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Making Sure You're Ready for Windows 7

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Windows 7 is ready for you — but are you ready to use it? Mark Edward Soper, author of Easy Microsoft Windows 7, guides you through the steps you can take now to make sure you can put Windows 7 to work — immediately.

Microsoft's latest desktop operating system offers Windows users a new level of power, customization, and ease of use, as well as support for everything from netbooks to the fastest desktop and notebook computers on the market. Windows expert and author Mark Edward Soper guides you through the steps you can take now to make sure you can put Windows 7 to work—immediately.

Step 1—What Version of Windows Are You Using Now?

If you are currently running Windows Vista, you can upgrade your system to Windows 7—and you probably won't need to upgrade any of your device drivers. However, Windows XP users must perform a clean install of Windows 7.

If you use Windows Vista, make sure your systems have been updated to Service Pack 2 before upgrading to Windows 7. To see if your systems are running Service Pack 2, open the Start menu, right-click Computer, and select Properties. You can also check the activation status of your computer (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 This system has two issues that need to be resolved before upgrading: It should be updated to Service Pack 2 (1) and it needs to be activated (2).

If you need to update to Service Pack 2, run Windows Update and select Windows Vista Service Pack 2 from the upgrades offered, or go to the Microsoft website for links to downloadable versions. Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) requires Service Pack 1 (SP1) to be installed first. If you have not installed SP1, you can also download it from the SP2 page.

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