If you’re holding back from testing your copy of Windows 7 because you’re not sure what to do as far as device drivers are concerned, there is something you ought to know (if for some reason you didn’t until this point). Under the hood, Windows 7 is essentially the same as Windows Vista and as such Vista drivers will work just fine a majority of the time.
So, head to your hardware manufacturer’s website and download the latest drivers available for Windows Vista – we also keep a healthy catalog of the latest drivers for graphics cards and other devices in our own drivers section.
After downloading the drivers, run the installation setup and follow the prompts as if you would any other time. If you are presented with any errors due to compatibility, cancel the installation, right click the on the install package’s .exe and choose “Troubleshoot Compatibility”.
This will present you with a “Program Compatibility” wizard of sorts, which is a bit more friendly than on previous version of Windows.
The wizard will show a few common issues to select from and ask which apply to your situation. It won’t allow you to proceed without selecting something, so if it’s not already, just check the box next to “The program worked in earlier versions of Windows but won’t install or run now” and click next.
Obviously we’ll want to choose Windows Vista as the last known OS to support the drivers.
Upon completion you ought to be met with a window displaying the new settings enabled for your software and the option to test your new configuration by clicking next.
Interesting fact: According to Google Analytics, over the past few weeks the number of visitors coming to TechSpot using Windows 7 has exploded. Currently it accounts for roughly 2% of our traffic. Doesn’t sound like much but this is only 15 days after its beta release. It also makes for the fourth most popular OS among our readers after XP (65%), Vista (23%) and Mac OS X (3%).