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Q/A: Windows 7 purchasing options, cost, security, etc.

Q. I heard Microsoft released the Windows 7 operating system Oct. 22. When will it be available for individual purchase?

Microsoft is expected to make the Windows 7 software available mid-November at the earliest for academic/educational purchasing, said Chris Loehr, manager of the K-State Student Union Computer Store. He said there are a few points that K-Staters should note:

  1. Academic versions of Windows 7, unlike previous Microsoft products, will only be available to people at schools that have a student-licensing agreement, which K-State has.  Any K-State student or employee with a valid K-State eID can get the educational discount. (Those at other educational institutions without the licensing agreement cannot purchase the software through K-State.)
  2. K-Staters who wish to purchase Windows 7 at the academic/education price must present a current, valid K-State ID.
  3. Departmental purchases of Windows 7 should be done through the university contract with SHI (see the “Software, Large Acc Reseller” contract #07359 link on the K-State Purchasing Contracts webpage) .

Q. What Windows 7 versions are available?

There are three for individuals — Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate. See Microsoft’s Windows 7 comparison chart for details.

The SHI contract for departments has Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate.

Q. How much will Windows 7 cost?

K-State faculty/staff and students: “At this time Microsoft is not offering academic pricing on any off-the-shelf Windows 7 operating systems as they have in the past.  It will only be available through the Student Select program,” said Loehr. “It’s expected that the operating system will be priced similarly to other Microsoft products under the Student Select Agreement, which is currently $79.95 to $99.95 for academic use, although nothing has been finalized so pricing may change. It is expected that the titles available will be Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate and be upgrade versions only.”

A valid K-State ID will be required for purchase. The Student Select program is offered by the university to K-State faculty/staff, students, and emeritus through the Union Computer Store, he said.

Departmental purchases: The following pricing from SHI is current as of Nov. 10, said Kathy Leonard, licensing specialist in Information Technology Services:

  • Windows 7 Professional — $49 (upgrade license only)
  • Windows 7 Enterprise  — $91 (upgrade license only; must buy Windows Pro with Software Assurance to receive this version)
  • Windows 7 Ultimate — $281 (full version; boxed product only)

Q. I’ve heard that students can download a Windows 7 version from microsoft.com for about $30. True?

It’s true for college students only, who are eligible to purchase and download a copy of Windows 7 Professional at a special price of $29.99 (about one-fourth the retail price). Note that college students must provide a valid .edu e-mail address to verify their student status, and may be required to submit proof of enrollment.The special ends Jan. 3, 2010. See Microsoft’s www.win741.com site for details.

This offer and other specials just for college students are also posted on Microsoft’s “ultimate steal” webpage, which includes Office Ultimate 2007 for $59.95; and Office Visio Professional 2007 for $55.95.

Q. How can I tell if my older PC will run Windows 7?

Before you buy Windows 7, it’s important to download and run Microsoft’s Windows Upgrade Advisor to see if your computer has the right stuff to run the new operating system.

Q. What cool features does Windows 7 have?

K-State IT staff are already enthusiastic about the many features available. Check out Microsoft’s colorful Windows 7 features page for a list of  features that can be browsed by A-Z or by category.

Q. What security issues pertain to Windows 7?

“Like all new releases of Windows, this one has security enhancements over previous versions, but the primary security issue has been the lack of antivirus support,” said Harvard Townsend, K-State’s chief information security officer. “Fortunately, Trend Micro OfficeScan 10 (TMOS 10), which has support for Windows 7, will be available from K-State’s antivirus website starting today, Nov. 10.”

For more details about TMOS 10, see the Nov. 3 article in InfoTech Tuesday, Trend Micro antivirus updates to be released Nov. 10.

Q. Should I wait until Service Pack 1 is released for Windows 7, in order to avoid the “bleeding edge” of first-round problems?

Townsend said he doesn’t see any compelling reason to wait that long. “All the reports I’ve seen about Windows 7 have been very positive,” he said.

About Betsy Edwards

• Web/information specialist in Information Technology Services • Editor/writer, K-State IT communications • IT News blog moderator • ETDR specialist