance card, and this exchange took place:

“You work for Microsoft?”

“Yes,” I moaned in pain.

“I have this computer at home …”

A recent survey states that Windows 7 just broke the 4% market place adoption rate (something that took Windows Vista 5 months to do). Everyone is interested in upgrading to Windows 7. This past weekend we took a friend with us to the Columbia Zoo, and one of the major conversations that took place was not the eating habits of Brown Bears, rather it the hardware requirements for running Windows 7 (in her case, it was easy because she is already running Windows Vista. In most cases if your computer is running Windows Vista, it will run Windows 7 – only better). When we got home, Teresa logged onto Facebook, and was immediately accosted by a friend who is running Windows XP and was seeking upgrade advice.

To upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 one needs to be a bit more careful. In most cases if you have a relatively new computer there should be no problems … but if you have a four or five year old computer, you may need to be a bit more careful. I searched Microsoft.Com looking for the system requirements page for Windows 7 we could send, but because I have been an IT Pro for nearly 20 years, I know how the conversation would go. Something like this:

“You need either a 32 bit or 64 bit CPU that runs at a speed of at least 1 gigahertz,” I would say.

“What is a CPU?” the friend would say.

While I was conducting my Bing search for system requirements  to run Windows 7, I ran across the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. I tested it on an old computer I had laying around, and it works great. With the approach of the holiday season in the United States, it is all but inevitable you will be accosted by well meaning friends and loved ones seeking upgrade advice. Keep the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor handy (a Bing search for “upgrade advisor” returns the download page as the #1 search result) and maybe you will even get to taste some of the wonder holiday food that is sure to be waiting for you.

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