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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 chizow on 10/22/2009 10:21:28 AM , Rating: -1
I'd say its more like an SP3 or SP4 given Win7 is basically Vista SP2 streamlined for performance with some additional features and GUI updates.

The biggest benefit Win7 has over Vista at launch is that it can use all of Vista's drivers, whereas Vista's drivers were incompatible and often forced IHV and ISVs to write 64-bit drivers when most didn't for XP 64.

I'm sure the comparison has been made before and beaten to death, but Win7 is to Vista as XP was to Win2K, both based on the same kernels but significant in their own right. Although I'd say Win7 is considerably more polished than XP was at launch.

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.

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