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DIY Update to Windows 7

Windows 7 is Quick and Responsive

Yesterday, I came down to find my Vista 32-bit machine in a registry loop.  After getting over my aggravation, I decided that I would just make the move to Windows 7.  Having already downloaded a release candidate (RC 7201 64-bit).  Using another 32-bit Vista machine, I set out to turn my 8GB flash drive into a window’s install disk.

I decided to switch to 64-bit for my inevitable upgrade to the Core i7 platform.  Core i7 uses triple channel memory – so I will want 6GB which is not supported by 32-bit versions of Windows.  This decision to switch to 64-bit made my upgrade a little harder – but with some good googling, I had it figured out.  Below I have my timeline, with a few words about each step.  This machine is quite powerful, with a Q6600 2.4GHz quad core processor, 4GB of RAM and 2 NVIDIA GTX 260 GPUs.  It also has a 150GB 10K RPM WD VelociRaptor HDD, and a 500GB Samsung 7,200 RPM HDD.  It is quite the rig (well was before Core i7) and should handle the upgrade with ease.

0800 – computer does not boot…registry issue

0805 – try to boot again, still not booting…time for Windows 7

0810 – googled Windows 7 bootable flash drive

My faithful install companion

0811 – begin to partition 8GB flash drive (not quick format, but rather long format)

0820 – 63% done

0826 – Success!

0830 – copying DVD to USB eta: 25 minutes…back to work…

0848 – not quite 25 minutes, but time to install!

Probably the fastest Windows install...ever

0849 – Installing…

0855 – 1st restart

0904 – 2nd restart

0912 – Up and running

0913 – fixed 2 monitor issues

0920 – installing and configuring chrome – adding all necessary bookmarks

0925 – ready to go, just downloading OpenOffice 3.11

All told, my time from first install to actually up and running is only about 30 minutes.  This is amazing for an OS (especially a Windows system).  I recently put Ubuntu 9 on my netbook and recall similar install times.  I have found Windows 7 to be pretty quick  - though I have some driver issues with my logitech G15 keyboard and G9 mouse (ones that Google can’t seem to fix).  Windows 7 easily picked up my 2 GPUs, my 2 monitors, and the correct drivers for the sound card, in addition, it had me connecting to the Internet while still in the installation phase.

Rebooting was quite quick and it seems to run pretty smoothly – I did have to turn off the user account controls (yes Windows, I do want to install this).  My computer monitors were switched also – but that was an easy fix.  Thus far Windows 7 looks like a little slicker, slightly faster version of Vista SP1.

I will say the single monitor taskbar issue is still ridiculous, and still needs to be changed.  I don’t know what it is, but why can’t I just have a Windows official taskbar on each monitor?  I’m using UltraMon to reproduce the Vista taskbar, but they have different sizes and formats – which is annoying.  It almost defeats the purpose of having 2 monitors.  Microsoft has said that they plan to include dual monitor taskbars at some point – but when will that be?

Google Chrome - Check it out (but not for macs...yet)

Chrome's tabs are at the top - no fluff!

Some of you may be surprised that my first install was Google Chrome.  I absolutely love this browser.  It is frustrating at times because some programs (web seminars specifically) do not yet support it, but I find it to be the best browser for my money (free).  Since most of my work is done in the cloud, browsers are very important.  I enjoy most Chrome’s lack of a toolbar or filebar at the top.  It took some getting used to, but I appreciate the extra real estate.  Chrome keeps their tabs on the top like file folders in a drawer – and it makes it impressively easy to only click to add a new tab or ctrl+page up/down to switch through the tabs.  This browser is not for everyone (especially if you have a mac) but it is very capable, and very clean.

My next install was digsby, the multi-faceted program that takes care of my, Google Chat, Google Mail, Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn.  There is also ICQ, YMail, MSN Chat, and MySpace capability, but I don’t use those.  Digsby is great because little pop-ups in my screen let me know what is going on w/ everyone I follow on Twitter – so it’s like an RSS feed in the bottom of my screen.  I would suggest Digsby to anyone who is a member of a multitude of social networks – yet doesn’t always feel like navigating to each site.

I would say I’m very impressed with how quick and responsive Windows 7 feels, and I look forward to putting the 32-bit version on my notebook and netbook.  The notebook is pretty high powered (Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz, 4 GB Ram, NVIDIA 8600GT), but my Samsung N120 does not have quite the horsepower as the other.

Download Google Chrome here.

Download Digsby here.

Related posts:

  1. Are Netbooks the Solution for You and Your Firm?
  2. Gmail actually stands for Green(er) Mail
  3. The Disruptive Power of Netbooks

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com

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