Ars Technica Windows 7 Review

So while Windows 7 may not right all of Vista’s wrongs, it is absolutely superior to its predecessor. It has three years of improvements, so it can’t help but be better. But if you hated Vista’s UI, you’re going to hate Windows 7’s. Worse, in fact, because 7 forces you to use the new Start menu and taskbar, with no possibility of reverting to the old behaviour. If your applications didn’t work in Vista, they almost certainly won’t work in 7. Sure, 7 has some virtualization tools to help, but this was always possible in Vista too. If you felt Vista was too big and too slow, well, 7 isn’t going to provide much joy there, either. Marginal improvements, perhaps, but nothing more.

The above quote, from the closing summary, sure doesn’t sound impressive. Still, the entire review (it’s long and detailed) is positive overall.

The reviewer thinks Vista got a bad rap. Even though he agrees Windows 7 is actually “Vista R2”, he likes it a lot.

Posted via web from The Small Wave.

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Microsoft Releases Vista SP2. You Remember Vista, Don’t You?

It used to be a Service Pack release got some press. After all, you’re fixing bugs, tightening security, maybe even adding minor enhancements. But Microsoft’s release of SP2 for Vista has not been touted much out of Redmond.

I almost feel sorry for Microsoft. The “V” word is such poison they can’t use it in their ads, don’t speak much about it in public, and now don’t even say much when they’ve released an SP that will likely continue to make Vista better than its public perception. But perception is everything, and there’s nothing Microsoft can release to fix that.

Mind you, it’s Microsoft’s own fault. Vista’s initial ridicule was well-deserved, with almost no good reviews in the first six months or more after release. Sluggish on even relatively new hardware at the time, with a raft of incompatibilities, too many editions, and too expensive. The issues then were very, very real, and most were of Microsoft’s own doing. Back then perception was in fact reality. I avoided Vista myself for those very reasons.

Sure, 2.5 years later, with hardware more powerful and a couple of SPs under its belt, Vista’s not so bad. But why waste time with it now? What Vista could have been is being released October 22, albeit with a different name.

Thurrott Just Can’t Mention Microsoft Without A Crack About Apple

In a quick blurb on the Windows IT Pro site, Paul Thurrott states that Microsoft is sending a record number of security fixes this month. OK, fine, that’s probably a good piece of information for the “Windows IT Pros” the site is there to serve.

But we also get this little bit:

Although the volume of fixes Microsoft announced is reminiscent of what Mac OS X users face from Apple on a far more haphazard schedule

Sure, Paul. Whatever. You know what? The first commenter on your post is on to something. It seems kind of a “jacka$$” thing to say. I’m not sure how that’s supposed to serve the “Pros” you’re ostensibly speaking to.

Microsoft Does Good: Windows 7 Upgrade Program

windows-7A lot is being made of the leaked Best Buy memo that outlines Microsoft’s Windows 7 upgrade program. It looks very good, but some of the story doesn’t seem to be getting out, so I’ll add my $.02.

Keep in mind that the Best Buy memo has not been confirmed. I think it’s reasonable, so I’m proceeding from the notion it does in fact outline some of Microsoft’s plans for Windows 7 upgrades.

New PCs

It was obvious to anyone whose been there that a line would be drawn on the calendar by Microsoft after which buying a new PC would entitle you to a free upgrade to the new OS. Typically, that line is drawn maybe a couple months before release, so I was expecting it to be around late August.

The problem is, that would bypass the back to school season. Most PCs for back to school are not bought at the last minute — in September — they’re bought over the Summer. By setting the cutoff date to June 26, with one brilliant stroke Microsoft has eliminated, as much as possible, any effect waiting for Windows 7 may have had on a back to school purchase.

Yes, this means MS is giving away free Windows 7’s for four entire months of PC sales, but with Vista’s bad reputation it was a great bone to throw new student shoppers, especially with the economy as it is. Very smart. Microsoft clearly means business with Windows 7.

Upgrades

For those who already have a qualifying Vista version, Microsoft is making available on the same date (6/26) a “presell” of Windows 7. It’s only $49 for the upgrade to 7 Home Premium, and $99 for Professional. Sweet.

If you have a qualifying Vista release, in my opinion it’s an absolute no-brainer to spend the $49 or $99 for the upgrade. Run, don’t walk to your nearest dealer and get this!

The bad news about the “presell” is that it’s only until July 11. Just 16 days. Don’t delay on this, get it while you can.

Not Just Best Buy

The memo makes it clear this isn’t just be a Best Buy gig: “Other retailers will also offer the presell…”. So you should be able to find a local dealer or online outlet to take advantage of the upgrade offerings.

What About XP?

The memo doesn’t really make it clear. While the PC guarantee is Vista only (pretty much all new PCs come with a Vista license anyway), I’m not sure about the “presell”.

I know Microsoft is making available “upgrades” from XP to Windows 7 (though a clean install must be performed, Windows 7 won’t upgrade XP “in place”), but I’ve heard nothing about pricing. I’m not sure what will be in store for XP users (like me) in terms of “upgrade” pricing.

Microsoft may feel you used XP up to eight years; you got your money’s worth, so they don’t owe you much in terms of a price break. They may also feel the “presell” offer is a way to potentially reward Vista users who suffered through that OS (whether they actually suffered or not). In a way, I can see either point. I think we’ll have to wait to see what, if anything, Microsoft will do in terms of price breaks for XP “upgrades” to Windows 7.

Bottom Line

XP aside, the new PC guarantee is great news no matter how you analyze it. So is the “presell” for savvy Vista shoppers who know about the limited availability and snap it up in time.

These moves are bold enough for me to hope Microsoft opens themselves up for those 16 days and lets XP users in on the “presell” too, but I’ll have to see confirmation on that.

If XP is not included, well, that’s roughly two-thirds of Windows’ installed base. Let’s hope Microsoft finds a way to treat us right, and not simply use us to fund the excellent Vista upgrade offers.

TAB – Dear Giampaulo (and Microsoft): You Had $1,500 and Blew It

The latest Laptop Hunter ad is out, and it went where it had no business going. The first ad featured Lauren, and setting aside that she was cute, the best thing about her was that she was enthusiastic and a non-techie. Her purchase was as much emotional as anything else. While I’d disagree with that kind of computer purchasing logic, there’s a certain truth to it.

Giampaulo: Technically Impaired

The star of the new ad, Giampaulo, claims to be “technically savvy,” and then spends the rest of ad proving he’s not. Apparently, his (and Microsoft’s) definition of “technically savvy” means buying a machine with Windows on it. By that definition, Lauren was “technically savvy” as well…

Read the rest of this article on theAppleBlog >>

TAB – Another Harebrained Microsoft Ad: Lauren and Her Quest

Have you seen the ad yet? Lauren only has to find a laptop computer with a 17-inch screen for under a grand and she gets to keep it.

Lauren is a redhead. Long, thick, curly, lovely red hair. Did I mention redheads rule? Well, they do. Curse you, Microsoft, for using Lauren in this ad. Her engaging personality and infectious enthusiasm blinded me, and I eagerly sought the HP web site to pick up that great 17-inch laptop. After all, if it’s good enough for Lauren…

Read the rest of this article on theAppleBlog >>

TAB – Microsoft Finally Found a Group They Can Impress

Joe Wilcox has an article on Microsoft Watch about Microsoft’s new ads with kids. The series is called The Rookies, and there’s a second spot up.

Joe is less impressed with the second spot than the first, but goes on to explain how these ads have potential, Microsoft needs more of them (I’m sure more are coming), the kid should get an ‘A’ on the project, etc.

That’s all nice, but it misses an awkward thing about this whole series…

Read the rest of this article on theAppleBlog >>

TAB – Windows 7 Editions: Still Too Many

Microsoft has made public their “edition strategy” (my term, not theirs) for Windows 7. While there are still too many editions, at least they make a little more sense, and offer a better overall choice, than what Vista offered.

Paul Thurrott has a write-up on the editions at his Super Site for Windows. He was “critical” of Microsoft for their edition strategy for Vista, and is now a major cheerleader for 7’s set of editions. He believes Microsoft has really simplified things. Lost on Paul is that when a 2,000+ word article is required to outline the various editions, it’s not simple. There are too many versions, but I’ll get to that shortly.

Read the rest of this article on theAppleBlog >>