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Windows 7 launch events are being held across the country.

Retail deals from chains like Staples also abound.  (Source: Model D Media)
The future of Windows is here

Today is a great day for Microsoft.  After enduring three years of criticism under the Vista era, the company is finally prepared to turn over a new leaf and bask in the critical praise of its new operating system, Windows 7.  Faster, with a richer graphical interface, and with a smaller footprint, Windows 7 is an evolution that improves on Vista in nearly every way.

To kick off the launch, many events and sales are going on across the country today.  Last night CompUSA (now owned by Systemax Inc) held launch events at 10 of its stores.  The first 77 customers at the door received $77 gift cards.  One of the 77 will receive a Windows 7 dual-core PC.  For those who missed the midnight madness, CompUSA will continue to randomly give away copies of Windows 7 throughout the day.

Office Depot is also offering lots of free software, including AVG's Internet Security Suite (regularly $70) to Greeting Card Factory Deluxe (regularly $50).  In total 19 titles are offered on a pay up-front, mail-in-rebate basis.  Get a full list of titles here.

Staples also has some hot offers.  Grab this coupon and a Staples associate will install Windows 7 for you, for free.  You'll also earn $75 off your computer purchase and snag a $500 coupon book.  Get the coupon here.

Microsoft is also a series of events dubbed "the NEW efficiency" across the country.  Some of these events already took place, but some, like and Orange County event on October 26, may still be open.  Check here for more details.

Students can also get an upgrade copy of Windows 7 Home Edition or Professional edition for a mere $30, until January 2010.

Also, those looking to upgrade more than one PC in a single home can look towards the Family Pack which will upgrade three machines to Windows 7 Home Premium.

For those looking to take advantage of Windows 7's new multitouch functionality, you might want to check out the TouchSmart 600xt multitouch PC, one of the first Windows 7 multitouch machines.  Powered by Intel processors and sporting a 23-inch screen at a  $1,049 price tag the device looks like a good value.  It offers support for gesture and multitouch based moves, scrolls, and zooms.

Even if you don't get any special launch deals, Windows 7 should be a deal in itself.  Cheaper than Vista, the OS uses less memory, so it can fit on many netbooks.  The OS also brings DirectX 11 graphics, which AMD/ATI already includes hardware support.

Another of the most promising features of Windows 7 for fans of 2D-retro games or programming professionals is XP Mode.  Available with the Professional and Ultimate editions, this mode offers virtualized versions of Window XP that your programs can operate seamlessly within alongside normal Windows 7 programs. 

Windows 7 looks like a fresh start for Microsoft, but the competition will be tough.  Microsoft will face stronger pressure from the smartphone and netbook markets, albeit not necessarily direct competition.  And they also must compete with a invigorated Apple, which just debuted Snow Leopard and new Macs.

The true test will not be the glowing reviews, the colorful launch events, or the innovative features.  Windows Vista in many respects had all of those.  No, the true test will be the public reception.  The public will make or break the new OS.  And the public will be able to make up their mind, starting today.

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By Amiga500 on 10/22/2009 9:55:52 AM , Rating: 1
Meaning... is it advisable to wait until SP1 before acquiring?

Informed opinions please (particularly from RC users)

By StraightCashHomey on 10/22/2009 10:00:06 AM , Rating: 5
I don't think so. It's almost like we're already at SP1 since the beta testers already pointed out quite a few flaws.

We're seeing a Windows 7 being released that has already gone through extensive use. Does that mean it will be perfect? No.. but it certainly will be more polished than any other Windows OS at the date of released.

By StraightCashHomey on 10/22/2009 10:01:20 AM , Rating: 5
By the way, I've been using the RC version since it came out to the public. Honestly, I haven't had any oddball errors that you would expect from a RC.

By 3minence on 10/22/2009 1:37:36 PM , Rating: 4
Its definitely an attempt to better control something, but I suspect it's the driver more than the hardware. MS took lots of crap over Vista because of lousy or non-existent 3rd party drivers. I fully support their tightening of the screws on drivers because of potential problems.

Apple has an advantage by fully controlling the hardware, but the cost is less choice. I prefer Windows because I prefer choice.

By The0ne on 10/22/2009 1:52:51 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, this happens with certain drivers on certain PCs. It's not consistent as far as I have tested. My two BSOD's comes from bad drivers. One is the bluetooth driver in Windows 7 conflicting with my logitech devices. The second is the Windows 7 update driver for the ATI HD audio. Both of these are problematic and should be disabled from use or installing in the first place.

Use the logitech drivers instead for the bluetooth devices. However, be warn logitech has been an ass about releasing a functional driver for Windows 7 even if they state it's compatible. There are a lot of bugs in the current version.

As for the ATI HD audio problem I have not even bother to mess with it as I use the onboard realtek HD audio and can swtich to my soundblaster if I need better audio and speaker setup.

But again, these are only two that I've found and I more than happen that many of the older PCs I've use Windows 7 on installed flawlessly. That is grace in itself lol.

By The0ne on 10/22/2009 4:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
You're a moron, you contradict yourself. Go away.

By MrBungle123 on 10/22/2009 5:12:56 PM , Rating: 2
Older PCs have no problem running Windows because so little has changed. Microsoft can't make any big changes to Windows without making a lot of hardware and software incompatible.

Uh... its called backward compatibility

That's why there hasn't been any real advancement in computer technology for 15 years.

Tell you what... I'll believe you when you show me a 15 year old system that has enough hardware resources to even run Windows 7... nevermind any programs... just get the OS to load. (the 90 and 100MHz Pentium processors are 15 years old this year)

By Bateluer on 10/22/2009 5:25:33 PM , Rating: 3
No progress in 15 years? Maybe you should load up Windows 95 on that 75Mhz Pentium machine. Report back with your results.

By chick0n on 10/27/2009 12:04:53 PM , Rating: 1
what a dumb fuxking moron.

By Akrovah on 10/22/2009 6:21:15 PM , Rating: 2
Fully controlling what hardware Windows supports will lower customer choice, and therefore, probably lower the number of customers. The ability to use what ever hardware I want so long as there is a driver for it is eminently preferable to being limited only to a selection of hardware that one company thinks I should want. If that measn I have to scour for properly written drivers, then so be it, I'm willing to put in the extra effort to have the freedom.

By Bender 123 on 10/22/2009 1:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
7 is solid and a fantastic upgrade. Got three OEMs and a family pack of upgrades for the media PCs and lappies in my house.

The only errors I ever got, were on my media encoding system...For some reason it would Blue Screen when Zune and Hand Brake were open at the same time...Strangest thing, I could prompt a BSOD by starting a rip and opening Zune. the latest update to Zune took care of that.

It is rock solid and takes a lot of punishment to induce issues. It cleans up after itself well, boots (at least feels like it does) quickly, drivers are everywhere, support from third parties is strong and its a real looker to boot.

My history with Windows is long and I usually upgraded out of a me first sense of geekiness, but Win7 is the first Windows OS since 95 that really makes me want to upgrade, because it is better, not just newer.

I have been running 7 on every system in my house since RC1. Coming to work and using XP, or using Vista feels like torture now. This is the first time I recommend a get in line and upgrade now approach, because this OS is great and the service packs will only add to it.

By MrBlastman on 10/22/2009 3:00:38 PM , Rating: 2
My version of the RC nuked itself in about one weeks time. I can't boot off that partition anymore, "Windows has encountered an unrecoverable error," and can't even repair itself. :(

By jonmcc33 on 10/22/2009 11:22:22 AM , Rating: 5
No more of these "Windows 7 is just a Windows Vista Service Pack" comments please!

Windows 7 was based upon Windows Vista just as much as Windows XP was actually based upon Windows 2000. But I wouldn't call Windows XP a Windows 2000 Service Pack.

By Leomania on 10/22/2009 1:00:01 PM , Rating: 3
No more of these "Windows 7 is just a Windows Vista Service Pack" comments please!

The parent didn't say "just" a Windows Vista Service Pack; the comment was actually aimed at saying Windows 7 has the polish of something even better than a SP1 or SP2. That's pretty high praise.

Even Paul Thurrott's review of Windows 7 makes note of the fact that by the time Vista SP2 came out, most of the original criticisms leveled at that OS were no longer valid. Windows 7 is even leaner than Vista, such that it will run as well as XP does on the same hardware. So it has none of the expected bloat that comes with a new OS; Microsoft should be congratulated for not making the same mistakes as in the past. Even netbooks can run Windows 7. I'm pretty surprised they pulled this off.

As another poster mentioned, the release candidate works perfectly for me, and just takes a little getting used to. Personally I don't think it's an insult to think of it as a really, really good Vista SP3.

By lightfoot on 10/22/2009 3:45:58 PM , Rating: 5
You'll have a valid point if Microsoft releases Windows Snow7 next year.

By Bateluer on 10/22/2009 12:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
Are you an idiot? Anyone who's used XP, Vista, and 7 can tell you its litany of new and improved features.

By cpeter38 on 10/22/2009 5:10:31 PM , Rating: 2
Would you go away? PLEASE???

By themaster08 on 10/23/2009 12:17:33 PM , Rating: 1
XP + gimmicks + feature creep = Windows 7

OS X 10.0 + gimmicks + feature creep = OS X 10.6

By themaster08 on 10/22/2009 12:56:00 PM , Rating: 5
They care more about sales than advancing technology, hence the lack of new features and the numerous gimmicks.

= Apple and OSX 10.6

By Mitch101 on 10/22/2009 1:27:31 PM , Rating: 5
Installing Windows 7 over OSX fixes that guest data loss issue.

By The0ne on 10/22/2009 1:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
ahhaha good one, made my day Mitch. Thanks a bunch!

By Bender 123 on 10/22/2009 1:58:00 PM , Rating: 2
I love when people complain about how old Windows is, compared to Apple...Most of the people dont even realize that OSX was released for servers in early 99.

They have been releasing updates to the same system since the time of Win 98 and before WinME.

I like OSX, but to compare Win 7 to Vista would be like comparing OS 10.1 with 10.6.

The core is "kinda" similar, but nobody would ever mistake one for the other.

By Master Kenobi on 10/22/2009 2:52:31 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 7 to Vista could easily be mistaken for the other. Even under the hood the similarities are in line with Windows 2000 to XP. When XP first came out, aside from the colorful theme, it was the exact same OS with some tweaking for home users.

By blazeoptimus on 10/23/2009 3:28:46 PM , Rating: 2
This is borne out by the versioning in the Windows products. Go to the command prompt on Win 7 and type ver. It will return 6.1. The same command on vista will return 6.0. In windows 2000, this command returned 5.0. In XP the command returned 5.1. This shows that internally, even Microsoft considers this a minor revision of the "Vista" operating system, much like XP was a minor revision to the 2000 operating system(this was more true when it was initially released, SP2 was almost equivalent to a 6.2 version). I don't see were this is necessarily a bad thing. Vista has essentially become stable and reliable with the many patches released by Microsoft. Since they didn't rewrite the entire code base with win 7, it should hold true for it as well.

By n0ebert on 10/22/2009 10:04:14 AM , Rating: 3
I've been checking out the retail version since September (through technet) and while there are a few bugs here and there during the time between the release in august to technet subscribers and now, there were various stability updates and bug fixes that once you run windows update once or twice should fix the few problems you would ever encounter. The only times I've ever crashed were not the fault of the OS but the programs I was using because of a lack of support given it wasn't publicly released yet. (Now that it's officially released, those programs should have patches that follow.)

Compatibility mode generally fixed the small amount of programs that had trouble running under 7. Those were older programs designed with XP in mind. Anything that can run on vista can run on 7.

From my personal experience using it, I safely say that you will be happy with the version you get when/if you buy it now.

By PAPutzback on 10/22/2009 10:08:51 AM , Rating: 2
I have the retail (technet) version installed on 4 machines. Other than an issue with controlling the laptop brightness I think the O.S is great. Media Center rocks with the netflix integration. And homegroup makes networking and file sharing super simple. There is no reason not to go 7 if you are on Vista. If you are still on XP then your system might need to be upgraded.

By Amiga500 on 10/22/2009 10:55:20 AM , Rating: 1
If you are still on XP then your system might need to be upgraded.

Still on XP, but machine in question should easily be more than good enough...

4870 (1GB)

Running Win7 shouldn't be an issue at all. My laptop has a bit less punch (swap P7350 for Q6600 and 4670 for 4870), but it too, should be good enough.

By The0ne on 10/22/2009 2:03:58 PM , Rating: 2
My main is Q6600, 8gig and 4870 1GB. I have Win7 and XP dual boot but really not necessary. With this configuration I can have Unbuntu, XP and Fedora all running in VMWware with each having 2gig dedicated memory with little performance hit on any of the OS's. This is pretty awesome IMO. Productivity has never been better for me and I'm a really happy camper :D

As for laptop I have windows 7 replace Vista Home on an Acer tablet PC with a dual core 1.6GHz. The other specs sucks so I'm not even going to bother listing them. The tablet was crawling with Vista and our Mechanical Engineer had to give it up because it defeated the purpose of it being a tablet! So ended using the tablet as a test machine for our supplier in China. It was then I wiped Vista off and put Windows 7 on and walla...usable machine! I mean with Aero UI and all O.o

Next trip I have an older Dell workstation to replace it because I want that tablet back lol. Dell M65 has Win7 on it too btw and runs good with Vista wiped off as well :)

By TomZ on 10/22/2009 11:03:53 AM , Rating: 4
Meaning... is it advisable to wait until SP1 before acquiring?
Sure, SP1 will probably improve Windows 7, but the RTM is ultra-stable already. There's no need to defer an upgrade, IMO.

In addition, Windows 7 is better than Vista and far superior to XP, so if you are running one of those versions, you'll be much happier with Windows 7 RTM.

We've got Windows 7 running here on a dozen assorted machines, some old, some new, and no issues at all.

By EasyC on 10/22/2009 12:00:01 PM , Rating: 5
Ever notice how your comments get highlighted RED alot?

I can't even begin to type a response to this steaming pile of internet feces.

I'll just sum it up're wrong.

By EasyC on 10/22/2009 2:01:16 PM , Rating: 3
Atleast they don't add a couple of tweaks to a free OS and rebadge as something great and innovative!

Fortunately, as an IT professional, I've had the privelage of experiencing a plethora of OS's. Up until Windows 7, I preferred Linux (Jaunty) as my OS of personal choice. My only sadness is that it's a pain in the ass to install to a SAS drive.

and in case you forgot, Microsoft...saved Apple.

By SpaceRanger on 10/22/2009 1:44:57 PM , Rating: 2
Take a look at his comment history.. It's almost as though he's LOOKING to be downrated to -1...

Feed the troll, we must stop... Yes..

By The0ne on 10/22/2009 2:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
Stop feeding reader1 please. He's clearly not making any sense :/

By Bateluer on 10/22/2009 5:09:34 PM , Rating: 3
I get a kick out of him. His delusions are humorous.

By chick0n on 10/27/2009 1:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft probably fired his mom in 1990 and his family end up sleeping on the streets thats why he hate MS so much.

By dxf2891 on 10/22/2009 11:16:39 AM , Rating: 1
Windows 7 is to Windows Vista, what Windows XP was to Windows ME. This OS is more stable, more intuitive (The search the internet feature for drivers actually works!!!) and has smaller footprint so it loads and runs faster. I was fortunate enough to acquire an OEM copy a few months ago from MS and let me tell you I put it throught the paces. It stood up to every test. I actually like this OS.

By jonmcc33 on 10/22/2009 11:35:55 AM , Rating: 4
Actually, Windows XP was to Windows 2000, not Windows ME. Windows ME used a DOS based kernel.

By Akrovah on 10/22/2009 6:50:11 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, but XP was the next Home OS released after ME. So the improvements in XP may not have been a direct result of development on ME the way the Win7 upgrades were developed with feedback on Vista, but the comparison for the home user is more or less acurate.

By Akrovah on 10/22/2009 6:56:20 PM , Rating: 1
While I agree that that is an odd bug, I think it may not have been noticed, or at least not noticed by enough users to make MS worry about it right away, because the default setting for Start menu items, aside from the Programs item, is link, not submenu, and I don't know many people who change it. And really, if the link works by just giving one little click, is it really THAT bad?

By JPForums on 10/23/2009 8:07:41 AM , Rating: 2
I'll be waiting for SP1 because of the Win7 RTM bug where start menu randomly refuses to open submenus when you hover the mouse over the submenu item ...

Not sure why he got rated down. While I don't share his opinions on the severity of the issue, he did point out a very real bug that may or may not be an issue for some people. This is much better than the imaginary problems and misleading comments from some Readers.

So I personally didn't find a LOT of SIGNIFICANT changes from my Vista Ultimate x64.

If is spent the money on a $400 (at launch) OS, I'd also be reluctant to lay down more money for a new one until I had a very good reason. Hard to get your money's worth if you get rid of it less than 3 years since launch (Jan 2007).

Should Win7 be treated the way as every other MS OS to date?

No! My opinion is that the Win7 RC is just slightly less solid than Vista SP2. This opinion is based on my experience with almost 30 different machine builds running Win7 Beta and RC. I haven't had a thorough look at the RTM yet, but I've installed it on a few system with no issues.

I've only encountered three major issues with all of these builds:
1) The built in ATI HD Audio driver consistently caused BSODs. The solution was simple, use the driver from ATI's site instead of the built in driver.
2) Creative's support software for their MP3 players was unstable for some builds. You should be able to use the XP virtual machine to work around this problem until a better solution is created.
3) Windows 7 Beta/RC wouldn't install to an SATA drive on any nVidia nForce 500 series based boards. It recognized the chipsets with the built in drivers, but neither the built in drivers, nor manufacturer supplied drivers would allow it to detect the HDD. This may be fixed in the RTM. If not, you'll need to wait for SP1 as manufacturer's aren't updating drivers on these chipsets anymore.

Some minor bugs like the one above are present in RC, but they don't really change the functionality of the OS. Most people I've talked to don't notice them. If you do notice them, they usually rank between insignificant and merely annoying in severity.

is it advisable to wait until SP1 before acquiring?

Depends on what you are upgrading from, how much you payed for it, and whether or not you are currently satisfied with it.

By Morphine06 on 10/22/2009 1:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
The only issue I've run across with the RC is the network discovery (despite being turned off for public networks) would find an "unidentified network" in addition to my home network. This would cause a loss of internet.

I stopped this from happening by stopping the bonjour service from starting up. (##Id_String2.6844F930_1628_4223_B5CC_5BB94B87 9762 ##)

Other than that minor annoyance the RC has been the most stable OS I've ever used. I find it faster with networking and interfacing with my WHS. I also feel organized for the first time in years. Vista was a mess and XP was archaic.

Libraries for teh win. ;)

By The0ne on 10/22/2009 1:44:51 PM , Rating: 2
Trust those that have already test the OS to a certain detail level, NO. Windows 7 doesn't require user to wait for SP1 to fix annoying drivers, bugs and such. That's not to say it's perfect mind you, just that the OS is one of the better tested OS I've used so far.

This release is not going to be a horror like Vista was, that's 100% guarantee lol. However, don't expect much change either because it really is just a spruced up Vista. Again, it's not Vista with a Windows 7 label >.>!

By mixpix on 10/22/2009 3:56:10 PM , Rating: 2
No need to wait. This is a very polished OS. I've been using the x64 RC since it came out and now I'm using Win7 Ultimate x64. LOVE IT. I feel honestly feel sad for anyone who doesn't upgrade.

By KoolAidMan1 on 10/23/2009 2:20:37 AM , Rating: 2
Considering that Windows 7 is so close to Vista under the hood, I wouldn't worry about it. The fact that they are so similar will make this the smoothest transition so far.

Windows 7 is a spit shine and polish on what had become a very stable and secure operating system in Vista, just optimized to run better on slower hardware and with a much needed streamlining of Vista's convoluted and inconsistent UI.

Install it, I've had no computability or stability issues with RC relative to Vista.

By rburnham on 10/26/2009 10:47:29 AM , Rating: 2
You might even consider this Vista SP3. You just have to pay for it.

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