While Windows 7 is not due to hit the shelves until late October, Microsoft is offering a deal to people who pre-order upgrades now. At this time, owners of XP and Vista can buy an upgrade to Windows 7 Home for $49 and the Professional version for $99. People who bought a Vista PC recently can (or might) qualify for a free upgrade.
While this is cheaper than the usual Microsoft pricing options, there are some problems. The first is that there is, as of yet, no special price for updating to the Ultimate Version. So, if you have Vista Ultimate on your PC, then you must either pony up the full upgrade price or settle for a downgrade to get the “special” pricing. Also, if you do downgrade from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Pro or Home, then you’ll need to do a clean install. An upgrade that upgrades (Home to Pro) or stays the same (Home to Home or Pro to Pro) allows (in theory) an in place upgrade. The second problem is that Microsoft’s special price for the Pro version is only about $30 less than the price of a full version of Mac OS X (and you can buy a family license for up to 5 computers for slightly more). I’m not a big fan of Microsoft’s multiple versions approach nor of the significant price differences. Apple is much nicer to its customers: one (non-server) OS and one price, with an excellent deal for multiple licenses. Of course, Apple does charge a premium for its hardware, so I suppose they can be more generous with their OS. That is one reason why I have a PC (I really can’t justify buying a Mac Pro). The other is that most PC games are for Windows.
I don’t plan on upgrading since my desktop PC is rather old (it is running XP Pro). Instead, I’ll just replace it in December (I want to give Microsoft at least two months to crank out the inevitable patches and fixes). After all, $100 is a good chunk of the price of a mid-range PC these days. Throw in the annoyance cost of upgrading an older PC (driver problems and so on) and it makes little sense to do anything but buy a new PC (or just not upgrade at all).
I do have a Asus EEEPC that is running XP. I did almost consider spending the $50 to get the home version, but that is $50 spent now and I wouldn’t get the software for months. Plus, it works fine-so why risk screwing that up? After all, I got it to be a simple, reliable laptop for travel and work.
Now, if you have been trying the Windows 7 beta and love it, then it could be worth it to do the early purchase. Especially if your current PC is under the cruel domination of Vista.
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