This is the first of a series of articles about the new Microsoft Windows 7 operating system which was released on Thursday, October 22, 2009.
Well, I ran out yesterday afternoon and picked up the Windows 7 Upgrade package from Costco. They had three or four different versions to choose from, from what I was told,and the pricing was fair for an upgrade. I had intended to shop around locally, but I was under the impression their price would be the best because they order in such large quantities.
The versions the had were Windows 7 Home Basic (Full or Upgrade), Windows 7 Home Premium (Full or Upgrade), and Windows 7 Professional (Full or Upgrade). I only saw the Upgrade editions, not the Full Installation versions. (This was fine becuase the Upgrade edition allows for a full install so long as XP or Vista is already installed on the system.) There was some confusions at the store because they hadn’t put out all their display boxes. Only Home Premium was on display, but I asked a salesperson for help, and got what I was looking for.
What was I looking for? I was looking for the Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Family Pack Upgrade. The Family Pack allows you to install the software on three PCs. The price was only $125. I contacted a few relatives before hand and asked if they were interested in upgrading, and we decided to split the cost amongst ourselves. So it cost us a little over $45 each. Not bad. (Tigerdirect is selling the Family Pack for $149, but maybe you know someone who’d be interested in splitting the cost with you. Click the image at right for more info.)
Pre-Installation. Microsoft has received some flak regarding the necessity for backing up and erasing your existing system in order to install Windows 7, but I know many computer fanatics, myself included, who periodically eras their computer and reinstall their software. It’s a sort of overhaul and cleanup process. You could almost say I look forward to erasing my computer.
To install on my system, I turned on the computer, which was currently running Windows Vista Ultimate, and once the computer had fully started, I inserted the Windows 7 DVD. They provided a 32 bit and a 64 bit version. Since I am using and Intel Core 2 Duo processor I used the 64 bit disc, but I could have used either one. (Though, since I was using a 64 bit Vista package, Microsoft recommends using the 64 bit Windows 7 disc.) If you’re not sure which one you need you can always run the Windows Advisor. It’s a free download from Microsoft.
Once I inserted the disc I cancelled the installation, and shut down the computer. I waited about 45 seconds, then turned the computer back on. When asked to “Press any key to boot from the CD” I tapped the space bar.
Here’s the only odd part of the installation. This may not occur on all systems. A prompt came up asking which boot method my CD/DVD drive used. The choices were “1” or “2” with no description. I took a guess and went with “1”, and it seems that worked out fine. It’s possible this question might not arise for everyone. I’ll let you know after I install on my dad’s PC next.
Beyond that the installation took about 30 minutes or more. I flipped though a copy of Windows 7 All-in-One For Dummies to pass the time. (Also available is a smaller book, Windows 7 For Dummies, and another edition that comes with a 2 hour DVD.)
Finally, I arrived at the Windows 7 desktop. It was nice and simple. Often when a new operating system is installed not all the software drivers for the computer’s hardware can be found. I went into the device manager to see how many drivers were missing, and was surprised and delighted to find that all the drivers had loaded. All my hardware was supported by Windows 7. I could remember on one Vista installation finding over a dozen missing drivers. (To check your results with Windows 7, click the Start pearl, then right click on “Computer” and choose “Properties”. Then click “Device Manager”. If you see any yellow question marks, then it means that some of your devices weren’t supported.)
Anyhow, I’ve been working on the Windows 7 for almost 6 hours straight without a single problem. I’ve already found a lot to like, I’ll let you know if I find anything I don’t like too. Please share your experience or questions on the new system in the comments below.