Q. I'm looking at rolling out Windows 7. Are there some third party programs that were needed with Windows XP but aren't with Windows 7?

A. This is a tricky one, but a few people have asked me this question. It's important to note that many of the items below have functionality found in third party products, but typically the third party products also have additional functionality. So the decision of whether a third party product is still required with Windows 7 would really depend on the level of functionality you need. Below are some of the main ones to consider:

  • Disk defragmentation software - Windows 7 has a much improved disk defrag capability.
  • Wireless network and configuration tools - The Windows 7 built-in management tools are normally sufficient.
  • Screen capture software - The Snipping Tool provided does a great job in many areas.
  • DVD playback software - Windows 7 has the DVD codec built-in for basic playback.
  • DVD writing software – Windows 7 has built-in capabilities to write to DVDs and burn ISOs with a right click.
  • Smart Card software - Like wireless networking, the Windows 7 capabilities meet most requirements.
  • Calculator software - Windows 7 Calculator has numerous modes to meet most requirements.
  • Multimedia creation – It's not part of Windows 7, but Windows Live (available for download) has photo and video editing capabilities.
  • PDF creation software - Again, it's not part of Windows 7, but this capability is built into Microsoft Office 2010 and is available as an add-on for Office 2007.
  • Various small applications - Look at Windows Gadgets for the desktop, which might replace certain small applications. Many also have web versions now, which run great in IE8 and IE9
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