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How Much Does a Vista Upgrade Cost? 321

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-is-not-always-free dept.
dptalia writes "Microsoft has rolled out its Vista upgrade program, where people can buy a qualifying PC with XP today and upgrade to Vista later for free. This article talks about what free really means. Some companies, such as Dell, charge $45 for converting to Vista Home from XP home. And then comes the question of actually trying to upgrade your computer... Is "free" really worth it?"
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How Much Does a Vista Upgrade Cost?

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  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:53PM (#16587650) Homepage Journal
    1. Does it run Linux?
    2. It'll cost me nothing because you can't upgrade *nix to Win*
    3. Profit!
    4. I already read this on digg.
    5. ...as in beer.
    • by aussie_a (778472) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:17PM (#16587870) Journal
      1. Making lists of what the standard slashdot responses are.
      • by interiot (50685)
        But pat answers save time and space, since it discourages people from saying the same things over and over. Pat answer lists are entertaining because they take insight to create, but they're useful too.
    • What about OMG Ponies!!!!?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by bangenge (514660)
      You forgot the chairs and the exploding laptops. ;)
    • by The Wooden Badger (540258) on Thursday October 26, 2006 @02:12AM (#16589784) Homepage Journal
      6. Imagine a Beowulf clus- Oh, crap. Nevermind.
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:54PM (#16587664) Journal

    I recently built my own machine... 2G memory, .5TB (2 SATA drives), 3.06Ghz dual core... all very cool. I spent almost 2 weeks getting my XP Professional installed and working properly (for what reason would an OS not come with PS/2 generic mouse drivers?). The sound was a nightmare to get running, the video was a joke. Fortunately (I guess), a lot of the drivers came with the motherboard (as one might expect), but the installation and configuration was amazingly tedious, and error prone.

    I'm convinced one part of the horrible nature is that even today it seems that EVERY driver, EVERY re-configuration demanded a reboot though in my wildest imagination, I couldn't think of a rationale -- this continuity interruptus makes for a tedious, drawn out, error-sprinkled, bad-taste-in-the-mouth experience.

    I finally shook out all of the bugs (oh, yeah, about 100+ XP updates -- the CD was pre-SP1, go figure), got a SCREAMING machine, absolutely delighted with the configuration and performance.

    Now, to be on-topic, I can't begin to imagine these upgrades will be problem free, I can't even think they'd be problem-sparse. It's non-trivial work installing from scratch, much less considering layering something as big as Vista over an existing XP. I wouldn't want to do it. I've read enough reviews from people with bollixed machines (granted, they were working with release candidates) -- there will be a LOT of people out there who've committed too much data and personal work (blood, sweat and tears) on their new XP machines -- and they're going to lose data.

    It's interesting to note the article recommends upgrading to Vista by doing a clean install. That's not really upgrading XP, that's installing Vista. How many people will not have had their data backed up properly ahead of this? How many will be left with applications that ran on XP that won't run on Vista?

    The article is probably right, this is MS' olive branch to vendors who had hoped to roll out the new machines with brand spanking new Vista already installed. It's a PR debacle and nightmare in the making. Fortunately for MS, that would be mostly irrelevant.

    (To contrast, on same machine described above, I took the new Mandriva, booted up, installed and got completely running, all sound and video working perfectly -- in less than 2 hours!

    Funny, for my life I could not find a satisfactory solution (or even find a google solution) to get the XP dual boot file configured properly to reference the Mandriva... Finally gave up, and let lilo handle it, the configuration was painless and flawless. Go figure.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Above (100351)
      I use FreeBSD at work, because it's the best OS for servers.

      I deal with Windows, Exchange, Office, because my employer will bear the costs.

      When I shell out my own money for a new machine, I buy an Apple. I pay money to never have to write this story. I am fortunate to have the money to do that (not that it's a huge premium), but I love being able to buy a new machine and well, start using it immediately to do useful work. It even helps me migrate from my old machine in a useful way. In minutes.
      • by a.d.trick (894813)

        I'm not exactly a Windows fan (I don't even use it), but I fail to see what is good about Macs in this respect. As a Mac user, you build your own computer because you can't build your own computer. If you go off and by an happy little supported Dell PC, it will work. Ok, it's missing some things at first, like a decent web browser, and Windows just generally stinks, but that's a separate issue than what he's talking about.

    • Were you trying to install the 64 bit version or something?

      For the life of me I can't figure out how you could have all this difficulty unless you had a bad BIOS driver or something.

      I've installed xp pro on countless machines (including ones with a ps/2 mouse) and the only problems I've had was when bad hardware was installed ($5 chinese off-brand soundcard from frys, what was I thinking?) or I had to look up RAID drivers.

      I do agree with you about rebooting nightmare. Google slipstreaming windows XP for how
      • by smash (1351)
        How's this for wierd... I couldn't (well, didn't try very hard, as far as what I want to do is concerned, XP = win2k + bloat + cleartype, which appears to be included in some form, in recent nvidia drivers) get XP installed on my system to a SATA disk. Yes, i'm sure there's a work-around, however the work-around I used was to simply install Win2k.

        My question is why the hell should win2k work fine with that configuration, and XP broken? Microsoft tell me that XP is faster and more reliable, easier to use

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:27PM (#16587940) Homepage
      The article is probably right, this is MS' olive branch to vendors who had hoped to roll out the new machines with brand spanking new Vista already installed. It's a PR debacle and nightmare in the making. Fortunately for MS, that would be mostly irrelevant.
      I read another article on Google News earlier stating the same thing. A bunch of computer makers are pissed because they think nobody will buy new PCs this holiday season because they're all waiting for Vista. They have certain quotas to meet for the holiday season. Never mind that they'll have higher sales than they've had in 4 years the day Vista is released, they can't wait that long. So they're going to offer free or cheap upgrades to Vista, to everyone who buys a machine with XP now. I think they're banking on the fact that 75% of the people won't bother to updgrade, or will lose their golden ticket, and won't be able to upgrade, and that this will cost MS very little.
      • by Jason Earl (1894) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:46PM (#16588100) Homepage Journal

        The problem with that line of thinking is that the Christmas season presents sales opportunities that simply don't come around again later in the year. No one wants to get a coupon for a Vista computer in their stocking, and a computer with XP pre-installed simply isn't as competitive an offering as a computer with Vista installed would be. That means that a significant amount of money that would have gone towards PCs this Christmas will probably go towards something else. OEMs are pissed, and rightly so. Missing the Christmas season is the unpardonable sin in the retail business.

        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          No one wants to get a coupon for a Vista computer in their stocking, and a computer with XP pre-installed simply isn't as competitive an offering as a computer with Vista installed would be. That means that a significant amount of money that would have gone towards PCs this Christmas will probably go towards something else. OEMs are pissed, and rightly so.

          A lot of people buy stuff & then never fill out the rebate & mail it.

          It all depends on how much the freebie is worth. The less it's worth, the low

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jesterzog (189797)

          That means that a significant amount of money that would have gone towards PCs this Christmas will probably go towards something else. OEMs are pissed, and rightly so. Missing the Christmas season is the unpardonable sin in the retail business.

          In all honesty, though, what would retailers do about it? Ditch Microsoft and start shipping PC's with Linspire?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by dknj (441802)
      I recently built my own machine... 2G memory, .5TB (2 SATA drives), 3.06Ghz dual core... all very cool. I spent almost 2 weeks getting Ubuntu installed and working properly (for what reason would an OS not come with generic video drivers?). The sound was a nightmare to get running, don't get me started on my unsupported video capture card. Fortunately (I guess), a lot of the drivers came with the linux kernel (as one might expect), but the installation and configuration was amazingly tedious, and error pron
      • I tried using Kubuntu, because I like KDE - not easy. First off, the default screen resolution was 640x480, which isn't a problem except that some of the windows that open during install are larger than 640x480, so you can't read or click on several buttons. Then, you can't actually use the normal KDE configuration menu, because you don't have a root account - so the screen stayed at 640x480 even afterwards. Oh, and Grub wasn't setup right, so (being the lazy sort), I had to use the install disk to boot the
        • by dknj (441802)
          i'm going to let you in on the biggest reason why OSS will fail at revolutionizing the desktop.

          lack of Quality Assurance.

          I mean seriously, Fedora, Ubuntu, et al don't even come CLOSE in terms of usability compared to Windows. Mac OS X does. BeOS did. Linux still is and always will be a hobbyist OS. I happened to find out today that the SCTP vulnerability in the linux kernel (back in 2.6.14 days) exists because of lack of standard checks in the kernel that were outlined in the draft proposal (read: lazy
          • by Ash-Fox (726320)

            I mean seriously, Fedora, Ubuntu, et al don't even come CLOSE in terms of usability compared to Windows.

            You need to explain how. Because I cannot determine how Windows comes more usable than Ubuntu (And who the heck uses Fedora?).

            Mac OS X does.

            How?

            BeOS did.

            How?

            Linux still is and always will be a hobbyist OS.

            Except there are people using it on their desktop for work and businesses right now. Including huge companies even making money off commercializing it. You can't call that a hobby.

            I happened to find out

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by HermMunster (972336)
      It should have taken you a couple of hours of an afternoon to do all that you talk about. Also, you may not have given any thought to the CD that came with your motherboard. If you have an add-on video card you might have wanted to look at the download section of the company that manufacturers the chipset. Just those few things would get you up and running in no time.

      I build custom machines for a living and often I'll be installing 3-4 machines at a time. I own the business and I do this on my own. I p
    • by Al Dimond (792444)

      Funny, for my life I could not find a satisfactory solution (or even find a google solution) to get the XP dual boot file configured properly to reference the Mandriva... Finally gave up, and let lilo handle it, the configuration was painless and flawless. Go figure.)

      Apparently it's possible to do this. Instructions are about 3/4 the way down [vsubhash.com]. I wouldn't call this "easy", but it will get you Linux without overwriting your MBR, like the article says. Though there's really no need to be apprehensive abo

    • (for what reason would an OS not come with PS/2 generic mouse drivers?)

      XP includes them, so how did you have trouble here?

      I'm convinced one part of the horrible nature is that even today it seems that EVERY driver, EVERY re-configuration demanded a reboot though in my wildest imagination.

      You didn't have to reboot after installing each driver, just when you're done installing all the ones you need.

      (oh, yeah, about 100+ XP updates -- the CD was pre-SP1, go figure)

      This sounds like the source of most of y

  • by biocute (936687) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:54PM (#16587670) Homepage
    Some companies, such as Dell, charge $45 for converting to Vista Home from XP home.

    So it's similar to some open source service providers charging for installation and support, even the software itself is free.

    This deal is not meant for bargin-hunters, but for people who really need a new machine right now, and the only thing holding them off is the operating system.
  • by Loopy (41728) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:56PM (#16587686) Journal
    The Ultimate version will run around $400 from what I've heard (yes, it's rumor). While the home/basic version will run a LOT cheaper, you'll be unable to do a lot of the stuff "tweakers" like to do to customize and manage things. Think: XP Pro had Remote Desktop, where XP Home did not. That kinda stuff.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      Surely everyone here knows to get the cheaper OEM version - it should still be legal to buy it with an internal component like a $10 floppy disk drive.
      • by Firehed (942385)
        Actually, I think the new Vista license specifies that you need to purchase a "full" system in order to legally get OEM -where "full" was defined as what constituted a new system in the transferring debacle - a new motherboard and hard drive. But don't quote me on that (unless I'm right).
        • by compwizrd (166184)
          xp license does as well(and they lay it out as a full system, not just a board and hard drive), and the office licensing has for a long time.

          this new setup came out around sept 2005.
          • by dbIII (701233)
            this new setup came out around sept 2005.

            Are you sure? I've purchase a few OEM copies of Microsoft software with spare power supplies and other useful bits since then.

      • by jonwil (467024)
        Thats assuming there even IS an OEM version of Vista Ultimate.
    • by TheSpoom (715771) *
      Those of us who want to do lots of tweaking know where to find our copy [thepiratebay.org] when the time comes. ;^)

      (NB: I probably won't upgrade to Vista anyway, it doesn't seem worth it.)
  • Well.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Arthur B. (806360) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:57PM (#16587690)
    My dell came with windows XP and a free upgrade to linux !
    • by jmv (93421)
      Actually, my Dell came with FreeDOS (and a free upgrade to Linux of course).
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @09:58PM (#16587694) Journal

    ... for those who buy a box with Vista and want XP instead because their favorite game/app/whatever doesn't work?

  • Just don't install it until XP support expires.
  • by Lethyos (408045) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:02PM (#16587740) Journal

    This is just a little fan on the flames to convince hold-outs (as others have correctly indicated in this thread). Once Vista begins shipping, it will be installed ubiquitously on nearly all comodity machines and the influence on the bottom line of the cost will be, for the most part, unaffected.

    • by realmolo (574068)
      Agreed. How many people have:

      a)a machine powerful enough to run Vista well
      b)actually care about upgrading their operating system

      The answer is "not many". I can count on one hand the number of people I know that have upgraded the operating system on their PC. Almost everyone just buys a new PC. Especially these days, where every 12 months you can buy an $600 machine that is TWICE as fast as the $600 machine you bought 12 months ago.

      Upgrades are pointless, is what I'm saying. And even if NO ONE upgr
    • by fermion (181285) *
      This is absolutely not so. It is like saying that XP had no effect on the price of the computer. In fact, in order to not to look like it was using it's monopoly to cheat consumers, it had to create a scaled down version of XP. If one wants the sam OS that one had 5 years ago, say in NT or 2000, the cost of the cheapest rises from a few hundred dollars to over $500. I know that the retort is that no one really needs those extra features, but that is like saying a mac mini is comparable to the cheapest De
    • that's not quite true. For companies that just buy Dell they'll be stuck with Vista when it comes out.. MS MIGHT let Dell backsell XP like they did 2000, but this time around I doubt it. That means when the Boss demands a new PC IT will be stuck trying to "make it work" because Vista testing is not complete, or the companies must-have app is not ready... nothing like forced hoop-jumping to waste everybody's time and money.. and it's a lot of money wasted!
  • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:16PM (#16587854)
    "Free" as in Vista.
  • by codefrog (302314) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:16PM (#16587856)
    It's a total toss up for me on which I'll have more fun not buying; Vista or a PS3.
    On the one hand, not buying Vista is a Genuine Advantage in many ways...
    but by not buying a PS3, I save more money and also get the bonus of not upgrading to newer DRM.

    Thank goodness I can afford to do both!
  • by joe_cot (1011355) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:24PM (#16587916) Homepage
    Dear OEM distributors:

    We screwed up. Please don't go selling Linux PCs this Christmas.

    Regards,

    Bill
  • If you want a free copy of Vista, do it right. Just wait until you can buy a copy pre-installed on a new computer. With the new MacBook Pros out that's what I'm thinking of doing. By the time Leopard comes out my little G4 will be two years old. I can replace it, get a free copy of Leopard, and I'll have gotten a good use out of my current Powerbook. Plus there is always the chance of another speed/RAM bump or price drop by then.

    But a "free" upgrade is a crock. You'll almost never get it.

    I remember gettin

  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:39PM (#16588044)
    As always. The point isn't to go out and start buying WinXP PC-s so to get free Vista.
    The point is if you need to buy a PC, you don't need to wait for Vista, but buy it now with XP, and get Vista later for free.

    As you probably imagine, quite a lot of people are holding hardware purchases, waiting for Vista pre-installed machines. What Microsoft does is keep the market going versus stifle sales right during the Holiday season.

    In fact, it's a very sweet deal if you ask me, since Vista is gonna be crap until SP1, and you get to enjoy worry free XP experience until Vista is stable: then upgrade for $0. Best of both worlds.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @10:45PM (#16588082)
    I really do think that Vista will be the beginning of the end for Microsoft as a major player in the OS wars. There are subtle signs that they are starting to lose. Not commmercially -- not yet -- but their pricing and licensing models no longer work. I would have thought that even they were finally coming to realize this, but their pricing, licensing, and marketing (4 major versions) of Vista says otherwise.

    I expect Windows to hang around for a long while yet, but I expect that this is where it will begin to actually decline. Their business and marketing models have been pushed past the point at which their products will continue to carry them: they have no technology advantages anymore (most of those they had before, they bought or stole), they are pricing themselves out of the market, and they have been making both installation and use of their products more difficult rather than easier. The only advantage they have had has been a stranglehold on market share and thus hardware vendors, but they have begun to lose that leverage as well. Given their heavy-handed (and monopolistic according to the courts) business practices, I doubt many people will really suffer very much from their passing. After all... their major competition is actually free.
  • I bought a new Dell just before XP came out and got a coupon for a free upgrade to XP. What I got were upgrade discs, not straight install discs. Later I needed to reinstall XP. First I had to reinstall the original OS, then do the upgrade to XP all over again.

    If the Vista upgrade is not capable of doing a clean install, I would stay far away.
    • I have a an XP Pro upgrade disk kicking around the office. All I needed to do when re-installing is to put a qualifying OS CD in the drive. The XP installer then browses the CD to validate the hash or something on the CD. Then it asks for the XP Upgrade disc back. This all happens early in the XP install. There's no need to install the previous OS. Perhaps the Dell OEM disks work differently.
  • is really actually making a good business move.

    Think about it this way. Assume XP gets 3 teraflops out of your machine. Comparing the stats between the two OSes, you'll see XP is about half the specs or so. So in theory it will do twice as much, Vista will then get around 1.5 Tera flops.

    Of course this isn't the way it works, double the specs just means double the requirements, so it might be more 2 tera flops vs. 3 tera flops. But the point is any computer running Vista will only last a fraction as lon
  • How long will we be able to buy machines with XP pre-installed? I'm about due for a new desktop Windows machine here at home to replace the venerable Athlon 1.333 GHz that has been my work horse for about four years, but I don't want to go to Vista. I'm thinking there will be some good buys to be had in a couple of months.

    Yes, I do already have Linux boxes under my desk hooked to the 4 port KVM switch, SuSE, Ubuntu and Freespire. I'm thinking that, hopefully, I'll never feel the need to use Vista since L
  • Not sure about vista but I upgraded my amd 64 umbuntu desktop at work from breezy to dapper and then dapper to edgy today and all it cost was a little bandwidth. On top of that I was still working
    using the desktop I was upgrading "talk about productivity".
  • FUD (Score:2, Funny)

    by daniel_howell (457947)
    If it's free you don't want it. It'll be buggy, it'll lack focus, customer support will be lacking and you'll end up having to pay far more to get someone to sort it out than if you had paid for software in the first place. Free software is a false economy. Free software is UnAmerican. Free software destroys decent hardworking mom-and-pop all-american companies. Free software causes acne. Don't buy free software, pay through the nose for our good old, secure, reliable microsoft products. Errr, hang on...
  • by Tom (822)
    How Much Does a Vista Upgrade Cost?

    The usual: Firstborn son, soul and many nights of cursing, pleading and finally resignation.

An Ada exception is when a routine gets in trouble and says 'Beam me up, Scotty'.

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