Well, I finally decided to give the latest 7.1 version (Sept 2 or 4, ver 44, I think) a try, on my backup laptop, a lenovo N586.
It had 7.0 on it, with the hard drive divided into three partitions, a swap, / and /home. So I didn't use automatic. Rather I installed 7.1 in /. It installed just fine and recognized all the files on my home drive. The installer is very easy to use.
A couple of comments.
I think that the user's attention following first install should somehow or another be directed to a page which explains how to add sound and configure the wireless card. The wired connection worked just fine but I occasionally need wireless. I have no sound and probably have to download some drivers. I see no sound icon and when I click on panel, there is no default sound icon.
And though I note that the touchpad seems to work a lot better than in 7.0, I think the user's attention should also be directed to ways of turning off (and on) the touchpad.
I no longer have a "suspend" option when logging out. I use suspend constantly on my main (Samsung) laptop, where, in 7.0, it works great.
For some reason youtube videos on firefox go blank (snowy screen) a few seconds after they start. Says "an error occurred." I tried to load chromium from slackbuilds.org, but it didn't work. I think I will need google chromium.
Finally, though lyx is in the repositories, it needs texlive or at least tetex. 7.0 repository only has tetex, I believe, so I will have to do in 7.1 as I did in 7.0 and download texlive from the website.
All in all 7.1 seems very stable. I gather it uses 64 rather than 32 whatever programs, so I will have a bit of a learning curve there.