Sunday, March 13, 2011

QuickBooks Users that swear by XP, time to move to Windows 7

I was one of you. I was so tainted by all the issues between QuickBooks and Windows Vista that I swore I would never dare trust Microsoft again. I wrapped my self in the security blanket that is the tried and true operating system we’ve all come to know as Windows XP, and I held it as close as child holds its mother.

Well today, I’m declaring that it’s time to turn the page. Let go of the old paradigm, QuickBooks users, and invite in the new joy that is Windows 7. We’ve purchased a few new computers for employees at QB or not QB over the last two months, and I have to tell you that it literally pains me when I have to go back to my old XP workstations after working with new computers and the fun Windows 7

What’s gotten into me?
Speed, Organization, Security, Stability and something we all like “a fresh new look”.

The speed is blazing fast. Win7 starts up faster than XP and Vista despite being a significantly more complex operating system. The task bar has much better organization than XP and there are a variety of ways to attain quick views of individual applications. For those offenders like my self that routinely have 20+ windows open Win7 keeps it simple and organized. You quickly notice the minimalistic appearance that comforts you similar to how you feel just after the maid has come to your house.

Security is beefed up without being oppressive. Microsoft has added bit locker which encrypts all the data on your hard drive while online and keeps out any hackers from potentially taking control of your system. Windows firewall has been significantly improved allowing you many more options in how to administer your firewall. Best of all, Microsoft has allowed you to turn off the ubiquitous message boxes that made everything go dark when appearing in Vista.

With the increased competition for Apple, Win7 has incorporated some very Mac like appearance and ease of use features into the OS. Mind you Mac users still tell me that Microsoft “just doesn’t get it”, but what do you expect them to say, they’re a bunch of artsy-fartsy Mac users that pay twice as much for half the machine. In general you’ll find the updates a pleasant and refreshing update over the XP screens you’ve been looking at for the last 9 years.

QuickBooks runs on Windows 7 like it’s an old friend hitching a ride to the next town. Many people have been quoted by QuickBooks support that older versions of QuickBooks wouldn’t run on Win7, but in retrospect this just seems like another ploy to get you to upgrade your QuickBooks software when your current version is working just fine.

Admittedly some users have commented that they can’t send invoices out of QuickBooks because the native mail program has changed (install Outlook and you’ll be fine), and other users have mentioned printer problems. In general these experiences are significantly outweighed by a large population of happy customers.

With all that said, there are some limitations.
I wouldn’t go to Win 7 if you still use QuickBooks ES 6.0 or Pro/Premier 2006 (or older) on a regular basis. You could probably get the program to work in what’s called XPmode, but you’re likely to sign up for a whole new batch of problems because XPmode is a virtual machine that runs similar to VMware on a MAC and thus can cause extreme amounts of grief. Also if you have an older computer or are lacking hard drive space I wouldn’t consider moving up to Win7. It does take up considerably more room on your hard drive and it’s made to work with more modern motherboards and memory, so I would avoid upgrading machines more than 3 years old to Win7

So open yourself up to the new possibilities XP holdouts. Jump to Windows 7 and let go of all the bad memories you’ve stored up about Vista.

Matt Clark is the Principal for QB or not QB, a company that focuses on helping customers work with large QuickBooks files, prepare QuickBooks files for the scope of IRS audits and convert QuickBooks Enterprise files to Pro or Premier format.

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