I am usually not big on Microsoft releases, but since Vista was a disappointment, and XP was getting old, I decided I would do something I’ve never done before. I actually purchased a version of Windows. Now don’t get me wrong, I have technically purchased older versions, but they were all pre-installed or re-installed through restore CDs and the like. Basically I was good and paid the “Microsoft Tax”.
Since there are quite a few workstations in my home, I chose to buy the Family Pack, which gives 3 licenses, and installed first on my dad’s computer (No, I don’t live at home)… Figured if Dad was ok with it, then it’ll probably be ok for the rest of the family.
His machine is an older HP a1430n purchased from the local Office Depot, it only had 1GB of RAM, AMD 64 3800 processor, integrated nVidia video, 250GB SATA drive, a printer, Microsoft fingerprint reader, and a few other misc peripherals. Since he was running XP on it, I was required to do a “Clean install” instead of upgrading it, which was expected. It did put everything from XP into the C:\Windows.old folder and did a nice, fast install of Windows 7. No problems and it was noticeably faster installing than even the 2009 RC1.
Got him booted in and went to manually copy a thumbdrive backup of his My Documents into the new Documents folder. Nicely, Windows was smart enough to realized what I was doing and proceeded to place the My Pictures, My Videos, etc. from the old My Documents into the correct locations that Windows 7 puts them. Nice!
Fired up IE 8, nothing new there, basically the same as IE 8 on XP. Downloaded Firefox and Chrome and setup his Google Apps icons for email, docs and so on.
For a 60 year old, Dad is pretty savvy on the PC primarily just from using them casually over the years, so I plan to let him install his software and misc printer drivers and so forth.
The only thing that really won’t work on his setup is his Microsoft Finger Print reader for logging in. Microsoft did not seem to write a driver for it and I didn’t try using the XP one.
I did also yank some RAM from an old machine and upped him to 3GB RAM and he’s good to go. No complaints so far.
Second install, it was my turn. I have a Gateway Quad Proc AMD Phenom, 8GB RAM, nVidia 9800GT w/ 500 watt PSU, Bluray R/W drive along with a normal CD/DVD RW. running Windows Vista Home Premium 64 that came with it. Fired up the install and it was for the most part non-eventful although it did end up taking around 4 hours since I upgraded instead of clean installing. It gathers all settings and files from the old OS and “moves” them into the new. That takes forever and at times it seems like it is “locked” up or frozen at certain percentages of the process. I just let it go, it rebooted a few times and came up.
Once in, I was sure to check for updated versions of all my utility software and Open Source things I run to ensure maximum compatibility.
A few minor annoying things I’ve noticed, in no particular order:
- Windows got sluggish a few times, which I believe was my Tortoise SVN process updating the working copy of my Repo. Once done, I upgraded it to the latest 64 bit version and it has been fine.
- My USB ports on the front of my machine cut out a few times, not sure what the cause was, but everything seems to be ok now.
- My Multimedia card reader doesn’t seem to be working. Windows 7 used a generic driver for them, so it may just need to be updated.
- When plugging in a USB card reader, Windows recognized it, but it could NOT read a FAT32 formatted Sony Memory Stick and it insisted on me to format it. Luckily I did NOT, put it on my Mac and it worked fine. Pictures SAVED! Yay!
- External hard drives (I got 4 of them) are working OK. One of them has been dropping out occasionally (my bittorrent drop) and Vuze gets angry.
Most of these annoyances don’t bother me too much. Overall, World of Warcraft (WOW) seems to be noticeably faster loading and exiting, program loading is fast and I have no other complaints.
Next Install, the wife’s machine. More to come.
Hey…nice, real world review.. thanks!
ps – wish my dad was as computer savvy as yours.
Thanks. 🙂 Glad you got something out of it… As for dad's… They all vary. hehe
Wife's machine was uneventful, did upgrade from Vista to Win 7… Everything seems to work, even the kid's special USB keyboard thingy that they play with… All is good.