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8/21/2009
09:19 AM
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Dell Releases Windows 7 Drivers

PC maker readies support for Microsoft's new operating system.

Dell on Friday released a set of Windows 7 drivers for its commercial desktop and laptop products, company officials said. The drivers can be downloaded from Dell's customer support site free of charge.




Windows 7 screen shot
(Click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

"The Windows 7 team at Dell is excited about the progress we have made to get the OS ready for commercial customers and is looking forward to launch in just a couple of short months," said Dell officials, in a blog post.

"We have received many requests from our business customers that we post our Windows 7 drivers so they can begin testing and qualifying the new OS within their environments," the officials said. Dell will release additional Windows 7 drivers in the coming weeks as they become available. "We will post additional drivers once they pass rigorous testing and certification standards," the officials said.

Driver support from third-party vendors is critical to Windows 7's success. Lack of driver availability hobbled Windows Vista's January, 2007 launch—a fact that helped doom the OS in the enterprise market.

Microsoft has effectively completed work on Windows 7 and is releasing it in stages to selected markets. Microsoft earlier this month made Windows 7 available to its Software Assurance customers—businesses who pay an upfront fee to the software maker in exchange for the right to free upgrades whenever new software is released.

Tech pros who subscribe to Microsoft's TechNet and MSDN programs also got access to the new OS earlier this month, as did independent hardware vendors and independent software vendors.

Gold or Certified members of Microsoft's Partner Program were slated to receive access to Windows 7 on Sunday, while Action Pack subscribers get the OS on August 23. Sept. 1 marks the day when Volume Licensing customers who do not have Software Assurance subscriptions can download the Release To Manufacturing, or final, version of Windows 7.

Microsoft ended Windows 7 Release Candidate downloads on Thursday. The OS will launch to consumers on Oct. 22nd.

The full version of Windows 7 Home Premium is priced at $199, with an upgrade from Vista or XP costing $119. The full version of Windows 7 Professional is $299, with upgrades going for $199. Windows 7 Ultimate is priced at $319, with the upgrade version at $219.

Upgrading from XP to Windows 7? Here's a step-by-step guide.

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