Let me start by apologizing for the length of this post. I try to keep these post very short, but in this case there is much to say.
Windows 7 was released fall of 2009. Since then, I have had several clients that purchased new computers that came with Windows 7 (all Home Premium 64-bit version to the best of my recollection), and I bought a new Dell laptop in March 2010 with the 64-bit Professional version pre-installed.
So far I have had no major negative events on either my laptop or my clients computers. I have been able to fix or overcome all problems (there will always be problems). This is the first time I purchased a 64-bit version of Windows for my computer. The biggest benefit of a 64-bit version of Windows is that it utilizes more memory, which helps make it faster. Yes, my new laptop is pretty fast. But it is hard for me to know if it is fast because it has Windows 7 (last laptop was Vista), or because it has a faster processor than my last laptop, or if it is fast because it has 4GB of RAM (last laptop had 2GB). BTW, I was often heard saying "I hate Vista" even though Microsoft had dealt with most of the problems. I have yet to say that about Windows 7.
Overall Windows 7 has been a positive experience. There have been things to which I have had to adjust (like the look and feel of the SysTray), and things I found ways to fix (like the Missing Quick Launch Bar). I can happily recommend that my clients purchase systems with Windows 7. There is a learning curve. It will take some adjustment. But the adjustments are minor. The biggest problem is that there are several versions to select from, and you need to be sure you select the correct version for your situation. More on version concerns in a future post, but for today let me suggest that you stay away from the Starter Edition and I will steer most of you to the 64-bit versions of either Home Premium or Professional. If you want a jump on that post click here.
Bad news, there is no direct Windows 7 upgrade path from XP (there is from Vista, but I still recommend a clean install). In other words, you can't just go buy Windows 7 and install it over an existing Windows XP. Unless you are technically suave, you should plan to buy a new computer with Windows 7 pre-installed. You will need to install all your programs on your new PC, and then transfer your data. With only a rare exception, I will not install Windows 7 on your old computer.
When should I make the move to Windows 7?
Which version of Windows 7 should I get?
Should I consider a Mac?