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Doug's Mailbag: Windows 7 Upgrade 'Hack,' Moving from XP

Last week, Kurt Mackie, while covering for Doug, wrote about the Windows 7 upgrade "hack," which would yield a cheaper version of Windows 7 at the expense of violating Microsoft's ULA, the company says. Readers share their thoughts:

Microsoft should give consumers and non-consumers a big break and charge $25 for Windows 7 Ultimate full version. Or we could all try Linux (then again, I'm not a big fan of Linux, except for dabbling with UNIX-like software). Better yet, maybe we could all get OpenSolaris to work.

What really riles up many of the open source devotees is the labyrinth of rules associated with Microsoft licensing. Instead of having "full retail versions" and "upgrade versions," why not have one version with which you can do either? Make the pricing on this simplified version one-price-fits-all, or perhaps base upgrade pricing simply on whether the user obtained a license for the previous version within the past six or even three months? I think taking these measures might actually woo some users back to Microsoft that have henceforth been beating the Linux drum.

As it is right now, Microsoft is the biggest gorilla on the block and it appears it enjoys beating its chest and lording it over all the users. It thinks it's bullet-proof, but eventually its arrogance will catch up with it, just as it did with so many other mega-corporations at the beginning of our current recession.

I ordered Windows 7 Ultimate upgrade DVDs in advance from Microsoft for my tower and laptop computers. I did clean installs and was surprised when I was not asked to insert DVDs of previous qualifying versions (which I have) to validate the Windows 7 upgrades. The clean install in my tower computer was to an HDD that had Windows 7 Ultimate RC (7100), while the clean install in my Dell laptop was to a new HDD.

I would never dishonestly violate an EULA or install unlicensed software on my computers. How does Microsoft know my OS upgrades are legal?

And Marc thinks Microsoft's effort to move enterprises off XP and onto Windows 7 is well-justified:

Yes, Microsoft SHOULD be pushing the enterprise to upgrade to Windows 7. XP will never be as secure as Vista or Windows 7. Sure, some people will be unhappy that Microsoft will stop supporting XP, but they will also be unhappy if Microsoft continues to support XP and then one day they are hit by malware which XP is simply too unsophisticated to detect.

The driver model on Vista and especially Windows 7 is much easier to maintain and keep up-to-date. And, as you point out, XP collects a lot of dust over a year or two. Most people that I know got in the habit of doing a clean re-install of XP every couple of years just to keep it running well. So far, I have seen no evidence that this is necessary with Vista or Windows 7.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to

Posted by Doug Barney on 11/13/2009 at 1:17 PM


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