“Windows 7 is very nice. It has none of the aggravating problems that
Windows 7 is an operating system - the underlying software that a computer uses to make other software such as point-of-sale and word processing programs run. Released by Microsoft in late 2009, it has gotten a far better reception than its predecessor (
Estimates are that about half of independent jewelers use retail automation technology. The overwhelming majority of these rely on Windows-based systems. “We have been testing Windows 7 since January 2009, and we took part in Microsoft’s ‘Front Runner for Windows 7’ program, which gave us access to expert help during development,” Shapiro says. For a team as experienced as Abbott’s, the challenges in adjusting to the system weren’t great. “There were some minor changes to Windows security that we had to adjust for,” he says.
Shapiro has some basic advice for retailers curious about Windows 7:
• Don’t worry too much about upgrading. “In general, for an ‘appliance’ machine (a machine that is used for one business purpose and does not have a variety of applications installed), if it works, don’t mess with it. If there is some compelling reason that you need to switch from your current operating system, provided that the new operating system fixes it, then by all means do,” Shapiro says.
• Realize that it may make older machines work better. “There is a flavor of Windows 7 (Basic) that uses even less memory than Vista Home or XP Home, so older hardware should work better with Windows 7 Basic than it did with previous operating systems, provided that your older hardware is compatible with Windows 7,” Shapiro says.
• Know that the industry leader is ready and able to work in the new environment. “All new PCs will be coming with Windows 7, not
• Be careful about upgrading your existing system. The word from experts is that making the leap from XP to Windows 7 can be a difficult process, largely due to the need to transfer all your old programs and files. Shapiro says this might be less of an issue in a retail environment. “Even if a retailer chooses to upgrade, they probably don’t have much more than Edge installed,’ Shapiro says. There are products available to ease the upgrade process in a more complex environment, but Abbott & Shapiro hasn’t tested them yet.
• Forget about avoiding the first version of Windows 7. Informed computer users have long had an unspoken rule that it’s best to stay away from early versions of any Windows operating system. Shapiro says they don’t need to worry about that with Windows 7.
“Windows 7 is so stable that you might be tempted to think of it as a ‘Vista Service Pack,’” he says.