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Is Windows 8 worth it?

Windows 8 is great!

Back to Windows 7!

What is windows 8?

Posted by Christo [PCD]
Votes: 130
Previous polls


Monday 09 February 2009
Updated: Windows 7 Editions Compared, With Table of Features
Christo [PCD] , Monday 09 February 2009 - 23:16:40 //

Now table-tastic!

When Windows Vista first came out, there were many complaints about its price. Then there were complaints about how Media Center was included in Vista Home Premium, but missing from the more expensive Business Edition.

Compatibility problems and misleading hardware specification led to Microsoft being sued over its "Vista Capable" labeling.

Microsoft claims to have learned from the Vista experience. "We broke a lot of things. We know that, and we know it caused you a lot of pain. It got customers thinking, hey, is Windows Vista a generation we want to get invested in?" said Brad Brooks, Corporate Vice-President for Windows Consumer Product Marketing.

With its new "Russian Doll" model of linearly progressing features, Microsoft thinks its new lineup of six editions will meet a wide range of consumer usage models. All versions of Windows 7 include Internet Explorer 8 and DirectX 11, as well as improved multi-core processing.

With improved boot times and overall system responsiveness through all versions, Microsoft believes these engineering investments will allow small netbook PCs to run any version of Windows 7, and allow customers the flexibility to purchase a system which meets their needs. It has also improved support and optimizations for Solid State Drives, targeting both netbooks and notebooks.

Expanded features were requested by corporations for the Enterprise Edition. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure allows Windows 7 to be run as a virtual machine. Branch Cache is a file caching option for branch offices of large corporations, designed to reduce access times to centrally managed files. DirectAccess is designed for corporate networks based on Windows Server 2008 R2, which is the server version of Windows 7. AppLocker is a centrally managed, rule-based group policy program for specifying which applications can run. Enterprise Search was designed as a highly secure, manageable, server-based search system. It enables users to search remote document repositories, SharePoint sites, and Web applications.

Windows 7's Search Federation uses an Open Source standard named OpenSearch. Users can select which sites are available for searching, or the IT department can populate the list by using Group Policy. The search results are presented in Windows explorer much like local files, with rich views, file details, and previews.

The data for all editions is contained on a single DVD. This allows an electronic upgrade to be accomplished quickly, once Microsoft sends the electronic authorization to your computer. Theoretically, you can upgrade from the Starter edition to the Ultimate edition within fifteen minutes.

Microsoft sees the sales of the Windows 7 product lineup in a bell curve. The vast majority of sales will be Home Premium for consumers and Professional for businesses and enthusiasts. The majority of Windows sales will be 64-bit, with over 75% of total sales through OEM installations.

However, the true value of Windows 7 can only be determined when compared against its cost. Microsoft has not yet released any pricing information.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1234213958 Update

Questions & Answers: Windows 7 Editions
Christo [PCD] , Monday 09 February 2009 - 23:15:25 //

You asked, we answered...

This was originally supposed to be an update to our coverage of the different editions of Windows 7, but due to all the emails, questions, and comments, we have decide to expand it into something more. Please read the original article first to avoid confusion.

Which editions will include Windows Media Center?

Windows 7 Home Premium and all editions above it will include Windows Media Center.

What is a clean installation?

A clean installation consists of removing all data from your hard disk by repartitioning and reformatting your hard disk, thus making it completely empty (clean). The Operating System is then installed, followed by the reinstallation of programs and the restoration of user data from backups.

Why would Microsoft sell an Ultimate Edition? Who would buy it?

The Ultimate edition is a retail and OEM version of the Enterprise edition plus a few extras. The Ultimate edition is usually Microsoft's highest margin retail OS product, so they make more money for a little bit more work.

There is a small but profitable group out there who will pay extra to get the best. They are the ones who buy the Extreme edition CPUs, Core i7 systems, and Crossfire/SLI GPUs. This is the target market for the Ultimate edition.

What's up with Professional and Enterprise? Why don't they just make a Business edition?

Microsoft used to keep separate codebases for consumers and businesses. That was back in the days of the Windows 9x and NT codebases. The codebases were merged together into Windows XP, simplifying development.

However, the market has changed in the last ten years, and corporations are demanding greater product features and product differentiation in order to cut costs.

A small business will not need Branch Caching and will not want to pay for it, but group policy controls and location aware printing might be something they would want to pick. By having a Professional and Enterprise edition, they are able to meet a wider range of considerations, and charge appropriately for it.

As we stated, the Enterprise edition is targeted at Fortune 1000 companies. Most SMBs will choose Windows 7 Professional.

Microsoft was actually considering another edition for businesses, but decided not to pursue it.

Windows 7 Starter and Home Basic editions are crap. Why would anybody pay for it?

Windows 7 Starter and Windows Home Basic are to be sold exclusively through Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). They are preinstalled on new computers, and are not designed to be bought at retail by consumers. Microsoft sells these cut-down versions for a very low price. Since they are bundled with the computer, the cost to the consumer is not visible.

While Linux is essentially free, return rates on Linux netbooks are FOUR times that of netbooks running Windows. Most of those RMAs are due to new Linux users being unfamiliar with the OS and unwilling to spend time to get used to it.

On a holistic basis, Linux netbooks cost more to support, which is why ASUS is selling their Linux netbooks for more than their Windows equivalents.

Microsoft is also trying to build market share in low cost computers and in developing countries. By offering these to OEMs at low prices, they are ensuring that a new generation of computer users are exposed to Windows. Later on, they will probably continue to choose Windows because they are used to it, as we are seeing in North America and Europe.

There are no restrictions from Microsoft on installing Home Premium on netbooks. It is more an issue with raising the price of a low cost netbook, and the unnecessary performance degradation that will be experienced. OEMs can also use Home Basic as an alternative instead of Starter.

In fact, Microsoft would very much like for you to choose to pay extra for Home Premium over a virtually free Starter edition.

Why would someone choose Starter edition over Ultimate/Professional/Home Premium? Ultimate is l333t!!!

The cost of the retail product will increase as you choose a higher edition. Not everybody wants to pay for Windows Media Center just to run Windows 7 on a netbook.

(Source: Wikipedia)

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1234213662 Questi

Wednesday 17 December 2008
Spore Becomes Most Pirated Game in History
Christo [PCD] , Wednesday 17 December 2008 - 07:33:09 //

Securom DRM contributes to record breaking piracy

Spore is the most pirated game in history according to TorrentFreak. Post release, Spore generated significant negative publicity due to Electronic Arts’ decision to implement the unpopular Securom DRM. Although the record breaking piracy of Spore cannot be attributed solely to consumers rejecting the DRM implemented within it, it most likely helped as the statistics now show.

Spore produced piracy levels normally seen only for newly released movies according to TorrentFreak. Ten days after the game’s launch half a million copies of the game had been downloaded. Since that time over one million copies have been downloaded using BitTorrent. According to TorrentFreak statistics Spore was downloaded 1.7 million times since early September, which is a record breaking number for a game.

According to the TorrentFreak article, Electronic Arts attempted to downplay the initial piracy statistics of half a million downloads. EA’s Mariam Sughayer stated that every BitTorrent download was not a successful copy, and that several downloads did not work due to bugs and viruses. TorrentFreak defended their statistics pointing out poorly moderated torrent sites and malicious torrents do exist but constitute less than 1% of available torrents, and are not included in their statistics.

In the article, TorrentFreak also provides a list of the 10 most downloaded PC games on BitTorrent in 2008, with an estimated download count for each. Spore leads the way with 1.7 million copies; the second most pirated game was The Sims 2 at 1.15 million copies, also from Spore creator Will Wright. Assassins Creed completes the top 3 with just over a million downloads.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1229491712 Spore

Sunday 23 November 2008
Microsoft looks to take the fight to malware makers with its own free product
Biofreak , Sunday 23 November 2008 - 18:10:48 //

Fp  Virus Key

Microsoft has long annoyed security software makers over the last decade as it has rolled out free products which often offer a competitive alternative to competitor's packaged software free-of-charge. Microsoft merely offered a decently competitive product for a much cheaper price -- free.

With its firewall and antispyware (Windows Defender) built into Vista, business for private firewall software already has taken a hit. Now in a move that is sure to make Trend Micro, McAffee, Norton, and other security software makers lose sleep; Microsoft has announced that in 2009, it will offer free antivirus software.


To understand this new announcement, a quick trip down memory lane is in order.

Microsoft first entered the antivirus software business in 1992 with its Microsoft Anti-Virus product, which it contracted to Central Point Inc. (later acquired by Symantec). The software was designed for Microsoft DOS 6.0 through 6.22 and could detect an impressive 1,234 viruses. Unfortunately, there were no updates available, though a 1996 pack brought the total up to 2,371 viruses. Embarrassingly, the software though the Windows 95 installer file was a virus.

After the mixed reviews of Microsoft A-V, Microsoft left the business until 2005 when it released betas of Windows Live OneCare. The suite combined antivirus software with a tune-up utility, a stronger firewall, and a file backup utility. The bundle was made commercially available May 31, 2006. Subsequent Live OneCare 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5 have also hit the market since, with the 2.5 iteration debuting in July 3 of this year.

Arriving in the present, Microsoft has announced it is axing the subscription based antivirus software business and will offer its antivirus tools for free. The new suite is codenamed "Morro" and will available in the second half of 2009. Microsoft describes the software as a "streamlined solution" and states, "[Morro] will provide comprehensive protection from malware including viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojans. This new solution, to be offered at no charge to consumers, will be architected for a smaller footprint that will use fewer computing resources, making it ideal for low-bandwidth scenarios or less powerful PCs."

The latter portion appears to be a clear nod to Windows efforts to push for a leaner footprint from top-to-bottom, a major focus of Windows 7 (which has been subject to recent doubts).

Microsoft will discontinue the OneCare subscription service June 30, 2009, but customers should fret not -- they will soon receive virtually the same solution entirely for free.

Amy Barzdukas, senior director of product management for the Online Services and Windows Division at Microsoft states, "Customers around the world have told us that they need comprehensive, ongoing protection from new and existing threats, and we take that concern seriously. This new, no-cost offering will give us the ability to protect an even greater number of consumers, especially in markets where the growth of new PC purchases is outpaced only by the growth of malware."

Microsoft has acknowledged that the suite may not contain some of the extra non-security utilities such as tune up and printer sharing available in some commercial antivirus solutions. However, when it comes to its core AV product it brags that its malware engine has garnered many awards already, including the VB100 award from Virus Bulletin, Checkmark Certification from West Coast Labs and certification from the International Computer Security Association Labs. Microsoft has made great strides in security, besting a Mac machine and tying a Linux box at a recent hacker conference.

The new software will be available for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Microsoft plans to integrate it with the upcoming Internet Explorer 8 browser which features many security enhancements including the much talked about "Porn Mode".

Click here for the forum discussion
[Submitted by Biofreak]

Wednesday 12 November 2008
Windows 7 Benchmarks Part II: Some Second Opinions
Christo [PCD] , Wednesday 12 November 2008 - 21:04:49 //

Microsoft's new OS is shaping up nicely but numerous reports target some critical spots for improvement

Initial reaction to an early report that Microsoft's Windows 7 might share similar performance and compatibility issues with Windows Vista was mixed and heated. Some lamented the inability of running Vista adequately on netbooks or older work computers, while others pointed to the OS's track record.

Due to the strong response, it certainly seems worthwhile to dig into this topic and offer some second thoughts, as well as get some second opinions, to ascertain if InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy was off base, or possibly onto something when he called Windows 7 a "virtual twin of Vista when it comes to performance."

First, let's examine two other early reviews of the pre-Beta of the OS. These reviews come from the blogging staff of PC World and PC Pro, two publications which typically use and appreciate Windows, despite giving it criticism where criticism is due (though both also feature numerous columns from primary Mac and Linux users).

First of all, PC Pro echoes InfoWorld's sentiments to some extent, stating, "And the net effect? Surprisingly little. At this stage of development, over a year from release, Windows 7 looks almost identical to Vista."

However, the publications points out that many of the upgrades to the OS touted at the PDC and WinHEC -- such as the improved task bar and the improved SSD support -- were not yet supported. Thus it is very reasonable to believe that some at least minor performance improvements may be in store as well.

They also offer up an interesting observation, which at first seems to be a contradiction. They state, "Yet Windows 7 does already offer one compelling advantage over Vista: it’s fast. Both our senior pontificators were struck by how nimble Windows 7 feels after you’re used to its predecessor. As Tim Danton writes, 'Vista was never this nippy. You press on an icon and it leaps into action. . . . I can’t remember using any new OS that was this quick.'"

"Fast" they say? Didn't they just say that it came up short in their benchmarks, failing to improve upon Vista. The publication aptly points out that the user interface is what has been dramatically tweaked and supercharged. They point out that the average user doesn't care about benchmarks -- they judge the package by the performance (the wrapping). Improving this is something PC Pro calls an "inspired move". It may be something Apple realized some time ago with OS X, but then again, Apple always grossly underperformed against Windows in key sectors like business software, security, gaming, and the most important metric of all -- price.

PC World (carrying a ComputerWorld piece) offers a second perspective on this new OS which promises to add a zippier interface to Window's solid underlying layer. This publication again echoes the sentiments of the others, stating, "Microsoft would like you to believe that Windows 7 is going to be the next great desktop operating system. It's not."

While likening Windows 7’s relation to Vista to Windows 98 Second Edition's and Windows 98, this publication does soften the blow a bit by acknowledging that it is a significant improvement over Windows Vista. However, the author later goes on to say when he closes, "All things considered, I'd rather stick with my Linux desktops and Mac OS X."

However, another ComputerWorld reviewer, while agreeing with the repeated theme that base benchmarks are similar to Vista, says that this time Microsoft "gets it right". The author points out the dramatically improved (and less annoying) UAC feature. They also mention the improved networking support, and other significant improvements.

So there are a couple of second opinions -- one enthusiastic, one rather pessimistic. Wrapping up, let’s look at three key things: the merits of testing this early build, (briefly) whether Vista was as bad as some say, and lastly what Microsoft needs to do before Windows 7's release (or risk losing customers).

First, many will question why these veteran computer publications are choosing to test a pre-beta, essentially alpha software, when it’s obvious that performance in the finished product may be dramatically different. While the merits of such tests are certainly debatable, the fact that the Windows 7 release date is likely less than a year away does give an understandable justification for such tests. Further, criticism of Windows Vista's pre-betas closely mirrored the criticism of the finished product, as can be seen by perusing past reviews.

But how bad was Vista really? Honestly, Vista was a pretty good OS. The vast majority of DailyTech staff have at least one Vista machine in the house. While the OS certainly had its limitations, it brought dramatic improvements to the Windows GUIs and security. The OS's biggest problem, for the home user was something Microsoft can't be blamed for -- poor hardware partner support.

The one place where Windows Vista perhaps fell noticeably short was in business adoption. While it’s true every generation of Windows OS is met with groans and moans from the business community who say that they can't fit it on their older hardware and networks, Windows Vista pushed the memory, network, and processor use envelope even more than XP did. And while it brought a lot of compelling features to the table, this seriously hurt its business adoption.

This leads into a final point -- what can Windows 7 do to improve between now and its final release? Obviously, incorporating the missing features demoed at WinHEC and PDC is not only a must, but is a virtual certainty. Past that, though, Microsoft needs to ensure that hardware and software partners are holding up their end with compatibility. Again, these problems, mentioned in the original article are not problems from Microsoft, but they become Microsoft's headaches.

Finally, and most importantly, something has to be done to allow the OS to run leaner and use less memory and system resources. Otherwise Windows 7 will likely miss the boat on adoption in two key sectors -- netbooks and the business community. And this would be truly a shame, since Windows 7 looks to offer a number of tempting features.

Many of the nice features that will be included into the final Windows 7 release were missing in the pre-beta, but will soon be on there way. Among these is the dramatically improved task bar.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1226516561 SanDis

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