Monday, July 20, 2009

Microsoft gives a new meaning to Windows Vista Ultimate and extras

In retrospect, I was one of the fools who paid full price for Windows Vista Ultimate back when the OS was first released with the promise of “extras” that would be coming later. While there were some extras (like moving wall paper [useless] and drive encryption that would not work for my purposes), I feel as if I was cheated by Microsoft. Now there is one additional “extra” that Microsoft is going to give me: extra expense to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate.

The current price for the upgrade from Windows Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate is currently $219.00 versus the $119.00 (Home Premium) or $199.00 (Professional) and there was no pre-order pricing available for Windows Vista Ultimate users whereas the Home Premium and Professional users received deeply discounted pre-order pricing (e.g. $49.99 for Home Premium). This gives a whole new meaning to Windows Vista Ultimate and “extras”.

Some people have suggested that perhaps the way to beat the system would be to purchase a Windows Home Premium upgrade and then use it to upgrade my Vista Ultimate. Well, unfortunately, there would be a different kind of “extra” for that method. In this case, I would not be able to upgrade the OS but would be required to use the “upgrade” to wipe my hard drive clean and do a fresh install of Windows 7, after which I would still have to reinstall my software and also pay the anytime upgrade fee to get to Windows 7 Ultimate. While I agree that monetarily this is less expensive, when I consider the several hours of time it will take for me to do this, I consider this overall process more expensive than just purchasing the Windows 7 Ultimate upgrade for $219.00.

As for the notion of “upgrading” the operating system, if you are one of the users who are running on the 32 bit version of Windows Vista and want to “upgrade” to the 64 bit version of Windows 7, you are not able to load the 64 bit version of the OS on top of what you already have installed. Instead, the “upgrade” will wipe your system clean and then install the 64 bit version of Windows 7, forcing you to re-install all of your software. Lastly don’t forget that you will need to re-load all of your data from backups too. In my opinion, this is not an upgrade. I’ve heard all of the excuses about why this is necessary, and that it is always better to do a fresh install instead of an upgrade, however, I do not accept that as an answer as I have seen other operating system manufacturers (IBM) allow other operating systems to be upgraded from 32 bit CISC to 64 bit RISC without requiring programs already installed to be re-installed. In fact, they did not even have to be recompiled. As a result of my experience, it is clear to me that upgrades from 32 bit to 64 bit without a re-install can be done, and anything else that anyone tells you is just an excuse for Microsoft laziness, shortsightedness, and lack of concern for their customer’s time.

Lastly, I want to address Microsoft’s upgrade pricing policy. First, if I want to upgrade from Windows Vista 32 bit to Windows 7 64 bit, I need to rebuild my system, by way of reinstalling all of my applications and reloading all of my data. In this case Microsoft should give me some kind of rebate for providing me with a flawed upgrade that was not able to properly upgrade my system. Secondly, the upgrade pricing, from Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium, is currently $119.00 (Amazon 7/13/09). However, the Vista Professional to Windows 7 Professional is $199.00 and the Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate is $219. I would understand the difference in price if I was going from an inferior version of Vista to a superior version of 7, like switching from Windows Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate, but in my opinion, making a lateral move should have a single upgrade price, let’s say $119.00. Consider this; did the Professional users of Vista really get $80.00 more value in their upgrade process? The question applies to the Vista Ultimate users also, are they getting $100 more in value?

The whole Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista extras experience over the past few years, coupled with the thought of upgrading my systems to Windows 7, has left a bad taste in my mouth as it relates to the overall Microsoft upgrade process and pricing.

Do you see the new meaning of Windows Vista Ultimate and extras too?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

House Project 05/28/09

Here are the final, landscaped photos of the house. It felt like we would never get finished, but we are finally finished!