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Windows 7 Buying Advice

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September 11, 2010 8:22:28 PM

My girlfriend and I both have gaming PCs currently running XP Pro and we both want to get Windows 7 65-bit so we can play DX10 and DX11 games. We are planning on dual-booting 7 and XP so that we can still use XP to play old games. I have a few questions about buying Windows 7:

First of all, I'm pretty sure that Home Premium will be good enough for what we want. From looking at the comparisons, it seems like the main difference (for gaming) between Home Premium and Professional is the amount of RAM supported... a limit of 16GB for Home Premium vs. 192GB for Professional. Currently 16GB is plenty for us, and we can always use anytime upgrade later if we ever want more than that. Do any of you know of other reasons to choose Professional over Home Premium for a gaming machine?

Second, I want to make sure I understand the different options for purchasing. My understanding so far is:

1) Upgrade version: this is cheap but requires you to have XP or Vista installed already. Since we want to dual-boot and keep our installs of XP, we can't use this option.

2) OEM version: Cheaper than retail but can only be used on one computer; if hardware changes or if we build an entirely new machine, we can't install again. That suggests that we don't want this version either. BUT, I think I've glimpsed people on these forums saying that one can still use the OEM version on new hardware / new machines if one calls Microsoft to get their key reset or something. Is this true? Is it worth the trouble?

3) Retail: The most expensive, but you can keep migrating it to new machines as long as it's not on more than one machine at a time. Right now, this sounds like what we want.

Third, since we both want Windows 7, it sounds like we have to buy two copies. Is there any way to get a single copy that can be installed on two machines? Or some sort of two-pack that's cheaper? That would be nice, but we definitely need to be able to run on two machines at the same time.

Finally: Any advice on where to get the best deal? We are in the United States, and so far I've been unable to find it much cheaper than $200 (for Home Premium full version) at online retailers. If anyone knows where there's a good deal at the moment that would be awesome.

Sorry for the long post! Thanks in advance.

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September 11, 2010 8:38:32 PM

Just a thought...

You could go for Ultimate 64-bit upgrade as it has the Windows XP Virtual machine built in which would (a) possible save some money (b) save harddrive space and (c) be more feature rich.

As far as I know they are bringing back the family three pack. That goes along with your original idea. It may also be more cost effective if you still wanted to dual-boot.
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September 11, 2010 8:45:05 PM

One other thing Windows 7 Pro has over Home Premium is the ability it use the built in Windows Backup over network. Home Premium only allows backups to locally connected media. For many this feature isn't important since they either do manual backups or prefer to use better/more feature rich backup software.

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September 11, 2010 8:46:40 PM

jfitz90 said:
Just a thought...

You could go for Ultimate 64-bit upgrade as it has the Windows XP Virtual machine built in which would (a) possible save some money (b) save harddrive space and (c) be more feature rich.

As far as I know they are bringing back the family three pack. That goes along with your original idea. It may also be more cost effective if you still wanted to dual-boot.


Yeah, I heard about the XP Virtual Machine in Ultimate, but it seemed like the consensus was that it wasn't as good as just running XP for real. Hard drive space isn't really an issue for us either.

The family three-pack coming back, however, would be awesome. Do you know when this might happen? I'll have to look into it.

EDIT: Looks like the family three-pack contains upgrade licenses, not full licenses, so that won't work. Sigh.
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September 11, 2010 8:47:55 PM

techgeek said:
One other thing Windows 7 Pro has over Home Premium is the ability it use the built in Windows Backup over network. Home Premium only allows backups to locally connected media. For many this feature isn't important since they either do manual backups or prefer to use better/more feature rich backup software.


Thanks for the tip, I actually didn't know that. But, with our current setup I think local backups should be fine.
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a b $ Windows 7
September 11, 2010 8:58:49 PM

I know of no good reason not to get the home premium version.

1) You can still use the upgrade version. True,if you upgrade, which is possible only if your current OS is the 64 bit version, then you will overwrite your current os. If your current os is the 32 bit version, then you will have to do a clean install .
Upgrade is a retail version which gives you support from microsoft, unlike OEM(AKA system builder),
and allows a more hassel-free ability to transfer the os to a different pc(motherboard).
You get both 32 bit and 64 bit DVD's.

There is a legitimate two step instalation process to clean install an upgrade version
You install windows-7 from the dvd, but do not initially enter the product code or activate.
After it installs, you have a fully functional OS for 30 days.
Step 2 is to insert the dvd again, while running Windows and then do an upgrade.
This time, enter your product code, and activate.
After activation. you may delete the initial version which is named windows.old.
Windows 7 does not ask for your old key, nor does it invalidate it. The fact that you owned a previous version is apparently sufficient justification to get upgrade. There are only very few games or other programs that will not run on windows-7. You can download and run the W7 upgrade advisor to check.

2) OEM costs about the same as upgrade. You can move the os to a replacement motherboard if you need to . It may require a activation consultation to assure Microsoft that you are using it on only one PC.

3) Considering the above two considerations, I think it is unnecessary to get retail.

I think Microsoft controls the price. It will be hard to get a deal on Windows-7.

If you are a student, with a .edu e-mail address, you probably qualify for an academic license of W7 for about $30.

There used to be a family pack pricing for three licenses which may have been reinstated.

Lastly, You might be able to buy a copy on e-bay, but know your seller. There are non legitimate copies out there and perhaps other nasty surprises.
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September 11, 2010 9:06:45 PM

geofelt said:

There is a legitimate two step instalation process to clean install an upgrade version
You install windows-7 from the dvd, but do not initially enter the product code or activate.
After it installs, you have a fully functional OS for 30 days.
Step 2 is to insert the dvd again, while running Windows and then do an upgrade.
This time, enter your product code, and activate.
After activation. you may delete the initial version which is named windows.old.
Windows 7 does not ask for your old key, nor does it invalidate it. The fact that you owned a previous version is apparently sufficient justification to get upgrade. There are only very few games or other programs that will not run on windows-7. You can download and run the W7 upgrade advisor to check.


I'm not sure I fully understand. Are you saying that it's possible to install an upgrade version of Windows 7 and still be able to dual-boot my current XP version as well? I know that most things run under 7 but I also play a good amount of old games, many of them pre-XP, and it seems like it's often easier to get these going under XP than 7, so I wanted to keep XP for that purpose.

If it is possible to install 7 with an upgrade version, but also keep XP on the same machine, that would be awesome as it would be much cheaper. I do indeed have a .edu address and I had already looked into the student discount on the Windows 7 Upgrade version but didn't go through with it because I'd heard it wouldn't let me use XP anymore.
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a b $ Windows 7
September 11, 2010 11:51:12 PM

Waltorious said:
I'm not sure I fully understand. Are you saying that it's possible to install an upgrade version of Windows 7 and still be able to dual-boot my current XP version as well? I know that most things run under 7 but I also play a good amount of old games, many of them pre-XP, and it seems like it's often easier to get these going under XP than 7, so I wanted to keep XP for that purpose.

If it is possible to install 7 with an upgrade version, but also keep XP on the same machine, that would be awesome as it would be much cheaper. I do indeed have a .edu address and I had already looked into the student discount on the Windows 7 Upgrade version but didn't go through with it because I'd heard it wouldn't let me use XP anymore.


Yes, it is. All Windows dvd's are identical. It is the key which unlocks which version you have, and how it can be installed. An upgrade version must be installed under the control of windows, be it XP, Vista, Or W7. Since it would be impossible to upgrade, say from 32 bit vista to 64 bit W7, Microsoft support directed me to the two stage procedure I described above. In effect, the first install gets you a w7 OS, and the second install updates it.

There may be differences on how dual booting works, depending on which OS was installed first, I am no expert on that. Google is your friend on how to best set up a dual boot. Will you use two hard drives, or will you partition a single drive?

The only games that will not run on 64 bit OS are 16 bit dos based games like civilization 2.42.

I think you would do well to get the academic license. It should work fine, and you will save a bunch.
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September 13, 2010 3:18:40 AM

Best answer selected by Waltorious.
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September 13, 2010 3:20:43 AM

geofelt said:
Yes, it is. All Windows dvd's are identical. It is the key which unlocks which version you have, and how it can be installed. An upgrade version must be installed under the control of windows, be it XP, Vista, Or W7. Since it would be impossible to upgrade, say from 32 bit vista to 64 bit W7, Microsoft support directed me to the two stage procedure I described above. In effect, the first install gets you a w7 OS, and the second install updates it.


geofelt,

Some googling confirms this... thanks! That's way better. I can get Windows 7 Pro for $29.99 as a download, there are guides for burning a DVD from that, and it looks like I can install 7 and keep XP as well. I'll be doing the installs on separate partitions on the same drive, but that doesn't seem to matter.
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a b $ Windows 7
September 13, 2010 11:05:53 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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