I purchased the EMP6 and own 2 of them in fact. I use the Designers Gallery software twice as much as the Palette. It is simpler to use and has color works, size works, density works, and letter works. It is a great system to use with all your designs and machines.
Not if you just want to get the patterns off the internet, etc., you cannot, or at least with my older version, make your own designs. You need to download the program to your computer. Its pretty simple if you get on the internet and download the designs put your palette on your computer, go to the designs, with a blank card, and load the patterns. Hope this makes sense.
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You will need to upgrade to Palette 8,0 or NeXT versions that are compatible with Windows 7. I'm not sure if Palette 7 upgrade will work either. Other option, may be to get old computer with Windows XP and the right Parallel printer port with the card reader security device for Palette software to work.
Vista came out years after palette 5. There is no support for palette 5 on vista and newer operating systems/computers. You will need to buy a newer version of palette. The newest available is version 10
If not a USB model, you have to get the disgustingly expensive Babylock palette box ($500) and software with the blank card to transfer the designs from cd or files. Beware of making the embroidery too small, it can make the stitch density too great and then the machine cannot sew the design. There is software called Density Works to deal with this problem.