Skip to Store Area:

Knowledge base

Windows XP or Windows 7?


Changes in technology and operating systems can be a scary and intimidating thing, especially for the court reporting profession.  Let's face it, until recently Court Reporters and Captioners have relied on obsolete technology (serial ports, parallel (printer) ports, floppy disk drives, etc.) to power their careers.  With each shift in technology, whether it be in connectivity, operating system or computer design in general, court reporters and captioners are generally left standing in the dark wondering which direction they should take.  In recent years this decesion has been compounded by the introduction of Windows Vista, which casued the technology world in general massive amounts of problems.  Because Vista tanked so badly, many computer users have been (rightfully so we might add) reluctent to move forward to Windows 7 for fear that the new changes were only skin deep.  Windows 7 has been on the market for over a year now, and the reviews and results are in - in general, it's safe to upgrade.

Here at eVerbatim we have been working with Windows 7 since it first released (in BETA form) to Microsoft Partners and Tech Net members.  We've seen it through it's initial "rough" stages and have watched it turn into a very stable and reliable operating system.  The flaws of Windows Vista has been corrected, new features have been added and some missing items restored.  All-in-all, it seems to be a success. 

That being said, your decesion between Windows XP and Windows 7 (while you still have that choice) should not be based on our opinion alone, but also on your particular situation.  Every CAT Software vendor has their own set of recommendations on what operating system you should go with, and most say the same thing; Windows 7 is fine but only if you are running version XXX or higher.  So, before even thinking that you HAVE to make the choice, check with your CAT Software vendor to see what the minimum version of their software is required to use Windows 7.  This is especially important for those who are not current on their support and are not running the latest version as you will probably need to go with Windows XP for now.  If you ARE current on your support and have the latest version, there should be no LARGE problems moving forward to Windows 7.  There are features in EVERY CAT Software that either do not work or don't work the same when comparing them between Windows XP and Windows 7, however these are normally SMALL issues, like how windows are displayed, which has no bearing on your ability to work.  Your audio-sync will work fine, your key will work fine, your writer will connect the same way regardless of which CAT Software or version of Windows you choose.  As for a learning curve of a new operating system, sure, there is a learning curve.  However, the difference is that Windows is still Windows here.  It may look and sound different, some features and the way they work may have changed, but at the end of the day it's still Windows.  The transition between Windows XP and Windows 7 isn't as big as say the transition between Windows and a MAC.  You don't have to relearn the ENTIRE operating system, just where everything has been moved to and how some of the improvements work.

In the end, your decesion as to which operating system you should choose should be broken down into a few simple questions. 

- Does the CAT Software version that I am using work with Windows 7?
- If my version does not work with Windows 7, can I upgrade to a version that IS compatible with Windows 7?
- Am I conforatable taking some time to get aquainted with this new operating system?
- Am I going to be an active reporter, captioner, CART provider, etc. for longer than 3 more years?

If you answered YES to the questions above than go with Windows 7, it really can't hurt you.  If you answered NO to the questions, then stick with XP.  If you are going to choose XP, please keep in mind the following:

- The choice between XP and 7 will not be around for much longer.  Currently we don't expect to see it last any longer than the end of the summer of 2010
- There is no clear upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 7 if you change your mind.  Even if your system comes with a free copy of BOTH operating systems, if you load XP and change your mind later, your system has to be fully erased and your files, programs and settings reloaded