Advanced and novice users alike have given Windows 7 overwhelming positive reviews. Microsoft’s latest operating system offers wide-ranging benefits, including improved program compatibility, better search functionality, and more flexible security options. Moreover, if your users are already using Vista, they will be comfortable with Windows 7’s interface.

Yet upgrading your operating system is a complex undertaking, one that requires planning, deliberation, and user buy-in. Whether you are a systems administrator or a technology decision-maker, it’s important to invest some time in asking not only whether upgrading to Windows 7 makes sense for your organization, but how — and over what sort of time frame — you might go about implementing it.

To this end, we’ve come up with four questions you can use to help you decide whether Windows 7 is a good fit for your organization, and how you might begin installing it.

Does Your Hardware Support Windows 7?

First of all, you should confirm that your computers can support Windows 7. Windows 7’s systems requirements are the same as those of Vista, meaning that a new computer (three years old or less) that came with Vista or was downgraded to Windows XP will be able to run Windows 7. Requirements are different for the 64-bit version of Windows 7, which offers more memory capacity and is more “future-proof” (in other words, is designed to accommodate more complex applications in the future). Specifically, these requirements are:

  • 1 GHz or faster processor
  • 1 GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit) RAM
  • 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit) minimum free hard disk space

You can confirm your computer’s specifications by going to My Computer on your desktop or on the Start menu and right-clicking Properties. (A quick way to access this is also via the Window-icon key on your keyboard if it is there, and “Pause/Break” on the upper right hand side of your keyboard.)