Thursday was a big day for Toledoans Aaron Metz and Kenneth Burdette.
Both went to Stone Computer in West Toledo on the first day customers could buy Microsoft Corp.'s new Windows 7 to get their copies of the software operating system that replaces the company's much-criticized Vista system.
"As a gamer, I've hated [Windows] Vista ever since it came out," said Mr. Burdette, who bought a new computer that came with Windows 7.
"I've seen nothing but problems with my games in the last year. But the reviews say 7 is faster, better," said Mr. Burdette, who like Mr. Metz, is a fan of World of Warcraft, an online fantasy role-playing game.
Mr. Metz bought a copy of Windows 7 to upgrade from Windows XP, an older software program. He said he had deliberately avoided buying Vista but was enthusiastic about the newest version.
"I haven't tried Windows 7, but I've heard that it's a lot better," he said.
At an average store price of $199 for the full Home Premium edition of Windows 7 program (other versions cost more), and $119 for a disk that upgrades Vista to Windows 7, Microsoft is hoping to score a big hit with its new software.
Some online retailers sold the software for $109.
Ron Folds, assistant manager of the Best Buy location on Monroe Street in Toledo, makes a list before the store's opening of customers who plan to purchase a computer with Windows 7.
"It's the first really significant release of Windows in a decade," analyst Brendan Barnicle of Pacific Crest Securities told Reuters. "Given the missteps around Vista, people really questioned Microsoft's relevancy in the technology space. So this is a critical first step for Microsoft regaining that credibility."
Some retailers nationwide opened at midnight to give customers an early shot at buying a new PC or an upgrade disc for their existing computers.
In the Toledo area, demand did not appear strong enough for a midnight opening, but at Best Buy on Monroe Street a handful of customers lined up prior to the store's 10 a.m. opening to be among the first to buy Windows 7.
Randy Orner, a technician at Computer Discount in Sylvania Township, said the store ordered 11 copies and sold out of them in the first hour of opening yesterday.
"Everyone we sold it to had Vista, and they were expecting to move away from Vista," he said.
Mr. Orner, who bought a copy of the software, said the thing that sold him was that the new product is faster and transfers files better than its predecessor, a great improvement for those who use computers for music, gaming, and photos.
Greg Bertwell, chief technician at Stone Computer, called the new Microsoft product "flawless" and "more efficient" than its predecessor. Mr. Bertwell, who sold seven copies of Windows 7 yesterday, has tested and used the product since March.
It is especially friendly to game players, increasing the rate an image stays on screen, which can mean the difference between choppy images and smooth ones. "It's really what Vista should have been," he said.
David Melzak, a computer technician at Computer Renaissance in West Toledo, said he received several inquiries yesterday about Windows 7, although no one had stopped in to buy a copy.
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