Microsoft Pulls Windows 7 Family Pack

Microsoft has killed their money saving Family Pack offer for Windows 7 home users. This was a great deal for a lot of users with multiple PC’s around the home that are wanting to upgrade to Windows 7. Sad to see it die off so soon. And right before Christmas, too!

The special offer, which debuted shortly before the Oct. 22 retail launch of Windows 7, let buyers upgrade as many as three PCs from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7 Home Premium. The $149.99 price of the Family Pack represented a savings of $210 over three separate copies of Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade, which lists for $119.99.

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Black Screens Of Death Not From Microsoft Updates

Microsoft says that the “Black Screen of Death” is not caused by the recent updates in November. I haven’t heard much about people having issues with them, but I guess some people have.

“Microsoft has investigated reports that its November security updates made changes to permissions in the registry that that are resulting in system issues for some customers,” Microsoft security response communications lead Christopher Budd said in a statement. “The company has found those reports to be inaccurate and our comprehensive investigation has shown that none of the recently released updates are related to the behavior described in the reports.”

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Microsoft Office 2010 Beta FAQ

PCWorld has a pretty thorough writeup about why and how you should install the new beta of Office 2010. I’ve been running the technical preview and now the beta, and I have to say that it is a worthy upgrade. I agree with the “expert” quoted in the article:

But what does our expert say? “Anyone interested in Office should get a copy of this beta,” wrote Preston Gralla in his first-take review. “It was solid and performed well without crashing once. I experienced none of the slowness that you sometimes do with betas.”

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Windows 8 Coming In 2012?

So, Windows 7 has been out (officially) not even a month. But, as the way it is in this industry, speculation over Windows 8 started quite a while ago. A release date has been shown on a roadmap slide from Microsoft, showing 2012.

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NSA Helps Microsoft With Security For Windows 7

The NSA (National Security Agency) of the USA has been helping Microsoft with security for the Windows OS. This is some great news, and should be great in the long run. Of course, I did find one thing disturbing.

The NSA and other cybersecurity experts say that simple precautions (such as installing system updates regularly and running anti-virus software and firewalls) should protect against about 80% of the attacks out there. This means that if users took these steps, the NSA and others could focus on the more dangerous 20%, or so the theory goes. Put another way, of course, that means about 20% of attacks are sophisticated enough to theoretically defeat standard security measures.

The emphasis is mine. I wonder what types of firewalls the attacks can bypass. Scary.

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WindowBlinds 7 Available

For all those that like to customize the look and feel of your operating system, Stardock has released the Windows 7 compatible WindowBlinds 7. I’ve always been a fan of WindowBlinds, and have been awaiting the release of this version. Give it a try, there is a free trial download to test it out.

Customize your entire Windows experience with WindowBlinds. This one-of-a-kind program can change virtually every element of the Windows graphical user interface.

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Office 2010 Beta Available To Public

There has been a lot of talk about the beta release of Office 2010. It’s been available to MSDN and Technet subscribers for a few days now, and now it’s available to the public. One nice thing to note, however, is that it is also available for Windows Mobile 6.x on Windows Marketplace for Mobile. I’ve been using the technical preview for some time, and am now using the beta. Overall, it’s a nice upgrade from Office 2007, and the improvements from the technical preview to the beta are noticeable. So, if you’ve been running the TP, take the time to upgrade to the beta.

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How MS Blew It With Windows Mobile

While I don’t agree with the author on this one, this is still a very good and informative read. What don’t I agree with? The fault of the failure of Windows Mobile. It wasn’t the iPhones fault. Windows Mobile is a nice OS, but I really loved it on my Dell Axim x50V. Not so much on my Motorola Q9C. Even with the touch screen phones I’ve played with, they just don’t offer that much over the easier to use competitors. I’d like to see Windows Mobile 7 do a complete rewrite of the software. I like the Windows like interface, but there should be an option for an icon based touch screen (similar to iPhone or Android), and redo the Start menu (too many taps to get something done). Personally, I use my Dell for the WinMo features, and my MotoQ for the phone and text. An expensive phone for what it’s used for… Just a phone. They need to put the “Smart” back in SmartPhone.

Windows Mobile has lost nearly a third of its smartphone market share since 2008, research firm Gartner reports. Windows Mobile had 11 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter of 2008, according to Gartner, and last quarter Windows Mobile

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Is OEM Available For End Users? Nope, According To Microsoft

There was a time when you could build you own PC, and buy an OEM version of Windows to run on it. Well, according to everyone BUT Microsoft. Creating confusion and caos in Microsoft’s own Windows Help forums, as well as with PC builders everywhere, Microsoft’s EULA now states that the OEM version is meant for PC builders for resale only. You cannot build a PC for yourself and use an OEM copy. Even if you work for a resale shop. If it’s for personal use, you must use a retail or upgrade version. Now, it hasn’t always been this way. Old information (now deleted on MS’s site) states that you could use an OEM copy if you built your own PC… Hmmm… Will Microsoft change it’s stance after this has come to light? They state the information on their site was a “mistake”, as well as the literature that came with previous versions of Windows.

I sure hope so. It would save us DIY’ers some money, and it would save Microsoft some face. I’ll be watching this development very closely.

Once, not so long ago, Microsoft officially allowed hobbyists and Windows enthusiasts to use discounted OEM System Builder copies on new PCs built for personal use. Last year, in a post titled OEM licensing confusion starts at, I posted pictures of official, Microsoft-produced documents that made this policy crystal-clear, in plain English.

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