Reasons to skip Microsoft's Windows 7 Beta download

As many of you know, I'm a hardcore Mac guy - but I wasn't always this way. My experiences with Windows Vista sent me over the edge, prompting me to add the "hardcore" next to my "Mac guy" title.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

As many of you know, I'm a hardcore Mac guy - but I wasn't always this way. My experiences with Windows Vista sent me over the edge, prompting me to add the "hardcore" next to my "Mac guy" title. Still, I was excited to hear that Microsoft is releasing a beta download of Windows 7 on Friday - a move that might slow the switch-to-Mac momentum out there if the beta testers offer positive reviews. Just this morning, I thought about looking for my own Vista notebook. (My wife put it away after I was ready to literally toss it out of a second-floor window.)

But then I decided against the download and install. Given what I now know about the process, it already seems to be more trouble than its worth. Consider the following:

  • The beta of Windows 7 (or is it really just a great big Vista service pack?) will be available to the first 2.5 million people who download it on Jan. 9. I know it seems silly to ask but... is there a specific time on Jan. 9? Here in Silicon Valley, our clocks will be among the last in the world to reach the midnight hour.

  • Windows 7 Beta will expire on Aug. 1, 2009. Huh? Expire? So everything just resorts back to the older crappy version of Windows?

  • Be prepared to lose data. This excerpt from the Windows Blog:

As much as the Windows 7 Beta completely rocks, part of the beta process is discovering bugs and reporting those bugs. Some of those bugs could possibly lead to data loss. I tend to be a risk-taker myself and have gone all-out with the Windows 7 Beta by putting it on almost all my PCs both at work and at home, but not everyone should do this.

  • Finally, even if you love Windows 7 and are willing to let it expire in August because the buzz is that it will be available again by the holiday season - think again. Windows executive Bill Veghte told CNET that Windows 7 actually might not be ready in time for the 2009 holiday season. "I'm telling them that it could go either way," Veghte said. "We will ship it when the quality is right, and earlier is always better, but not at the cost of ecosystem support and not at the cost of quality."

I know, I know. Many of you are probably thinking that I'm biased because I've gulped down Apple's Kool-Aid and probably have already been labeled a Windows Hater. But I wasn't always like this - Windows made me this way. That's what made me switch - before switching was cool.

In all honesty, I want Windows 7 to be a success. I want to install it on the Windows Vista machine I have so I can recover some of my lost investment. I want Microsoft to take the time it needs to make sure that Windows 7 is a product that's exponentially superior to Vista (that shouldn't be a tough task - it can't possibly get worse.) But it's hard to get excited about something that potentially won't even arrive until 2010. (Really. The company is already talking about delays and the beta hasn't even been released yet.)

Thanks for the download offer, Microsoft, but I think I'll pass. With only 2.5 million downloads available, I'll leave mine out there for someone who really really really wants it and is willing to take the time to install it. Me and my Macbook will just keep working from right here on the sidelines.

Other coverage:

Windows 7 Should be a Fixta Free For All Six Vista annoyances fixed in Windows 7 Report: PC makers to provide free Vista-to Win-7 upgrades starting July 1 Better the Windows Vista devil you know than the Windows 7 one you don’t?

Editorial standards