Windows 7 And Mac OS X Snow Leopard

This fall we have major upgrades for Windows and Mac. Windows 7, the successor to Vista, is slated to be shipped on October 22, 2009. Mac OS X 10.6, code-named Snow Leopard, is set to ship in September. What will these new operating systems mean for you, and when should you think about upgrading?

Windows 7 will look like Windows Vista, but there are some improvements meant to simplify the user experience such as changes to the Taskbar. Performance should be improved, especially if you have a 64-bit processor. Security is bolstered based upon Vista's User Access Control feature, which disallows administrative privileges without typing a password. I'm also looking forward to BitLocker, Microsoft's encryption option. It's interesting to note that, for reasons related to antitrust investigations, Windows 7 will ship without Internet Explorer in Europe. I'm curious why U.S. users don't rate the same advantage, but I digress. If you want Windows 7 you will likely have to ramp up your hardware. Microsoft claims it will work with a 1GHz processor and 1GB of memory, but since Vista hardly works without at least 2GB we can assume Microsoft's system requirements, as usual, are not the same as the real (read: functional) ones. And just to keep things confusing, Microsoft is offering six different versions of Windows 7.

Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) also offers improved performance for 64-bit Macs. It's supposed to function faster than Leopard while taking up less hard drive space. One thing I already like about Snow Leopard is the price. Existing Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) users can upgrade for just $29. This is a far cry from the past, when we had to pay full price for the new version. It's about time, Apple! The Mac community is eagerly awaiting improved integration with Microsoft networking. Mail, Address Book, and iCal will provide built-in support for Microsoft Exchange 2007. We'll have to see if this makes life easier in mixed PC-Mac environments, or if it will offer a serious Outlook equivalent for those of us still struggling with Entourage.

As with any new operating system, I don't recommend you jump on the bandwagon immediately unless you have a pressing need for the new features. For example, some Mac users may want to start testing Snow Leopard's integration with Microsoft networks right away. Otherwise, wait a while and see how things go before making your decision.

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Posted byTriona Guidry at 3:12 PM  

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