I am just tired and exhausted of trying to find XP drivers for my laptop and I think I will probably go with Windows 7 in a day or so. I know there will be a learning curve since I have been using only XP (32-bit) for the last so many years.
I have a few questions and will appreciate if I can please get help:
1) Does Windows 7 automatically detect all the drivers. Will it? Or do I need to spend a few months trying to find Windows 7 drivers for my laptop (For Sony VAIO VGN-FZ140E which has only 2 GB RAM)
2) Is Windows 7 (32-bit) faster than XP (32-bit). Maybe the answer will be subjective but would like to request views
3) I have been using Sygate as my firewall for years and simply love it. I am very familiar with it's interface and details. I think Sygate is no longer available but does anyone know if it will work under Windows 7 (32-bit). For the worst case scenario, I have shortlisted a freeware firewall called COMODO
4) I have a few utilities that I probably cannot do without. Amongst these is KeyText 2000 (v2.16). Has anyone used it and will it work under Win 7. Maybe later (not now) I might purchase their latest version. I am actually trying to explore and learn a freeware called AutoHotKey
As far as utilities/APPs you are used to using and your concern about switching to Win 7 and 'missing' them, once you start using Windows 7 and find 'modern' alternatives to the old slow stuff you use now you will be more happy than ever your new Win 7 system. I use very few Apps from the early XP era. Office 2000 Small Business Suite works perfect on Windows 7 and is one old App I use currently.
I would suggest Windows 7 64 pro or Ultimate. Install an XP Virtual machine and your old Apps and use them to your heart's delight. As mentioned, there is new software out every day that makes the old programs I used to think were great appear as 'slow' and outdated. ex. Pinnacle studio 9 video editing suite for windows XP. There are 'toys' out now that plug into USB that are close to it.
I have heard about Virtual Machine software. Is this what they also refer to as WMware. If so, is Microsoft the only company which makes them. Are there any alternatives that are available. Will be very grateful for your reply to this questions and any additional links related to VMware/Virtual Machines that you can share (I know google will return results in hundreds if not thousands) but maybe if you can share your preference (based on experience).