Yesterday I finished downloading Windows 7 Beta. It took over 14 hours. The best speed I could get was less than 50KB/sec. Apparently the Microsoft servers were hammered. After debating if I should install on a virtual machine or install it over the Vista install on my laptop, I went for the direct approach and installed over Vista. I finally chose the latter option. Here’s what I did:
- Backup Vista hard drive.
- Launch Windows 7 install.
- Select to get updates. 862K was downloaded.
- Chose Custom install. This created a Windows.old folder on the drive that contained the old Vista Windows folder, Perflogs, Users, Program Files, etc. Other folders that I had created were untouched.
- Setup then copied files and began to expand them.
- Setup rebooted the PC.
- After startup, setup continued to expand the files.
- Another reboot.
- Setup continued, updating the registry and started services. New Windows files were installed.
- I was prompted for international settings, country, time zone, etc, for computer name, username, and password. The password hint was required. Why was this required? IMO, it shouldn’t be.
- I then entered the product key. This step is far too late in the process. Windows should ask me for this before I select any of the previous options.
- I then had the option to set the time, which was already correct.
- Setup detected the wireless networks available and I selected mine. I was then asked if I wanted to create a Home Group. I chose not to do so.
- Setup completed soon after. Total time after I did backup was less than an hour.
Overall, the setup process was very clean and easy. Here are my first impressions:
- Taskbar: I’m realy used to the old taskbar and like how it works. I set it up so that running programs appear on top and shortcuts are below. I organize my shortcuts in the order I want so they are easy to find. At first, I didn’t like the combined short cuts/running programs on the task bar. I had it set to display the names of the running programs, which moved the icons to the right. After changing the settings to show only the icon, things are much better. It’s easy to tell which programs are running. However, when you click a running Internet Explorer, you are prompted to select the tab to activate rather than just activating IE.
- Paint, WordPad, NotePad. Paint and WordPad now use the Ribbon in the UI. NotePad does not and it really looks dated because of that.
- My: The return of My is not welcome by me. When Vista was released, I blogged that I was happy My had been removed, but it’s back again in My Documents, My Music, My Photos, and My Videos.
- Media Player: A new UI that looks dated.
- IE 8: Overall, I like IE. In fact, I use it as my primary browser. It does everything I need, so I don’t see a reason to change to something else. I found a couple of web sites that had minor problems in IE 8. The biggest issue is that when I tried to log into my bank, I was told the browser wasn’t supported and I could not log in. Good thing I still have an XP machine.
- Reboot: I installed updated (beta) drivers for my video card. Windows asked to reboot after. I was very impressed with the speed of the process.
- Aero Glass: I don’t see the Aero Glass effects on windows. The window borders are not transparent. I’m not sure if it’s the video drivers or a change in Windows.
Overall, Windows 7 seems to be faster and snappier than Vista and I’m happy with it so far. I’m still installing software, so that may change. If you’ve been debating/waiting to go to Vista, I say wait for Windows 7.