This episode of the No BS Podcast features special guest Gary Whitta (former editor-in-chief of PC Gamer), who made minor ripples in the gaming community this past week by declaring that he was giving up on PC gaming. After we trot this traitor out for a verbal lashing, the gang talks about Microsoft's retail store announcement, their newest Laptop Hunters ads, and more Windows 7 upgrade controversy. News is analyzed, listener questions get answered, and a good time is had by all. Except for the console-loving scum. Enjoy!
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Although Windows has included the Program Compatibility Wizard and Compatibility tab to help older programs to run properly under the current version of Windows since Windows XP, these features are not always able to help older applications to run. While Windows 7 continues to offer these features, some editions can also use a better way to run older Windows applications: XP Mode.
Join us after the jump for an in-depth look at XP Mode: the FAQs, what it can do for you, who benefits most from XP Mode, and how to use its new features.
Despite what you might have read, Windows 7 has not yet hit RTM (Release to Manufacturing), although it is getting very close, Microsoft says.
"As we've said all along, we will RTM Windows 7 when it's ready," Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communications Manager at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. "As previously stated, we expect Windows 7 to RTM in the 2nd half of July."
LeBlanc's statement would seem to contradict the Windows 7 7600 build that has been running rampant on torrent sites, but LeBlanc insists that "just because a single build may have 'leaked' it does not signal the completion of a milestone such as RTM." Before Windows 7 reaches that stage, all languages must be completely finished and Microsoft needs to get to a point of "global readiness," LeBlanc added.
Once Windows 7 is complete, there are a few ways you can get your hands on a copy, depending on which category you fall into. MSDN and TechNet subscribers will be able to download the final version of Windows 7 a few weeks after Microsoft announces RTM, Volume License (VL) customers can get a copy starting September 1st, and everyone else will have to either wait until October 22nd, or trust that the inevitable torrent downloads are legit.
Along with the latest build of Windows 7 (build 7600), it would appear that the Technical Preview of Office 2010 has made its way to the public realm of the Internet as well.
Office 2010 is reported to come in 32 and 64-bit flavors (possibly with both on one DVD). Both of these can be found online, so you can snag the version that best suits your needs. The leaked version of Office 2010 comes with Access 2010, Excel 2010, InfoPath 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook 2010, PowerPoint 2010, Project 2010, Publisher 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010, SharePoint Workspace 2010, Visio 2010, and Word 2010.
Admittedly, the version of Office 2010 is a leak, so you’ll have to find a download all on your own. After all, we can’t in all good consciousness condone such activity.
In just a little over three months from now, Microsoft will release Windows 7 to an eager user base ready to put Vista in their rear view mirror. Or at least that's the general feeling among home consumers. In the business world, the reception for Windows 7 might be far cautiousmet with even more fanfare.
According to a survey conducted by ScriptLogic Corp., six in 10 companies aren't planning to purchase Windows 7, many of them citing a "lack of time and resources" as the reason. But it wasn't all about the money. The companies surveyed also voiced concern over compatibility of Windows 7 with existing applications a whopping 40 percent of companies plan to make the jump from XP or Vista to Windows 7 by the end of the year. If you're Microsoft, you have to be happy with those numbers, considering the economy has everyone scrambling to save money wherever they can, and software would be one place to do that.
As for the other 60 percent? They're taking the traditional route and will make sure the new OS doesn't break compatibility with an existing applications.
"The IT department must complete thorough testing to ensure that the applications we rely on each day, specifically radiology information systems and financial applications, will be compatible, before deploying any new platforms or software to our 1,500 desktops," noted Sean Angus, a senior PC technician at Middlesex Hospital.
A few days ago we released our Windows 7 upgrade guide with the hopes of answering all your burning questions regarding the inexpensive upgrade editions that so many of us have pre-ordered. One of the questions that we couldn’t answer at the time however, was how Windows 7 would handle the verification process to ensure that you were eligible to update. In Windows XP upgrade editions, you simply needed to insert an older install disk. Vista upped the ante considerably by requiring you to have a previous version installed (no activation required). Windows 7 on the other hand, will now require an activated previous version to be installed and not even the workaround found in the Vista version will be permitted.
This will no doubt become a point of controversy among Maximum PC readers since to be honest, this is a real hassle. As PC enthusiasts we tend to be fond of frequent re-installs either due to constantly changing hardware, or perhaps even just to regain performance lost after experimenting with too many of Murphy’s Freeware picks. The only good news I learned from all of this, is that the Windows 7 RC will serve as a qualifying previous version (assuming of course that it’s activated). I would highly advise readers who purchased the upgrade edition run an imaging program such as Acronis True Image, to take a snapshot of your drive before you install the Windows 7 upgrade. You’ll need to decompress the image back onto the drive each time you do a fresh install, but it will certainly save you a great deal of time compared to installing and activating two separate OSs each time you want to start over.
July 11 crept up fast, and ignoring the "or while supplies last" clause, today is the last day you can preorder upgrade versions of Windows Home Premium and Professional at reduced rates. For those of you who have been without Internet and managed to avoid any computer savvy friends for the past week, pre-sale pricing runs $50 for Premium and $100 for Professional, down from $119 and $199, respectively. Get the full scoop on pricing here.
You can choose among several online retailers participating in the preorder program, which include:
For those of you not yet ready to jump on the Windows 7 bandwagon but fear the reduced rates may be too good to pass up, there's a chance Microsoft will release a Family Pack good for up to three PCs. Rumors of the Family Pack spread like wildfire when a handful of online retailers leaked the product SKU along with pricing information (most of those pages -- though not all -- have since been pulled, probably at the request of Microsoft). It looks like the Family Pack will run about $145, but bear in mind no official word has come out of Redmond. As Clint Eastwood would say, 'Are you feeling lucky?'
Plenty more Windows 7 coverage right here on Maximum PC:
Thanks to some careless online retailers, potential price leaks on Windows 7’s Family Pack and Upgrade packages have been uncovered.
Product listings over at Expercom have listed “WINDOWS 7 FAMILY PACK/ HOME PREMIUM UPGRADE (GFC-00236)” with a price of $136.95, but since this story first aired out, the page has since been taken down. Another online reseller, University IT Computer Sales, had the same product for $144.95.
Still, we must bear in mind that until the fat lady (read: Microsoft) sings, none of this can be heralded as true. So, before you start setting your pennies aside, remember that it’s best to wait and see.
Microsoft's reduced pre-order pricing for upgrade versions of Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional remains in effect until July 11th, but you might be wondering, 'Am I better off picking up a copy of Ultimate?' At $219 for the upgrade disc and $319 for the full version, compared to as little as $50 for Premium (pre-order Upgrade), that becomes a big (or at least costly) decision. We won't tell you which copy to get, but while Microsoft peddles Windows 7 Ultimate to enthusiasts, let's look at what the extra Benjamin(s)+ buys you.
Windows 7 Ultimate brings to the table several features not found in the Premium and Professional versions, at least eight of them that we know about. Three of them include BranchCache, Enterprise Search, and DirectAccess, all of which are of much more interest to Enterprise environments than for a typical home user. For the latter group, the full language pack, Bitlocker, and AppLocker might hold a bit more appeal.
That leaves Virtual Desktop Interface and Virtual Hard Drive Booting as the two remaining known features that only Ultimate users will have access to, plus whatever "Unspecified Features" Microsoft has on tap.
"There is a small set of customers who want everything Windows 7 has to offer. So, we will continue to have Windows 7 Ultimate Edition to meet that specialized need," Windows General Manager Mike Ybarra stated in a Microsoft PressPass interview describing Ultimate as the OS for "enthusiasts."
Is it enough to justify the price premium? Hit the jump and tell us which edition you're gunning for.
I installed 64-bit Windows 7 Beta on my machine, and up until this point, I’ve loved every minute of it. When I did the clean install, I downloaded the latest 64-bit version of iTunes, and everything seemed to be just fine. My old iPod was on the fritz, and it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally got around to buying a new iPod Nano and trying to sync it. The problems just exploded from there.
It took me almost three hours to get the new Nano to sync to my library correctly. Finally, I was able to get my music on there, but only on a single sync. Now when I try to make any changes to my iPod through iTunes (e.g., add new album art, sync any podcasts, etc.), it says “syncing iPod” for about three minutes and then I get the error “the iPod ‘name’ cannot be synced. The required disk cannot be found.” Odd, since iTunes still sees the iPod in the devices section.
I have noticed that when I connect my iPod to the USB port, it says “syncing” and then immediately says “disconnecting.” Is this just something with Windows 7? Do I need to run a virtual Windows XP in order to get my iPod to work correctly? Thanks for any help, guys!