Digital Home Thoughts - News & Reviews for the Digital Home

Be sure to register in our forums and post your comments - we want to hear from you!

Zune Thoughts

Loading feed...

Apple Thoughts

Loading feed...

Laptop Thoughts

Loading feed...

All posts tagged "windows 7"

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pre-Order Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $49.99, Limited Time Offer

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 09:37 AM

You'll have to excuse the network-wide broadcast (well, except Apple Thoughts of course), but I thought this was something that everyone would want to know about: Microsoft is offering the forthcoming Windows 7 at a steep discount, but only for a limited time. Until July 11th, you can purchase Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $49.99 USD (that's an Amazon affiliate link, so your purchase helps support Thoughts Media). The normal price of Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade is $119.99 USD, so that's a very significant level of savings ($70 to be precise). You can also pick up Windows 7 Business Upgrade for $99 if you want that version. When Windows 7 is released on October 22nd, Amazon will ship you the software.

The Windows 7 upgrade will work on a computer with Windows Vista or Windows XP installed. If you have an older computer, you may want to run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to make sure your computer is ready for Windows 7, but in general any computer built in the past four years should be able to run it just fine. Windows 7 is lighter on resources and works well across a broad spectrum of hardware.

Got a netbook? Then you'll want to take advantage of this offer as well - I'm running the Windows 7 Release Candidate on an MSI Wind, and an HP Mini 1000, and it works really well on both of them. I think Windows Vista is a fine operating system, but Windows 7 is even better - it addresses many of the concerns that people had with Windows Vista and adds a degree of polish that means everything is easier to use.

Unfortunately, this offer is only valid in the USA and Canada (Canadians can order from, Future Shop, and Best Buy). as far as I can tell. Europe is getting a different version of Windows 7 due to the lawsuits Microsoft is undergoing there.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

HP Offering Free Windows 7 Upgrades on New Computers, Starting June 26th

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 10:30 AM

"HP today announced it will offer the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system on consumer and business PCs beginning Oct. 22. To meet customers' computing needs while protecting their investments, the company is participating in the Windows Upgrade Option Program to help customers transition easily to Windows 7. The program will enable customers who purchase qualifying HP PCs to enjoy the benefits of a new Windows-based PC immediately and receive a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it becomes available in October."

That pretty much says it all right there - if you're thinking about ordering an HP computer, wait until tomorrow, and you'll get a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it ships in October 22nd.

Microsoft to Sell Windows 7 for 8% Less Than Vista

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:38 AM

I was looking at Microsoft's stock price on Google Finance (oh, the irony), and saw this little line that caught my attention:

"Microsoft Corp on Thursday said it will sell the standard home-user version of its new Windows 7 operating system for 8 percent less than the comparable version of its Vista system, as the global downturn hits spending on technology."

This is the first I've heard of any pricing information about Windows 7 - this 8% drop would make the approximate prices as follows based on Best Buy pricing today for Windows Vista:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium Full: $220 USD
  • Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade: $119 USD
  • Windows 7 Ultimate Full: $294 USD

That's just a theoretical price though of course - because today you can buy Windows Vista Home Premium Upgrade from for $83.57 USD, far less than the $129.99 USD Best Buy is charging. In the XP to Vista transition era, the vast majority of computer users didn't upgrade their operating systems. Most people getting Vista bought a new PC. Windows 7, however, is going to be a different beast - if someone has a reasonable Vista-era computer, they'll have all they need to run Windows 7. So if Microsoft wants those people to upgrade to Windows 7, the upgrade pricing has to be reasonable. I'm not sure 8% is going to cut it. What do you think?

UPDATE: Looks like the pricing details on Windows 7 are now public. $119.99 (Home Premium), $199.99 (Business), or $219.99 (Ultimate) are the upgrade prices for XP or Vista users. Those fall in line with the prices I estimated above. That strikes me as too expensive, especially in this belt-tightening economy we're in. I think $89 USD would have been a much more attractive upgrade price. There's going to be a limited Window of pre-order pricing at $49 USD for the Home Premium upgrade, starting on the 26th of June, but how many people are going to take advantage of that? I'll post more news about that when I find out details.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Windows 7 Running on Lean Hardware

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 04:19 PM

"A user by the name of "hackerman1" has installed Windows 7 on his PC, which in itself is nothing to write home about. The catch here is that he's gotten a bootable, working installation on no less than a Pentium II system. No, that's not a typo--Pentium Two. The old machine consists of a 266 MHz CPU, a whopping 96 MB of memory, and a next-generation 4 MB graphics card."

While we know that Windows 7 is less memory-intensive than Windows Vista, this is a geeky experiment bordering on lunacy when you consider other users in the same forum as "hackerman1" are reporting install times of 17 hours on Pentium III-based systems and boot times of 17 minutes. Why do they do this? Because they can of course!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

BestBuy Unveils Windows 7 Upgrade Plans

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

"The memo states that Best Buy (and presumably its competitors) will launch a "Technology Guarantee" program on June 26, under which anyone who purchases a PC running Vista Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate can install Windows 7 at no extra charge when the latter becomes available Oct. 22. "

Back when Vista was just around the corner, Microsoft and partners started offering a similar guarantee, with customers buying a computer with Windows XP able to upgrade to Windows Vista. The goal was to prevent customers from holding off on their computer purchases in anticipation of the great Vista bonanza. Of course, the whole upgrade plan went awry, and lots of us were left wanting when our "Vista Capable" computers slowed to a crawl. This time, I think the story will be a bit different for several reasons. First, manufacturers have hopefully learned their lesson and will not try to castrate their computers with the bare minimum specifications. Second, computing horsepower has doubled, or dual-cored, rather, in the past few years, meaning that even the cheapest computers tend to have much more oomph. Third, Windows 7 definitely seems to be a leaner, slicker Windows over Vista. I see the upgade plan a bit of a red herring with most people who will buy a computer will be so entrenched in their personal touches, etc. that they will probably end up not bothering with the upgrade. Has anyone actually upgraded their computer from Windows XP to Vista through one of these programs?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Does Netbook = Low Cost Small Notebook PC?

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 AM

"The marketing geniuses in Redmond are at it again. From the folks who brought us "Zune," "Bing," and "MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search" comes a new name for the venerable netbook. Digitimes reports that Microsoft will refer to netbooks as "low cost small notebook PCs," according to Microsoft's Steven Guggenheimer. Try saying that ten times fast. Microsoft's rationale for the name-change? A netbook can do more than just get you online, so it should be called something else. There's no arguing that—some new netbooks hitting the market can even handle 1080p video, thanks to a bolstered graphics system."

At first I was thinking that this was simply a result of the pending Psion lawsuit, but then I recalled that the issue had been dropped and the term netbook was again fair game. The article comes up with a pretty simple reason for the more descriptive name - Windows 7. Microsoft does not want the everything in the netbook category to be eligible for the starter version of Windows 7, especially if they are capable of running a more expensive version of the OS. Regardless, I'm still calling them netbooks.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Windows 7 Available on October 22nd

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 01:02 PM

"Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday its new Windows 7 operating system will be generally available on October 22, well ahead of its original schedule and in time for the holiday shopping season. The new operating system, which will replace the unpopular Vista, was originally planned for roll-out at the beginning of next year, but Microsoft confirmed last month that it would hit the market in time for the year's busiest buying period."

And there you have it folks, the day has been announced: October 22nd will be when Windows 7 is sitting on retail shelves. The RTM of Windows 7 is going to be around the end of July - giving Microsoft almost two months to polish up the OS and squash the most serious bugs. No news yet on the pricing of Windows 7 or, and this is important to me, the way Microsoft will price upgrade bundles for homes with multiple Windows Vista computers. I hope they come up with something smart, because this matters more now than it did in the XP to Vista transition.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Artifical Resolution Requirements = Headaches

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 07:00 AM

The screenshot above is from my attempt to install the HP Color LaserJet CM1312nfi MFP on my HP Mini 1000 running Windows 7. This is an issue I've written about before, but it continues to give me headaches. Why exactly does a printer driverrequire a screen resolution of 1024 x 768? There's no good reason for it, but because HP hard-coded their installer to require this minimum resolution, it's virtually impossible for any netbook owner to get it installed. I managed to get it installed on one of my other netbooks that had 1024 x 600 resolution, but that was only after spending some time fiddling with the compatibility settings. When are the developers who code this stuff going to get on board with the popularity of netbooks? The train has left the station, and it's all aboard for netbooks - companies making drivers and software need to keep this in mind.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Windows 7 Multi-touch Features

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Software" @ 03:00 AM

"Last week, on a whirlwind tour of the Microsoft campus, I had a chance to sit down with the team responsible for implementing the multi-touch feature set in Windows 7 and to see a previously unannounced product called the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7, which will be available with Windows 7 on new touch-compatible PCs. The Touch Pack consists of three multi-player games. Rebound, shown below, works like the old air hockey games where I wasted many hours of my college years."

Cute, but gimmicky features. I'm still not sold on full sized touch screen displays being useful for daily activities. I would like to see multi-touch features added for mice. Basically I'd like to be able to hook up two mice and use two independent pointers with multi-touch like features.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

GottaBeMobile Shows Off Multi-Touch in Windows 7

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"These applications are a lot of fun, once you figure out how to play them. They make multi-touch on a Windows 7 touch computer come alive. I did this quick demo on my Dell Latitude XT running build 7100 and the latest multi-touch drivers from N-Trig. Except for a lack of help files to give me some pointers, and my having difficulty figuring a few of the games out, I’ve had a lot of fun playing with these applications over the past several weeks."

Microsoft is releasing the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 which includes a whole bunch of goodies. GottaBeMobile demonstrates some of the neat features in a video though they're mostly showcase programs, except Microsoft Surface Globe. As pretty as multi-touch is, and this definitely gives a taste of Surface, I'm not sold on all the hype surrounding multi-touch. It has uses as a consuming-type interface, but I spend a lot of my time with the keyboard and sadly, I haven't found anything to match it yet. That and I can just imagine how often I will need to clean the screen to keep fingerprints off once multi-touch becomes a standard.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Windows 7 Enhancements

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 03:00 PM

I noticed something new after I'd installed Windows 7 on my HP Mini 1000 and was getting it configured for use: I was downloading a large file (a printer driver) using IE8, and simultaneously copying a large file from my Windows Home Server. When I minimized all the windows (Windows Key+D), the icons on the task bar became progress indicators so you can see at a glance how each process is doing. Slick!

One of the other enhancements I'm impressed with is how high-performance the video driver is: the HP Mini 1000 uses the Intel GMA945, which is generally considered to be a near-worthless GPU in terms of performance. After running Windows Update on a fresh install of Windows 7, a pre-release driver update for the GMA945 is provided. And after installing that driver, I was amazed to see how smooth all the animations were in Windows 7. Everything from hovering over the taskbar icons and getting the window preview, to hovering over the desktop shortcut on the far right of the taskbar; it was all very smooth. Surprisingly, even flipping through Widnows Media Center was fast and smooth. I should note that this is without any significant amount of content in it, but the basic UI navigation was very smooth, which is something that surprised me.

Are you using the Windows 7 release candidate? If so, what are some of your favourite features so far? I keep discovering new things the more I use it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Windows 7 to Cost More than Windows Vista?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 08:00 PM;pop

""In tough economic times, I think it's naive to believe that you can increase your prices on average and then still see a stronger swell than if you held prices flat or even lowered them. I can tell you that the licensing tiers at retail are more expensive than they were for Vista." In the business market, Windows 7 Professional is expected to be more expensive than Windows Vista Business, the version that Professional is replacing, he said."

Without firm pricing announced by Microsoft, it seems hard to get too up-in-arms about this, but one thing is for sure: this is not the ideal financial environment for Microsoft to be raising their prices in. I also think that, where consumers are concerned, Microsoft is going to run into trouble with windows Vista owners not wanting to upgrade to Windows 7 unless Microsoft can make it affordable for them to do so - and this is especially true in the case of multi-computer households. With Windows XP, many people upgraded to Windows Vista with new computers because they'd had their XP-based systems for years. Vista still feels brand-new in comparison, and the vast majority of consumers running Vista today are doing so on hardware that's less than two years old. If Microsoft is expecting those users to drop $129 USD (the price of Vista Home Premium Upgrade) on every computer in the house, that's probably not going to happen.

Windows 7 To Feature Virtual WiFi

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 08:30 AM

"In essence, how Virtual WiFi works is very similar to how virtualization works for operating systems which most people are familiar with - the transparent sharing of limited hardware resources to many operating systems. Virtual WiFi, abbreviated to VWiFi, is a software layer that abstracts the wireless LAN card hardware into multiple virtual adapters."

I am sure that some of you are wondering what possible use could using one wireless network adapter connect to two wireless networks be? Well, maybe not in those exact words, but something along those lines. While I can't say this is one of the most important features to be included in Windows 7, I can definately see this being handy. First, it can allow any laptop with supporting hardware to share a WiFi signal like a hotel WiFi connection. Second, it allows you to connect to two WiFi networks such as one public and one private at the same time. Unfortunately, once you activate the virtual adapter, it does cut your speed in half or more. All in all, it is just another reason why Windows 7 does appear to be the OS that will put Microsoft back on the map.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lifehacker Shows You XP In Windows 7

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

"We've shown you how to upgrade to the Windows 7 release candidate and walked you through what's new when you get there; now let's take a look at how to enable Windows 7 XP Mode. Windows 7's new XP Mode lets you seamlessly run virtualized applications alongside your regular Windows 7 applications—so your outdated software will continue to work."

One of the recently touted features of Windows 7 is that'll it will include a Virtual Windows XP so you can run your old programs. While it is fairly straightforward to set up, Lifehacker provides a handy wizard in case you have any problems. Unfortunately, not all PCs will be able to take advantage of Virtual Windows XP. I'm fortunate enough that my computers support it and I am quite certain I'll be using this for quite some time to come. While I have never had any significant problems with Vista, some programs have behaved oddly and could use the XP treatment. For an OS that has was released in 2001, the legacy of XP remains strong.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Windows 7 On Track for Holiday Season Release

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 11:02 AM

"Our approach to the development of Windows 7, as we've highlighted in the past, has been tied to people like you around the world contributing in real-time by testing our key Windows 7 milestones - from the Pre-Beta we handed out to PDC attendees last year, to the Windows 7 Beta, and now the Windows 7 RC which we recently released for everyone to try...If the telemetry we receive from the Windows 7 RC meets our expectations in terms of quality, then we expect to hit RTM in 3 months or so. Again, check out Steven's blog post on this process. If this happens, it looks like we'll be able to have Windows 7 done in time for the holidays. I want to underscore that our top priority remains QUALITY. This guidance does not alter that principle."

I recall someone being quite dismissive of my opinion that Windows 7 wouldn't be released until holiday 2009 - he was certain it would be out for back-to-school season - but it looks like my instincts were right. Microsoft's focus on quality is higher with Windows 7 than any previous version of Windows. After the rocky start that Windows Vista had in the market, Microsoft doesn't want to see this repeated with Windows 7. From what I've seen, Windows 7 is shaping up to be a the best version of Windows yet and I'm looking forward to seeing it on some sweet new hardware later this year!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Windows 7 Release Candidate is Out

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 11:32 AM

"As we previously announced, today the Windows 7 RC is now available for anyone interested in giving it a spin! Typically, a release candidate is the last development milestone before release to manufacturing (RTM), signifying that engineering and development have made significant advancements and that the code is entering the final phases of testing. Essentially, the Windows 7 RC is the result of a lot of the great feedback we received during the Windows 7 Beta. That's why I'm so excited to use it and excited for YOU to use it!"

I'm downloading it right now and will take it for a spin on my HP Mini 1000. I'm looking forward to spending some time with the release candidate, seeing what's changed, etc. My experience with Windows 7 has thus far been very positive. Anyone else taken the RC for a spin yet?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Engadget Taste Tests Windows 7 RC1

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

"As you may or may not know, Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 has been officially handed out to MSDN and TechNet subscribers today, and there are plans to unleash the heavily-hyped OS to the waiting public at large come May 5th. We had a chance to sit down with reps from Microsoft to discuss the new iteration of Windows (and the company's current frame of mind) more in-depth, and we've taken the new build for a bit of a spin around the block. Read on for an exploration into a few of the more delicious Windows 7 tidbits, as well as a full complement of our (potentially) enlightening observations."

Yes, that is one of the built-in wallpapers that Windows 7 RC1 comes with. Engadget touches on a few parts of the Release Candidate like Remote Media Streaming and the Windows XP Emulation that's been getting headlines lately, but not a huge amount has changed since the beta. The hype around Windows 7 has been pretty favourable and while I personally haven't had any issues with Vista, Windows 7 looks to be a welcome step up that might be more worthwhile than an XP to Vista upgrade. For those of you who still haven't tested Windows 7, word is that the Relase Candidate will be made available to the public within a few days and will not expire until June 1st, 2010! That's pretty much a free copy of Windows 7 for one whole year. It looks like Microsoft is really working and pushing hard to make Windows 7 their recovery after the Vista disappointment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Windows 7 Has Built-In ISO Burning

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 07:30 AM

"Geeks and IT Pros often have to burn an ISO image (.iso file) to physical media such as a CD or DVD to test out and install software. We have made it easier to burn ISO images in Windows 7 by natively supporting the ability to burn ISO images directly within Windows without the need of a third party tool. To burn an ISO image in Windows 7, all someone needs to do is simply right-click on an ISO image and choose "Burn disc image"."

Another useful feature coming in Windows 7: ISO burning. I probably have to burn an ISO 5x as often as I have to rip them, so while I'll probably still install ImgBurn (awesome + free) on my main computer, it's nice to see that Windows 7 will have more capability out of the box than Windows Vista.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tom's Guide Shows You How Windows 7 Became Windows 7

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 11:30 AM

"At Microsoft’s Mix conference, the company showed off some of its early work on Windows 7, giving attendees a rare look into the birth of an operating system’s user interface. Try to imagine life with some of these aborted attempts at a new operating system: Would you have stood for these features?"

Windows 7 will be coming with a lot of new user interface features. As with any long project, features evolve over time as they're tested, tuned and trampled on and Tom's Guide has given us a chance to see how Windows 7 became what it is today. It's a good insight and leads me to believe that Microsoft does go through a fair bit of effort to try and make the Windows "experience" as productive and enjoyable as possible. I'm extremely glad that taskbar thumbnails and the bat signal did not make it into Windows 7. Maybe because reminds me about a particular flash ad that would constantly say a greeting whenever I moused over it, the idea of having lots of little thumbnails wiggling and doing all manner of things in the taskbar disturbs me.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Microsoft Updates Windows 7 RC Feature List

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:30 PM

"This blog post talks about a few of the improvements that will be in our Release Candidate (RC) based upon customer feedback. There are many under the hood changes (bug fixes, compatibility fixes, performance improvements, and improvements) across the entire dev team that we just don’t have room to discuss here, but we thought you’d enjoy a taste of some changes made by three of our feature teams: Core User Experience, Find & Organize and Devices & Media. The comments in this article come from a variety of verbatim sources, with identifying information withheld. "

Microsoft has been kind enough to provide a list of some of the changes they've made to Windows 7 since the release of their Beta. A large part of the changes are driven by user feedback with a particular focus on improving the interface and accessing different parts of Windows 7. None of the changes are radical but combine together to make using Windows 7 easier and more consistent. I particularly like the adjustments made to the Windows + # shortcut and the addition of Aero Peek to Alt-Tab. Being a keyboard junkie, its changes like this which will help make using Windows 7 a pleasure since it extends all those Windows conventions that I've been using for over a decade now. Anyone see any changes that peak their interest?

Featured Product

The Canon PowerShot S100 - The incredibly fun and small camera that offers you 12.1 megapixels with a bright f/2.0 lens and full 1080p video recording . MORE INFO

News Tip or Feedback?

Contact us

Thoughts Media Sites

Windows Phone Thoughts

Digital Home Thoughts

Zune Thoughts

Apple Thoughts

Laptop Thoughts

Android Thoughts

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...

Reviews & Articles

Loading feed...


Loading feed...