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QOTD: Is Win7 Anytime Upgrade a Good Idea?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 43 comments

Upgrade yours in a box!

Today we heard confirmation from Microsoft that it will be offering Anytime Upgrades at retail for consumers looking to move from one edition of Windows 7 to the next. (See this story for more on the box art mock ups.)

Although it will give retailers yet another SKU to deal with, offering an upgrade scheme at retail could potentially be a good thing for new PC buyers.

When Windows Vista released, some users were very disappointed (to the point of taking legal action) that not all PCs were able to take advantage of all the new features of Vista, such as the Aero interface. That won’t be a problem that Windows 7 will have to deal with, at least not on the hardware side.

On the software side, there still will still undoubtedly be some confusion as to what the differences are between all the various editions of Windows 7, but at least now a consumer (especially those who prefer to buy things tangibly) who isn’t happy with the lack of Aero on their netbook can go into the store and purchase a box that will enable it for him.

So, with that in mind, we want to know what you think.

The question of the day is: Do you think Windows 7 Anytime Upgrades at retail are a good idea?

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    brad327 , June 24, 2009 1:23 AM
    My only problem with this is that it doesn't go far enough. If MS were to offer a barebones version of Windows for like 30 bucks, I would be thrilled. I'm talking about a version that has the basic OS, driver support, and IE. No themes, eyecandy (like Aero), none of the stuff that I can disable using Win 7's "disable these features list" (Media Player, etc.). Then give me a link to a store where I can buy these features as I need them one by one. It may not be realistic, but it's truly a get-what-you-pay-for system.

    I've heard a lot of people say it's terrible that MS is offering "crippled version" of Windows. If you're just doing email and Facebook, you have the option to buy a $30 CPU. Would you then complain that your CPU isn't on par with a Core i7?

    I also don't see a lot of people complaining that they purchased Design Standard, but greedy Adobe didn't give them all of the apps included in the Master Collection as well. Why is it so fun to hate on Microsoft?
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    ricardok , June 24, 2009 12:46 AM
    I still prefer a fully fledge version only, changes only for servers, and W7 should just give the user the choice to disable some features to improve speed.
  • 3 Hide
    leafblower29 , June 24, 2009 12:47 AM
    I'm sure this will be easy to crack.
  • 4 Hide
    B-Unit , June 24, 2009 12:59 AM
    RicardoKI still prefer a fully fledge version only, changes only for servers, and W7 should just give the user the choice to disable some features to improve speed.

    Yea, that would be horrible if Grandma couldn't save $100 for stuff she'll never use. Better that she pay full price and just turn off what she doesn't need.
  • 3 Hide
    Lan , June 24, 2009 1:11 AM
    QOTD: Is Win7 Anytime Upgrade a Good Idea?

    Yes, though there couple things to point out. First, it is unlikely (however useful) that the common user will know how to do something like this. Second, why would they want to spend even more money for an upgrade when they (potentially) just laid down money for the new Operating System, or even a whole new computer?

    So yes, it is definately a good idea, but will users really catch on to the idea...we'll see, I doubt it, but we'll see.
  • 0 Hide
    08nwsula , June 24, 2009 1:15 AM
    it will save m$ some money in extra materials. maybe that will make it cheaper for the consumer. Maybe not, but I'll be optimistic.
  • 16 Hide
    brad327 , June 24, 2009 1:23 AM
    My only problem with this is that it doesn't go far enough. If MS were to offer a barebones version of Windows for like 30 bucks, I would be thrilled. I'm talking about a version that has the basic OS, driver support, and IE. No themes, eyecandy (like Aero), none of the stuff that I can disable using Win 7's "disable these features list" (Media Player, etc.). Then give me a link to a store where I can buy these features as I need them one by one. It may not be realistic, but it's truly a get-what-you-pay-for system.

    I've heard a lot of people say it's terrible that MS is offering "crippled version" of Windows. If you're just doing email and Facebook, you have the option to buy a $30 CPU. Would you then complain that your CPU isn't on par with a Core i7?

    I also don't see a lot of people complaining that they purchased Design Standard, but greedy Adobe didn't give them all of the apps included in the Master Collection as well. Why is it so fun to hate on Microsoft?
  • 1 Hide
    Wayoffbase , June 24, 2009 2:19 AM
    The vast majority of people just need Home Premium. The starter edition for netbooks is confusing things unnecessarily. Consumers that buy netbooks thinking that they are fully functional computers are buying the wrong thing. Starter editions of windows have been around before win7, but they were made for markets where people were expected to have obsolete hardware as the norm, netbooks have brought obsolete hardware to the developed world.
  • -5 Hide
    PLATTERMAN , June 24, 2009 2:27 AM
    It has been just 1 year and a few days since i purchased a new pc with Home Premium Vista 32 bit, a HP D5000T Core 2 Quad Q9450, 4GB ram, 2 DVD drives, added a Blu-ray drive and 2 additional WD 1TB Caviar harddrives, upgraded gpu to a 8800GT from a 8500GT. I am not sure what benefit there would be for me to upgrade to Windows 7. My current software all runs great. Nero 9 full suite, Cyberlink PowerDVD 9 Ultra and AnyDVDHD. I use these 3 a bunch. I would like to get a free upgrade to the equivalent in Windows 7 if all my main 3 mentioned and all the other software hardware i have would work in either 64 or 32 bit. If they can't give a free upgrade i would not change at this time for sure and maybe not even then till it too is established and bugs worked out.
  • 6 Hide
    brendano257 , June 24, 2009 2:33 AM
    Home Edition, Business, and Server. The way it SHOULD be. This is all the divisions that are really needed, anything else is just for them to make more money and confusion, even with just those 3 it comes up to 6 because each one has 32/64 bit. Simpler the better. Unfortunately Microsoft would have to cut into their MASSIVE profits to make it better for us....and we all know that would never happen. :) 
  • 1 Hide
    ricardok , June 24, 2009 2:44 AM
    B-UnitYea, that would be horrible if Grandma couldn't save $100 for stuff she'll never use. Better that she pay full price and just turn off what she doesn't need.

    If we had only ONE version, that version would be cheaper than having 5 different ones and than upgrading from one to the other. Remember how easy it was on the days of Windows 3.11? No? Let's try Windows 95? Still nothing? How about Windows 98? 98SE? Still not ringing any bells? Oh, Windows ME!!! That was a great version (sarcasm mode on).. Ok, ok, let's keep it simple than.. 2 versions only (like Windows XP Home/Pro).. Netbooks/Laptops (or slow desktops) and Notebooks/Desktops (for those with better machines) versions.. Better now? ;) 

    Keep it simple, don't waste too much energy on several versions and system checks when installing (it costs money to create those codes) and just release something that is good for everyone.. Full price for a couple more games and themes on the Ultimate? No, thanks..

    About starter editions (Windows Vista is the only one I know before 7 to have this version), those who say that the version was created to be used on obsolete hardware are people living on a cave because the starter edition was just a marketing campaign to get "Vista Ready" on several machines that didn't have the 'power' to use Vista, but that same hardware was fine if someone popped a XP Pro on it.
  • 8 Hide
    zerapio , June 24, 2009 2:56 AM
    brad327I've heard a lot of people say it's terrible that MS is offering "crippled version" of Windows. If you're just doing email and Facebook, you have the option to buy a $30 CPU. Would you then complain that your CPU isn't on par with a Core i7?I also don't see a lot of people complaining that they purchased Design Standard, but greedy Adobe didn't give them all of the apps included in the Master Collection as well. Why is it so fun to hate on Microsoft?

    I totally agree. I see all the time people that paid or are using a $7 integrated graphics solution and have the expectation of a $100 discrete piece. Don't expect apples from a pear tree!
  • 8 Hide
    jakesbuddy , June 24, 2009 3:05 AM
    dreamphantom_1977 says: "I think all the people who waited for and actual bought or was forced into "vista" deserves a full copy of windows 7." and "Nobody except bussiness's really want stripped down ver."

    Why should people who bought a product willingly be given free copies of the company's new product? When Left 4 Dead 2 comes out, should everyone who bought the first one be given a free copy? And no one "forced" Vista on anyone. People settled for it. I just built a new pc because I couldn't find one in my budget that had the features I wanted. And guess what? I have a nice new pc without Vista, because I didn't settle. I learned how computers worked and how to build one...Also, I wouldn't mind a stripped-down version that used less resources. Third-party apps can take care of just about any feature I need that Windows doesn't offer, and probably better than the ones they do...
  • 3 Hide
    tayb , June 24, 2009 5:00 AM
    People are complaining because you can get Linux for free and Apple charges $29 for operating systems and they only have one version. When you are 10 times more expensive than the competition people are going to complain.

    I think it is absolutely retarded that Microsoft is STILL delivering more than two SKU's. There is absolutely no compelling reason besides annoying, confusing, and ripping off the customer for Microsoft to release so many options. I don't WANT to know what this version has. I don't WANT to explain to people which version they should buy. I don't WANT to listen to pissed off customers that got a notebook with Windows 7 Basic and it looks ugly and doesn't have the cool features of other computers. It is just dumb dumb dumb. Microsoft is dumb. They are hurting their image and they are doing it 100% needlessly. I don't know how in the world the idiots that make decisions like this didn't learn from Vista. Customers don't want that many options.
  • -5 Hide
    tayb , June 24, 2009 5:05 AM
    brad327My only problem with this is that it doesn't go far enough. If MS were to offer a barebones version of Windows for like 30 bucks, I would be thrilled. I'm talking about a version that has the basic OS, driver support, and IE. No themes, eyecandy (like Aero), none of the stuff that I can disable using Win 7's "disable these features list" (Media Player, etc.). Then give me a link to a store where I can buy these features as I need them one by one. It may not be realistic, but it's truly a get-what-you-pay-for system.


    That has got to be one of the worst ideas I have ever heard.
  • 3 Hide
    ckthecerealkiller , June 24, 2009 5:47 AM
    brad327If MS were to offer a barebones version of Windows for like 30 bucks, I would be thrilled. I'm talking about a version that has the basic OS, driver support, and IE. Then give me a link to a store where I can buy these features as I need them one by one.


    That could be a good idea but it would never work. Remember, the average user is DUMB! This would only cost the average person far more, as Microsoft would then be selling the Ultimate version of their os to about 50% of users. Nobody is going to think twice about buying all of those extra features because is what they are used to getting with Microsoft's os and nobody is going to question buying it. Think of the EU lawsuits!

    Would I like having that available out of the box, yes. But OEM's would take advantage of that model. Good idea on paper for an educated user, but not everyone is an educated user.

    What do I think of upgrades? Well, after seeing what it will cost everyone in the long run, it's a bad idea. That is the primary deterrent, if the prices were right I think it could work.
  • 1 Hide
    crisisavatar , June 24, 2009 6:22 AM
    W7 = 100 bucks, x feature = + 20 bucks, second feature set = +30 bucks,

    you getting screw ? priceless.
  • 2 Hide
    Humans think , June 24, 2009 6:28 AM
    I agree with brad327 I would prefer to build my OS the same way. With Windows XP for example for your computer to be able join a domain you had to go to XP Pro (you also need Pro to do server-like functions like terminal services and so on). I would prefer to buy windows (at the "home" pricing) without IE, WMP but with "join domain" capability.

    This may sound ideal but unfortunately it is not going to happen, they rip off enterprises with Professional editions, that's why most of them haven't upgraded from XP pro, and probably would have stuck with Windows 2000 Pro if they have added USB 2.0 support. When you are a professional you don't mind your system looking obsolete, but being technologically obsolete, and this is not true for many aspects of Windows XP Pro.

    Back to Home users, Microsoft has a large market share and wants to maximize profits from it. I think that things are going to be the same for desktop and notebooks. In netbooks though they want the user of Starter Edition to be annoyed, to feel second class, they didn't remove IE8 or WMP (which could be easily solved with freeware programs that are better than MS's) At first they wanted to limit the OS to 3 apps running, and then they said that you cannot change the background, both of them imo very annoying... So yes they want to get rid of the old distribution system (that of Win XP) and maximize profits in the netbook market.

    This system of Anytime upgrade is the only way to ensure that large OEMs will ship netbooks without Linux, without WinXP but with a version of Win 7 that the upgrade will be purchased by the end-user which would normally choose 9 out of 10 times Win XP or Linux over a non-upgradable Win 7 starter netbook. That said everybody wins except the end-user.
  • 1 Hide
    sonofjenova7 , June 24, 2009 6:43 AM
    My initial thought was that I'd never buy Windows anyways and just get a crack. But then I wondered, "If Windows were half it's price, I'd buy a legit copy." Heck, it might even increase sales in the long run if they prevented pirating. But we all know they won't do that.

    Back to the question, upgrades will be a good idea if the process is simple and people may take advantage of it but I don't think it will be a mainstream function unless the starting price for a basic package was really cheap; just to get people to try it out before dishing out their bread and butter.
  • 0 Hide
    JimmiG , June 24, 2009 8:43 AM
    Multiple editions of Windows are a horrible idea in the first place, but the anytime upgrade is a good idea.

    What they should do IMO is just offer two versions of Windows 7: "Home" for $129 and "Business", which would be a superset of Home, with the optional removal of things like multimedia player, games etc., for whatever price is appropriate. They should also offer "family packs", ie. several licenses at a reduced price. It's better for Microsoft if people spend *some* money upgrading, rather than just running it unactivated or cracked on their other systems or sticking with XP or something.
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