If you're one of those who've bought a Windows 7 PC or a copy of the new operating system as a gift, Microsoft's new Web site dedicated to how to install, reinstall and/or uninstall Windows might be a handy resource to have at your fingertips.
The new site has links to performing all three tasks for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. While terms like "custom install" may not scare off techies, they likely mean little to average consumers playing amateur sysadmin at home over the holidays. (My ZDNet blogging colleague Ed Bott has done his best to help simplify the upgrade questions Windows users have encountered as they have started the move to Windows 7, but there's still room for more demystification around the steps needed to get Windows 7 up and running.)
On a related note, here are a few other Windows-related links of potential interest that I've collected so far this week:
Microsoft is offering PC makers an OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) for its free security suite, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). Earlier this year, when I asked Microsoft officials whether they expected much OEM demand for MSE, they dowplayed the idea. PC makers get a kickback from security vendors who preload trial versions of their security software on new PCs, so why would they want to preload a free product for which Microsoft wasn't going to pay them? I guess there's been PC maker interest, after all -- at least enough interest to release an OPK for MSE -- which is slated to arrive on December 22.
On December 15, Microsoft also released MSE in 17 additional markets bringing the total number of available markets to 56, company officials said. The newest countries where MSE is available for free download (if you can prove you have a Genuine copy of Windows) are: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. MSE also is available now in Russian and Romanian, in addition to the nine other languages it already supported.
Microsoft has launched a new Windows 7 Test Drive site, aimed at developers who may not have Windows 7 installed on their development environments. The new site offers devs a virtual environment experience, highlightingf Windows 7 features of interest to developers (as opposed to end users). From a new post on the Windows Developer blog:
"The idea behind the Test Drive lab is to create a very low barrier-to-entry development experience for Windows 7. It is a free tool for you to use whenever you want and requires no special software installation (besides a single ActiveX). All you need is a Windows Live ID, a few clear hours, and a visit to the Windows 7 Test Drive for Developers to take a guided tour of Windows 7."
Microsoft adds the Windows Live engineering blog to its Windows Team blog uber-site. It was ages ago that Microsoft moved the Windows Live organization in with the Windows one, both under Microsoft President Steven Sinofsky. But it took until December 15 for the Windows Live team to start a new blog that melds all the different Windows Live blogs into one. The "Inside Windows Live" blog will focus on the behind-the-scenes engineering stories of various Windows Live products, like Hotmail, Messenger, SkyDrive, the Windows Live Essentials suite and other Live software/services. Seems like a good time for such a blog to go live, given Windows Live Wave 4 is expected in 2010....
The new blog will discuss new features, share customer usage stories, provide updates on service interruptions and more. The first post on the new site is from Corporate Vice President Chris Jones, who says: "Over the next few months you will also see this site become integrated with Windows Live ID, giving you even more ways to interact with us on Windows Live."