In the past using a pre-release version of a Microsoft OS was a one way ticket to nowhere. Sure you got a chance to test out the latest and greatest version of Windows months before it launched, but the final version typically involved doing a clean install, wiping out all your data in the process. To make matters worse, if you were buying the “upgrade edition”, this sometimes also involved re-installing the older version before moving to the final release. Most of us assumed this would still be the case with Windows 8; we were wrong.
Are you on the fence about upgrading to Windows 8? The new Metro UI and the lack of Windows Media Center have made many Maximum PC readers vow to stockpile Windows 7 OEM discs in a drawer somewhere. Microsoft's countering the worry with a competitive price point: through January 31st, upgrading from Windows 7, XP or Vista will only cost you $39.99 for a digital download. That's to the fancy-schmancy Windows 8 Pro, to boot -- and you can choose to toss in Windows Media Center for free during installation.
Whenever a new Windows OS rears its head, Microsoft alleviates the concerns of wary would-be PC buyers who may be tempted to put off purchasing a new computer for couple of months by offering them a free upgrade to the soon-to-be-released Windows flavor. That may grind to a halt with Windows 8; several sources say Microsoft will still give recent Windows 7 PC buyers a chance to upgrade, but only if buyers shell out another $14.99.
The typical Maximum PC reader is unlikely to break a sweat while installing Windows, but that’s not to say that it’s a walk in the park for everyone out there. As acknowledged by the Windows engineering team in its most recent Building Windows 8 blog post, there are still those who find the whole process fairly “complex.” But they will be happy to know that Microsoft has promised a simpler and much more streamlined setup experience with Windows 8. Details after the jump.
When it comes to add-ons, EA and its nickel-and-dime strategy to expandable video game content is generally considered king of the unlockable roost. But adding functionality via paid downloads doesn't only work for Xbox 360 games – it works for CPUs, too! Intel introduced the idea of boosting CPU performance via a software upgrade last year with the Pentium G6951. It must've been a success, because the chipmaker's offering the same service for three more of its products.
Microsoft re-introduced Windows 7 Family Pack in October to coincide with the first anniversary of the launch of the operating system. If you don’t already know, the family pack gives you three upgrade licenses of Windows 7 Home Premium for $149.99, when a single upgrade license alone costs $119.99. But if that sounds like a great deal to you, just wait till we tell you about the limited-time discount Dell is offering on the family pack. The family pack is available for $119.99 – three upgrades for the price of one – from Dell’s online store. However, only when you add Windows 7 Family Pack to your cart does the discount reveal itself.
Do you consider yourself a power user? It’s a tough question. After all, where do you draw the line? Hardware hacking? Command-line skills? Unix?
As we sat down to answer this question, the possibilities seemed endless, making our task feel more daunting. Windows registry hacks? Networking know-how? Upgrades? We even asked you, our readers, to contribute your suggestions. We received a bunch of great ones, but this only further broadened our pool of ideas.
Undeterred, we took a step back to consider the very essence of a power user. Eureka! A power user, we reasoned, is not a simple state of being. It’s a path, filled with accomplishments and achievements and failures and applied knowledge. And merit. We imagined a Boy Scout sash, filled with badges indicating various acts of heroism and knowledge, as well as empty spaces where future achievements will eventually reside.
On the following pages, you’ll learn what our version of this path is. Enjoy!
My current rig is an HP Pavilion M8530F with a Viola-GL8E motherboard. The CPU is a 2.2GHz Phenom X4 9550. The board is AM2+. I asked HP for a copy of the mainboard’s user manual hoping it could tell me what AM2+ chip I could drop in. However, I find myself even more confused. I think a 2.6GHz Phenom 9950 X4 will work even though it is a 125-watt chip and my current 9550 is a 95-watt chip.
I’d rather not spend the money only to be proven dead wrong and be stuck having to borrow my fiancée’s Vaio laptop. It may be nice, but it’s not my desktop. So far, the only change made to my rig in the two years I’ve had it was the addition of a graphics card cooler, of the intake variety. I’ve done research and the more questions I have answered, the more confused I get. If I could, I’d just buy/build a new rig, but that’s not an option. Some newer games, like BioShock 2, require AMD core speed in excess of 2.2 GHz, and mine barely meets the requirements. Even the budget upgrade article in the July 2010 issue is vague on whether I can upgrade. Doc, please steer me in the right direction, lest I crash on the rocks of inaction.
Read the Doctor's advice for Lucas after the jump.
A FAQ document on the site clearly states that “Service Pack 1 will be released within the first half of calendar year 2011.” Microsoft has been urging consumers, especially enterprise users, to not delay their upgrade plans until the release of SP1 as it will include “only minor updates.” Microsoft released a public beta of Service Pack 1 last week.