These are my notes as I installed Windows 7 on an older computer with an ASUS P5B motherboard and a Pentium D chip with 2gb Ram.
Consider it a travelogue or your guide to installing Windows 7. It’s what I experienced, what you should expect and in follow on articles, solutions to problems that came up.
I booted from the shiny new Windows 7 Beta 1 DVD and tried to install. Due to problems with the current Windows Vista installation, the upgrade option repeatedly failed. No specific clues or reasons were given.
For this reason I chose to do a ‘Clean” or “Fresh” install and not attempt an upgrade. If you’ll remember the so called upgrade process from Windows XP to Windows Vista, well.. let’s just say it didn’t work either.
The startup involves staring at a pulsating Microsoft Windows Beta 7 logo. It’s quite hypnotic and I began to think warm thoughts about Microsoft and Bill Gates until it started to run on to about 5 minutes of useless pulsating with no clue to the user as to what was going on. No progress bar, no meter, nothing.
After the initial start of Windows 7 Beta 1 installation, the screen changes to a low resolution wallpaper that looks like you are underwater. On the bottom right you see the release series of 7000.
At this point it will appear to have crashed as it’s doing nothing and giving the user no progress bar again. It took 11 minutes on my system at this point. It looked locked up / crashed, but I just waited and it finally finished.
Just like Windows Vista before it, the installation screens look basically the same under Windows 7 Beta 1.
The first screen after the first of many long lonely waits, is the normal select your language and start install screen.
Again, a long wait, no progress bar and pulsating things to stare at. My computer looks dead and appears to be doing nothing, but I keep the faith and just wait. This time I wait about 10 minutes.
Now, finally you’ll see the EULA (End User License Agreement) which you’ll have to accept to go further of course. It makes me wonder if they put something in there like “Microsoft can at it’s sole discretion borrow your care” if we’d all blindly accept it. My guess.. yes.
Now you’ll see the normal install screen that we all know and love from the Microsoft Windows Vista installation process that features some progress information in for form of a list of tasks to be performed:
- Installing Features
- Installing Updates
- Completing Installation
- Enriching Bill Gates
On this screen we do actually get some great feedback on whether the installation is progressing and to what extent.
The speed of installation seems about like Windows Vista.
I selected at the very beginning *not* to download updates, but at this point it downloads and installs them anyway.
Your computer will restart automatically at the end of this process, so don’t worry if you went for coffee (suggested 30 minutes) and found your computer powered off or re-booted.
At this point I’m into the install about 35 minutes. We’re far from done.
My restart leads me to another long wait staring at a pulsating object telling me nothing, but doing a great job of making me worry that the installation has crashed. It hasn’t.
We’re at a new screen where it says:
- Updating Registry Settings
- Starting Services
Next another underwater scene where it says “Completing Installation”.
At this point something really odd happens as on my dual monitor system, the default monitor under Windows 7 Beta 1 shifts from my Primary (under Windows Vista) monitor to a smaller monitor I keep on the left side. It appears that Windows 7 Beta 1 Monitor Preference is opposite to Microsoft Windows Vista.
The “Completing Installation” has now officially taken forever. I know because I’ve been using a stopwatch to time it and it’s been forever already… twice. If your system is taking a long time at this point, don’t panic. Time for more coffee.
Another reboot follows all this where we get “Starting Windows”. At this point I think I will finally see the Windows 7 Beta 1 Aero interface, but no!
We get to wait for “Checking Performance”. This takes another 5 minutes.
Next is the old familiar username screen from Microsoft Windows Vista.
Next is “Enter Your Product Key” and “Do you want to activate automatically?”.
Put it in there and click the little box for auto activation.
Finally you’ll see the Microsoft Windows 7 Beta 1 Aero Interface and the desktop will be yours to rule.
In my next articles I’ll tell you what I found out about all the applications and drivers that need to be installed to take a raw fresh install of Windows 7 Beta to a functioning dekstop. In fact it’s the desktop I am writing this article on right now.
Don’t worry boys and girls! This story has a happy ending. All is well in the end, but there’s some problems that you’ll need to resolve on your jouney and I’ll walk you through it in my next 5 or 6 articles.
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