Are You Upgrading To Windows 7?

by Damian on August 14, 2009 · 9 comments

in News


Odds are if you are a WHS user you have more then one computer in your household, most likely running a variant of Windows (XP or Vista). In my case I have four PCs in my house comprised of two HTPCs and two desktop PCs, all running Vista. Back when having one PC in the house was the norm upgrading Operating Systems didn’t cause much issue. Now however there is a lot more to it, and most importantly price becomes a serious concern. If I were to upgrade each PC from Vista to Windows 7 Home Premium it would cost me $479.96 ($119.99 per license) which is way too much to justify. Fortunately Microsoft has an answer to the multi-PC household. They will offer a family pack for $149.99 which will provide a copy of Windows 7 and three licenses. However, there are several catches. First, this only applies to Windows 7 Home Premium, so if you were looking for higher versions such as Professional or Ultimate you are out of luck. Second, Microsoft has stated that this offer will only be available while supplies last, so it is nothing more then a temporary solution. Lastly, the family pack will either not be released in all markets or in the case of Europe, not until 2010. You can read Paul Thurrot’s thorough writeup for more details.

OK, so I think I have it straightened out. I have four PCs, so what will make the most sense will be to do the family pack for three of the PCs and then either keep the 4th PC as is, or buy a separate license. Since I consider my wife’s PC the least essential of the group, I will just leave this PC as is. BUT WAIT,  out of the other three PCs two of them are Vista Ultimate x64 and one is Vista Home Premium x32, so if I want to stay with this setup the family pack will not work. To move from Ultimate to Home Premium I would lose two key features, Remote Access and BitLocker. I use LogMeIn for remote access across all my PCs and I keep all my sensitive UFO data offsite, so these are two features I could afford to lose. The other issue then becomes x32 or x64, which I will have to give some serious thought to the pros and cons of each. I thought this was supposed to be easy??? Oh well, back to the drawing board.

So what do you think, has Microsoft simplified the upgrade process or will they be plagued with the same issues they had when Vista was first introduced? Also, do you plan on upgrading to Windows 7 (possibly even running the RC as of now) or will you just wait it out until you need a new PC?

UPDATE – Cbick has pointed out that x32 and x64 will both be available when you purchase a copy of Windows 7. However, this will only apply to the retail disk. OEM versions or purchasing a PC from a manufacturer you will have to specify what version you want. Big thanks CBick, now I just have to decide if I want to switch from x32 to x64 and vice versa!!!

Useful Information:

Key Dates:

  • August 20, 2009 – last date to download the Windows 7 RC
  • October 22, 2009 – Windows 7 will be made available to the general public
  • March 1, 2010 – PCs still running the RC will shut down every 2 hours
  • June 1, 2010 – The RC will expire

Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for you can find me over at my blog at or follow me on twitter


Rothgar August 15, 2009 at 10:39 am

I have already upgraded the 3 PC’s in my home (HTPC, Wife’s laptop, My Work Laptop) to Windows 7 Professional RTM and it is somewhat of a pain without my home server being able to use some of the features the computers can. I am even finding to use all of the features of the OS I have to do somethings differently.

CBick August 15, 2009 at 7:58 pm

I was under the impression that the Windows 7 install disk will have both 32 & 64 bit OS systems on it & that you will have the option of installing either one if your hardware will support it.

Is this not correct?

DamianP August 16, 2009 at 4:26 am

CBick – ok, did some investigating and here is what I found:

8. How do I get the x86-64 version of Windows 7?
The retail Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate versions of Windows will come with both the x86-32 and x86-64 discs (it is not clear if it will be one dual-layer disc with both or two separate discs, though it is probably two separate discs). When buying an OEM “system builder” version, you will have to specify which edition you buy. When getting Windows preinstalled on a system, you will have to specify which version you want (if the manufacturer lets you choose).

This information is from Sevenforums (

So as long as you get the retail version you will get both x32 and x64, I will update the post. Thanks for pointing out :-)

Phil August 16, 2009 at 2:25 pm

I actually already have a laptop running Win7 RC (Ultimate) – no problems, whatsoever, although i had to turn the backup notice off, I hear that PP3 is supposed to take care of this. I’ll move the latop to an OEM or retail version of Win7 Home Premium, after the first mad rush is over with.

Texas-Hansen August 17, 2009 at 10:03 am

I have already updated all 3 PCs in our home to Windows 7 Ultimate RTM, and all are working great. I’ve also now installed WHS PP3 Beta 1 on the MSS, and it provides some nice, subtle features when all PCs are using Win 7. Perhaps, things will get even better when the next generation of WHS (Vail) is released hopefully next year.

Indeed, the modern home with multiple PCs faces costly OS upgrades but the pre-release pricing in early July and now the family pack, has been pretty good by MS. Really can’t beat those prices for Home Premium (which for a high percentag of home users will give them everything they really need.) I suspect MS will keep going with some aggressive pricing promotions for Windows 7.

For those with a few hours to attend a Microsoft presentation on Win 7 and interested in a free copy of Windows 7 Professional, you might take a look at This is for Dallas, but that link will get you to where you can see all other locations in the US and can register to attend.

AJ August 19, 2009 at 10:17 am

Why not buy the TechNet subscription and get 10 licenses for every microsoft product on the market? TechNet is $350 a year (usually can find a $100 off deal for first time subscribers though) ….. I just upgraded both my laptop and desktop to Windows 7 Ultimate RTM, Office 2K7, Project, and Visio Pro on both of them and it cost me $250 for TechNet… Seems like the ideal solution to me.

Damian August 19, 2009 at 10:33 am

@ AJ – doesn’t seem like a bad deal, guess it really depends on what other MS products you use. I have Office 2003 which I am perfectly content with (never got comfortable with the UI changes in 2K7) and don’t use any other MS products, so a TechNet subscription would be more expensive

Thanks for pointing out an alternative.

Adam August 23, 2009 at 10:31 am

I make use of the Remote Access Feature in WHS on my MSS. As we’ve all probably figured out, you can’t establish a remote session with Vista Premium. It must be either Business or Ultimate, or some of the other flavors out there.

Will Win7 Premium have the capability to be RDP’d into? Or will it be just like Vista and you have to buy the Ultimate version? I like the sound of that family pack, but without RDP, it’s a show stopper.

DamianP August 23, 2009 at 11:03 am

@ Adam – my understanding is that W7 Home Premium will not have Remote Access available. You can hack it in Vista, so I am thinking it may work for W7 as well (see link –

As I mentioned, I use the free version of logmein so I have remote access to all my pcs and server without worrying about what version of windows I am running

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