UM offers free Vista download

Within a week of the release of Microsoft’s new operating system on Jan. 30, the university began offering free downloadable upgrades for Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007.

Windows Vista is the successor to Windows XP, which has been on the market for almost six years. The software may be found at their Microsoft website, Miami’s Microsoft website warns students that the update process should only be attempted by users with enough knowledge and experience to work through the potential problems that might be faced, so proceed with caution.

Beth VanBoening, an accountant and licensing and contracts specialist for UM’s Technology Product Center, explained the University of Miami and Microsoft are in a campus agreement, which allows them to offer the upgrades for free, while Vista retails for around $250 in stores.

The university provides a “student option,” which means that any full time UM student may download and install the latest Microsoft software.

VanBoening said this is all funded by donations from the provost, in addition to contributions from deans of the different college, noting that the price of Vista and Office 2007 is not bundled into tuition.

She does offer a note of caution though, regarding upgrading.

“We are not necessarily recommending that you upgrade your system to Vista, but rather we are making the software available to you should you choose to upgrade,” she said. “There is still some software that is not compatible with the new operating system, which is part of the reason why many businesses have not yet made the switch.”

For those who decide to upgrade, students are told to check that their computer meets the minimum system requirements, which have been greatly increased since XP. A DVD burner is needed to burn the setup disc. The university is currently offering a version called Vista Enterprise, although Microsoft plans to release the Vista Ultimate upgrade to universities sometime around May of this year-Microsoft’s flagship version.

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