For the many MaximumPC.com readers who wrote that two or three Windows 7 SKUs was all that Microsoft needs to offer, the news that Windows 7 will be available in six flavors (Starter, Home Basic, Enterprise, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate) may seem like throwing gasoline on an already-raging fire. However, before you start reformatting your Windows 7 partitions, take a look at Windows GM Mike Ybarra's reasoning. Here's a bit of it:
The first change in Windows 7 was to make sure that editions of Windows 7 are a superset of one another. That is to say, as customers upgrade from one version to the next, they keep all features and functionality from the previous edition...The second change is that we have designed Windows 7 so different editions of Windows 7 can run on a very broad set of hardware, from small-notebook PCs (sometimes referred to as netbooks) to full gaming desktops...
Although Windows 7 will be available in six SKUs, most of the emphasis will be on just two. To find out which SKUs are expected to do the heavy sales lifting and how the editions differ, join us after the break.
Gizmodo's Wilson Rothman installed Windows 7 Beta on an HP TouchSmart PC over the weekend, and offers a detailed look at how multitouch works, complete with several videos. Some highlights:
If you install Windows 7 Beta on a system that's already running the manufacturer's touch software, a clean install (instead of upgrading from Windows Vista) provides a truer multitouch experience with fewer connfiguration headaches
You can use multitouch as a mouse replacement; running Windows Media Center; zooming, rotating, and drawing; and for gaming
It seems like just yesterday that Microsoft reluctantly introduced us to the world of User Account Control (UAC). Many disgruntled reviewers claimed that the UAC present in Windows Vista was too intrusive. It caused a lot of frustration when trying to install programs that needed administrator credentials. Apple even made a commercial that illustrated how people felt about the constant nagging of UAC in Windows Vista.
Fast forward to Windows 7 Beta 1, Microsoft now gives full control over the number of prompts you receive. The problem is any malware can defeat UAC by sending a few Visual Basic scripts to activate the slider and turn off UAC. Once UAC is off, the computer can be restarted and the malware can be launched with full administrator credentials and expose the computer to more malware and exploits.
The Windows 7 beta fish surfaced to face the public for the first time on January 10th 2009. Since its release we have been both excited and terrified with what Microsoft has in store for us. A few naysayers aside, few will argue that the beta is very stable, and is an impressive offering. But is it ready for release?
Well as of February 1st 2009, 2,108 of you thought so! A fan of the Leo Laporte podcasting network took a cue from the host and decided to launch an online petition to try and convince Microsoft that Windows 7 is ready. In a recent podcast both the host Leo Laporte, and co-host Paul Thurrott commented on the petition to which their names were used as advocates, and they nervously took a step back. They both claimed to be enthusiastic about the future of Windows, but admitted that nobody wants Windows 7 to ship before its ready.
A quick scan of the comments from previous Windows 7 discussions would seem to suggest that this is likely to be a heavily debated petition. The vast majority of readers seem to be leaving positive feedback on the beta, but some incompatibilities clearly still remain.
Do you think the Windows 7 beta is good enough to launch? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
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.
Microsoft has seen some pretty insane demand for its Windows 7 beta, so much so it couldn’t even keep it’s servers up. Once things finally leveled off Microsoft took the unusual step of removing its download cap of 2.5 million copies, and now they intend to extend the download period from January 24th to February 10th. Microsoft claims that it already has more than enough beta testers to meet its engineering needs, and they intend to prolong the availability of the beta merely to make sure everyone who wants to give it a try gets a chance.
Despite the fact that Microsoft intends to cease downloads on February 10th, those who already began the process will have until the 12th to grab the file off the official servers.For those of you hoping to activate copies of Windows 7 past this date, make sure you save your installation disk. Product keys will continue to be available well past the cutoff date, and activation servers will remain active.
MSDN and TechNet subscribers are unaffected by this announcement and will continue to have unfiltered access to the beta likely until the cut off date in August (though this has not yet been confirmed).
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.
The gang gathers for a special live (read: unedited) recording of the No BS Podcast. Unfetterd by the vise-like grip of censorship, we dish out more Windows 7 impressions and tips, discuss our recent antivirus roundup, and answer unscreened listener call-in questions. Gordon rants about shopping bags and wonders why anyone would ever be afraid of Mothra. This and more in this week's nearly-zombie-free episode!
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at email@example.com or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
It's been over a week since the Windows 7 Beta was released to the public. You've read our initial impressions and even followed our guide to installing the OS using a USB key. So what now? Microsoft's post-Vista Windows experience is more than the obvious Taskbar and user interface updates; there are plenty of hidden features and shortcuts that haven't been advertised. But fear not: we've compiled a list of every known Windows 7 tweak and secret. Follow these 20 tricks to make the most out of this beta and become a Windows 7 power user.
Back in November, Microsoft announced plans to discontinue its fee-based Live OneCare subscription service by June 30, 2009 and replace it with free security software the company claims "will provide comprehensive protection from malware including virusus, spyware, rootkits, and trojans." Microsoft's plans could spell bad news for security vendors who sell comprehensive security suites, but at least three companies are already looking forward.
It remains to be seen how Microsoft's Morro will compete will full fledged third-party applications, but according to Windows communications manager Brandon LeBlanc, competition won't stand in the way of ensuring everyone's security apps work with Windows 7.
"Microsoft has been actively working with security partners to help them get their applications ready for Windows 7," LeBlanc said. "Three security developers have taken the build we released to developers in October and have developed solutions available today that work with Windows 7 Beta."
Hit the jump and tell us what effect you think Morro will have third party security software.