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Kevin Remde's IT Pro WebLog

News: Windows 7 Beta Download Limits?

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. 


**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).