New Windows operating system available to students at low cost

U students will be able to purchase the upgrade for about $8, saving them hundreds.

Brian Kushida

Although the much-anticipated Windows Vista operating system went on sale yesterday, University students might want to wait to purchase the software through the University.

The savings might be worth the delay.

University Computer Services will sell copies of the Windows Vista upgrade as early as May at a discounted price, said University Computer Services manager Renee Rivers.

The estimated $8 per copy for students costs considerably less than its full package retail price, which costs between $199 and $399, depending on the edition.

“They’re getting something for less than $8 that (someone) in the corporate world (would) have to pay hundreds of dollars for,” Rivers said.

Students must be enrolled in at least one credit and own a legal copy of a Windows operating system to purchase the software.

Vista features include a new interface, desktop applications called “Gadgets” and the ability to flip through open windows as if they were 3-D, called Flip 3-D. Rivers said students should check the UCS Web site for the edition availability.

Copies of Vista will be available to purchase online for pickup at the Office of Information Technology, Academic and Distributed Computing Services, Carlson School of Management and the College of Liberal Arts.

The discount comes as part of a four-year deal between the University and the Microsoft Campus Agreement program, which grants the University license to sell Windows software at reduced prices.

The University pays approximately $760,000 in the deal, which ends in June 2009.

Rivers said students placed approximately 32,000 orders for Windows and Microsoft Office products in the past year and a half.

Despite the popularity of the service, not all students are completely sold on the Vista upgrade.

Computer science sophomore Xian Wang said he plans to purchase a copy through the University but thinks computer requirements might make Vista out of reach for some students.

“Hardware requirements are pretty high, so I don’t think people will be moving (toward) it immediately,” Wang said.

Computer science junior Susu Bordiano said her computer is “beefy” enough to handle Vista and plans to purchase a copy of the operating system in May, but doesn’t think an upgrade from Windows XP is a necessity for her.

“If I had to pay full price for it, I wouldn’t,” Bordiano said.

For Mac users, such as Eric Neumann, it’s just another day, and some suggest that Microsoft took cues from Apple.

“There’s a lot of things that are different, but a lot of it is very, very similar to that of Apple,” Neumann, a marketing junior, said. “But it makes sense because (Microsoft) needed to do something better.”

Vista might not be ready for use in computer labs until fall semester at the earliest.

Academic and Distributed Computing Services manager Pete Oberg said ADCS will run tests to ensure Vista’s capability and prevent glitches with the computer applications that instructors use for courses.

OIT deputy chief information officer Shih-Pau Yen said the hardware used in computer labs is updated every three years, so many of the computers should be capable of running Vista.