As it turns out, not only is Windows 7 a much better operating system than Windows Visa, it's also being much better received by early adopters than its predecessor was.
Web metrics firm NetApplications says Windows 7 accounts for 9 percent of all OSes in use online in February. That's twice as much as Vista claimed five months after it launched, which only saw a 4.5 percent share.
"Looking at the trends, the [Windows 7] growth rate seems to be strong and consistent with no visible decline," said Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice president with NetApplications.
There's also been a difference in Windows 7's weekend and weekday scores, which Vizzaccaro says is indicative of "personal usage growing faster than corporate usage, which fits expectations."
Microsoft's Windows 7 Team sent out an email this morning reminding Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) users that the free ride is almost over.
"While most people who tested Windows 7 have now moved to the final version, some are still running the Release Candidate. If you haven't moved yet, it's time to replace the RC," the Windows 7 Team wrote.
In case you're fuzzy on the dates, here are the ones to remember:
March 1, 2010: PC's with Windows 7 RC installed will begin shutting down every two hours. Work will not be saved during these shutdowns
June 1, 2010: Windows 7 RC fully expires
Once June 1 rolls around, you may continue to use the RC in two hour spurts, but you'll also have to tolerate a solid black background with a persistent message on the desktop, as well as periodic notifications alerting you that your copy is no longer genuine.
The good news (for some of you) is it's tax time, so if you're getting a big refund this year, you can add Windows 7 to the list of annual computer upgrades.
The new Asus T101MT netbook tablet was spotted in an FCC filing back in December, but it’s now been made official. The systems comes with the familiar netbook internals including a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, a 10.1-inch LED-backlit screen (with touchscreen capabilities), and 1-2GB of RAM depending on which version of Windows 7 the customer opts for. Consumers will also have a choice between a 160GB hard drive, or a 320GB hard drive with 500GB of Asus cloud storage free for a year.
Of course, the real trick here is the rotating screen that swivels around to put the computer into tablet mode. The system is not obscenely heavy at 2.9 lbs, and will offer a reported 6.5 hours of battery life. As an extra added bonus the SD card slot will be able to read the new SDXC cards up to 32GB in size. No specifics on price or availability were announced, but we’ll keep an eye out. Does this sort of form factor interest you at all?
Microsoft will soon make it more difficult for pirates to pillage Windows 7 when it closes a whole bunch of activation workarounds via an upcoming update. According to Microsoft, the Windows Activation Technologies Update for Windows 7 will close more than 70 "activation hacks.
Perhaps less appealing to the mainstream consumer, the update will also dial into a Microsoft server every once in awhile to help detect and root out any further hacks. Of course, this comes with the standard claim that no personally identifiable information about the user will ever be sent, but nevertheless, we can't see privacy advocates being too thrilled with this one.
Joe Williams, general manager of Microsoft's Genuine Windows unit, justifies the measures by calling attention to all the malware that's associated with non-genuine versions of Windows.
"We do see malicious code -- everything from easily discoverable malware to keyboard recording," Williams said. "There's all sorts of things we've seen that puts our customers at risk and their data at risk."
For those who want to get a jump start on the update, it will be made available as a manual download starting February 16th from Microsoft's genuine website, and the Microsoft Download center a day alter. Later on this month, it will be classified as an "important" yet optional update through Windows Update.
I want to buy a new CPU, one that will support new features like hardware virtualization. Before I move to Windows 7 from Windows XP, I wish to find out if its Windows XP Mode will work for my 32-bit programs under the 64-bit version of Windows 7. Has anyone even tested this?
Read the answer to Mitch's question after the jump.
Can we use Windows 7's new fast-boot capability and BIOS optimizations to get to the desktop in less than 30 seconds?
If you’re the kind of person who fumes at the microwave because it takes so long to nuke popcorn, you probably can’t stand the plodding boot of your PC, either.
And who can blame you? Time spent waiting for first the BIOS and then Windows to come to life is time that could have been spent working, gaming, or surfing the web.
Microsoft’s claim that Windows 7 could boot (from the BIOS) in 11 seconds first gave us the hope that such idle time might be lessened dramatically, but being Maximum PC we wanted to take the idea even further. We sought to not only replicate Microsoft’s claim, but to see how much time we could shave prior to the OS loading, with a combination of hardware and BIOS tweaks. Our ultimate goal: to have a machine up and running within 30 seconds of hitting the power switch.
So if your attention deficit disorder hasn’t already caused you to click to the next story, find out how we were able to achieve the shortest boot possible.
It’s all the rage these days to have multitouch technology baked into software. Now Microsoft is letting us know that having multiple pointers could be cool too with the new MultiPoint SDK. The new v1.5 release is available for download and will allow developers to create applications that use multiple mice simultaneously. The SDK could allow groups to work collaboratively on a single PC.
Having a single computer interpret commands from multiple pointers could be a boon to education, says Microsoft. Many schools have fewer computers than students, and sharing PCs doesn’t always work because only one person is really able to interact with it at a time. In the recent demo on MSDN’s Channel9, some beta applications were shown off using three pointers.
While Redmond seems to be pushing education as the big sell, there could be other uses. There are times when a single computer with two independent mice could work just as well as two computers. The SDK is compatible with Windows 7 and Server 2008. Make sure to check out the video demo. If you’re the developer type, the SDK can be found here.
Wh...what's this? A piece of open-source software from Microsoft that adds speed and portability to the standard Windows 7 installation process? It almost sounds too good to be true, but it's not! There really is such a utility, and it really has been delivered by the Windows 7 manufacturer itself, and it really is open-source!
I might sound a little too excited about this entire concept, but that's just because this tool--the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool--is actually a great replacement for what is otherwise a semi-complex (and hard to remember) series of console commands. If you think I'm exaggerating just for the sake of fashioning up a fun article to read, you're wrong. I couldn't tell you off-hand how to create a bootable USB drive with a preloaded Windows 7 disc. I usually just turn to this series of steps as a general walkthrough.
While the Microsoft tool isn't perfect, in that it won't automatically rip the contents of your Windows 7 CD and fashion a bootable USB key out of that, it's still an awesome way to automate this entire process using a friendly GUI. But don't think that you can just use this tool to make bootable USB keys of any ol' ISO file sitting around on your hard drive. In fact, you can't even rip the Windows 7 DVD and use the subsequent ISO file as the basis of your bootable USB key. Not without some tweaking, that is...
Redmond, we have a problem. According to several user reports, Windows 7 inherited Vista's poor power management when it comes to laptop battery life.
The reports mostly come from users on Microsoft's TechNet forum, who complain of reductions in battery life from two hours down to 30 minutes, and in some cases, even less. There have also been complaints of batteries not fully recharging, and some have even claimed that their laptop batteries are forever damaged by whatever drainage problem might be occurring.
These types of issues also plagued Vista and were supposed to be addressed in Windows 7. Towards that end, Microsoft said it was investigating the potential problem, noting that part of the issue relates to the BIOS. According to a Microsoft spokesman, the appearance of error messages suggesting that users replace a perfectly good battery is likely a BIOS issue and the result of Windows 7 pulling data from the PC's firmware.
Battery drainage complaints in Windows 7 are nothing new and have been noted by users dating back to the OS's beta testing days. The issue is particularly problematic for netbook users.
I want to know if 32-bit Windows 7 will limit how much system memory I can install. I know that 4GB is the maximum that 32-bit Windows XP will recognize. Is this the same for Windows 7? Do I need to buy 64-bit if I want to install more than 4GB memory?
Read the Doctor's answer for Anthony after the jump.