Over the weekend I upgraded my computer from Vista (64 bit version) to Windows 7 (64 bit) and I thought some of you might find my experience interesting.
After putting in the DVD of Windows 7 Ultimate, the installer told me that a number of my existing applications, including iTunes, would have to be uninstalled prior to the upgrade. I don’t know why this should be required but I did as instructed. This meant that for iTunes my computer had be to deauthorized.
The installer then went to work and for the most part it went smoothly. I didn’t time it but it was probably around 3 hours or so. That is not counting the time to backup my existing Vista 64 system which I did with a program called Acronis True Image 2010. I wanted to make sure I could restore my existing situation should things go wrong.
After installation most things seemed to work pretty well with a few exceptions:
- I reinstalled iTunes but have found that the computer does not always seem to recognize when my iPhone is attached. Eventually it worked but not consistently.
- My USB external hard drive that I use for backups is initially recognized but after about 10 minutes of file archiving activity, Windows 7 fails to recognize the backup folder and the backup fails. I researched this one and it appears that quite a few people had this problem during the beta testing of Windows 7. It seems like it happens only to 64 bit versions and with a particular chip set for the USB internal hub. I know people with HPs and Acer computers (perhaps others) have the problem. Some folks have got around the issue by installing a PCI USB card with a different chipset. Obviously this needs to be fixed and it is disappointing that Microsoft did not fix it during the beta.
- My installation of Pinnacle Studio 14 would not run. I uninstalled it, reinstalled it and all now seems to be fine
- An older application I have called Cakewalk Pyro 5 will no longer run. Interestingly it was really an XP application that was not supported under Vista but it always ran fine for me. I was expecting that Windows 7 would have better compatibility than Vista but apparently not in this case
- After upgrading to Windows 7 I discovered that the firmware of my internal hard disk and my bios were in need of upgrading also (not related to the Windows 7 upgrade). One for the hard disk was to prevent a potentially serious problem so I really needed to do it. Unfortunately the patch programs provided by HP would not run under Windows 7. After a bit of investigation I discovered I could make an ISO file (I’m showing my nerd side here!) manually and was able to upgrade the firmware. This is not something the average person would be able to do.
Experience Using Windows 7
For the most part I like it. Here are some thoughts:
- The computer is noticably faster and is more responsive
- Startup is a little faster (although Norton 360 takes a while to get settled) and Shut down is significantly faster
- Some of the irritating things of Vista are gone (e.g. the way the folders kept changing to a different format depending on the content of the folder — but usually Vista guessed wrong!)
- I don’t like the default sounds but they are easy to change. There is a default thump sound for just about anytime a window opens. You can bet I turned that one off. Irritating after while but easy to fix.
- I like the new interface. Its not a huge difference but nice improvements.
- The new library function could be useful but the defaults were not helpful for me so I changed them
The Bottom Line:
I like Windows 7. It is definitely better than Vista but I have been surprised about compatibility being less than Vista in my experience. I haven’t yet discovered any “must have” new feature but I like all of the improvements I’ve encountered so far. Actually I can understand when people say that Windows 7 is what Vista was meant to be. That probably sums it up well. Nothing hugely sexy or “wow”, just a solid nice operating system. Now if only I could get those external hard drives working properly. It would be nice to be able to do backups!
Windows 7 and the iPhone
A short while after upgrading I tried to sync with my iPhone. Read about my experience upgrading to Windows 7 and the iPhone