An Afternoon Installing Windows 7

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widgetsiiWith Microsoft releasing the beta of their new Windows 7 I decided to go ahead, install in see how well it works and runs in school / development as a primary operating system. I’m currently on a Lenovo Z61p laptop that’s provided by our school with the following specs:

  • T7600(2.33GHz)
  • 2GB RAM
  • 100GB 7200rpm HD
  • 15.4in 1920×1200 LCD
  • 256MB ATI FireGL V5200
  • CDRW/DVDRW
  • 802.11n wireless
  • Bluetooth
  • Modem
  • 1Gb Ethernet

Installation took about an hour and 30 minutes off of a burned dvd (x64 bit edition), about 2 restarts and about 5 minutes at the end to setup, provide user name and password, timezone, and so on. I was a bit worried that I would have issues connecting on the wireless but the drivers that came with Windows 7 were able to find all the networks right off the bat. That being said, there seems to be a slight issue when the wireless requires you to accept a security certificate, it continues popping up multiple times before it finally lets you enter your domain username and password (since my computer is not registered on the Neumont domain). Fortunately after just letting it pop up enough times it eventually let me enter my credentials and connected without a problem.

Next step was installing drivers. Lenovo offers a system update utility that runs, checks your system, shows what drivers and updates are available and will download and install the ones you select. Installed the updater, selected all the critical updates and some of the recommended updates, hit go, and it ran and installed everything without a hitch. The most notable update was for my graphics driver which allowed the Areo glass effect, oddly, it didn’t automagicly switch from the flat basic window manager to Areo, I had to go in and switch manually, but after that everything seemed to work fine, I haven’t had any BSOD (Blue Screens of Death) yet after about 4 hours of running it.

As was getting ready to start installing the software I use, I began having some issues installing Alcohol 52% (For those of you who don’t know, Alcohol 52% allows you to create a virtual cd/dvd drive and access .iso and other files as CD’s or DVD’s), after doing a bit of research it seems that Alcohol and Daemon tools both have some issues with Windows 7 and the way they install and register the virtual drive. Currently I’m playing with Virtual Clone drive which seems to working well so far, I did get a BSOD when I tried to restart my computer, but it has worked fine after that. Other than that virtual clone drive has been working fine mounting and demounting all the iso’s I have of my software. Most everything has installed correctly, including SQL server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, Netbeans, Glassfish v2, Java EE, Expression Studio, Microsoft Office, Digsby and so on.

Windows 7 has a large number of interface improvements, seems to be a bit faster and runs with a smaller memory footprint than vista, and is most of all backward compatible with previous vista drivers which is one of the big reasons I believe that it will surpass vista in popularity. I for one am really looking forward to the final release near the end of this year.

– Paul Rohde

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