No Windows 7 Clean Install, please!

People do not purchase computers to run operating systems but applications. However it seems that Microsoft really does not understand that simple concept, as well as it does not understand how much time and effort it is usually required to a user for customizing a system according to his/her needs.

I am referring to the decision of Microsoft not to provide European customers with an upgrade release to Windows 7. In fact, in Europe, Microsoft will be selling the full program at the upgrade pricing, but European users will be forced to do a clean install to upgrade to the new operating system. For example, to upgrade a Windows XP based system to Windows 7, you have to scratch the existing platform to install Windows 7. So, what about all the applications you already had on your system? What about all the tuning you applied in years to your applications and tools?

I am used to purchase software, and since software could be very expensive, more than hardware, I am very careful about what I install on my computers. Most of the software I use is freeware or open source, but sometimes there are shareware and commercial applications that I really like or need, as Corel Paint Shop Pro or Axialis IconWorkshop, for example. Of course, to save money, I am used to purchase upgrades rather than full versions, possibly when there is a good promotion or offering. I am always looking for the lower price, of course: I have not money to waste.

Therefore, if I should rebuild from scratch my desktop platform, I would have first to install Windows 7, then to reinstall all the original versions of applications I purchased many years ago — assuming I still have all of them — and then to reinstall all the upgrades I applied in several years of usage, assuming it is possible. In fact, I live in Italy but I mostly use English versions of applications, since it is easier to get support from forums in case of troubles; so I am used to purchase downloadable versions of applications. I have very few boxes, really. In addition, nowadays, most upgrades are performed automatically if you have a software license, so I should run through my desktop upgrade history again. I have no idea if that is really possible and how long it might take: weeks, maybe months! It is also possible that some old application does not install in Windows 7, so I will miss the opportunity to install upgrades too.

Reinstalling the applications is just a piece of the whole work, anyway. All my applications are particularly customized. For example, I seldom use My Documents for my information and data. I have a bunch of well-defined folders connected to automated backup and synchronization processes. Thence, most default locations in my applications have been customized. I also have a lot of custom toolbars and menus, which significantly increase my productivity in most of the applications I use. Furthermore I have custom dictionaries that I built in years, hints and tricks, snippets, macros, scripts, templates, and a lot of other user defined components too. Of course, some applications allow me to export a part of those customized elements so that they can be imported again in a clean install, but even in those cases I would always miss something. In many other cases, however, the handwork I have to plan is relevant.

Moving to another operating system is not a solution too. Not because it is not feasible, but because I already have several computers with several operating systems. Here is not a matter to prefer Ubuntu to Windows or to move to Mac. My problem is: I have a Windows XP system that I use quite a lot because of specific applications that I know very well, and applications and tools that are not available in other operating systems and that allows me to manage a lot of devices and appliances at home. So I need that system. I have no problem to keep Windows XP, but soon or later it will be discontinued.

Therefore, if Microsoft does not change its strategy in Europe, I will not upgrade to Windows 7, even if it would be the best operating system in world. I suspect that such a strategy is related the fact that the European Commission has fined Microsoft for defying sanctions imposed on it for anti-competitive behaviour (about €900M). So, it is probably not a technical problem, but a political one. Just a revenge? I hope it is not: it would be childish. In nay case, it does not strengthen the image of Microsoft on the European marketplace.

I honestly does not care which is the reason, anyway. I personally hate the fact that most computers on the marketplace have a pre-installed operating system. I would like to choose my hardware and my software independently. I am not keen of a specific operating system too: computers are just tools and I use anything can be useful to me. IT is not a religion, but a matter of using the right tool for the right work, and the right tool is the one you know very well and are able to use in a productive way. A good carpenter has a lot of different tools on his bench, and he often has the same tool from different maker, since each one has strong and weak points. So it is in any job. A good bench helps, but it is your tools set and the way you use it that makes the difference. So, a good operating system matters, but it is your choice of applications to give value to your computer, and how good you are to use them, of course. Learning a valuable and professional application may require a lot of time: it is an investment that may prevent you to upgrade to a new operating system if that application is not available on the new platform too.

So, for the moment I will keep my system as is. I would like to take advantage of some of the new Windows 7 features, but since the real value is in the applications, not the operating system, I will not change unless I am allowed to upgrade. Clean install is not an option for me.

Commenti (2) a «No Windows 7 Clean Install, please!»

  1. utente anonimo ha detto:

    I installed Ubuntu 9.0.4 that is like Windows XP, powerful, easy to use (in many aspects more then XP !!!) and You have a sea of free software

  2. Dario de Judicibus Dario de Judicibus ha detto:

    The problem is that there are software related to specific hardware devices and appliances that I have to use, who have managing software for Windows only. I cannot run them on Ubuntu.

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