Let's Review Windows 7
Windows 7 is the latest public release version of Microsoft Windows, a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablet PCs, and media center PCs. Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009, and reached general retail availability on October 22, 2009, less than three years after the release of its predecessor, Windows Vista. Windows 7's server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 R2, was released at the same time.
Unlike its predecessor, which introduced a large number of new features, Windows 7 was intended to be a more focused, incremental upgrade to the Windows line, with the goal of being fully compatible with applications and hardware with which Windows Vista is already compatible.
Presentations given by Microsoft in 2008 focused on multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows Shell with a new taskbar, referred to as the Superbar, a home networking system called HomeGroup, and performance improvements. Some applications that have been included with prior releases of Microsoft Windows, including Windows Calendar, Windows Mail, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Photo Gallery, are not included in Windows 7; most are instead offered separately as part of the free Windows Live Essentials suite.
Internet Spades, Internet Backgammon and Internet Checkers, which were removed from Windows Vista, were restored in Windows 7. Windows 7 includes Internet Explorer 8 and Windows Media Player 12.
In July 2009, in only eight hours, pre-orders of Windows 7 at Amazon.co.uk surpassed the demand Windows Vista had in its first 17 weeks. It became the highest-grossing pre-order in Amazon's history, surpassing sales of the previous record holder, the seventh Harry Potter book. After 36 hours, 64-bit versions of Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions sold out in Japan. Two weeks after its release, it was announced that its market share had surpassed that of Snow Leopard, released two months previously as the most recent update to Apple's Mac OS X operating system. According to Net Applications, Windows 7 reached a 4% market share in less than three weeks. In comparison, it took Windows Vista seven months to reach the same mark. As of January 29, 2010, Microsoft announced that they had sold more than 60 million Windows 7 licenses. Reviews of Windows 7 were mostly positive, praising its usability when compared to its predecessor, Windows Vista. CNET gave Windows 7 Home Premium a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, stating that it "is more than what Vista should have been, [and] it's where Microsoft needed to go". PC Magazine rated it a 4 out of 5 saying that Windows 7 is a "big improvement" over Windows Vista, with fewer compatibility problems, a retooled taskbar, simpler home networking and faster start-up.
Some Vista Ultimate users have expressed concerns over Windows 7 pricing and upgrade options. Windows Vista Ultimate users wanting to upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 must either pay $219.99 to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate or perform a clean install, which requires them to reinstall all of their programs.
Microsoft is offering a family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium (in select markets) that allows installation on up to three PCs. The "Family Pack" costs US$259.99 in the United States; it was available at a cost of US$149.99 for some weeks when it was first introduced.