Microsoft is giving netbook makers a choice of pre-loading Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Starter Edition on low price netbooks. My guess is that most computer makers will stick with Windows 7 Starter, which will be much cheaper, unless there’s huge demand for a more powerful operating system.

But where does that leave netbook owners who don’t want a crippled OS? Well, you could wipe the hard drive and install a Linux distribution like Ubuntu for free. Or you could spend $80 to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium. Microsoft unveiled the price of the “anytime upgrade” today.

The funny part of the announcement is that it suggests users who pick up a netbook for limited use may eventually decide they’re using it “as their primary every-day PC.” This, despite the fact that Intel and Microsoft have been spending a lot of time talking about how people are buying netbooks as secondary machines, not as desktop or laptop replacements.

$80 normally wouldn’t seem like a lot of money to pay for the operating system upgrade, but if you only pay $299 or so for the computer, it’s a lot of money. What added features would you get with Windows 7 Home Premium that are missing in Windows 7 Start? Remote media streaming, advanced taskbar functions including taskbar previews, the Aero Peek desktop effect, and the ability to change your desktop background.

What do you think? Are those features worth $80 to you?

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20 replies on “It’ll cost $80 to upgrade a netbook from Windows 7 Starter to Home Premium”

  1. i guess its downgrade to xp or hack it to get mac os x or install linux on it for FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I agree with 100 percent, my wife bought a netbook and I am mad that I didn’t do my research about Windows 7 Starter, it is so crippled, it’s not even funny. I had to do a registry hack just to change the wallpaper, most people would never be able to figure out how to do that. I’m still trying to figure out if I can somehow enable Aero Peek but it looks like we have to pay $80 to do that.

  3. Want a real OS for your netbook? Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) is $29 from Apple. It runs rings around XP on netbooks.

    FYI, background changing is a standard feature.

  4. Wow… Can’t change desktop background. Lame… Windows XP is perfect for my netbook.

  5. I can see a quick hack program that overlays the desktop and overrides any command to go to the desktop by showing your own picture instead. Still, its just plain stupid for Microsoft to do this in the face of competitors such as Google Chrome OS. Perhaps history will show this as being the deciding factor in Microsofts fall from dominance as the biggest OS.

  6. I used a BestBuy $20 reward certificate to pre-order W7 Home Premium during the 1/2 price promo, for a total investment on my part of $30. It looks like it will be a decent upgrade, but if it sucks at least it won’t hurt so bad!

  7. Instead of paying Microsoft TITAN LEV is a solution that works faster and cost much less ( It is Linux operating system designed for Windows users. Same look and feel, includes 150 applications for all relevant use, runs Windows applications, includes migration tools from Windows and synchronization of files, calendars, contacts and notes. It is the best solution for Netbooks

    1. Can only be started 16 times unless registered? What’s that about?
      I don’t see any source disks mentioned on the site?
      Those screenshots look like the return of “Look and Feel” lawsuits.

    1. How? You’d expect the update to be pushed through Windows Update, took people years to crack the XP-era validation for the service. With them desperate to make Windows 7 a financial success you can expect it to be beefed up once again.

      To be honest I’ve just preordered Home Premium E for £50 to go on my desktop and will probably grab another copy when I upgrade to an Ion netbook too. Whatever machine you run it on that’s a fabulous price for a fully featured OS.

      1. From what I understand, there will only be one distribution image for all versions of 7. What you have access to is determined by what you have paid for. If you want to upgrade you buy a code to unlock more features. Someone will figure out how the codes are determined and that will be the end of it.

  8. after screwing users with vista, you’d think they’d do a bit of groveling. if changing the desktop background (which i LOVE to do) has to be an extra feature-i’ll just buy my netbook right now with XP.

  9. So, now changing a desktop background is considered an advanced feature?

    That’s freakin’ hilarious.

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