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Microsoft Begs Win 7 Testers To Clean Install 420

Posted by timothy
from the time-for-a-memory-wipe dept.
Barence writes "Microsoft is imploring millions of Windows 7 beta testers to perform a clean install of the forthcoming Release Candidate, rather than upgrade from the beta. 'The reality is that upgrading from one pre-release build to another is not a scenario we want to focus on because it is not something real-world customers will experience,' the company claims on the Engineering Windows 7 blog. Those who attempt to install the Release Candidate over the beta will find their path blocked." I've read complaints that reviews of new Linux distros often focus too much on the installation process; Microsoft seems to understand that complications at installation time (dual booting? preserving an existing data partition?) can sour one's experience pretty thoroughly.
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Microsoft Begs Win 7 Testers To Clean Install

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  • by Narnie (1349029) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:00PM (#27521579)
    Are you suggesting that MS should develop self-destructing betas to promote upgrading? What a radical idea!
  • by Spuds2600 (141122) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:23PM (#27521947) Homepage

    It's also kind of a good thing that Microsoft has decided to send this 'beta' release to such a wide audience. Those that use Windows SHOULD all be beta testers of the software with the understanding that each successive release should start clean.

    I'm sure a lot of the "beta" testers are simply people that are very very hot to try out the new (and supposedly improved) release of Microsoft's new OS.... they often are just savvy enough to format and reinstall windows and nothing else, and don't really know how to 'test' software.

    The 'soft machine' concept is really something that users should be introduced to when installing the beta Windows software. A window should pop explaining the concept, and advising that trying to upgrade a beta to a new beta or release candidate could cause massive problems, and the only way to truly experience the improvement of the build is to start from scratch.

    Microsoft should continue this trend they started. I believe that with the wide variety of hardware and software out there, it has the capacity to allow Microsoft to build a vastly better product, and understand what it takes to build an OS for the less savvy computer individual.

  • by thtrgremlin (1158085) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:37PM (#27522185) Homepage Journal
    Being in a bind and needing to setup a machine with Ubuntu at one point, all I had with me was an Xubuntu 6.06 alternate CD. Installed and updated to 9.04 alpha 5 quickly and fairly easily. There was one small issue that required me to use dpkg to force the installation of a package apt-get would not let me upgrade (mutual dependency conflict) and with almost no prior knowledge was resolved in
    If someone was trying to install XP, but didn't have a disk and asked "Well, I got a Windows 95 CD, shouldn't I be able to use that and just update?", they would probably get a lot of weird looks... but the appropriate response would be "No, it isn't like Linux".

    Hell, I once had a broken Gentoo machine I could not fix, I gave up and with no external media or even downloading an iso just switched it over to Ubuntu in a couple of hours... though in all honesty, I hope never to do that again.
  • by kbielefe (606566) <karl.bielefeldt+ ... NCKENom minus au> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:57PM (#27522511)
    Now, that's an endorsement for an OS: "I've repaired it loads of times!"
  • Except now Windows is as secure, easier to install, has more products, and behaves 'smother' then Linux.
    Now I promote Linux for cost reason, or becasue of MS's behavior, not for technical merits on the desktop.

    I ahve installed and used every major Linux Distribution, so I am speaking from experience.

    This is the first version of Windows I have said that with.

    So before modding me a troll, or flamebait, or calling me an MS fanboi or shill, please post some technical arguments as to why Linux is better.

  • Re:Understandable (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @03:52PM (#27523363) Homepage

    TBH I gave up on upgrade installs of Windows long ago. If I need to upgrade I back up my data, make sure I've got install media and keys for all my software, then wipe C: and do a clean install of the new version. Fewer headaches and inexplicable glitches that way. Ideally I'm also doing a forklift upgrade of the hardware so I can keep the old machine running and available until the new system's up and working.

    Helps that I also follow the first commandment of Unix: thou shalt not place / and /home on the same filesystem. It's a lot easier to preserve data when it's all on a completely different physical drive from C:.

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @04:03PM (#27523531)
    It's a beta. There are no promises. This is true for ANY software, not just Microsoft. Just because someone takes the time to allow folks to upgrade software from beta doesn't mean it should be expected. I'm far from an MS fan, but this seems redundant. Why should MS waste cycles on troubleshooting beta upgrade bugs when Joe User will never experience them? It's a waste of time, money, and resources.
  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @04:13PM (#27523671) Homepage Journal

    Except now Windows is as secure, easier to install, has more products, and behaves 'smother' then Linux.

    Is as secure? Uhhhhh - you'll have to offer more than a "take my word" statement to that effect. Windows what, is as secure as what, exactly? You are hoping that Win7 is as secure as SEL?

    Ahem. You'll excuse me if I wait for a LOT of people to start saying so? Experience teaches us that every time Microsoft enhances their security, first, people defeat that security on their own machines, then the crackers defeat that security from the outside.

    As things stand right now, I'm simply not believing that a default installation of ANY Windows system is as secure as a default installation of ANY Linux. Or, Mac for that matter. Win2003 is the most secure MS operating system I have any experience with, and it doesn't even stack up to a default Ubuntu install, IMHO

    Let's turn your little "challenge" around. You tell us why you think Win7 is so very secure, alright?

    You should be aware that I actually like Win7 - it really is an improvement on everything I've seen before. But making claims that it is as secure as Linux seems pretty ridiculous.

  • by Stormx2 (1003260) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @04:44PM (#27524069)

    I'd say just from a user experience point of view, it's easier to get things done on.

    An example I always cite is the windows Control Panel. It's just a mess, because everything is a relic of older versions. Things like Font Smoothing could easily be moved under "Appearance" like ubuntu does.

    It just seems infinitely better organised. Programs are organised by function, not company name. A lot of useful applications are pre-installed. CD Burners, editors, graphics software, office apps, etc.

    Secondly applications are easier to install for 99% of apps "regular" users want. Add/Remove programs is very simple.

  • The Mac approach (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @04:48PM (#27524125) Homepage Journal

    I don't know how it is like on Windows Vista or Windows 7, but on MacOS X there is a 'backup and install' option. Basically this renames the existing system folder and then install the new one.

    From my experience with Windows XP, is that any time you wanted to reinstall the OS you would have to reinstall tons of other software, simply because the registry gets recreated from scratch. These programs can't deal with recreating the missing data, so you are force to reinstall the application. This is a major pain in the butt. Of course, things with Microsoft's latest systems may have improved. Can anyone tell me whether it has?

  • by Draek (916851) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @05:19PM (#27524559)

    So before modding me a troll, or flamebait, or calling me an MS fanboi or shill, please post some technical arguments as to why Linux is better.

    According to my own experience Linux is far more secure, easier to install, has more quality products available at no charge, and behaves smoother than Windows. I have installed and used every major Windows version since 3.1 (except for Vista but including 7 beta), so I am speaking from experience. Happy now? ;)

    To be completely fair cost is also a factor, replicating the software I have on my laptop with only closed-source software would set me back a couple grand at least (Matlab for Octave/Maxima, Illustrator for Inkscape/Xara, etc), but it's also much more integrated. All installed within a single menu, all updated with a single click, and I can download any multi-language editor or IDE, the requisite compiler, and be working with the language of my choice right away, no need to specify routes to compilers, libraries or such.

    Of course, your or Joseph Average Idiot's mileage may and probably will vary, Joe A. Idiot has little need for an Ada compiler and even less for something like Maxima, but of course I can only speak for my own experience. And my own experience is, despite the improvements in 7 Beta, Windows still has a *lot* of catching up to do if it hopes to regain me as a desktop user.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @05:38PM (#27524841)

    An example I always cite is the windows Control Panel. It's just a mess, because everything is a relic of older versions. Things like Font Smoothing could easily be moved under "Appearance" like ubuntu does.

    Sorry. Linux does this even worse than Windows does.
    This is an area OSX does mostly right, and even OSX could use some improvement.
    But between Windows and Linux there's no way I could agree that Linux is more organized.

    Network settings (hostname, ip configuration, dns, windows workgroup name (samba)... etc are all over the place.

    Screen settings are all over the map too. Resolution, background, windows themes, widget behaviour, are all over the place... and some are even in multiple places.

    A lot of useful applications are pre-installed. CD Burners, editors, graphics software, office apps, etc.

    A good windows vendor takes care of all that too. Dell is a terrible vendor in that regard, since they load it up with crap you don't want. But I have a number of local OEMs that will pre-install almost anything you want, and only what you want. (And bill you for the paid stuff of course.)

    I'm sure MS would be happy to bundle Microsoft Office with Windows 7. I seriously doubt they'd be allowed to do it though.

  • by pfleming (683342) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @05:49PM (#27524975) Homepage Journal

    And one final thing: I never want to install an OS again. I just want to see an upgrade option in Adept or whatever, click it and be done with it. As often as necessary so that the process is as smooth as possible. So MS is saying I shouldn't do an upgrade but instead waste 3 fucking days just to reinstall everything ?!? Excuse me, but fuck you.

    This really isn't about upgrading or installing. It's about installing the next version of test software. Love or hate Windows - this is about testing versions of commercial software. MS doesn't have the same upgrade path as a *nix system because they "sell" their software differently.

  • Except now Windows is as secure

    Considering Microsoft's two-decade track record of producing horribly insecure garbage, you're going to have to back that up. I'm not saying Windows 7 isn't secure -- I'm suggesting you have no real data with which to back such an audacious statement. Vista was supposed to be the ultimate in Microsoft desktop OS security too, and it isn't.

    easier to install

    I don't know about "easier". It is insanely easy (so was Vista), and fast. I'll grant that. But I ran into the usual mire of not having drivers (for basic, basic stuff like a NIC, or sound) and having to go find drivers from the manufacturer's website (using another (Linux) computer) just to get the thing to the point where I could get online to fix the other stuff.

    Not that Linux is without hardware issues too, but how do you figure Win7 is "easier" to install? With Ubuntu you give it a username, a password, select your timezone, and ignore it for twenty minutes. It doesn't get a hell of a lot easier than that. Oh, and you don't have to "register" afterwards. The Debian installer -- especially the graphical one -- is almost as easy, though not quite.

    has more products

    I assume you mean software, not "versions of Windows" cause, uh, that's not a plus. :P But your statement is hard to figure out. At the moment Debian has twenty five thousand [] packages in the repositories alone, all free for the taking, with one-click, instant access.

    Sure, there are tons and tons of programs written for the Windows platform, but how many of them are crippled trial versions, malware of some sort, cost a fortune, have some sort of DRM or weird-ass EULA, and so on? Then you download a completely untrusted executable, run it, pray it installs -- you have no way of knowing what it's really doing during that install -- and when it's done it usually leaves all kinds of systray bull, icons, shortcuts, and other party favors behind.

    And frankly, having to wade through page after page of google results to find a program likely to do what I want isn't as appealing to me as searching a central repository, where the software is vetted and verified, and getting it with one or two clicks.

    If your argument is that there are useful programs that are Windows-only, then sure, but that's not much of an argument. There are many useful things I use daily in Linux that I can't find a decent replacement for in Windows. I personally haven't "needed" a Windows-only app in over three years, though I realise this isn't true of everyone. But there's a lot to be said for Wine or Crossover, too...

    I'm just having trouble making sense of anything you're saying here.

    and behaves 'smother' then Linux.

    That is completely a matter of opinion, and depends entirely on what DE you decide to use in Linux. Personally I think Vista was okay in terms of behavior and interface, once I turned off all the horsebull but most people don't know how. Win7, on the other hand, irritates me no end. That godawful taskbar-dock thing is bloody annoying and I loathe it like poison, and I'm not keen on a bunch of other things Win7 does either.

    Contrawise, I find Gnome to be simple, smooth, customisable, and very easy on the eyes, especially with some of the newer themes. One example -- stuff I install goes into the "Applications" menu, in nicely categorized slots. In Windows, as usual, stuff goes wherever the hell the developer felt like putting it, and the menu changes every single time you look at it because Windows tries (and fails) to remember your most commonly-used stuff. I don't find that smooth at all -- I find it brain-damaged.
  • It's as secure as any standard Linux install, and can be made far more secure then people here think it can.
    What do you want, a list of the techniques you need to make it secure? There are plenty of those online, if you bothered to look.

    However, in essence you are correct. I wasn't thinking default install, I was thinking install and 5 minutes of setting up. I wasn't thinking default install becasue I consider the five minutes of setting the security as part of the default intal; which it is for me.

    You nede those same 5 minuted fur Ubuntu, except it's done during the 'install'.

    SO I guess I should say:
    Windows Vista and 7 can be made as secure as any standard desktop Linux box can be made.

  • by el americano (799629) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @08:53PM (#27526623) Homepage

    Conficker? Exploited a defect in a network service that was enabled by default, whereupon it disabled the anti-virus and blocked OS updates. If we're even discussing third-party virus scanners that have to be installed after you've installed and updated your OS, then it's *not* as secure.

    Thanks for confirming the point.

Nothing succeeds like success. -- Alexandre Dumas