Windows 7 Ready? Microsoft Tool Provides Answer

Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor lets a user know whether a computer can run the company's new operating system.
Microsoft has released a trial version of a software tool that assesses whether a given PC can run the company's new Windows 7 operating system.

Windows 7 screen shot
(Click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, as it's called, examines a PC's components, including chip, memory, storage, and graphics processor, to automatically determine whether the system can run Windows 7.

"For the people who want to upgrade their existing PC, they are often faced with the question of whether their PC can run the new Windows version or note," wrote Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's in-house Windows blogger, in a post Thursday. "Microsoft plans to offer a tool that can be used to determine if a PC is able to run Windows 7."

A beta version of Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor is now available as a download from Microsoft's Web site. LeBlanc did not state when a final version would be ready.

Microsoft on Tuesday made a nearly final version of Windows 7 available to the general public.

Windows 7 "Release Candidate" is also available as a free download from the company's Windows Web site. Last week, Microsoft began offering Windows 7 RC to professional users who belong to its TechNet and MSDN communities.

Windows 7 RC contains most of the features that will be included in the final version of the OS, including support for touch-screen interfaces, and it's been tested for compatibility with hardware and software from most major vendors through a months-long beta trial program. Still, Microsoft typically warns computer users not to use prerelease software for critical tasks or in key, business production environments.

Windows 7 RC will function until June 1, 2010. After that, users will need to upgrade their PC to a full, paid version of the operating system in order to continue use. A final version of Windows 7 is expected to ship sometime later this year, though Microsoft remains mum on a specific release date.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on Windows 7. Download the report here (registration required).

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing