Thursday, February 05, 2009

Joining the Windows 7 party

I downloaded the much touted Windows 7 beta just in time, later realizing that the download offer ends on February 10th! The good thing is that the Beta installation would last till August 2009, giving me enough time to test the build.

I have a new Dell Studio 15 with 3 GB RAM, all with the integrated webcam and the new LED WXGA+ LCD screen with Vista Home installed. I should tell you that I am one of those who are not in love with what Dell bundles our laptops with software wise. I am not in love with the number of hidden partitions and I do not like the freebies they bloat our installation with. So, my reaction is to wipe out the extra Dell partitions, and reinstall a clean OS copy on the machine. So on this new laptop of mine, the reinstall was eminent and due, which is when I decided to go for Windows 7 Beta. Thanks to the geek inside me, I was in for a fresh install and not a upgrade or even a dual boot configuration. I am not much of a vote for upgrades as I feel a fresh install should not have to deal with excess baggage of the old installation.

The Windows site to download the Beta required a passport login. I had one, so that was not a friction point. I was then presented with my own Windows Key, and then an ActiveX installed which provided the Microsoft downloaded. I have used this downloaded before in MSDN areas, and am sure impressed with it. It is the only online download managers which I use, otherwise I always skip the flimsy online download managers if possible. It's good is in the fact that first, it can resume no matter what. Meaning, it can resume if your Internet connection gets broken, or even if you have to reboot. The next time u start the download, it will start from where it stopped. Second and more importantly, it downloads using multiple connections. I think up to 4, hence boosting up the download speed. I think I got a speed up to about 220 KBps on my BSNL broadband connection. All this is useful when the download size of the beta is 2 to 3 GB. By the way I could have gone for the 64 bit instead of 32 bit, but 64 bit can be useful only if you have more than 4 GB RAM, which I didnt.

After burning the download ISO to a DVD(In Windows 7, you can burn an ISO natively!), I chose to boot off from that DVD to initiate the installation. The installation was very smooth with a minimum of user input required, and in just a few clicks the setup started, and completed in exactly half an hour. Then, it asked for the Windows Key and even asked me if it could use any of the available wifi signals for Internet connectivity, which is though full. On a reboot, I was greeted with a new ultra cool animated Windows logo on the login screen. I was not aware of this change and it took me by a nice surprise and a had wow effect :)

Before starting the Windows 7 setup, I had emptied by drive C (15 GB), and had dumped all my data in drive D (about 170 GB). I also have a hidden partition at the end of Drive D which i use as Acronis backup partition. So when I booted my first time in Windows 7, my wow quickly changed into shock when I saw no drive D. Further investigation revealed that Windows had failed to assign a drive letter to it. I should tell you that my configuration was a bit topsy turvy to begin with. Inititially, my Vista was installed on drive D(2nd partition), and drive C(first partition) had some data. So to mend it and to make things logical, I installed Windows 7 on the first partition and put my data on second partition. This I think confused Windows 7 because it assigned my first partition correctly as drive C, but set my DVD drive as drive D and the second partition was unassigned. I manually assigned my partition as drive E, but to my dismay now Windows thinks its some removable drive. It has an Autoplay option, and can only open if i select "Open in new window" option. It might be partly my fault due to the initial mess, but on a clean install Windows 7 should have fixed it, specially when I don't even have a dual boot environment.

Anyway, the experience since then has been great. All my software till now are working on Windows 7 which includes Eset security center(which integrated well and turned off the notification Win7 was giving me of a missing antivirus), Defraggler and uTorrent. Visual Studio 2008 and Office 2007 all seem to be working perfectly. It also detected by web-cam, though I haven't used it yet, but my sound, video etc. all seems to be working already. I would say keep about 20 GB for your Windows 7 partition.

I told you about my drive letter problem earlier, so to try and fix that I found that my current erroneous drive E had some boot files in the root. I thought these were leftover from Vista, so I deleted them all. On reboot i was greeted by a 'Boot record not found, press ctrl+alt+del" message. Yikes! But no Yikes, as I had my Windows 7 beta DVD handy. I booted off the DVD and chose the repair my start-up options. Within a few seconds I was was able to successfully boot back into Windows.

Windows 7 seems much responsive than Vista. On booting up you are greeted with a desktop wallpaper of a fish. That, by the way is a Siamese fighting fish, also known as 'betta'. I am now with Windows 7 to use it for my daily needs such as development, video rendering, image editing and general day to day tasks.
Hurray to Windows 7!

In the end, I would want to give credit to the Bumper list of Windows 7 secrets and the Windows 7 Supersite for making me finally convert to Windows 7.

What do you feel different better or worst using Windows 7? Put in the comments.

1 comment:

shobhit said...

it seems that microsoft has concentrated more on performance rather than on looks this time...great post! keep 'em coming :)