Early adopters give Windows 7 the thumbs-up, says survey

However, former XP users are less thrilled by Microsoft's new OS than those who upgraded from Vista

Users who have moved to Windows 7 gave the new operating system a big thumbs-up in a just-released survey, although people upgrading from XP were less enthusiastic than those migrating from Vista.

The survey conducted by Technologizer polled more than 550 early adopters of Windows 7, asking them to rate their overall satisfaction with Microsoft's month-old OS, comment on their installation experience and judge the new features they liked the most.

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Of all new Windows 7 users, 70 percent said that they were "extremely satisfied" and another 24 percent said they were "somewhat satisfied" with the operating system. But users who came to Windows 7 from Vista had stronger feelings than people who moved from Windows XP, said Harry McCracken, the founder and editor of Technologizer. McCracken is a former editor-in-chief of PC World and still-frequent contributor to the publication, which is a Computerworld sister site.

"Windows XP users were somewhat less enthusiastic about Windows 7," said McCracken.

While the overall satisfaction level of the two groups was nearly identical -- 95 percent for former Vista users, 94 percent for those migrating from XP -- the latter were more likely to be lukewarm. For users upgrading from Vista, 79 percent said they were extremely satisfied with Windows 7, and another 16 percent said they were somewhat satisfied. However, only 61 percent of XP users claimed they were extremely satisfied, with 33 percent saying they were somewhat satisfied.

"From looking at the comments [people appended to their votes], there's still a group who are largely happy with XP, so the bar for them was a little bit higher," said McCracken. "Vista users were a little easier to please."

McCracken attributed that to Vista's long-running reputation as a balky, underpowered operating system. "Vista users were just glad to have something that had Vista's good qualities but without its problems," McCracken added.

Even so, a majority of former XP users said that they wouldn't think about ditching Windows 7 and returning to the eight-year-old operating system: 61 percent said they "definitely wouldn't" go back to XP, while 31 percent said they "probably wouldn't."

There, too, users who have shifted from Vista were significantly more committed to Windows 7 than their XP peers: 86 percent said they definitely wouldn't give up Windows 7 for Vista. Another 9 percent said they probably wouldn't return to the 2007 OS.

"Overall, even for XP users, the response to Windows 7 has been very positive," said McCracken.

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