What Version Of Windows & Where To Buy?

alec

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 19, 2005
233
0
Washington DC
Looking for some advice regarding buying Windows: what version do people recommend purchasing? I am going to essentially just be taking a couple of tests for school on it with the occasional browsing / email thrown in under either Boot Camp or Parallels.

And where is the best place to buy a cheap but validated copy? Thanks in advance!
 

js81

macrumors 65816
Dec 31, 2008
1,199
16
KY
If you're a college student and have a .edu email address, you can get Windows 7 (Home Premium or Professional) for $29.99 at www.win741.com (its a MS sponsored deal-io). I'd recommend Pro.

EDIT: If you're NOT a student, Newegg.com has XP SP3 and Vista Home Premium (with a free upgrade to 7 H.P.) for $89.99.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,368
978
New England
EDIT: If you're NOT a student, Newegg.com has XP SP3 and Vista Home Premium (with a free upgrade to 7 H.P.) for $89.99.
NOTE: The $89.99 versions are OEM/System Builder Editions which are not licensed to the end user. If you are not a student and want a legitimate license for home use, full retail (i.e. $185 from NewEgg) is your only legitimate option.

And just note that just because it activates, it doesn't mean your license is valid. Otherwise, you could just also get a retail upgrade license (~$110) to install and activate even though you may not have a previous license to qualify for the upgrade.

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js81

macrumors 65816
Dec 31, 2008
1,199
16
KY
NOTE: The $89.99 versions are OEM/System Builder Editions which are not licensed to the end user. If you are not a student and want a legitimate license for home use, full retail (i.e. $185 from NewEgg) is your only legitimate option.

And just note that just because it activates, it doesn't mean your license is valid. Otherwise, you could just also get a retail upgrade license (~$110) to install and activate even though you may not have a previous license to qualify for the upgrade.

B
I may be wrong, but I've always been under the assumption that anyone can use an OEM version - sometimes retailers make you make a hardware purchase with it (a $1 cable counts) - and that the only limitation to an OEM version is that it is machine locked; you can't transfer it to another machine. That said, I've ALWAYS used the OEM versions on both PCs and Macs. As I've said, I could very well be wrong... I try to avoid Windows whenever possible. :D

EDIT: With a bit reading, this is starting to sound like a "Can I / May I" situation. You definitely CAN do it - but MAY you? That answer seems a bit convoluted... pre-7 it looks like it may've been OK, but that MS changed the protocols with 7. Again I remember one of the many reasons I DONT like Windows.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,368
978
New England
EDIT: With a bit reading, this is starting to sound like a "Can I / May I" situation. You definitely CAN do it - but MAY you? That answer seems a bit convoluted... pre-7 it looks like it may've been OK, but that MS changed the protocols with 7. Again I remember one of the many reasons I DONT like Windows.
Exactly correct. Will it work vs. am I licensed to do what I am doing. Very much like deciding to install OS X on a non-Apple PC. (a.k.a building a Hackintosh).

Here's a recent blog post from Ed Bott on this topic, and how confusing it all is. http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=1561 His final recommendation is:

Normally, I’m a firm believer in following the letter and the spirit of software license agreements. In this case, though, given Microsoft’s complete breakdown in communicating with its customers, I’m willing to make a major exception. I have no problem enthusiastically recommending these discounted copies of Windows for anyone building a PC for their own personal use. And I think someone at Microsoft should step up and formally approve that exception. It’s the right thing to do.
I just want to make sure people know they are ignoring the license agreement when they install OEM on their Mac. My Macbook has Vista OEM on it from before the license "clarification".

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alec

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 19, 2005
233
0
Washington DC
Hrm, will the OEM versions allow me to get updates and support though? Deciphering through the blog post has me a little confused as to what is legal and what is not, and if this means I'll essentially be 'stuck' with the version I receive.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,368
978
New England
Hrm, will the OEM versions allow me to get updates and support though? Deciphering through the blog post has me a little confused as to what is legal and what is not, and if this means I'll essentially be 'stuck' with the version I receive.
Maybe this will help: http://oem.microsoft.com/script/contentpage.aspx?PageID=563841 that and actually reading the new System Builder's License is what convinced me that Microsoft may be finally trying to crack down on this.

Currently, Micosoft has no way of telling that you did not preinstall with the OPK and resell the computer as required by the license. Once the license is installed and activated, Microsoft just knows that you are not entitled to move the license from one machine to another and that they are under no obligation to provide you with end user support as that is the system builder's responsibility per the SBL. But that doesn't mean they won't suddenly decide to enforce their own license and crack down on this, somehow...

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Quad5Ny

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2009
982
18
New York, USA
If you're a college student and have a .edu email address, you can get Windows 7 (Home Premium or Professional) for $29.99 at www.win741.com (its a MS sponsored deal-io). I'd recommend Pro.

EDIT: If you're NOT a student, Newegg.com has XP SP3 and Vista Home Premium (with a free upgrade to 7 H.P.) for $89.99.
Also, If your a student, check your Computer Sciences department first and see if they are a part of the MSDN Academic Alliance. You can get Windows and a bunch of other software for free.

Or, if your a power use and are feeling like taking a risk, you can always use your .edu email and get a copy of Windows Server 2003/2008. - https://www.dreamspark.com/Products/ProductList.aspx


Hrm, will the OEM versions allow me to get updates and support though? Deciphering through the blog post has me a little confused as to what is legal and what is not, and if this means I'll essentially be 'stuck' with the version I receive.
If you can't do something without 'jumping through hoops' its probably not legal. ;)

Anything that has OEM in its product key Microsoft will not help you with.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,368
978
New England
Also, If your a student, check your Computer Sciences department first and see if they are a part of the MSDN Academic Alliance. You can get Windows and a bunch of other software for free.
Subject to limitations of the MSDNAA Student Use Agreement. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/academic/bb250622.aspx, which mainly restricts you to non-commercial use. I don't believe win741 has similar restrictions.

BTW there are no hoops to jump though in using OEM editions, it installs just like a retail edition if you ignore the license terms. As js81 put it, it's a "can I vs. may I" thing, just like the MSDNAA license.

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balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,368
978
New England
He said that he was going to use it for school, sooo? :confused:
He might also want to use it for part-time work at some point. Or, he might want to be able to transfer it to another computer when he graduates, or .... god forbid anyone else read this thread.

The point is if you don't care about the details of the license you have lots of basically equivalent choices from $0 to $120. If you do care, or have some other need, the least restricted license is full retail.

Just know what you are buying. Caveat emptor.

B
 

Quad5Ny

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2009
982
18
New York, USA
He might also want to use it for part-time work at some point. Or, he might want to be able to transfer it to another computer when he graduates, or .... god forbid anyone else read this thread.

The point is if you don't care about the details of the license you have lots of basically equivalent choices from $0 to $120. If you do care, or have some other need, the least restricted license is full retail.

Just know what you are buying. Caveat emptor.

B
Sorry, My bad.
 

alec

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 19, 2005
233
0
Washington DC
Ok, so I've decided that it may be worth it to buy the full version. But can anyone help me navigate the seemingly endless permutations of 32/64 bit, home premium/ultimate/professional/ on Amazon and New Egg?

By the way, this will be running on a new MacBook Pro, if that helps.
 

sharp65

macrumors 6502
Sep 7, 2007
441
0
Ok, so I've decided that it may be worth it to buy the full version. But can anyone help me navigate the seemingly endless permutations of 32/64 bit, home premium/ultimate/professional/ on Amazon and New Egg?

By the way, this will be running on a new MacBook Pro, if that helps.
Here you go. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754

Note: This is an OEM license, so technically it's only for people who plan on installing it on a computer to sell. But there is nothing stopping you from using it yourself if that doesn't bother you.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,368
978
New England
Retail eliminates the 32/64 confusion as both are in the box.

There are only three choices once you have decided to go full retail.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...retail&Ntk=&CFG=&SpeTabStoreType=&srchInDesc=

Home Premium is the mainstream version for non-corporate use that includes all of the new UI features.

You can use an "anytime upgrade" to go up from that to Professional or Ultimate at a later date, so don't feel like you are locked in if you choose Home Premium to start. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...Description=windows+7+anytime+upgrade&x=0&y=0

Here is one comparison chart from Microsoft.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/compare

Key things Pro can do that Home Premium cannot.

Join a Windows Domain, and cache network credentials.
Accept Remote Desktop connection requests
Use Virtual Private Networks
Backup/restore to/from Network drives.
Granular permissions on files.
XP Mode. ("Free" Virtual PC running XP for maximum compatibility).

Things Ultimate adds

BitLocker disc encryption
More complete multi-language support.

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Quad5Ny

macrumors 6502a
Sep 13, 2009
982
18
New York, USA
Ok, so I've decided that it may be worth it to buy the full version. But can anyone help me navigate the seemingly endless permutations of 32/64 bit, home premium/ultimate/professional/ on Amazon and New Egg?

By the way, this will be running on a new MacBook Pro, if that helps.

Once you have the version picked out, then you need to choose to install 32bit or 64bit.


32bit Can run only programs written for 32bit only, and can access only about 2800MB of RAM(crosses fingers balamw doesn't start talking about PAE =P), the rest is reserved. See THIS.
64bit Can run 32bit and 64bit programs and can access 16GB-192GB or ram(Home Premium can access 16, the rest can do 192).

The only disadvantage I can see with 64bit is some minor compatibility issues with a few programs and the fact you can only use Signed Drivers(Google 'Win7 x64 Signed Drivers').
Oh and 64-bit windows completely looses compatibility with 16bit programs.


I would go with 64bit Home Premium.

Oh, and if you need it NOW(like me, I'm impulsive as fu*k), check here - http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/compare/default.aspx . You can get the digital download now, and have the disc shipped to you(sadly no fancy packaging tho).
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,368
978
New England
I would go with 64bit Home Premium.
This is definitely the baseline mainstream install for modern hardware.

If you run into any trouble with app compatibility or virtualization issues with Parallels/Fusion* you can always reinstall from the 32 bit version that was in the box.

(* I have one known issue with Fusion 3.0 in that it won't let me print in Boot Camp on my W7 Ultimate 64 bit install).

And note I didn't say anything about PAE. :p

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