hey everyone, new here. i have Vista and want to upgrade to windows 7. which version should i get? theres Home, Home 32 bit, 64 bit, Professional, etc. i do basic stuff on my laptop: watch videos, listen to music, play videogames, etc.
Hello and welcome to the forums.
First make sure that you use this utility from Microsoft. Download details: Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to check for specific or general compatability issues related to installed hardware and software.
Second if you are going to do a true upgrade (not generally recommended but certainly do-able) then you need to upgrade to a like build in regards to your current Vista install, meaning if you have a x86 32bit version of Vista installed then you need to make sure that whichever version you upgrade to is for the same architecture 32bit. Same with 64bit versions.
While I would recommended upgrading to Pro or Ultimate (32 or 64 bit depending on your current version of Vista again) if as you say above you are just doing basic stuff then I would think Home Premium would be sufficient.
If on the other hand you plan a "Custom, Clean Install" (highly recommended) then your options (assuming your present processor supports 64 bits) are a little broader. There are some advantages as well as disadvantages to 64 bit versions of the OS, mostly based on issues with hardware support for legacy devices and such, so if you are doing this upgrade on an older machine make sure you get the skinny from the upgrade advisor utility as to what any hardware issues may be.
I agree with Win 7 Home Premium, but I use 32 bit version even though my machine is 64 bit.
Unfortunately my machines chipset doesn't support more than 4 GB of ram so the ability to
see and utilize even a full 4 GB (what I have) isn't possible with 64 bit Win 7.
I'm quite happy with 32 bit Win 7 Home Premium.
I also recommend a clean install.
A clean install need not be particularly painful if you carefully plan for it.
Gather all your application install media together and backup your data of course.
This includes drivers (often obtainable from the makers website).
Actually Win 7 has a huge database of drivers so many drivers will be installed during the install process.
I take screenshots of the contents of my C:\Program files folder and print them to help with installing my apps.
I use it as a check list.
You don't say how many Gigs of ram you have in your computer, so 32bit is probably fine if you don't have more then 3 Gigs of ram. And it could avoid some issues with drivers if you have some old hardware.
My computer has 8 Gigabytes of ram so I didn't have any choice but to go with 64 bit.
But it is the way everything is going.
I'm not sure you can buy a new computer with less then 4 anymore.
Motherboards now support up to 16 Gigabytes of ram.
And the cost of going from 4 Gb to 16 Gb now is less then $200.
I once paid $300 for two, 2 Megabyte Ram sticks!
That's hard to believe now.
So I'd certainly recommend 64 bit to anyone getting a new computer.