Is Windows 7 all it’s cracked up to be?  Well, recently I taught a Civil 3D class in Windows 7 64 bit and then, shortly after that, taught Civil 3D on the same computers using Windows XP 32 bit.  Want to see my take on the difference?  Well, read on.

There are a lot of factors involved here, different users, different data sets, different application of the program, but I think the results are telling.  First off, we installed Windows 7 64 bit on our classroom computers for one of my recent Civil 3D classes.  This was a 3 day class on C3D fundamentals.  There were 5 computers in use (4 students and myself).  Over the 3 day period, we had a total of 3 crashes.  What is a crash?  Well, something that causes C3D to need to be restarted without being able to close it, i.e. fatal error, freeze, etc.  That works out to an average of 1/4 crash per student per day.

Now, not long after that class, we reformatted the computers with our standard images for Civil 3D which was Windows XP 32-bit.  This was a class for surveyors and was a 2 day class.  There were 7 people in the class (6 students and myself).  We had a total of 13 crashes.  That works out to be almost 1 crash per student per day.  This also doesn’t take into account that 10 of the crashes happened on the same day.

I know, not very scientific but, I see these trends quite often when making the switch from XP to Windows 7.  In short, just make the switch already.  If your IT department complains, take it further up the ladder if you can.  Trust me on this, you want to use Windows 7 and you want it to be the 64 bit version.