Depending on who you ask, that's probably two or three versions too many. Unfortunately, unless Redmond changes its mind between now and Windows 7 release, it looks likely that the same "too many versions" problem that haunted Windows Vista will be back for Windows 7. There's one bit of good news, though. It looks as if an easy-to-use version of Windows Anytime Upgrade will be included in non-Ultimate releases so you can move up.
As noted by Gizmodo, Windows 7 has made quite a few tweaks to the Windows Experience Index (WEI) first introduced by Windows Vista. For those of you tuning in late, the WEI tests hardware performance of five subsystems (processor, memory, desktop graphics, 3D gaming graphics, and hard disk), calculates a score for each one, and uses the lowest subsystem score as your WEI base score.
Since just after Windows Vista shipped, users of high-performance components, especially graphics cards, have been complaining loudly about Vista's WEI top score being capped at 5.9. While the Minpaso database of Vista WEI scores calculates a "presumption score" to try to make allowances for today's faster hardware, there hasn't been an official move from Microsoft until now. The code jockeys in Redmond heard you, and the top WEI subsystem and base score in Windows 7 is 7.9.
Wondering why the top score changed, and what else is different? Join us after the jump for details.
Remember Microsoft's rare out-of-band security update from last October, MS08-067? Microsoft warned us then that Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2000 SP4 were especially vulnerable to being attacked. Windows Update probably took care of patching your home computer. However, companies and individuals that were slow to patch their fleets of PCs with KB958644 could find their computers now infected by a nasty worm called Conficker, Downadup or Kido.
How big a deal is Conficker/Downadup? According to F-Secure, the number of infected machines went from 2.4 million to 8.9 million in just four days as of last Friday. Panda Security now estimates that as many as one in every 16 PCs may be infected. F-Secure wraps up its analysis by saying "The situation with Downadup is not getting better. It's getting worse." Panda compares the outbreak with the legendary Kournikova (2001) and Blaster (2003) outbreaks.
How does Conficker/Downandup spread, and what can you do about it? Join us after the jump to learn more.
As it turns out, both Seagate and Maxtor-brand SATA drives can be affected by firmware problems. So, how can you find out exactly which models may be on the naughty list and when Seagate has a firmware fix that's ready for prime time? Join us after the jump for details.
What will the next version of Microsoft Office look like? Leaked screenshots of an alpha version recently released to testers suggest that, in short, ribbon menus rule. However, the Office 14 ribbon menus seem to have been influenced by the ribbon menu used in some of Windows 7's accessories, rather than being simply a rehash of Office 2007's version.
How long before we'll have a release version? According to alpha testers cited at Neowin.net, Microsoft is looking at a 2009 release and - you guessed it - the suite might be called Office System 2009. However, with the Microsoft roadmap unearthed earlier this month showing "2009" and "12-31-2009" for release dates, maybe it's too early to worry about the name.
So, you've decided to log into your bank's website to figure out if you can afford the newest techno-bling shown at CES. Your bank gives you the nod, and you open up another browser tab (or window) to cruise over to your favorite tech reseller. After doing a few price and stock checks, a pop-up window appears: your bank session has timed out - and if you want to double-check your available credit or account balance, you need to log in again. Should you click and go?
To learn how it works, and to learn how to protect yourself, join us after the jump.
Tom's Hardwarereports that Western Digital will be first to market with a 2TB drive. The WD20EADS is a part of WD's GreenPower series, and uses four 500GB platters. Other specs include 32MB of cache and a seek time of 8.9ms.
Although Tom's Hardware reports that the drive will run at 5400RPM or 7200RPM, you should take the claim of 7200RPM with a grain of salt until we get our hands on actual hardware for testing. As this analysis from SilentPC on the first GreenPower drive indicates, GreenPower drives normally run at the slower speed.
How much will the first 2TB drive set you back? Around $210-240, rumors say, but we'll all know for sure when the drive hits retail shelves later this week. Will you be lining up for the first 2TB drive, or would you rather have a couple of 1TB drives? Join us after the break and sound off.
It may be 2009, but the GeForce 9M series, just introduced last summer, is already last year's news: yesterday, Nvidia announced the new GeForce 100M series at CES.
Engadgetreports that the GeForce 100M series' first three members exceed the performance of comparable GeForce 9M series GPUs by 17 to 35 percent. To learn more about the GeForce 100M family, join us after the jump.
Here's what Microsoft is saying about the glitch (via ArsTechnica):
We've had some reports over the last few hours where customers have been receiving errors when requesting Windows 7 Beta product keys. We can confirm that we are having trouble distributing Windows 7 Beta product keys right now. Since Windows has a grace period built in before a product key is required, please don't hesitate to download and use the Beta without the product key. We will post information here as soon as this is resolved.
Like ArsTechnica, we'll also be keeping an eye on this problem and will let you know when it's solved. Join us after the jump and let us know what's good, bad, and ugly about the official Windows 7 beta.