Monday, October 19, 2009

Windows 7 Upgrade

I successfully upgraded a Vista laptop to Windows 7 last Friday. The whole process took about two hours. Results so far are excellent. I ran the Windows 7 Upgrade Adviser first that told me to upgrade the Sony phone utils and the version of Skype. Apart from that, everything else was compatible. I opened WinPatrol and disabled all Antispyware and monitoring software as well as all unnecessary applications that start up with Windows (including WinPatrol itself). I did this because I know that Windows 7 requires a few restarts during the upgrade and I did not want any applications interfering with this process.

I loaded the DVD and selected the upgrade option rather than the option that replaces drive C with a fresh copy of Windows 7. This way we get to keep all our installed software. The installation reminded me that I needed to keep an Intenet connection throughout the installation. This is important. Surprisingly the DVD does not ask you for the Product key. This happens after the installation is completed! (I wonder why Microsoft decided to do this?). The installation chugged away with online updates and then requested a restart. I clicked OK. I waited. I waited some more and after a few more minutes realised that the installation was NOT going to restart the machine for me. This for Microsoft is quite unusual. Usually their applications will restart your machine when they consider it necessary and not always when its most convenient for you! I restarted the machine manually.

Warning! When the machine starts booting up you will receive a request to press any key to run the bootable Windows 7 DVD which of course is still in the drive. DON'T press any key !!!! This will load an installation to install a fresh copy of Windows 7 on drive C. I was however bringing the machine up after a requested restart in the middle of the Windows 7 upgrade. Again, keep the DVD in the drive for the entire operation but ignore the "Press any key…" message for all restarts. After the restart the installation asks you which language you wish to install. (Obviously you select "English") and which date/time/currency format you wish. You select "Hebrew" here. (I made the mistake first of all of looking for "Israel" in the list box). After this the installation will chug along happily for long time. It will restart every now and again and then carry on.

(Reminder! Don't press any key on startup. Leave the machine alone). After about 2 hours and four restarts (? I lost count) Windows 7 comes up in all its beauty. It is now that it requests a Product key and immediately does an online activation check. After this you get the desktop. All done? No not quite. Windows 7 immediately does an online Windows update for the latest drivers. This takes 10 minutes or so.

At one point the screen went black then displayed gibberish on the screen that looked like memory corruption. (It was actually very reminiscent of a Commodore Pet screen when it used to suffer a memory overflow and started writing to the screen). Although scary looking, Windows 7 was only updating the display driver. Eventually the Windows 7 settled down. Up until now I have to report no issues whatsoever. Everything is working. Windows 7 running fast and clean. I'm quite impressed By the way, in my last post about Windows 7 I mentioned that the Windows 7 Upgrade advisor told me that there was no driver available for my Laptop wireless card. Well I ran the advisor again yesterday and found that Intel have now issued a driver for it. It looks like I'll be doing another installation very soon. This one though will be a fresh install as Windows 7 only upgrades from Vista. Windows XP has to be replaced.


with faith and trust said...

Have you found Windows 7 to be better than Vista. When we bought a new laptop we were stuck with Vista and couldn't get it with XP and I heard that Windows 7 was going to be much better. Please let us know in a future post what you think.

Reb Mordechai said...

Vista wasn't as bad as it's reputation but it certainly wasn't a worthy successor to XP.

Windows 7 is really what Vista should have been. In tests, Windows 7 is a lot faster than Vista. It's a lot easier to use and gives you more freedom to do what you want to do.

Should you upgrade to Windows 7? If you have the cash then yes. You won't regret it. XP users have the added problem that they will have to install a fresh copy of Windows 7 (wiping out drive C). Even so, to all you XP users out there, its time to upgrade.