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I recently purchased an Acer Aspire laptop that came with Vista installed and to be frank, it's a bit pants. Mainly it's the speed - starting applications / explorer / printing and so on. There might even be a driver issue with the touchpad.

Now, is it worth getting the Windows 7 upgrade for about £20? Will I get a better, more responsive user experience. Has anyone done this yet with the aforementioned Acer Aspire laptop? Just what can I expect from the upgrade?

(Pre-emptive: Yes, I have tried an Ubuntu live CD and it worked great, even connecting to my network via the wireless card, but, it's not my machine, although I have tried to convince the missus to change)


I installed Ubuntu onto the laptop last night with dual boot and did some trivial speed comparisons between Ubuntu and Vista. I've not tweaked the default installation for Vista and for Ubuntu I've put the desktop effects up to maximum. From selecting the OS at the grub menu, I timed the following for both OSes:

Log in
Log on to wireless network (automatic)
Open explorer (requires mounting the NTFS partition which required entering an admin password when using Ubuntu)
Navigate to an open office document
Open document (double click it, opens a one page open office writer file)
Print document
Wait for print job to complete

In Vista this took 2:50 and in Ubuntu it took 1:40.

As I've noted in one of the comments below, a couple of times when using Vista (pressing Win+E and Ctrl-P to print) I had that 'did I actually press those keys' moment as there was no feedback for quite a while.

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Personally, I never found anything that wrong with Vista, however, Windows 7 is just a much more polished version and if you can upgrade, I would.

I think speed is very subjective and whilst it feels quicker, I am not sure if Windows 7 actually is.

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I find the whole translucent window border thing makes the screen look more cluttered than it actually is, making it harder to delineate the windows (yes, I know I can switch it off). The UI responsiveness is really poor - five or more seconds to get any kind of visual response when launching applications, etc. And they've renamed and/or moved a lot of system options (I needed to remap a file-extension recently and it wasn't the same as older Windows) - there doesn't seem to be any real reason to do that. – Skizz Oct 12 '09 at 15:04
Benchmarks have shown 7 isn't any quicker at all, but they've put a lot of effort into things so many parts of it feel slightly faster. – Phoshi Oct 12 '09 at 15:10
@Phoshi: Vista's problem isn't basic slowness, it's being slow to respond. If 7 runs precisely as fast, but is a bit faster to respond to keyboard and mouse events and a bit slower for everything else, it'll be a big improvement. – David Thornley Oct 12 '09 at 16:34

Depending on when you purchased your laptop, you can probably get the upgrade free. Check out the Acer Windows 7 Upgrade page. If you aren't eligible, it's still a steal for £20 (31.64 U.S.).

Desktop responsiveness is one of the main things focused on with Windows 7, along with improving performance in other areas. Check out the Engineering Windows 7 blog for complete details (CTRL-F for Desktop Responsiveness).

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The £20 is the free upgrade, the cost is a 'handling charge'. Insert your own thoughts about that here. – Skizz Oct 12 '09 at 14:57
%&!&&! *%&!#&%!# *%&!&!#*&!&%!#. Thoughts inserted. – Simon P Stevens Oct 12 '09 at 15:21
Exactly, my thoughts too. – Skizz Oct 12 '09 at 15:45

Basically, yes, you will get a better, faster user experience from Windows 7 than you have now with Windows Vista.

For that price, I would highly recommend the upgrade. I'm running Windows 7 on a netbook and it runs flawlessly, even with visualizations turned on.

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I can confirm. I run Windows 7 Pro on a Aser Aspire One with a 1Gig of RAM. With Aero enabled I still have responsive desktop and at least 500MB of free RAM at idle. – BinaryMisfit Oct 20 '09 at 9:26

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