Wait for Win7?


My 6-year-old computer is extremely slow and sometimes takes 20 minutes just to start up. The other day it caught a virus, which masqueraded as a firewall and installed itself onto my computer, changing the background to a picture that said I have spyware on my computer. I tried to open my virus-scan program (AOL) but it would not open. I have tried everything I can think of. I took out my hard drive so that it could not get to my files. Now, I have to use my son’s computer for emails. He is a big gamer so it’s really hard to get in the time to use it. Should I wait for Windows 7 to come out before getting a new computer?

—Jim Sharo

First, let’s try to get rid of your PC bug so you can recover your files and programs. Download and run Spybot Search & Destroy ( www.safer-networking.org ), Malwarebytes Anti-Malware ( www.malwarebytes.org ), and a free antivirus program like Avira Antivir ( www.free-av.com ) and see if those apps can flush the virus from your computer. If they can, great! Back up your files and get ready to do a clean install of XP (a clean install will make an older PC run much faster—even the best operating systems get cluttered, eventually). Or, if you’re more adventurous and want a sneak peak of Windows 7 without buying anything, read on.

Windows 7 is definitely worth getting when it comes out on October 22. Microsoft seems on track to make up for Vista’s disappointing launch with an OS that runs better on nearly any platform, including older ones, than Vista did. Even better, Microsoft released several fully functional free preview builds of Windows 7 to consumers, which will work until June of 2010.

Windows 7 has been optimized to work faster on every PC from a $10,000 gaming behemoth to a $300 netbook--and even your 6-year-old desktop.

But you don’t have to wait for Windows 7 to come out before you get a new computer. Most vendors will offer free Vista-to-Windows-7 upgrades on new computers bought between June 26, 2009 and Windows 7’s October 22, 2009 release date. Make sure you get an Upgrade Option coupon from your computer manufacturer so you can download Windows 7 when it comes out. In the meantime, if you really don’t want to deal with Vista, you can run the Windows 7 Release Candidate on your new PC—or even on your old one.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at doctor@maximumpc.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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