The announcement of a Windows 7 family pack should have come to much applause, but instead Microsoft faced an angry mob of customers who were worried that they overpaid when ordering multiple copies during the pre order promotion. If you count yourself among this crowd, it’s time to pack away the pitchforks since the pricing falls very much in line with what you would have paid for three copies anyway.
Windows 7 Home Premium family packs will retail for a very reasonable $149, but it now stands in stark contrast to the individual upgrade price of $119. I think most people would agree that the new family pack pricing is a pleasant surprise, but who would buy an individual upgrade copy when for only $30 more you can get 3? I suppose if you only have one PC this makes sense, but it still seems somewhat disproportionate.
Windows Anytime Upgrade pricing has also been revealed which allows users to pay for the option of “stepping up” to a higher product edition. Moving from Windows 7 Starter to Home Premium will run you $79.99, while the move from Home Premium to Professional will set you back $89.99.If you find you need more, you can also make the jump from Windows 7 Professional to Ultimate for a cost of $139.99. The equivalent upgrades in Vista were about 12% higher, continuing the trend of lowering the cost of Windows for consumers.
While Windows 7, unlike Vista, runs well on netbooks, there are two big problems that must be overcome to make Windows 7 easy to install on netbooks:
Most netbooks lack CD or DVD drives
Netbooks run Windows XP or Linux, neither of which are supported for upgrade installations of Windows 7
As far as problem number one is concerned, there may be a solution: Cnet's Ina Fried reports that Microsoft is mulling over the idea of providing Windows 7 on USB thumbdrives to make upgrading netbooks easier without connecting an external CD or DVD drive. As we demonstrated earlier this year, you can install Windows 7 from a USB key after a bit of finagling. Creating a version of Windows 7 that's USB key-friendly would make the process a lot easier for clean installs.
However, what about Windows XP netbook users who want an easy upgrade? Fried reports that Best Buy's Geek Squad is looking at developing Windows 7 upgrade services.
Windows 7 does include Windows Easy Transfer to move user accounts, email, and data files from Windows Vista or XP systems, but is there a better solution that also works with programs? How about Linux netbook users? Any apps or scripts that can at least get the data over to Windowsland safely? We're looking for better suggestions for making the move from Windows XP or Linux on a netbook or other PC to Windows 7 as painless as possible for non-technical users. Think simple, think reliable, and join us after the jump to pass them along.
Last week we learned about Best Buy’s Windows 7 deployment plans, and this week, PCWorld has uncovered a source willing to spill the beans on the OEM strategies and dates. Similar to what we saw with Windows Vista, OEM’s are going to start offering upgrade coupons to individuals or businesses who buy new PC’s on, or after June 26th 2009. As expected, only Windows Vista Home Premium and above will be eligible for the offer, but unlike the Vista upgrade program, OEM’s may be on the hook for a portion of the upgrade fees. PC vendors will be forced to pay somewhere between $9 and $15 per license for the upgrade voucher, but this will allow customers to download a copy on the launch date, and still receive a disk as they become availible.
The coupons are rumored to be valid until Jan 31st 2010, and the OEM’s hope it will be enough to prevent Windows 7 from stalling new PC purchases between now, and the October 22nd launch date. PCWorld wouldn’t reveal the name of the Taiwanese executive who leaked the information, but apparently this was done to protect his companies negotiating creditability with Microsoft. So far, HP & Dell have only confirmed that they will participate in the in the Upgrade Program (whatever that may be), but have refused to release any of the details until Microsoft formally confirms the program dates and details.
Either way, it appears as though you should probably continue holding off on that new PC until at least June 26th.
Engadget has gotten its hands on what it is calling “a leaked internal memo” which outlines Best Buys plans for the roll out of Windows 7. In addition to giving us the timelines for free upgrades, it also spells out pre-order plans, and a look at the new pricing model. The memo which describes Windows 7 as “Vista that works”, will first be made available for pre-order by customers on June 26th.
Home Premium upgrades will start at $49.99, while the professional edition will be sold at $99.99. These prices (if true) are significantly more reasonable than Vista upgrades which started at $129.95 for Home Premium, and $199.95 for Business. Pre-ordered copies won’t ship until the official October 22nd launch date, but at least this guarantees you the pricing shown above.
In addition to pre-order sales, Best Buy also outlined its “Technology Guarantee Program” which will allow people who obtain copies of Vista after June 26th to receive a free upgrade. According to the memo, this will apply to both new PC sales, and retail copies bought separately. If this is true, this might be a good way to upgrade your PC to Windows Vista for next to nothing in the months leading up to 7’s release.
The moral of the story here is that if you were planning on buying a new PC from Best Buy, you should probably hold off until June 26th. If the contents of the memo are legitimate, this will likely be a painful lesson for Best Buy who will probably find it much more difficult to sell new PC’s for the next couple of weeks.
That's the message that Microsoft announced today on its Engineering Windows 7 blog, Cnet's Ina Fried reports.
While Microsoft says you can upgrade from Win7 Beta to RC when it becomes available, it prefers that you upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 RC. Why? As the E7 blog entry points out:
The RC...is about getting breadth coverage to validate the product in real-world scenarios. As a result, we want to encourage you to revert to a Vista image and upgrade or to do a clean install, rather than upgrade the existing Beta. We know that means reinstalling, recustomizing, reconfiguring, and so on. That is a real pain. The reality is that upgrading from one pre-release build to another is not a scenario we want to focus on because it is not something real-world customers will experience.
This reasoning makes sense from Redmond's standpoint, but since the same blog post acknowledges that millions of users (including, I bet, a lot of Maximumpc.com fans) are using Windows 7 Beta as their "full time" operating system, Microsoft has outlined a way to bypass the usual installer checks. Join us after the jump for the details.
I have an Alienware Area-51 m7700 laptop computer with 2GB of memory and an Nvidia GeForce 6800 Go with 256MB GDDR memory. It’s three years old and runs fine, but I would like to upgrade the graphics to get better video response. I play World of Warcraft and occasionally have problems with the video becoming a bit choppy. Plus, with the economy in its current poor state, I don’t really want to buy a new computer anytime soon, so upgrading my current computer seems like a good, relatively inexpensive way to go. The problem is, when I talked to a tech support person at Alienware, I was told a video upgrade isn’t available for my computer because the current videocards work with only the current bus configurations, not with my computer’s bus. Is there truly no way to upgrade my laptop’s video?
The Registerreports that there's good news and bad news for the many Windows XP users who took a pass on Windows Vista and decided to wait for Windows 7.
The good news? Windows XP users will be eligible for Windows 7 upgrade pricing.
The bad news? Windows XP users will need to do a clean install of Windows 7.
El Reg quotes a Microsoft rep thus:
I can confirm that customers will be able to purchase upgrade media and an upgrade license to move from Windows XP to Windows 7 - however, they will need to do a clean installation of Windows 7.
This requires the user to back up their data, install Windows 7, re-install the programs and restore their data. For PCs running Windows Vista customers have the option of an in-place upgrade of Windows 7 keeping their data and programs intact or to perform a clean install of Windows 7.
For those of you in the XP to Windows 7 camp, does the need to do a clean install bother you, or were you planning a clean install anyway? Join us after the jump for your chance to be heard.
Staving off the upgrade bug while waiting for the inevitable next best thing that's always just around the corner can cause you to be in a perpetual state of limbo. But if you've been suffering from this phenomenon since the AGP days, now might be the perfect time to pull the trigger. Not only has Intel released it's Core i7 platform, but if your aging AGP videocard is a qualified BFG-branded unit, you might be able to score a free or low-cost ($50) PCI-E upgrade.
"Now, for a limited time, if you send us your BFG AGP card in good, working condition, we'll send you the PCI Express equivalent at no cost to you," BFG wrote on its AGP-to-PCI-E promotional page. "If you want to upgrade to an even better performing card, there is a nominal fee to do so. Offer good for U.S. customers only."
Furthermore, BFG's claim that the free PCI-E upgrade is equivalent to its AGP counterpart might be a bit modest in certain circumstances. For example, BFG will upgrade owners of GeForce 6800OC AGP videocards with just a 128MB frame buffer to a 9600GT OC PCI-E card with 512MB of memory. The same 9600GT OC is used for all but one of the free upgrades and the performance levels out as you move up the AGP food chain, but for $50, users can instead opt for a 9800GT OC.
The offer is available for a limited time, though BFG has not specified a more specific time frame. Current AGP owners will need to register their cards with BFG if they haven't already done so. But don't fret if you've lost the receipt - BFG says no proof of purchase will be required.
The new Street View updates allow users to see the streets far easier thanks to a new window that fills the whole screen instead of a small portion. It’s also coupled with higher resolution pictures that give you the chance to zoom in closer than you ever could before (hooray for the prospect of new sightings!)
On top of that, new navigation makes things easier. Pan the view with the A and D keys, and look at your apartment, license plate, social security number and list of fears up and down with the W and S keys.
The kicker? It’s not working with the latest version of Google Chrome. I guess that’s something to pay attention to in the future, huh?
Microsoft has long offered hardware compatibility information for different versions of Windows, including Windows Vista. Remember the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL)? Until now, though, Microsoft has dropped the ball on making software compatibility easy to determine. With a renewed emphasis on marketing and customer satisfaction this summer, Microsoft has now created an easy-to-use one-stop shop for determining which hardware and software products will work with Windows Vista, the Windows Vista Compatibility Center.
For a quick tour of the WVCC, and to learn how you can make it even better, see us after the jump.