Networking in Windows 7 builds upon the drastic remodeling that occurred in Windows Vista. However, although some of the basic networking features in Windows 7 are similar to those in Windows Vista, many networking features have been improved in Microsoft's latest operating system. And, if you are moving up from Windows XP, you will find that Windows 7's network interface is a completely different animal than you've encountered before. Whether you're moving up from Windows Vista or Windows XP, join us after the jump to learn what's new and better in the main building blocks of Windows 7 networking.
Up until July 11 (that's this Saturday, folks), you can preorder upgrade versions of Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional at reduced rates, but just because you can already buy the next-gen OS doesn't mean it's finished yet. It is, however, getting very close.
Several sources are reporting that Microsoft has confirmed Windows 7 will reach RTM (release to manufacturing) on July 13, two days after the preorder pricing ends. This is significant because once Windows 7 goes RTM, Microsoft can then distribute final versions to computer manufacturers in anticipation of the October 22nd release date.
In the meantime, you can still download the polished Windows 7 RC (release candidate) and run the OS until March 1, 2010. Once March 1st of next year rolls around, PCs running the RC will shut down every two hours before completely expiring on June 1, 2010.
Just over a year ago, Finnish mobile firm Nokia acquired Symbian, a move that put the handset maker in direct competition with Google and Apple for mobile internet market share. But despite a vested interest in sticking with its Symbian platform, word on the web is that Nokia is developing a mobile phone powered by Google's open-source Android OS.
Nokia's decision came after seeng its global smartphone market share drop from 47 percent in 2007 to 35 percent last summer and 31 percent by the start of 2008. That's a frightening trend for a company which makes about four out of every 10 mobile phones being sold.
The smartphone maker has been doing everything it can to remain relevant in the mobile sector, including forging an alliance with Intel to develop a new breed of Intel Architecture-based mobile devices.
If solid state drives (SSDs) are to ultimately replace standard hard disk drives (HDDs) as the default storage option, they're going to have to do it the old fashioned way - by offering a better, or at least comparable, bang for buck.
Because Windows 7 offers better support for SSDs than either Vista or XP, it was thought that Microsoft's upcoming OS might help bolster SSD sales and push the flash-based storage medium further into the mainstream. But this isn't likely to happen, say notebook vendors, who point out that the price gap between SSDs and HDDs is still too large.
SSDs currently check in at about $4-5 per GB, whereas HDDs cost less than $0.50 per GB, and that includes some higher end models. And despite rapid advancements in SSDs, it might be another three years before HDDs are finally dethroned.
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.