Quite possibly, THE big technology news of the week has been the launch of Windows 7. Regular readers may be aware that I have been having a play with the beta and release candidate versions of the thing since the start of the year. In summary, I have found to work both well and unobtrusively. There have been some rough edges when access files through VirtualBox’s means of accessing the host file system from a VM but that’s the only perturbation to be reported and, even then, it only seemed to affect my use of Photoshop Elements.
Therefore, I had it in mind to get my hands on a copy of the final release after it came out. Of course, there was the option of pre-ordering but that isn’t for everyone so there are others. A trip down to the local branch of PC World will allow you to satisfy your needs with full, upgrade (if you already have a copy of XP or Vista, it might be worth trying out the Windows Secrets double installation trick to get it loaded on a clean system) and family packs. The last of these is very tempting: three Home Premium licences for around £130. Wandering around to your local PC components emporium is an alternative but you have to remember that OEM versions of the operating system are locked to the first (self-built) system on which they are installed. Apart from that restriction, the good value compared with retail editions makes them worth considering. The last option that I wish to bring to your attention is buying directly from Microsoft themselves. You would think that this may be cheaper than going to a reseller but that’s not the case with the Family Pack costing around £150 in comparison to PC World’s pricing and it doesn’t end there. That they only accept Maestro debit cards along with credit cards from the likes of Visa and Mastercard perhaps is another sign that Microsoft are new to whole idea of selling online. In contrast, Tesco is no stranger to online selling but they have Windows 7 on offer though they aren’t noted for computer sales; PC World may be forgiven for wondering what that means but who would buy an operating system along with their groceries? I suppose that the answer to that would be that people who are accustomed to delivering one’s essentials at a convenient time should be able to do the same with computer goods too. That convenience of timing is another feature of downloading an OS from the web and many a Linux fan should know what that means. Microsoft may have discovered this of late but that’s better than never.
Because of my positive experience with the pre-release variants of Windows 7, I am very tempted to get my hands on the commercial release. Because I have until early next year with the release candidate and XP works sufficiently well (it ultimately has given Vista something of a soaking), I’ll be able to bide my time. When I do make the jump, it’ll probably be Home Premium that I’ll choose because it seems difficult to justify the extra cost of Professional. It was different in the days of XP when its Professional edition did have something to offer technically minded home users like me. With 7, XP Mode might be a draw but with virtualisation packages like VirtualBox available for no cost, it’s hard to justify spending extra. In any case, I have Vista Home Premium loaded on my Toshiba laptop and that seems to work fine, in spite of all the bad press that Vista has gotten for itself.