A Weekend with Windows 7

In-between other household duties I spent most of this weekend with the new Windows 7 Beta 1. While I probably would have been more sensible to install it in a Virtual PC, I really wanted to experience it, and the best way to do that is by using it. Thus I installed it on my HP Pavilion DV-8000 laptop.

The first pass I did Friday night, when I installed Windows 7 as an upgrade to my installed Vista SP1. Now, let me say Microsoft has clearly stated you should only install the Beta as a clean install, not as an upgrade. However I figured since it was going to get wiped anyway, I might as well see what the experience was like. The upgrade took about 2 hours and afterward things were not overly stable. Some things worked fine, but other things did not. For example, Virtual PC’s built in network drivers quit working, although I could still use Shared NAT. My Zune software also started acting odd, it would no longer connect to my Zune. The PC knew the Zune was connected, the message just didn’t get to the Zune software.

Saturday morning I played with it a bit more, and being unable to resolve my Zune issue decided to take the plunge, reinserted my Windows 7 DVD, and reformatted my C drive so I could do a clean install. The install went very quickly, around half an hour not counting the formatting. Since then I have been slowly restoring my various applications, and wanted to share a run down on what I’ve done so far.

Before I go any further though, one very critical item. One of my Twitter friends @devhammer alerted us to a bug for Windows Media Player in Windows 7. It is Support Article 961367, and it fixes an issue with Media Player corrupting MP3 files. The first thing you should do install it!

Next, after the Windows 7 install I found my resolution stuck at 800×600. Yuck! So I ran Windows Update, and it found a driver for my NVidia chipset and installed. (Hooray for Windows Update!) After the reboot I was returned to 1400×900 on my laptop display and 1600×1200 on my external monitor. But not all was well with the world, there is one odd bug. By default the wallpaper is this bluish looking fish. Not being a fish person I switched to the Landscape theme. Windows 7 has this cool feature where you can pick multiple desktop wallpapers, and it will rotate through them at a frequency you can set,  the default being every 30 minutes. This though seemed to cause an issue with the Zune software, every time the wallpaper changed, my Zune software went completely blank and never came back. It was still working, my Zune player was showing data being synced, but the display went blank. I used task manager to shut it down then could simply launch the Zune software again with no problems.

The moral of the story, if you have NVidia graphics, set the rotating wallpaper on, and have display issues, simply pick ONE wallpaper and disable the rotation. Once I did all was well with the world. Now onto my software installs. 

Norton Anti-Virus, Corporate Edition – Seems to work OK, but I get an error message about the End Point process being shut down for compatibility issues. Since I hear Norton has discontinued this product, I will likely move to either Windows Defender or purchase the full blown Norton closer to the Windows 7 release date.

FireFox 3 – Works great, no issues.

UltraEdit 14 – Also works great, no issues.

TouchCursor 1.6 – After I installed I had to reboot to get it to take effect, but once I did it’s worked great. (If you don’t know what TouchCursor is, go to http://touchcursor.com, great utility!)

Zune – Software installed fine, but of course switching to what appeared to the Zune as a new PC caused me to need to reset my Zune so I didn’t wind up with a big blob of “unreachable” disk space. I had backed up all my Podcasts, and copied them back over and the Zune software recognized them all, but I still had to go to each one, right click, pick Subscribe. Fortunately I have a second PC in my office where I played some videos on http://www.jumpstarttv.com/ while clicked endlessly. (I subscribe to a LOT of podcasts.)

Office 2007 Enterprise – Installed just fine with no problems. Well no software issues, my backup of my main PST was corrupt so I lost most of what was in it (drat). Good lesson here kids, with something really important, make TWO copies on different drives during back up!

Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 SP1 – The only issue I had was with the built in firewall, I had to create a new rule for ANY to allow things other than UDP and TCP to work. Go to Start, Control Panel, System and Security, Windows Firewall, Advanced Settings (over on the left), Inbound Rules (in the new dialog that appears), then I copied one of the existing rules for Virtual PC 2007 SP 1 (there should be 2, one for UDP the other for TCP). In the copy, open it, go to the Protocols and Ports and pick Any. You’ll get an error that says “Edge traversal can’t be set to ‘Defer to User’”, so go to the Advanced tab and pick either “Allow” or “Block”. I picked Allow because I’m very cautious about where I go in my VPCs.

Live Writer – I went to the http://windows.live.com and downloaded the LiveWriter tool, which I’m composing this post in.

Notable mention: I had to copy a little over 3 gig of files, it was fast in Windows 7, took under 3 minutes.

A few things I’ve heard about, but haven’t yet experienced:

I’m told there’s a copy / paste issue between Word 2007 and Live Writer. Haven’t tried it.

I’m told Virtual Clone Drive, which I used in Vista to mount ISOs as virtual drives, won’t work in Windows 7. Instead I had PowerISO recommended to me.

That’s my progress for now, I will update you as time goes by. Remember if you decide to install and use Windows 7, it IS a beta, so your stability may be different depending on the state of your machine’s drivers. I also haven’t decided how long I will run Windows 7. If it’s stable, and some critical pieces of software work (like my VPN software for work) then I may keep it a long time. However if stabiltiy becomes an issue or key software doesn’t run I may have to return to Vista, I will just have to see how it all shakes out. I would like to keep it around for a bit though so I can give it a good shake and let our friends in Redmond know of any issues so they can fix now and perhaps save someone else headaches when it goes to production.

I have also been Twittering my progress using the #win7 tag, if you want to follow me there.

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One Response to “A Weekend with Windows 7”

  1. Nathan Says:

    Hey, that fish is a Japanese fighting fish…A.K.A… a beta.


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