Hype is high for Windows 7, and deservedly so if we have anything to say about it (and we do). But while there's plenty to be excited about with Microsoft's upcoming OS, are there any compelling reasons why you should skip upgrading?
Other knocks against in the OS in the devil's advocate article include upgrade pricing, built-in support for hardware-based DRM, and one that's sure to please the Mac crowd, "Snow Leopard is almost here."
Do you plan on upgrading to Windows 7 or will you sit this one out? Hit the jump and sound off!
Just like with Vista, Windows 7 will offer users a 30-day grace period before requiring a product activation. And also like Vista, the grace period can be extended up to 120 days, a Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed yesterday. To do so, users will have to "reset" the countdown timer with the familiar -rearm trick.
"You can run the -rearm trick a total of three times," said Woody Leonard, a contributing editor to Windows Secrets. "If you perform a -rearm at the end of each 3-day period, you end up with 120 days of full, unfettered Windows 7 use, without having to supply an activation key."
The -rearm trick will work with any version of Windows 7, from Basic on up to Ultimate. To extend the trial to four months, here's what you need to do:
Click the Start menu and select All Programs, Accessories, and right-click the Command Prompt and choose Run As Administrator.
Financial struggles tend to put a strain on any relationship, and that's certainly the case between OEM vendors and Microsoft. Worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2009 declined 5 percent from the second quarter of 2009, and whether fair or not, OEMs tend to put the blame on Microsoft.
"The word dysfunctional seems hardly adequate to this situation," says Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. " Part of this is money-related in that the OEMs think that Microsoft is taking more than its fair share of the profits. But I think the root cause is a fundamental shift in these vendors' relationships. While initially PC vendors held the primary position, over time Microsoft has come to occupy the alpha position, and OEMs are passively/aggressively rebelling against this change."
OEMs complain about Microsoft's pricing, complexity, and the lack of funding to generate demand. Enderle says Microsoft treats OEMs as subordinates, not partners, by laying out the pricing terms and product retirement, but with Windows 7, the two sides are starting to come together. According to Enderle, Microsoft has made a better effort to treat OEMs like partners with the Windows 7 development and its retail operations, part of which includes outfitting its retail stores with PCs and laptops from partners.
"Microsoft is quietly moving to consolidate its control over the PC platform and, if they do it correctly, the result may be a set of products that blend the interoperability and compatibility of a Microsoft solution with the user experience of an Apple product.," Enderle said.
From a distance, the Windows 7 GUI resembles its predecessor, Windows Vista. However, the closer you look, the more you'll see that Windows 7's take on the GUI is a big improvement, adding more power, more customization, and better ways to open frequently-used programs and files. Join us after the jump to learn how you can tap into the power of the Windows 7 desktop, Taskbar, and Start menu.
Perception is a funny thing. If you listen to Microsoft, Vista, despite its acknowledged shortcomings, has been a success story and the company has the sales numbers to prove it. But talk to the end users and you'll hear a very different opinion. The negative perception towards Vista remains so strong that thousands of XP users have continued to make do with a nearly decade old OS.
The good news for Microsoft is that those same users don't hold the same disdain for Windows 7 as they do for Vista, according to a survey conducted by PC World and Technologizer.com. The survey pinged nearly 5,000 Windows XP users to find out how they feel about their current OS, why they haven't moved to Vista, and what their thoughts are regarding Windows 7.
Over 25 percent of the respondents said they continue to use XP because Vista doesn't justify an upgrade, and out of those who have used Vista, over half indicated somewhat negative or very negative feelings towards it. Of those who have never touched Vista, about 80 percent said they have somewhat negative or very negative feelings towards the OS.
Those opinions haven't soured the perception of Windows 7. Out of those who have had a chance to play with a beta or RC of the upcoming OS, over 65 percent said they felt very positive or somewhat positive with their experience, and only about 10 percent reported feeling negative.
DirectX 11 which will debut with the release of Windows 7 is arguably a pretty big deal. The new APIs will enjoy a much larger installed base than its predecessor thanks to backwards compatibility with Vista, and graphical improvements that were teased in DirectX 10 should see a pretty significant performance boost. With the release of Windows 7 nearly upon us, many have been holding off on GPU upgrades until the DX11 parts to start rolling off the line, and this time it appears AMD will beat Nvidia out of the gate with its “Evergreen” series.
This hunch was further re-enforced by a live hands on demonstration provided to PC Perspective at QuakeCon showing a working DX11 graphics card in action. The GPU code named “Future Card” was running several live DirectX 11 SDK simulations, but even more impressive was its ability to launch and run existing DirectX 9 titles. Its one thing to show a tech demo, but it’s even more impressive to prove you have a fully functional card.
It looks like the Radeon HD 5000 series will among the first DX11 cards on the market, and AMD could well be on track for a late 2009 release. Is the race to DirectX 11 a battle Nvidia can afford to lose?
Windows Vista introduced the Recovery Environment to the world of Windows, and Windows 7 has brought it back with even more improvements. Windows 7's Recovery Environment (also known as System Recovery Options) lives up to its predecessor, adding additional refinements and features.
To learn how Recovery Environment makes fixing a balky Windows 7 installation easy, join us after the jump.
For the second week in a row, the gang returns with another news-packed podcast. This week, we talk about our first hands-on with the ZuneHD, the RTM of Windows 7, Logitech's new G500 laser mouse, oh yeah, and the rumors about Intel's new Core i5 CPU. Listener questions are answered, technical difficulties get resolved, and everyone involved has a great time. Most importantly, Gordon makes a triumphant return to the Rant of the Week!
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
For the most part, Windows 7 has been met with considerable praise from those who have given the beta and RC releases a spin, but all those good vibes are in jeopardy following the discovery of a major bug. According to DailyTech, RTM build 7600.16385 suffers from a "massive" memory leak in the frequently used chkdsk.exe application.
The bug rears its ugly head when scanning a second hard disk on a non-boot partition or second physical drive using the "/r" parameter. Doing so triggers a nasty memory leak, with the term "leak" being used loosely. Some users have reported the dreaded blue screen of death, while others note a memory usage of about 98 percent within seconds of running the app, but without the system crash.
DailyTech says the bug has been confirmed on a variety of hardware configurations, including netbooks and Core 2 Duo notebooks, and it affects both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
"In this case, we haven’t reproduced the crash and we’re not seeing any crashes with chkdsk on the stack reported in any measurable number that we could find. We had one beta report on the memory usage, but that was resolved by design since we actually did design it to use more memory. But the design was to use more memory on purpose to speed things up, but never unbounded — we request the available memory and operate within that leaving at least 50M of physical memory. Our assumption was that using /r means your disk is such that you would prefer to get the repair done and over with rather than keep working."
Looking to make life easier for everyone planning on upgrading to Windows 7, Microsoft this week published a chart detailing which OSes are eligible for an "In-Place Upgrade," and which ones require a "Custom Install."
The chart includes every OS from XP up to Windows Vista Ultimate, and even tosses in Windows Vista Starter, only found in developing nations. It appears daunting at first, but simply find the OS you're upgrading from in 32-bit or 64-bit form and match it to the version of Windows 7 you're planning to install. Owners of 32-bit Vista Home Premium, for example, can perform an In-Place Upgrade to 32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium or Ultimate. This means the settings, files, and programs will be preserved. For all other versions, including 64-bit, upgrading from 32-bit Vista Home Premium requires a Custom Install, otherwise known as a clean install.
All XP users will have to perform a clean install no matter which version of Windows 7 is selected.