The free ride is officially over - sort of. If you installed Windows 7 beta on any of your machines, the next time you fire it up, the OS will initiate a shutdown sequence every 2 hours, a move intended to guide users to the Windows 7 Release Candidate.
"If you're still on the Windows 7 Beta you should certainly look at giving the Windows 7 RC a try!," Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc wrote in a Windows team blog post.
The good news is that the Windows 7 RC (Release Candidate) is still available for download, it includes several new features and fixes, and will continue to run uninterrupted until June 1, 2010. But you'll have to act fast, as the RC download program comes to a screeching halt on August 15.
Even better, Microsoft has temporarily reduced pricing on retail upgrade versions of Windows 7 Home and Professional to $50 and $100 respectively. The pre-order pricing remains in effect until Saturday, July 11, at which point prices will jump to $120 (Home) and $200 (Professional).
Until the introduction of Windows 7, device management was a multi-application nightmare. Want to see a device's hardware configuration? Open Device Manager. Want to browse the contents of a storage device? Open My Computer. Need to manage the settings used by a specific device? Open the appropriate applet in Control Panel (Mouse, Keyboard, Game Controller, and so on). If you have a multifunction device, you would need to open separate applets to manage the printing, faxing, scanning, and file management functions of one device.
In Windows 7, the Devices and Printers applet in Control Panel provides a single entry point to managing single-purpose and multifunction devices. Microsoft considers Devices and Printers so important to system management that you can start Devices and Printers directly from the Start menu. To learn how Devices and Printers will make your life easier, and what you need to do to make it work better for you, join us after the jump.
If you were frustrated by trying to figure out which edition of Windows Vista was the right choice ("hmm...If I use Vista Business, I don't get Windows Media Center, but if I use Vista Home Premium, I don't get image backup..."), Microsoft has done us all a favor by rethinking the feature sets for Windows 7.
Yes, there are still multiple SKUs to consider, but this time, you no longer need to worry about what's left out if you move up from one edition to another. To find out how the different US editions of Windows 7 compare in features, what Microsoft is doing to satisfy EU regulators, and what it will cost you to pre-order a Windows 7 upgrade now compared to waiting until it ships, join us after the jump.
Microsoft's pre-order pricing for Windows 7, in which prices have been temporarily reduced by up to 58 percent, went into effect last Friday and the response has been phenomenal. Perhaps proving that potential customers would rather pay for software when priced the price is right rather than pirate, Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade, discounted to $50, wasted no time in jumping to the top of Amazon.com's bestseller list. Windows 7 Professional Upgrade, discounted to $100, claimed the No. 2 spot.
The surprise pricing was announced last Thursday and stays in effect in the U.S. until July 11, 2009, or "until supplies last." Consumers living in Japan will have until July 5th to take advantage of the reduced pricing, and those in the U.K., France, and Germany will be offered similar pre-order discounts starting on July 15th.
It remains to be seen how consumers will react to normal upgrade pricing once the promotion runs its course.
"The $49 initial price is a nice reward for loyal customers," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Interpret. "But the 'real' upgrade pricing is way off for what the market will likely bear, especially during these economic times."
Participating retailers include (thanks to reader u217946 for the handy list):
Microsoft yesterday announced retail pricing for Windows 7. The good news is it will be the same or cheaper than Windows Vista, however this only applies from Friday until July 11, less than a month from now. During that time, upgrade copies of Windows 7 Home Premium will run $49, while Windows 7 Professional will cost $99.
"That truly is a price that we have never even come close to in terms of an operating system release," Corporate Vice President Brad Brooks said. "We've still got a business to run."
When the OS ships in October, boxed copy prices will break down as follows:
Home Premium (Upgrade) - $119
Professional (Upgrade) - $199
Ultimate (Upgrade) - $219
Home Premium (Full) - $199
Professional (Full) - $299
Ultimate (Full) - $319
That puts Home Premium at a lower price point than the Vista equivalent, which sells for $239, and both Ultimate and Professional on par with each one's Vista counterpart.
Getting back to the pre-release upgrade pricing, Microsoft will only be selling a limited number of copies, though that number is unknown. These will be available at Amazon, Best Buy, Microsoft's own store, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Costco, Staples, Wal-Mart, and a bunch of other retailers, CNet reports.
Hit the jump and tell us what you think about Windows 7's price points.
In Windows 7, Windows Media Center is a more useful tool than ever before for working with audio and visual media. While at first glance, Windows 7's version of WMC doesn't look a whole lot different than its predecessor, it includes many improvements. In this article, we'll focus on improvements in WMC's TV setup process, support for digital broadcast TV, the program guide, Internet TV, WMC access from the desktop, RAW file support for photos, picture and music playback and sports.
Just over two weeks from now, T-Mobile will begin taking pre-orders for its second Android-based smartphone, the myTouch 3G. Like the G1, the myTouch 3G is being built by HTC, but there are a few key differences between it and the G1.
For starters, the myTouch 3G waves goodbye to the physical keyboard found on the G1, which helps the new phone sport a slimmer profile. It will, however, come with a virtual keyboard that will automatically switch from portrait to landscape mode in "most applications."
The myTouch also doubles up on internal memory with 512MB compared to 256MB - a good thing considering the G1's frustrating inability to install applications directly to SD storage without rooting the phone. And speaking of storage, the myTouch will also ship with a 4GB microSD card.
T-Mobile will first make the myTouch 3G available for pre-order to existing subscribers starting on July 8 for $200 with a two-year contract. Shipments will be begin in late July, with full national availability expected in early August.
When it comes to handing out fines, the European Commission doesn't mess around. Just last month the EC ____ slapped Intel with a record setting $1.45 billion after finding the chip maker guilty of anticompetitive practices, while in 2004, the EC slammed Microsoft with what today would amount to about a $790 million fine.
The aforementioned incidents no doubt weighing on Microsoft's mind, the software maker will release a version of Windows 7 in Europe with Internet Explorer 8 stripped out.
"To ensure that Microsoft is in compliance with European law, Microsoft will be releasing a separate version of Windows 7 for distribution in Europe that will not include Windows Internet Explorer," Microsoft said in a memo. "Microsoft will offer IE8 separately and free of charge and will make it easy an convenient for PC manufacturers to preinstall IE8 on Windows 7 machines in Europe if they so choose."
Probably a good move, as European regulators earlier this year warned that bundling a browser in Windows would likely violate European antitrust law.
June 9th saw a rare 'double-header' in security updates: Microsoft's monthly Patch Tuesday was joined by Adobe's quarterly security updates for Acrobat and Adobe Reader. How big was this month's 10-update Patch Tuesday? According to a Microsoft spokesperson quoted by Cnet, the 31 vulnerabilities covered by updates are "the most since Microsoft started releasing updates on a regular schedule of the second Tuesday of every month in October 2003."
Users of Windows 2000 SP4 through Windows Vista SP2 (and holdouts still running Windows 7 Beta), Microsoft Office 2000, 2003, or 2007; Microsoft Office for MacOS 2004 and 2008, Microsoft Works 8.5 and 9, and IE5.01 through IE8 users have some work to do before heading off on vacation, as do users of Adobe Reader and Acrobat 7.x, 8.x and 9.x. To find out what's being changed - and why - join us after the break.
As the October 22nd release date nears, excitement continues to build over Windows 7. After playing with the beta and, more recently, the Release Candidate (RC), many feel Windows 7 is what Vista should have been all along, including XP stalwarts who skipped the Vista release altogether. Nevertheless, don't expect the new OS to give the PC market a kick in the rump, says Microsoft.
"History would tell us that generally as you ship a Windows release into the market, the bump is very modest," Microsoft senior vice president Bill Veghte said at the UBS Global Technology and Services Conference. "You will see a little bit, but it is modest."
Perhaps a victim of timing, Veghte went on to say that while enthusiasm for Windows 7 runs high on the business side of the fence, "it will get drowned out by the macroeconomic environment."
Veghte also talked about Windows 7's potential impact on the average selling price of Windows, which has gone down as consumers clamor for low-cost netbooks. He said it was hard to tell what impact Windows 7 will have, noting that it probably won't be like it was when XP shipped, and during the beginning of Vista.