Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

News: Windows 7 Beta Download Limits?

News: Windows 7 Beta Download Limits?

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Windows 7.  One better than Windows 6. I need to let you know some GREAT news I’ve heard.  As many of you I’m sure experienced, the demand for the public Windows 7 beta was enormous.  So much so that it overwhelmed the servers for many of our external sites.  Of course, with such great demand, there’s a good chance we’ll quickly reach the 2.5 million download limit.  In fact, it was probably the public knowledge of that limit that caused such a great rush of activity for trying to get the bits before it they were no longer available.

Good news: They’ve temporarily removed the limit.  You can read about it here on the Windows Blog.  Basically what we’re doing is allowing as many downloads as can happen between now and through the 24th of January, 2009.  Then at that point, if we haven’t reached 2.5 million, we’ll continue to allow downloads until the limit is reached.  However, the more likely scenario is that we will surpass 2.5 million downloads, and so the beta downloads will be stopped after the 24th.

“So what do you recommend, Kevin?”

It’s nice that I don’t have to tell you to hurry to get it, because you have two weeks to get it.  But I do recommend you get it, try it out (on a machine that isn’t critical to your productivity), and give us feedback.  (Hey.. if you’re running an edition of Vista that has the “Complete PC Backup” tool, you should USE IT.  Get a big-enough USB drive and do the backup before you do the upgrade or install…,so you can restore the system if you need to.  That’s what I’ve been doing.  Fortunately I haven’t had to restore anything yet.)

“Should I wait for Windows 7 instead of deploying Vista?”

That’s the billion dollar question these days, isn’t it. 

My opinion on that: Absolutely do not wait for Windows 7.  Deploy Vista.  (with Software Assurance)  Sure, I’m loving Windows 7 and some of the new UI features, but the overwhelming step-up between XP and Vista is still such a huge advantage in productivity, reliability, performance, security, manageability, etc.   If you really learn these benefits and how they save you time and frustration (and that means MONEY), you shouldn’t have much trouble cost-justifying the rollout.  I sincerely believe** that. 

So.. sure Windows 7 has some nice new navigation and a few less times UAC pops up.. but it’s just not the same big change.  Windows Vista is the way to go, even if you only consider it the stepping stone to Windows 7.  You are very unlikely to have any compatibility or hardware driver issues moving from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

“Are you going to install it on your day-to-day production laptop?”

My Lenovo T61p?  I’m very tempted.  Very very tempted.  So far it’s working great on both my VPC hosting machine (as I blogged earlier) as well as my family’s main shared kitchen-table laptop.  I may be installing it tonight on my Media Center computer; provided nobody in my family has any important TV recordings they don’t want me to interrupt, of course.  And the next logical installation will indeed be my work machine here. 

“What’s your hesitation?”

Same as anyone else’s when it comes to the slightest potential for lost productivity.  It’s beta, after-all.  I’m more willing to jump into the latest-and-greatest than most people, because I know I have the ability to jump back if I need to.. and also because it’s un-written duty as a Microsoft employee to “eat the dogfood”.  And primarily because then I can speak and blog more intelligently about what I’ve experienced first-hand.

Soon.  Very soon. 

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**If you don’t believe me, then put a comment on this blog post.  Seriously, I’ll answer your questions or give you suggestions on how to look at making the justifications to your boss (or to yourself).    

  • I don't know too much about whatever under-the-hood changes that have been made. However, I'm feeling a little ... cheated that Windows 7 (thus far) feels and looks really like a lightly-dusted off version of Vista. I'm seeing things like more menu options that should be in Vista already and simple re-arrangements that I really didn't care too much for (from a consumer's standpoint). I'm running Windows 7 beta under VPC 2007 and I'm not fully appreciating how "beautiful" it may look if I were running it on 'real' hardware. In any case, I just purchased my laptop (Aug 2008) with Vista Ultimate and I sincerely hope the upgrade price will be tolerable. Just my little tidbit.

    Jane

  • Hi Jane.  Thanks for the comment.

    I think if you like or even simply tolerate Windows Vista, you're probably not going to see as much on the surface that makes you think "Wow!  It's about time!". That reaction is really going to be coming from the people still running Windows XP because either they or someone they know (or someone THEY know) had or claimed to have heard about this-or-that bad experience.  Yes, when Virtualized, just as with Windows Vista, you're not going to see the AERO interface or even some of the newer AERO features (some that I think are pretty useful as well as pretty).  If you can spare a physical machine, you'll be better able to appreciate that part of it, as well as get a more realistic impression of how it performs compared to Vista or XP.

    As for upgrade price - I hope it's tolerable, too.  Nothing's been announced yet, of course.  

  • Where can one download Windows 7 beta using web method? (Restricted site)

  • HI Kevin

    I don't have the biotech software so that I might use the touch screen part of Window 7  Will I still get ths benifit of the 7 without it.  Where can I get a free copy of the biotech now.

    Second will I have to buy a reg version of 7 even if I download the bata & now?

  • I don't agree with the upgrade to Vista now idea. I use Vista everyday on my work laptop and it's the only desktop OS for daily production at my company save two machines. We are running a Server 2008 domain and yeah, there are a lot of neat and productive things you can do with Vista, especially in a 2008 environment, and I still rave over the ability  to search and find ANYTHING almost instantly, but it pretty much ends there. In my experience productivity boils down to how well apps run, much of them 3rd party, on a given OS, not all the bells and whistles of the OS - most of which the average consumer/corporate user are never going to realize a need for, and so far Vista gets a C- from me. It seems Microsoft wanted a flashy, inherently useful OS out of the box, without recognizing that people run Windows to put other stuff on it. Microsoft needs to tame it's ego a bit and understand that, because us IT people do and we are the defacto sales (unpaid) force for Microsoft and we cannot push this product in good conscience.

    For example, our primary software packed we use is our accounting system, and CRM. Solomon (MS product) and Microsoft CRM to be exact. Both of which run slower on Vista than XP and generate a lot of user complaints. I mean how much RAM do you have to throw at Vista to make it run well? How much "tweaking" do you have to do? It's frustrating.

    I'm not just a user I'm an MCSE going back to NT and have kept them current up to MCITP Enterprise. We are a software consulting company, gold blended partner in fact, and do not recommend to our customers that they upgrade to Vista. Everyone who has done it anyway has had mixed results.

    I hate saying these things - I've been a staunch defender of Microsoft products and have based my career on them so I have a major vested interest in the success of Microsoft - but Vista really frustrates me. I use it daily at work but even with a Core 2 Duo and 4Gigs of RAM I boot it up then go get a cup of coffee and chat for 10 minutes before I even think of using my computer. There is no cost benefit to a company owning an operating system like that.

    And everyone knows I'm not alone - major corporations have opted to not adopt Vista and with good reason. Lets all hope Windows 7 (yes, already downloaded both the 32bit and 64bit version) does a better job. Despite all my issues with Vista I do believe it's a platform with great potential - it just needs to run good!

  • Mike,

    Thanks for your honest review.  Everyone's mileage varies a bit based on so many different variables.  Depending on the applications and their compatibility... to hardware issues... all of these things cause some people to love an OS, others to hate it, and most of us somewhere in between.  

    The main point about "don't wait" really is that, if you're having application issues with Vista and you think Windows 7 is going to fix it - it's likely not going to.  Windows 7 isn't going to fix driver or software compat issues.  Will it run better?  Maybe.  It appears to right now - and this is beta.  Does it have cool new productivity improvements over Vista?  Some.. but nowhere NEAR the jump in productivity from XP to Vista.   So that's why you should just get Vista with SA, so you can start taking advantage of Vista NOW, and then have the Vista-based-OS-plus-improvements in Windows 7 later.

  • One thing I've found quite contrary to Vista, is 7 beta loads and runs very well on older hardware.  I installed it on a notebook with 512 RAM and a 2 ghz processor, and unlike it's predecessor, ran very well with that hardware.

    of course I couldn't get the video driver to work, but other than that there is hope that it will run satisfacorily on many older platforms

  • That's good news indeed, Bill!  Yes, let's hope the trend continues.

    What video driver?  All the machines I upgraded had absolutely no driver issues.

    Hmm.. I've got an old desktop here collecting dust... maybe I'll try that one next. :)

  • Good news!  The Windows 7 Team Blog announced that they’ve yet again extended the period in which

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