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!
The amount of information pouring out of Redmond these days about Windows 7 is unprecedented, and so is the level of enthusiasm. In a frantic attempt to make sense of it all, Maximum PC has been releasing our ongoing Feature Focus series, which hopefully, has helped you determine wither upgrading to Windows 7 is worth it for you. Once you made that decision however, or buy a new PC that’s upgrade eligible, do you know exactly what you’re getting? Can I upgrade from Windows XP? Do I need to buy the same product edition when upgrading? Can I go from 32 bit to 64 bit? These are just a few of the many questions we seek to answer after the jump.
Networking in Windows 7 builds upon the drastic remodeling that occurred in Windows Vista. However, although some of the basic networking features in Windows 7 are similar to those in Windows Vista, many networking features have been improved in Microsoft's latest operating system. And, if you are moving up from Windows XP, you will find that Windows 7's network interface is a completely different animal than you've encountered before. Whether you're moving up from Windows Vista or Windows XP, join us after the jump to learn what's new and better in the main building blocks of Windows 7 networking.
Up until July 11 (that's this Saturday, folks), you can preorder upgrade versions of Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional at reduced rates, but just because you can already buy the next-gen OS doesn't mean it's finished yet. It is, however, getting very close.
Several sources are reporting that Microsoft has confirmed Windows 7 will reach RTM (release to manufacturing) on July 13, two days after the preorder pricing ends. This is significant because once Windows 7 goes RTM, Microsoft can then distribute final versions to computer manufacturers in anticipation of the October 22nd release date.
In the meantime, you can still download the polished Windows 7 RC (release candidate) and run the OS until March 1, 2010. Once March 1st of next year rolls around, PCs running the RC will shut down every two hours before completely expiring on June 1, 2010.
Until now, it was assumed that Microsoft would only sell single license versions of Windows 7. But, thanks to a recent discovery in the latest license agreement, there’s some evidence suggesting otherwise.
In section two, there’s a new clause that clearly details a family pack, which will allow you to “install one copy of the software marked as ‘Family Pack’ on three computers in your household for use by people who reside there.” Which, for those keeping score, would finally let them combat Apple in this particular field.
Still, there’s no official word from Microsoft on pricing or availability, or if this is even true.
Already announced in Europe last month, Archos is bringing its new Archos 9 PC Tablet to the U.S. market. The ultraportable tablet weighs less than 22.29 ounces and measures just 0.63-inches thick.
On the hardware front, the Archos 9 boasts a full touch-sensitive 9-inch screen, an Intel Atom Z515 processor (1.2GHz, 512KB cache, 400MHz frontside bus), 1GB of RAM, up to 120GB of storage, 1.3MP webcam, and an optical track-point mouse.
On the software side of things, the new tablet will come pre-loaded with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 OS. It will also include Microsoft Office and a host of other apps, such as "Web TV & Radio, video conference, antivirus, parental control, photos and movies edition applications, and more."
The Archos 9 PC Tablet will go on sale sometime this fall for an as yet undetermined price.