Jan, from Milaca MN asks:
Should I download service pack 3 and Windows 7? I now have service pack 2. I have a Vista Home Premium, 32 bit operating system.
Jan,to your first question, it is always a good idea to have your operating system as up to date as it can be, but there is currently no service pack 3 for Vista. There was a service pack 3 for Windows XP, but Vista has only had 2 services packs released so far, so it sounds like you are up to date with what you have.
If you’re set to automatically receive updates, Vista makes it easy. When, as shown below, your Start button has that little shield with an exclamation point, that means updates are ready to install. In this case, when you shut down your computer, it should be done by using that button. This will automatically install your updates.
To manually check for any other updates that might be available for Vista, click Start, then All Programs, and choose Windows Update.This opens the Windows Update utility. In the top left hand corner of this window you will see the option to Check for updates. Click that to see if you have everything you need. If updates are required, just click on the Install updates button.
You will then get the message that The updates were successfully installed. Completing the installation may require a restart.
Jan, in response to your second question, Windows 7 is the operating system that replaced Windows Vista. Upgrading from your Vista Home Premium 32-bit version is relatively simple, but you will need to purchase a Windows 7 Upgrade to do this. This is available as download from the Microsoft Store or as a retail box with a DVD at numerous other locations. Currently the Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade will cost you around $120.
Windows 7 is not a huge leap forward from Vista, but it is certainly a worthwhile upgrade if you have the money to invest in it. Windows 7 is Microsoft’s best-selling operating system, and it has received universal praise for its stability and ease of use.
If you do decide to upgrade to Windows 7, a worthwhile way to prepare your computer is to use the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. This free tool is available from Microsoft.
The Upgrade Advisor will scan your computer and let you know about any compatibility issues that you may have when you upgrade to Windows 7. It scans all installed programs and any USB devices, such as printers or webcams, that are plugged in and turned on.
The scan will take a few minutes, but the report it produces has some useful information about what will and won’t work when you install Windows 7. If it can, the upgrade utility will also provide links to direct you to the places you can go to update your software to make it compatible with Windows 7.