If you have been using Windows XP for five or six years, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the existence of Windows Vista, you no longer need to fear the horror stories that you may have heard about that particular operating system. While Vista was okay, everybody who has experience with both knows that XP was everything that Vista wished it could be: smooth, fast, compatible with just about everything under the sun, and easy to use for anyone with an average or higher IQ. While Vista probably had some good things going for it, it was definitely okay to skip over it in the classic Microsoft tradition of creating great operating systems interspersed with . . . less than great ones, to put it mildly.
For one thing, Vista took the tradition of backwards compatibility with the file types of previous Windows operating systems, and completely trashed it. No one is really sure why Microsoft’s software designers saw fit to do something like that, but fortunately Windows 7 reinstated the traditions that have made this series of operating systems into a veritable dynasty of code. If a file worked in Windows XP or older, it will work in Windows 7 without issue. Theoretically, file types which worked under Vista will probably also work with 7 as well, if you want to upgrade from a computer that is only a couple of years old. No one would blame you if you did, though.
Windows 7 has one of the neatest, most user-friendly interfaces of any operating system that has ever been developed for the public. It is compatible with just about any peripheral, device and program you can think of, and it is the most stable of any Windows platform ever. Even better than that, considering the fact that the designers have been working to trim down the level of code required for Windows, 7 is actually about the same size as XP is.