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Windows 7 Clean Install Only In Europe

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the start-all-over dept.

Windows 803

jbeale53 writes "It seems that to install Windows 7 in Europe, you'll have to wipe the system and start over. There will be no ability to upgrade. From the article, 'The unfortunate side effect has been caused by Microsoft's decision to avoid any further EU censure on Windows 7 by removing Internet Explorer 8 from the OS. Because Internet Explorer is so deeply integrated within Vista, it's not currently possible to perform an upgrade that removes IE.' Why would Microsoft cripple it this way? Just to try and point fingers at the European Union? Because the EU didn't tell them to remove IE, they only told them to offer other browsers to be installed during setup."

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OOh (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712329)

As much as I would like to find fault with Microsoft here...

Anybody that "upgrades" a Windows operating system in place from one version to another is an idiot.

People should reinstall their Windows from scratch at least once a year. Any less frequent than that and the successive patches to patches to patches become too much for the system to bear. The successive software installs and uninstalls leave hanging dependencies that slow the system to even worse of a crawl than it was at first install. An "upgraded" system drags with it the legacy rootkits previously installed, and those cause issues even in the best case. In the worst case the malware and crudware bog down the system so much you're lucky to get any work done at all.

A fresh install of XP on modern equipment is almost as snappy as Linux. After a year you're powering up and going for coffee while it "wakes up". After an "OS Upgrade" you don't dare power the thing off unless you're going on vacation for a week. Patch Tuesday has spawned "Team Building Wednesday".

Re:OOh (1)

cencithomas (721581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712369)

+1 for smart. I used to reinstall 2-3 times a year until I just got lazy and now it's maybe every other year or so...

Re:OOh (3, Informative)

sympathy3k21 (1574255) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712377)

EXACTLY. You'd have to be seriously dumb to "upgrade" a Windows box. I have never once seen this go well. Between Vista and 7 maybe it will be better because they're so alike, but I doubt it. I don't see the big deal with upgrading anyway. What's the point? So you can save 5 minutes backing up your stuff? (assuming that like much of the general buffoonery you don't have it already backed up) It takes about 10-15 minutes to install Vista from start to finish on a blank, modern machine. Judging from the totally inexplicable timetables involved in Microsoft's Windows Update, it probably takes ten times as long to perform an "upgrade." Even on a Linux system like Debian with a good package manager you will have some slight inconsistencies between releases that can foul things up if you perform a straight dist-upgrade. I can only imagine the things that go on behind the scenes in a Windows upgrade.

Re:OOh (5, Interesting)

smash (1351) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712509)

Just to add to this... I've upgraded 2 machines from Vista 64 Ultimate to Windows 7 RC (both of them FAR from clean installs - one was 2 years old with a few hundred gig of games and other crap on it, the other was a work machine with a year worth of junk on it) and they both went pretty well. The only thing i had to do was do a repair of VMware workstation, as Windows 7's installer clobbered the network devices.

I figured "why not, I may as well see how it goes" as I'd need to do a reinstall anyway (and all the shit i care about is on a separate disk) if i wanted to do a clean install... but i was pleasantly surprised at how painless the upgrade was. ESPECIALLY considering it was only the RC...

I agree, you'd be dumb to *rely* on an upgrade to work and not be prepared to reinstall, but so far I've been happy with not doing it, using the RC.

Re:OOh (5, Insightful)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712637)

"So you can save 5 minutes backing up your stuff?"

Hell, I don't even worry about that anymore. Partition for Windows on C:, partition for all my data on D:. C: gets wiped, D: remains untouched.

Re:OOh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712391)

I haven't patched my Windows boxes in years, you insensitive clod!

Re:OOh (3, Informative)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712401)

You don't have to reinstall every year. My main rig has been running the same, non-reinstalled copy of XP for over 3 years. It's fast and stable.

As far as upgrading though? That's dumb.

Re:OOh (5, Interesting)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712677)

I guess I'm just dumb, then.

I've run the same windows system with just OS upgrades (95-2000-XP Pro), no fresh installs, for about 12 years now. That's around 6-7 MB/CPU/Ram/HD/Video hardware upgrade cycles, since I always build my own and tend to upgrade pieces most of the time. I still have the original Win 95 install files in a sub-directory on my hard drive.

I'm currently running a dual-core with 2 GB of ram and a RAID 1/0 hard drive config (4 drives), so maybe that's it (although hardly unusual in today's market), but my computer seems much faster to me than any other computer I've worked on in the last few years, even brand-new computers with "fresh" installs.

I have 200+ applications installed, many of which are old enough that I'd never find the install media again, if I ever did a fresh install (packed away in some box somewhere, I suppose, since I've moved 4 times in the last 12 years).

Of course, I've also never bought into the idea that the only way to clean up an infected windows box is to reinstall everything from scratch. It takes me about 30 minutes of work to clean up the worst infected windows computer I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot). That's 30 minutes of work for me and about a day or so of work for the computer. Saves the end user a ton of work reinstalling everything, though.

I mean, I know that windows can be stupidly convoluted sometimes compared to unix, but it seems like the "fresh install of windows solves everything" crowd tends to be people who just don't understand what's going on under the hood enough to actually solve the problem they've run into.

Re:OOh (1)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712703)

Argh, should've been 95-98-2000-XP Pro.

Re:OOh (1)

Zapo_Verde (1406221) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712819)

The only problem I see with this is that if you ever HAVE to reinstall your OS, then you have to waste time installing four different operating systems. And not lose any cd keys. And have the CDs on hand. It seems like a lot more work than having one XP disc and key.

Re:OOh (4, Interesting)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712791)

You don't have to reinstall every year. My main rig has been running the same, non-reinstalled copy of XP for over 3 years. It's fast and stable.

Heh. 2 months ago, I retired my main workstation, a Win2000 box that has been running since 2001 doing software development, CAD and whatnot. I never had needed to reinstall the software in all that time.

Re:OOh (2, Insightful)

melmut (968751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712879)

I managed +- 100 computers in a university lab. Only reinstalled once, a computer with bad memory chips which were corrupting data, so corrupted windows and antivirus updates had caused a real nightmare. I don't see why reinstalling should help. If you have a problem, it often has a cause. If you reinstall, there is a big probability that you'll have the same problems, because you'll probably do the same things. Understand your problems and their causes and solve them, instead of wiping everything just to do the same thing over and over again. Corrupted installations? Run as admin and don't update, and your box will be corrupted. Don't do it and it probably won't. If you don't run as root on linux, why do it in windows? You don't have to, I didn't for years and have always had clean computers with fixable problems.

Re:OOh (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712417)

The only problem with this once-good advice is that in a world of DRM-restricted ****, a complete wipe and reinstall of your system almost guarantees you'll lose something, even if you think you've backed everything up.

I suppose this is what we get for using an operating system that doesn't clearly distinguish between data that can change (real or configuration metadata) vs. fixed code/data for the OS and applications that changes only if and when you install a different version. It's also what we get for using an OS that lets applications mess with things like your boot sector to implement DRM (I'm looking at you, Adobe) and provides separate storage for configuration that isn't in the main file system at all (registry), so there are all sorts of places for vital information to hide and avoid being backed up in the first place or easy to restore even if it is saved.

Unfortunately, until Microsoft grow up on this front or someone writes software as powerful as Creative Suite to run on Linux, this is the world many of us are stuck in. :-(

Re:OOh (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712891)

There's a solution. It's called Mac OS X.

Re:OOh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712425)

Sigh. You're talking about XP, Vista resists the slow down a lot better.

And yes, you're going to be like oh noes Vista is slow from the start.

Shows what you know eh?

Re:OOh (1, Insightful)

StokedForYou (1598895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712429)

If anything Micro$oft needs to force the gullible little consumers in the United States to reformat.

Re:OOh (5, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712431)

I learned to image a long time ago, makes things much faster.

I get the base XP install with ALL the security updates. *snapshot*

Next time it's time to do it again, I start from there, install all the security updates. *snapshot*.

Quite a bit faster.

Re:OOh (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712439)

I would agree that doing an OS upgrade by doing a backup, saving off data, low level formatting all drives (some SCSI drives allow a true low level erase of every sector and relocate any bad blocks they find, others just do a read across all sectors and call it done), then a complete OS rebuild is a good idea, regardless of OS, be it AIX, Solaris, Windows, BSD, or Linux.

However, even though this is a good thing in principle, it is tough to do in practice. A lot of Windows machines have apps which the install media (or CD keys) are unable to be located, or have some licensing system which charges per reinstallation. Reinstallation from scratch also takes a lot of time. An upgrade may leave a lot of cruft behind, but when under strict deadlines, it might be worth the risk as opposed to the time it takes for a complete rebuild of a box from the OS on up.

PS: Reinstall Windows yearly? Maybe back in the Windows 98 and ME days, but unless its some specific app that causes damage over time, Windows versions including and more recent than XP are stable enough to last a lot longer than that. I'd highly recommend taking a look at one's antivirus utility which may be eating excessive CPU cycles (some are said to be FAR worse than others), and perhaps running a utility like CCleaner periodically. If malware is a chronic problem, consider running your Web browsing as a limited user or inside a virtual machine that you can rollback when done. Of course, there is always the Firefox/Adblock/NoScript trio.

Re:OOh (1, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712461)

A fresh install of XP on modern equipment is almost as snappy as Linux.

Good post, up until that point. Savvy users of both Linux and XP know that tweeked XP is much snappier and far more convenient than tweeked Linux if both run the same features and don't do anything stupid. That part of your post smacks of an unfair comparison of a naive virus-running XP porn addict and a savvy Linux tweeker who boots to the console.

XP still trumps Linux on a desktop where people want shit to just work.

Re:OOh (4, Funny)

brezel (890656) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712541)

well if you really like shit it's no wonder you prefer windows :D

Re:OOh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712687)

Wow moron, how many brain cells did you burn to come up with that joke? Fucking cocksucker...

Re:OOh (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712695)

I prefer both, for what they're good at. Windows for running my pir^H^H^H expensive, specialized software and Linux for day-to-day tasks.

Re:OOh (3, Insightful)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712697)

Don't make me laugh.

A fresh install of XP (sin Service Packs) doesn't even support WPA security. A friend of mine brought his computer over and wondered why he couldn't connect and I almost died of laughter. Once we updated it and installed all the upgrades, it was just as slow as Vista.

Now compare to a clean Linux install. Updated and cleaned quite often, it doesn't require installing half as many updates compared to a clean XP install. Furthermore, it comes with all modern tools that you need, including that WPA security support that drove us up the wall. The Linux kernel is far more modern than the one equipped in XP, and that will cause lightyears of difference between the two systems.

There's a huge price to pay when you use something that outdated. Once you bring it up to speed, it's all for naught. You might as well use something modern if you want things to work without bringing your system to a crawl.

Re:OOh (4, Insightful)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712485)

Whilst I agree that upgrading the OS is a bad idea the suggestion that one needs to reinstall every year is just plain wrong. I have 200 systems that have been running the same image for 5 years with no slowdowns or problems. You must be doing something wrong.

Oh and creating a ghost image of your fresh install is a much better option than reinstalling
timewise. I have not needed to install for years.
Having the patches to make XP loaded drive boot in any machine you like helps.

Re:OOh (3, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712665)

Agreed. If you keep the systems free of spyware, viruses, and lock them down enough so users don't mess with them too much (i.e., they're set up as a work machine, and used only for work), Windows is as easy to keep "clean" as any other OS.

It is shitware (aka a lot of "shareware") installers, viruses, spyware, internet toolbars and other associated crap that messes them up.

If you deploy Linux, OS/X or any other operating system and hand over the root password (or sudo access) to a typical *user* it will get messed up too.

Re:OOh (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712507)

I'm very much against upgrading Windows with the old version still there. But I don't think upgrading Linux is any better. When I chose the option to upgrade Fedora 10 to Fedora 11, I ended up having to reinstall completely, and ultimately decided to stay with version 10 instead of 11. It's a good thing my files were backed up.

Re:OOh (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712753)

Some versions of Linux (Fedora is one.) don't upgrade well. Others, like Ubuntu, do.

Re:OOh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712847)

Excuse me? Every-single Ubuntu upgrade I've ever done since 5 has screwed up on different machines and different setups for me. Missing packages, packages not installed, package differences between fresh install and upgrade, missing gnome components, working video drivers now screwing up X config, network card stuck on sleep mode for some reason, the OS itself not fully realising it had been upgraded and providing obsolete updates.... I could go on.

Re:OOh (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712889)

My sister runs Ubuntu. I've seen several updates go just fine. Maybe she's lucky, maybe you aren't. Who knows?

Re:OOh (4, Insightful)

Kufat (563166) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712539)

Anecdotal, but...
My PC is an Athlon 64 3200+ running XP SP3. Before that, it was an Athlon XP 1800+, and a PII/450 before that. I upgraded from a botched Win98 install on the PII to XP RC1(!), and haven't done a clean install since. (I've done repair installs with each CPU/mobo upgrade.) My PC has always been as snappy and responsive as I could hope for; the only problem is an occasional machine check exception which may be due to hardware. (Diagnostics say that the error occurs on HyperTransport 0, which connects the CPU core to its on-chip memory controller.)
Maybe the stability is due in part to avoiding crap and bloatware; I use FF, Thunderbird, and Pidgin, and disable most unnecessary services and the startup apps that some programs try to install. I also do clean uninstalls when I remove programs and generally try to trim the fat.

However, I do see less experienced users' PCs running slowly and unreliably...sometimes it's a clearly defined spyware problem and sometimes it's "Windows bloeat" or whatever you'd like to call it. I can't say what they do differently because I'm not looking over their shoulders.

Re:OOh (2, Funny)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712561)

People should reinstall their Windows from scratch at least once a year.

Good lord you Windows people love abuse. You reinstall every single year, and you find that acceptable? That's got to chew through at least a day or three every single time, especially since package managers don't exist on Windows.

In comparison, all of my Linux installs are the original ones, and they run like new (better actually, as they have much newer software now) after 3-5 years of 24/7 operation. In fact, it's not uncommon for them to run without a reboot for more than a year at a time.

Re:OOh (1)

bilbus (999819) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712651)

It takes around 20 mins to reinstall xp via a image. Package menagers???? ummmm SMS or SCCM. I could deploy out dozens of packages in no time. Just because you know nothing about windows does not mean something does not exist. Are you saying updating linux does not require a reboot? If so you have patched your linux boxes for years?

Re:OOh (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712707)

Linux does not require a reboot to load a new kernel, just to let you know. I can patch the kernel or change it completly and not have to reboot the system.

Re:OOh (1)

andy_t_roo (912592) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712869)

Other than actual kernel updates you do not need to reboot linux after updates.
Naturally any single program which is updated needs to be restarted for the updates to take effect, but this means that the entire computer doesn't need to be rebooted. Even kernel level drivers can be updated without a reboot - probably the the closest you get is when you have to update your GUI (either KDE or Gnome) or Nvidia drivers, but even that is a "drop back to the command prompt, issue 1 command, start gui again" procedure, not a full restart (only takes 10 seconds).
Most people don't have a separate SMS or SCCM server knocking around (medium sized business and above could, but thats not "most" people)

Re:OOh (1)

silvaran (214334) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712577)

You may or may not be able to install a fresh copy of Windows 7 using the upgrade discs (which just ended the half-off preorder promotion). This article [hothardware.com] (Jun 25) says you can, while these [chron.com] two [hothardware.com] (July 10 and July 13, respectively) say you cannot. What do the 3 articles have in common? No sources besides, "I've been asking a spokesman for the company about this for about a month, and he's finally been able to offer an answer." (the July 13 one). While I haven't really given anything substantial, I'm hoping somebody else out there will see this and can clear it up.

Re:OOh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712597)

I've never experienced this alleged system slowdown that you claim happens over time. Got an XP installation from 2002 and a Vista installation from 2007 that run just as well as the day they were installed.

Nice FUD though.

Re:OOh (1)

bilbus (999819) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712619)

Right because corp IT has so much time that they want to reinstall dozens of apps as oposed to just doing a in place upgrade. sure i perfer to have a fresh install ... but not always a option. and OMG, reinstalling a few times a year? Sure you want to do that on your time, go for it. IT is not going to reinstall a pc unless it's broken. I have windows XP boxes running for 5+ years with no issues.

Re:OOh (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712631)

No, here's the real reason that you're an idiot to use the upgrade disc.

First of all, it will only work if you have an old MS (full) install disc lying around. Not hard to lose a couple years down the road. Second, even if you do have those old discs, remember how some of them carry that limit that only allows X number of installs? Makes that worthless. Instead, eventually when you do need to do that clean install, you're going to need a legit install disc. Long story short, MS comes up big with a free $50 cause eventually, you're just going to get a new license anyways (either through buying a clean install disc or buying a new computer with a new license).

That is why upgrading (and for that matter, using Windows at all) is a stupid idea.

Re:OOh (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712701)

People should reinstall their Windows from scratch at least once a year. Any less frequent than that and the successive patches to patches to patches become too much for the system to bear. The successive software installs and uninstalls leave hanging dependencies that slow the system to even worse of a crawl than it was at first install. An "upgraded" system drags with it the legacy rootkits previously installed, and those cause issues even in the best case. In the worst case the malware and crudware bog down the system so much you're lucky to get any work done at all.

Wow, that's probably the best sales pitch I've heard for windows yet. Congrats.

Re:OOh (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712711)

Actually I've found you can get most of that speed back by using a really good registry cleaner like the one built into tuneup utilities [primewares.com] . This is the freeware full version of the 2k7 edition, but if you like it I would suggest buying the 2K9 as it is even nicer.

That said i would also recommend monthly disc imaging which will give you a way to roll back effectively if you end up with an app that leaves behind a bunch of crap. And of course a disc image of a clean install with all drivers and patches and basic apps is certainly less time consuming than having to deal with a yearly clean install. After restoring from the clean image you can then do the full patches using something like autopatcher [autopatcher.com] with Multiset [almeza.com] taking care of automating any new "must have" software.

I have found with these little tricks you can greatly extend the life of your Windows OS without the need to do a clean install. By using these tricks along with keeping my data on a separate drive so I don't have to worry about backups before rollbacks I have been using the same install of Win2K that I am typing this on since 2000 when it replaced WinME(EEEK!) and simply haven't had to deal with Windows rot. I simply roll back when I have a nasty uninstaller and use Tuneup to clean out any junk registry entries and this old workhorse still makes a good Nettop even after all these years. And it is certainly easier than doing a yearly reinstall.

Re:OOh (1)

MadJeff451 (841329) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712749)

People should reinstall their Windows from scratch at least once a year.

I think that's a matter of opinion. I find that I'm pretty good at keeping the malware off and my disk defragged. I'm not a sys admin, so I only have to deal with my machines and my family's, but still ...

Re:OOh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712761)

Since the NT 3.51 days to my current w2k8 system have never 'reinstalled' my environment from scratch. Granted one can rarely rely on the MS upgrade process but simply copying your HKCU registry hive and being smart about sections of HKLM your configuration and preferences are largly preserved and all but a very few applications actually need to be manually reinstalled.

Call me an idiot if it makes you feel better. I refuse to spend weeks dinking with software just to upgrade an operating system.

Linux and Windows both get an F- WRT upgrades from my experience. With windows I'm always finding myself wanting to upgrade between versions or editions that are not "supported".. and /w linux your experience is tied to your choice of distribution which more often than not fails. From my experience and what I have seen "good luck with that" sums up your chances of a successful upgrade with either system.

WRT patches and hanging dependancies you are not making any logical sense. If your going to bash windows which is very easy to do you must at least make a valid argument. Installing windows XP from scratch will lead to negligbly fewer patches installed (After rebooting dozens of times to achive a fully patched system) than a system that had been running for many years and is also fully patched. Service packs reset patch levels. You can delete the old patch sets from the windows folder quite easily to save space.

Re:OOh (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712793)

A fresh install of XP on modern equipment is almost as snappy as Linux.

Well, if what you want is a snappy machine (and a hard-core gamer probably does) why bother with XP at all? Just install Linux and get a faster more responsive machine that's immune to current viruses, trojans, malware and adware. And, of course, it's free. Of course, if you need to use proprietary software that won't work under Wine, you may not have a choice. Still, the more I read about Windows, and especially comments like this from people who clearly like Windows, the more glad I get that I've gone over to the Linux side of the Force.

Re:OOh (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712797)

Not so with 7. After using 7 on my desktop for a while (I decided to go all beta, I'm using 7 and FireFox 3.5 and no other OS installed) I decided to do an upgrade on my laptop from Vista. Too much hell to reinstall all software, personal settings. Well, my laptop now runs better than ever. I actually almost threw it out of the balcony on a couple of occasions but with Windows 7 it actually works and much faster, too. All software works. Seriously my laptop was hell to deal with, the worst laptop I ever had (an HP) but now I can stand it without crying in frustration while I'm using it. Previous Vista installation was over a year ago.

Re:OOh Pricing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712843)

So in Europe upgrade copies might not be available? I swear that I read just yesterday about how to install the cheaper upgrade copy of 7 and it required an install of Vista, and not XP or 7 RC. Clean install is not an option unless you buy the more expensive non-upgrade copy. Or maybe I read something from someone who didn't know what he was talking about.

Re:OOh (1)

basementman (1475159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712845)

"Almost as snappy as Linux" in my experience with Ubuntu at least is the exact opposite. Firefox runs like a hog, flash barely runs at all and just opening a folder takes a few seconds of special thinking time.

The last thing we need ... (1)

harryjohnston (1118069) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712375)

The last thing we need is out of date third party browsers bundled with Windows. (And yes, by the time the disks get from RTM to the consumer the browsers will be out of date.)

A competent user will have to download the latest version anyway, so what's the point? An incompetent user, on the other hand, will go ahead and use an out of date browser, and blame Microsoft for it when they get burned.

What I'd like to see is a mini-browser shipped with Windows: no Javascript, no plug-ins, no active content of any kind. Just basic HTML. This would be enough to let the user download whichever browser he or she chooses.

Re:The last thing we need ... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712517)

n incompetent user, on the other hand, will go ahead and use an out of date browser, and blame Microsoft for it when they get burned.

What browsers don't auto-update in the default configuration these days?

Re:The last thing we need ... (2, Informative)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712603)

What browsers don't auto-update in the default configuration these days?

Browsers being run by non-administrators.

Seriously, this is a big deal. One of the nicest things about IE is that it gets updated as part of Windows/Microsoft Update which means even if you don't have an admin log in to the machine for a year, that browser will be up-to-date. Of all the other browser authors, Google is the only one that I think might also do this (via the Google Updater service that is installed with their stuff). For Firefox and Opera, unless you log in just to update them it never happens.

It might be nice if there was a way for applications to hook into a global OS framework that allows them to check for and apply updates, but I suppose that itself would be a security nightmare. If you aren't careful it would be really easy for slightly knowledgeable users to use the update mechanism to run any program they want with admin rights. Probably need some kind of private/public signing of the executables like MS does for Windows Update.

For apps with such a significant Internet surface area, all browsers should be able to update themselves without requiring the user to be an administrator.

Re:The last thing we need ... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712773)

Browsers being run by non-administrators.

Seriously? If I install Firefox as a non-administrator I can't update it if I'm running Windows? I never run Windows as a non-administrator because it is unnecessary given my security setup. Is Windows really that crippled for non admins?

Re:The last thing we need ... (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712825)

> A competent user will have to download the latest version anyway,

And the less than competent?

With no browser installed at all, you better hope Microsoft puts some automated Install scripts in or your Aunt Edna will insist you come over an fix her brand new machine.

Try explaining FTP to your Aunt or your Grandmother.

Same old crap (3, Informative)

gruntled (107194) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712379)

They did exactly the same thing during the antitrust trial. In December 1997 (or thereabouts), Microsoft responded to Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's order to provide a version of Windows 98 without a browser by offering up a version of the OS that wouldn't run.

Re:Same old crap (3, Informative)

RedK (112790) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712567)

It was a lie then, it's a lie now. The browser isn't required at all, only MSHTML.dll which is used to embed the HTML rendering component in applications and is used quite extensively elsewhere. Internet Explorer itself is just another browser than embeds it and adds functionality around it like navigation controls, bookmarks and tabs. You can delete iexplore.exe off any system without much repercussions.

Re:Same old crap (4, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712857)

The problem was, you could still access the internet via explorer, just by typing a URL in any windows explorer window. Further, deleting iexplore.exe means you couldn't get updates. I'd call that a big repercussion.

The point was not that Microsoft couldn't create a version of Windows without a browser, obviously they could. They couldn't simply remove it instantly without basically creating a system that was non-functional.

The judge gave them 30 days to remove IE. Not enough time to re-engineer the OS without the browser in a way that wouldn't break things.

it is probably for the best (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712383)

Upgrading from one OS to another OS is always a risky thing. The conditions and results are likely to be incalculably variable. For businesses, this should not be a big deal. Their data should be stored on servers, not on workstations. Their workstations should be loaded from system software images which are deployed when major upgrades are rolled out or when a machine becomes corrupted with malware. Simply building Windows7 images is the best way to deploy Windows7 in the EU or in the US... in the office or even at home. Okay, at home, they should buy a new hard drive and install Windows7 then put their old drive in a USB box and import only the data.

Installing any OS clean is generally for the best and will give the OS the best opportunity to give a good impression.

On the flip side, can you imagine what a machine would be like today if a machine once running Windows NT 3.x with general applications was upgraded to every incarnation of Windows since then along with every incarnation of their applications along the way? I'm morbidly curious to know what that would be like...

Re:it is probably for the best (5, Funny)

slinches (1540051) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712455)

How many upgrades does it take to get from Windows 3.11 to 7?
(shows BSOD during the upgrade from 95 to 98)

... The world may never know.

Summary BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712405)

Or maybe they didn't plan on making upgrades possible from a version with IE in it to versions without it? Maybe they didn't conspire to "cripple" it, but instead told you you'll have to clean-install a new OS that is not a strict superset?

They were investigating Microsoft for illegally tying IE to Windows. So Microsoft stopped tying IE to Windows. I don't see how that reaction is all that surprising (well, except among the set that thought Microsoft would take the most evil possible route in every case).

I have to say, I think forcing a person to click through another damn screen after every install for a choice of several browsers would also have been "crippling" in the same sense -- an annoying one-time event that most consumers won't even face in the first place because people rarely install or upgrade their OS in the first place.

Bureaucracy cannot fix monopoly (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712415)

EU gets the money but looks stupid in the end, and its citizens lose.

Re:Bureaucracy cannot fix monopoly (1)

nulldaemon (926551) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712513)

I don't get that. What exactly has the EU lost?

So they need to clean install? So what; A clean install might motivate a small percentage to try Linux, and a lot of them might try Firefox or Chrome. Add that to the EU's nice pay cheque, what exactly makes them look stupid?

Re:Bureaucracy cannot fix monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712613)

Why Linux and not MacOSX ?

Re:Bureaucracy cannot fix monopoly (1)

nulldaemon (926551) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712783)

Well you generally can't install MacOSX on the same hardware you had XP/Vista on...

Re:Bureaucracy cannot fix monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712833)

you'd have to buy all new hardware (even though its not that different from what you're running) to get MacOSX.

Re:Bureaucracy cannot fix monopoly (2, Insightful)

momerath2003 (606823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712591)

Erm, since when can one be a citizen of the EU?

Re:Bureaucracy cannot fix monopoly (1)

Meumeu (848638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712739)

Erm, since when can one be a citizen of the EU?

Since 1992 [wikipedia.org] .

Future news prediction (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712465)

Users install something else after feeling punished by Microsoft.

What is with these companies? I thought Microsoft was above this kind of passive aggression.

Re:Future news prediction (1)

baboo_jackal (1021741) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712685)

I thought Microsoft was above this kind of passive aggression.

I wouldn't call it "aggression." How much money has the EU fined MS in the past few years? Billions of euro? The fines have been retroactive in some cases, and in the case of the protocol documentation debacle European Commission officials have threatened fines based on "insufficient documentation" that they hadn't even actually bothered to review.

Even huge companies like MS aren't bottomless moneypits, especially when faced with potential multi-billion Euro fines levied by a historically capricious and arbitrary international authority. No, I would call this justifiably defensive behavior.

unclear for outside EU as well (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712471)

Still it is not clear how clean installation using update copy of windows 7 can be achieved. Microsoft was quick to offer pre-order copies of Windows 7 upgrade without officially explaining what are the ways to perform upgrade. The issue is in validation of previous version of Windows. Some believe that previous version of Windows has to be installed and activated before performing update which is ridiculous in long run. In other words, it seems that EU people might have to install vista first, then Windows 7.

What happened is that people need to research how they can perform upgrade, but there's still no official word for it.

This doesn't sound like they learned all they could from Vista debacle.

Re:unclear for outside EU as well (1)

Meumeu (848638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712765)

In other words, it seems that EU people might have to install vista first, then Windows 7.

The pre-order copies sold in Europe are full versions, not upgrades.

Why must I have Windows 7? (3, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712491)

I currently run Windows XP and Debian with KDE 4.2.4 and I love them all. Could someone tell me why I should care about Windows 7? Heck...the need for its activation too keeps me far from even trying it out.

Re:Why must I have Windows 7? (4, Informative)

smash (1351) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712535)

vs XP: GUI is actually nicer to use (yay for a toolbar i can turn into a proper Dock :D), previous versions, UAC (it works), 64 bit (yes, xp 64 bit exists, but its a dead end product), improved scheduler (with better support for SMP due to the dispatcher lock being removed - it certainly feels snappier for it), search that actually works well, etc.

If you have >1gb ram, i highly recommend giving the RC a go and see for yourself. Of course a heap of people on /. will bitch about it because of the DRM, activation, cost, etc - but as a usable product its actually quite neat.

Re:Why must I have Windows 7? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712551)

Because at some point, hardware manufactures are going to stop writing drivers for xp. Win 2000 drivers are getting pretty rare for a lot of hardware, another 5 years and xp will be in the same boat.

Re:Why must I have Windows 7? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712565)

I currently run Windows XP and Debian with KDE 4.2.4 and I love them all. Could someone tell me why I should care about Windows 7? Heck...the need for its activation too keeps me far from even trying it out.

Are you serious? Your post is like someone saying "Why should I buy an iPhone, my current cell phone can text just fine?"

Re:Why must I have Windows 7? (2, Informative)

Meumeu (848638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712775)

I currently run Windows XP and Debian with KDE 4.2.4 and I love them all. Could someone tell me why I should care about Windows 7? Heck...the need for its activation too keeps me far from even trying it out.

Because you don't need to activate XP? Besides, you don't have to activate Windows 7 if you want to try it out...

IE (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712495)

Internet explorer deeply integrated in Vista? I remember all the claims that Internet explorer had been separated out for Vista specifically.........another lie? Or summary full of shit?

I can understand that. (1)

tokyoahead (743189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712497)

Since neither MS nor most of the companies who write software for Windows know how to write a program that can be uninstalled 100% after use, you cannot simply remove IE.

Additionally, a lot of business software is relying on IE to work. It simply does not care if FF would run with it, but it simply only executes IE for in-window browsing etc.

If you upgrade from Vista to 7 and loose IE, you will be stuck with more non-working programs than you want to handle - or better - than MS wants to handle.

If something breaks after an upgrade with a forced removal of IE, the users will scream "The new Windows broke my machine!". The same thing they screamed when Vista came out.

I don't blame them. (3, Insightful)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712531)

Bracing for modded down... but here goes.

There was really no reason for them not to be able to bundle their own software in their own OS. Why isn't Apple being told not to include Safari and iTunes and iCal and iWhateverthefuck in their OS? A software company should be able to include whatever they want, and if people don't like it then either don't buy it or stop complaining. But the fact of the matter is... anybody who currently uses Internet Explorer either likes it better than everything else, has no clue of the difference between it and Firefox and whatever else, or the more likely reason that their company forces them to, and that is not going to change no matter how many browsers are included in the OS.

But anyway the point of this comment is to say that of course Microsoft is going to do their best to make sure they meet all of the requirements and then some, because they are pissed. If Microsoft were a sole proprietorship and I was the sole proprietor, I would certainly tell the EU to fuck off by making things as hard as possible for them as a result of their stupid decision.

Also, great work on the unbiased summary there jbeale53 and samzenpus.

Re:I don't blame them. (0, Flamebait)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712583)

You're probably an astroturfer so I'm not wasting a lot of time here. Please learn what antitrust abuse is before coming here and telling us why it should be legal. With a few minutes of reading on the topic you can understand why what MS is doing is a crime and what Apple/RedHat are doing is not. If you don't take the time to educate yourself and haven't read one of the hundreds of posts explaining this in other articles, why should we bother with you?

Re:I don't blame them. (5, Informative)

RedK (112790) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712589)

Because when Microsoft includes a product on its Monopolistic OS, they are leveraging that Monopoly in order to gain one in another market. When Apple does it, it's business as usual. Different rules apply to Monopolies. Thems the breaks kiddo.

Re:I don't blame them. (0, Flamebait)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712655)

But the thing is... why is Microsoft a Monopoly and Apple isn't?

The way it looks to me is that Apple holds WAY more control over their OS and other such products, while Microsoft tends to be much more open about letting developers actually..... develop..... and manufacturers actually..... manufacture.

If you ask me, Apple is a monopoly, and Microsoft is not. And I have yet to find an explanation as to why nobody sees it that way.

Re:I don't blame them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712717)

another ignorant astrosurfer, as usual

Re:I don't blame them. (5, Informative)

Kufat (563166) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712763)

A monopoly is defined by the amount of control over a market as a whole, not the amount of control over the products offered up in that market. For example, IIS could never be an example of a product with a monopolistic hold on a market as long as Apache maintained significant market share, no matter how tightly IIS was locked down.

Re:I don't blame them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712769)

The definition of a monopoly is based upon marketshare, not business practices. Yes, Apple are fucking nazis, but Microsoft has had a monopoly on the computer industry for a long time. Apple does not.

Re:I don't blame them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712809)

Thing is, they don't have to leverage their OS monopoly to gain leverage in the browser market, as they already have a monopoly there!

What I never understood is why Internet Explorer is so tightly integrated with windows. Sure, an OS at that level should have a standard web browser. Why shouldn't it be IE? But you should also be able to remove it without sacrificing twelve virgins to the devil first. If IE was easy to remove/replace with another browser, no-one should have to complain.

Microsoft could say: "If the customer wants to use another browser, they are perfectly able to do so, just install it and remove our tripe. Or don't. It's up to you".

Currently though their stupid integration makes having two versions of IE on one machine impossible, which makes developer testing a nightmare. This is the only Issue I have from IE (apart from any browser version before 8, but that's another story again).

This "pick a browser at install" idea introduces a silly extra step to a process that should be as simple as possible. On a Mac you get Safari by default. Makes sense that on a Windows machine you get IE.

Re:I don't blame them. (3, Informative)

RedK (112790) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712887)

This might be news to you, but back in the Netscape days, pre-Windows 98, Microsoft had a very small market share in the Browser market. The original browser wars, in which Microsoft "coupled" Internet Explorer with the GUI before shipping Windows 98, is what resulted in Microsoft gaining such a high share of the browser market. Essentially, they used their monopoly on desktop OSes in order to gain that monopoly on browsers. The original anti-trust charges in the US were followed shortly.

Re:I don't blame them. (1)

thevoice (54067) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712639)

Because different rules apply to monopolies, that's the law, sorry.

Re:I don't blame them. (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712699)

> There was really no reason for them not to be able to bundle their own software in their own OS. Why isn't Apple being told not to include Safari and iTunes and iCal and iWhateverthefuck in their OS? A software company should be able to include whatever they want, and if people don't like it then either don't buy it or stop complaining.
  • Sorry bud, you are quite wrong. It is illegal (in the US at least) for Microsoft because they had a (legal) monopoly in the operating system space and attempted to use this to attain a monopoly in the web browser space (illegal in US to use one monopoly to gain another). Other companies don't have the same monopoly so are not subject to the same restrictions. While Europe may not have the exact same law they do have competition regulators to ensure competition remains in the market, so are sensitive so similar extensions of monopoly into other domains resulting in reduced customer choice.
  • Incidentally the default deployment of IE has retarded the progress of the web. This of course was Microsoft's plan all along, they want you to have a much better experience on their desktop than the web and do everything they can, legitimate or not, to ensure this. Fortunately some competition has emerged while Microsoft were asleep and the web and browsers are starting to make progress again (to everyone's benefit, even Microsoft's).

Re:I don't blame them. (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712805)

There was really no reason for them not to be able to bundle their own software in their own OS. Why isn't Apple being told not to include Safari and iTunes and iCal and iWhateverthefuck in their OS?

Because Apple is not convicted of abusing monopoly powers to control a market.

Next strawman, please. This one is getting old.

If Microsoft were a sole proprietorship and I was the sole proprietor, I would certainly tell the EU to fuck off by making things as hard as possible for them as a result of their stupid decision.

It's generally a very bad idea to piss off the people who can confiscate considerable parts of your property. The EU is a larger market than the US. Telling the EU to "fuck off" is the dumbest business decision a multinational corporation could possibly make.

who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712537)

It's Europe.

Slightly Wrong Summary (5, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712547)

Why would Microsoft cripple it this way? Just to try and point fingers at the European Union? Because the EU didn't tell them to remove IE, they only told them to offer other browsers to be installed during setup.

Actually the EU has not ordered MS to take any specific action. They do seem to favor multiple browsers installed by default as a remedy, but haven't "told" MS anything other than that they think MS is committing a crime and are looking into it. MS's announcement that they are excluding IE in Windows 7 was a preemptive strike by MS in the hopes the EU would not order a more effective remedy, but the EU basically told them they weren't dropping the case and were going to investigate and determine the most effective remedy regardless of what MS does at this point.

Assuming all the above premises hold, it seems likely this is just MS being lazy and incompetent and not wanting to expend effort to write an upgrader for Europe that won't install IE.

Re:Slightly Wrong Summary (1, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712895)

Actually, I wouldn't call it a pre-emptive strike. The fact of the matter is, Microosft can't wait for the EU to make a decision. They have a product ready to ship. They seemed to have decided that rather than risk further issues, they'll just remove IE for the EU so that they can ship the OS on time.

Better Experience for European Users? (2)

andersh (229403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712571)

While upgrading is convenient, won't this actually give European users a better start with Windows 7? Windows is always better when it's clean and recently installed.

At least my experience with upgrading from one version of Windows to another has been "mixed". I prefer to install from scratch.

Re:Better Experience for European Users? (1)

kzieli (1355557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712673)

If I was moved to install windows 7 (which I'm not) I would would be investigating how I could get a European Edition. So That I could install without IE

Internet Explorer Required (1)

andersh (229403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712817)

If I was moved to install windows 7 (which I'm not) I would would be investigating how I could get a European Edition. So That I could install without IE

Well, if I have to use Windows at all it's because I need Internet Explorer for work (see Office and Sharepoint integration). I might as well get the best Windows version they have to host it.

As a European I doubt this will be a major problem for my employer or me. I'll just have to download Internet Explorer after having installed Windows 7 (physically or virtually).

My personal PCs will continue to use UNIX, Linux and Mac OS X thank you very much :)

Re:Better Experience for European Users? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712675)

While upgrading is convenient, won't this actually give European users a better start with Windows 7? Windows is always better when it's clean and recently installed.

Perhaps Microsoft's hope is that EU users will simply grab the upgrade from bittorrent in the states to save themselves the hassle and in the process get IE, helping to keep it ubiquitous.

Internet Explorer Tie-in(s) (1)

andersh (229403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712851)

Perhaps Microsoft's hope is that EU users will simply grab the upgrade from bittorrent in the states to save themselves the hassle and in the process get IE, helping to keep it ubiquitous.

I doubt Microsoft wants anyone to download a pirated copy for any reason. It's not really going to be a problem for Microsoft the way I see it.

After all it's the applications that require Internet Explorer that ties users to Windows and Internet Explorer.

European users/admins will just have to download and install Internet Explorer after installing Windows. I know I will have to.

But without Internet Explorer... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712599)

how do I go and download FireFox?

But without Internet Explorer... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712803)

No Internet Explorer, no Windows Update.
No Windows Update, no patched system.
No patched system...won't you get infected with malware when you surf the web with Internet Explorer? Oh, wait...

Clean install? Good! (1)

Uzull (16705) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712645)

It will wipe then all of malware from the start on.
M$, please make it perfect with a mandatory harddisk format at install time.

The more I hear about it... (3, Funny)

KillzoneNET (958068) | more than 5 years ago | (#28712663)

the more I see MS giving the EU a big F U. Not only have they had to put up with them telling them to open their system up for competition, but they get fined for when they try to do anything otherwise.

"Blasphemy!" they say. "We will only lose more market share!"

And its true. My god, imagine Normal-Joe-User having the choice between several brands of web browsers and media players to choose from. Internet Explorer sounds old and so 80s, where as Firefox has the words "fire" and "fox" so its gotta be both exciting and cuddly right?

So instead of giving them the choice, they opt to not give them any at all, foregoing the need to even have to bother with the EU ever again. I can see Balmer and his cronies sitting in a meeting and they all unanimously say "fuck it," raising a middle finger across the Atlantic as hard as they possibly could.

Re:The more I hear about it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28712725)

So instead of giving them the choice, they opt to not give them any at all, foregoing the need to even have to bother with the EU ever again. I can see Balmer and his cronies sitting in a meeting and they all unanimously say "fuck it," raising a middle finger across the Atlantic as hard as they possibly could.

The problem with that is that they're giving the same middle finger to roughly 45 states in the US!!

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