Windows 7 for $30 – Microsoft confirms $30 price tag for students promotion

Like so many of the recent Windows 7 promotions, it’s a limited time offer with more than a few caveats. But, details aside, Microsoft is offering college students Windows 7 for $29.99, according to a new deal announced on September 17.

The www.win741.com site has the details:

“For a limited time, eligible college students can get the sweetest deal on Windows 7 – for only $29.99 USD. That’s less than most of your textbooks! Hurry — offer ends January 3, 2010 at 12:00 am CST”

A frequently asked questions document, linked from the promotional site, has more details. Students may purchase one copy of either Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional. The FAQ advises:

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“If your school requires Domain Join, then you might want to consider Windows 7 Professional, which will let you connect to your school network so you can take advantage of features like HomeGroup and Remote Media Streaming.”

The FAQ also is up-front about the challenges in upgrading to Windows 7 from Vista:

“To upgrade easily from Windows Vista, you should upgrade to the same version you currently have in Windows 7. For example, if you’re moving from Windows Vista Home Premium with 32-bit software, it would be easiest to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium with 32-bit software. Most of the other upgrades require a custom (clean) installation, which is a fairly complex installation process that needs several steps and can take quite a few hours.”

The guidelines for moving from XP to Windows 7, which are even more complicated, are there, too, in all their glory. Bottom line, according to the FAQ:

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“Upgrading a PC with Windows XP to Windows 7 is an involved process. If you’re at all uncomfortable with it, please consider having the upgrade done by a local PC or electronics retailer.”

The promotional site points to Microsoft’s student site for a list of other discounts offered to the academic community.

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Windows 7 Benchmarks: XP vs Vista vs 7

MaximumPC has an excellent article where they dive in depth in 80+ different benchmarks on Windows 7 versus the other relevant flavors of Windows. The article is long, but worth a read if you’re into this type of thing. Listed below though are snippets from the benchmarks where they show benchmarks and their percentages.

APPLICATION BENCHMARKS

Windows XP (x86) Windows Vista (x64) Windows 7 (x64) Percentage Difference: XP to Win 7 Percentage Difference: Vista to Win 7
ProShow Producer (sec) 826 1166 848 -2.66% +27.27%
Mainconcept Reference (sec) 1649 1657 1653 -0.24% 0.24%
Premiere (sec) 831 739 840 -1.08% -13.67%
Photoshop (sec) 141 127 140 +0.71% -10.24%
PC Mark 2005
CPU 9116 9076 8568 -6.01% -5.60%
Memory 6459 6371 6463 +0.06% +1.44%
HDD 8029 6782 7537 -6.13% +11.13%
PC Mark Vantage
HDD WNR 4657 4728 N/A +1.52%

Best scores in bold. Our test rig uses a Intel Core 2 Quad Q9770 Extreme CPU, 4GB DDR2 RAM, 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 HD, and an ATI 4890 videocard.

Most of our application benchmarks measure either multi-threaded CPU performance (Main Concept, ProShow), hard drive performance (PC Mark Vantage), or a real-world mixture of the two (Photoshop, Premiere). In all of our application benchmarks, Windows 7’s performance was within a stone’s throw of XP.

It’s also worth noting that in several of our tests Vista was actually a big winner, thanks to performance enhancements that hit in Vista Service Pack 2.

Network

One of the main problems with Windows Vista prior to Service Pack 1 was poor network performance. Well, we’re happy to say that the days of waiting for files to copy across a network are done. Check the benchmarks and see for yourself—Windows 7 is stupid-fast at transferring files across a network.

NETWORK BENCHMARKS

Windows XP (x86) Windows Vista (x64) Windows 7 (x64) Percentage Difference: XP to Win 7 Percentage Difference: Vista to Win 7
File Transfer (small files) (sec)
Download 46.9 56.3 21.8 +53.52% +61.28%
Upload 20.5 16.5 16.9 +17.56% -2.42%
File Transfer (large file) (sec)
Download 46.2 4.3 4.1 +91.13% +4.65%
Upload 4.9 4.6 3.9 +20.41% +15.22%

Best scores in bold. Our test rig uses a Intel Core 2 Quad Q9770 Extreme CPU, 4GB DDR2 RAM, 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 HD, and an ATI 4890 videocard.

Games

To test gaming performance, we ran a mix of DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 benchmarks on both ATI and Nvidia hardware. It’s important to remember when checking these scores, you shouldn’t be comparing ATI to Nvidia and vice versa. Instead, you should compare ATI’s and Nvidia’s respective scores on the different platforms to see who has the best drivers for Windows 7.

GAMING BENCHMARKS – ATI

Windows XP (x86) Windows Vista (x64) Windows 7 (x64) Percentage Difference: XP to Win 7 Percentage Difference: Vista to Win 7
DX 10 Benchmarks
Far Cry 2 HQ (fps) WNR 52.9 53.1 N/A +0.38%
Far Cry 2 LQ (fps) WNR 57.8 58.4 N/A +1.04%
Crysis – Very High – no AA (fps) WNR 31.4 31.4 N/A +0.00%
Crysis – Very High – 4xAA (fps) WNR 27.5 27.6 N/A +0.36%
DX 9 Benchmarks
Far Cry 2 HQ (fps) 42 41.6 45.5 +8.33% +9.38%
Far Cry 2 LQ (fps) 46.5 46 41.2 -11.40% -10.43%
Crysis – High – no AA (fps) 47.7 44.4 41.6 -12.79% -6.31%
Crysis – High – 4xAA (fps) 40 36.1 36 -10.00% -0.28%
Call of Duty 4 (fps) 92.9 95.2 97.8 +5.27% +2.73%

Best scores in bold. Our test rig uses a Intel Core 2 Quad Q9770 Extreme CPU, 4GB DDR2 RAM, 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 HD, and an ATI 4890 videocard.

In DirectX 10 benchmarks, both ATI and Nvidia chalked up almost identical scores in Vista and Windows 7. That’s to be expected, given that both companies are using a universal driver in Vista and Windows 7. That is, the driver in Windows 7 and Windows Vista are essentially the same.

However, everything changes when you get to DirectX 9 benchmarks. Depending on the benchmark, Windows 7 ranged from about 10% faster to about 10% slower than Windows Vista. What you gain in one benchmark, you lose in another. And, over the entire range of our DirectX 9 tests, everything ended up even.

GAMING BENCHMARKS – NVIDIA

Windows XP (x86) Windows Vista (x64) Windows 7 (x64) Percentage Difference: XP to Win 7 Percentage Difference: Vista to Win 7
DX10 Benchmarks
Far Cry 2 HQ (fps) WNR 62.7 62.8 N/A +.016%
Far Cry 2 LQ (fps) WNR 69.5 68.6 N/A -1.29%
Crysis – Very High – no AA (fps) WNR 30.1 30.1 N/A +0.00%
Crysis – Very High – 4xAA (fps) WNR 25.6 25.7 N/A +0.39%
DX 9 Benchmarks
Far Cry 2 HQ (fps) 47.5 50.5 46 -3.16% -8.91%
Far Cry 2 LQ (fps) 52 46 51.4 -1.15% +11.74%
Crysis – High – no AA (fps) 50.7 49.5 49.5 -2.37% +0.00%
Crysis – High – 4xAA (fps) 39.7 39.7 40 +0.76% +0.76%
Call of Duty 4 (fps) 121.4 114.9 116.9 -3.71% +1.74%

Best scores in bold. Our test rig uses a Intel Core 2 Quad Q9770 Extreme CPU, 4GB DDR2 RAM, 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 HD, and a Nvidia Geforce GTX 285 videocard.

For gamers, especially those currently using Windows XP, there’s a strong reason to upgrade to Windows 7. You may sacrifice a little performance in some games, but you’ll gain some in others, and you’ll have the ability to run DirectX 10 and 11 apps in their full glory, which will never be possible in Windows XP. We’re also confident that both ATI and Nvidia will continuously work to improve gaming performance in the future, as both companies have for every other new OS Microsoft has released.

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Open Files from the Taskbar in Windows 7

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always dropped files directly on the quick launch buttons to quickly and easily open them in the application the shortcut points to, but now Windows 7 doesn’t let you do that—by default, at least.

When you try and drag a file onto a taskbar button in Windows 7, you’ll be prompted to “Pin to Application”, instead of opening the file.

Pin to Notepad

If you right-click the taskbar button, you’ll see that now that file has been pinned there.

Pinned Items

What you need to do instead, is hold down the Shift key while dragging the file to the taskbar button, and it will change to “Open with Application” instead.

Open with Notepad

It’s one of those simple tips that can seriously save you some time.

Source: HowToGeek

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Enable Quick Launch in Windows 7

By default Quick Launch is disabled in Windows 7. This will show you how to enable or disable Quick Launch on the taskbar in Windows 7 as a toolbar with small or large icons. If you want to add Quick Launch back into Windows 7 perform the following steps:

1. Right click on a empty space on the taskbar and click on New Tool.

quick-launch-enable-disable-right_click_taskbar.jpg

2. In the Folder line, type or copy: %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

quick-launch-enable-disable-select_folder.jpg

3. Click on the Select Folder button. (See screenshot above)

4. You now have a Quick Launch toolbar on the taskbar.
NOTE: Click on the arrow to see your Quick Launch shortcuts

.

quick-launch-enable-disable-quick_launch_toolbar.jpg

5. To expand the Quick Launch Toolbar

A) Unlock the taskbar

B) Left click on the dotted lines and hold, then drag it to the left or right to adjust to unhide all of the icons. Release the left click when done.

quick-launch-enable-disable-right_click_toolbar.jpg

C) Lock the taskbar to snap it in place.

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How to Upgrade the Windows 7 RC to RTM

The final version of Windows 7 was released yesterday for MS Technet subscribers, but you can’t upgrade directly from a pre-release version—at least, not without a quick and easy workaround, and we’ve got you covered.

The Problem

Windows 7 checks whether or not the current version you are running is a pre-release copy, and prevents you from upgrading further. For reference purposes, this is the error you’ll see when you try and upgrade.

Windows 7 can't upgrade error

The Solution

The solution is to edit a file inside the Windows 7 DVD—which you’ll have to extract to the hard drive to proceed.

  • If you are using an ISO image for the installation progress, you can use the awesome 7-Zip utility to extract the ISO to a folder on the drive.
  • If you are using an actual DVD, you can simply copy all of the files from the DVD to a folder on your hard drive.

[Read more…]

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