So, forget your Apple fanboys, I am proud to stand up with the growing masses and say that I am now a Windows fanboy!
I recently installed Windows 7 Professional as my edition of Vista Home Premium was really starting to grind to a halt. Unlike many, I didn’t really have too many issues with Vista, other than the speed, but I am so so glad that I upgraded to Windows 7 – it is marvellous!
There’s already plenty of advice for people considering upgrading to Windows 7 online, so I thought I’d write a quick blog post to document my experience and some useful links for anyone thinking of upgrading – it’s really not as difficult as many people may worry (Microsoft have excelled themselves with the ease of upgrade this time!).
So what does Windows 7 do / is it any better?
OK, I want to upgrade – where should I buy it from?
If you’re a student in the UK you may want to consider software4students.co.uk (they’re an official MS licensed partner, delivered within 48 hours) – I picked up my copy of Windows 7 Professional for a remarkable £36.95 (far less than the £219 RRP!). I was eligible thanks to my accountancy study (you don’t have to be in full-time education, and adult learning counts), though there are no specific checks in place for Microsoft products.
If you’ve already got a Windows OS installed on your machine, you will just need to buy the upgrade disc (which has both the ‘upgrade’ option and the ‘full install’ versions).
I’ve bought Windows 7 and I’m ready to install – what should I do first?
BACK YOUR COMPUTER UP!
Windows have developed a marvellous little free tool called ‘Easy Transfer’ for XP and above- it will make a back-up copy of your Windows profiles, settings and files and save them on an external HDD (or similar). Don’t worry about making a huge list of all the programmes that you have installed, Easy Transfer will do this all for you!!
The back-up will probably take a few hours, though this is the most time-consuming part of the process!
Once it has finished running, pop the OS disk into your machine and restart your computer. Once it has restarted, you should be asked if you want to boot from CD, select yes.
I would recommend that you consider doing a full install at this point. Format out the original OS out so that your HDD is clean (as otherwise it will hulk on your HDD, and you will get a dual-boot scenario – unnecessary for most people, especially as Windows 7 has compatibility modes!).
Answer a few simple questions and then sit back and it will do everything for you. Literally. Gone are the days of lengthy prompts and questions, you can just return back to your machine in an impressive 30 minutes and you will have a brand new OS all ready to go!
OK, so I’m all set up…. what next?
The first thing that I’d suggest that you do is open the Easy Transfer document that you created earlier on your external HDD. Just double-click on it to unpack it. All of your documents and files will automatically be put right back where you left them! If you have created different user profiles for the new OS, you can map the old username to the new username too – very helpful!!
Once all your files are back in place, I’d suggest running Windows Update next to get all of the drivers that you need for Windows 7 – install all of them – the critical and the recommended. Don’t worry if your screen resolution is funny before this point, it’s just that you need your graphics card driver, which should install itself through Windows Update!
At this point, I noticed that my RealTek Audio drivers weren’t working as I could hear no sound…. in this case (and it took me ages to get this to work), go into Control Panel, uninstall RealTek audio manager completely, visit the RealTek website and download the drivers directly, as they don’t come via Windows Update. Open the file once it’s finished and follow the prompts. For some reason, you cannot just upgrade the drivers, you need to completely reinstall RealTek which was a little frustrating at the time!
Easy Transfer has probably told you that it’s created a report for you of your old programs – so go and hunt this out by searching for it in the start menu bar. If you click on the handy online links under each item it will link you to the website that you need to visit to re-download your product AND it will tick them off as you install them – very swish.
You may find you have a few customisation niggles about the new OS – I’d recommend reading this article as it highlights great ways of sorting these out (such as MSN icons, “God Mode” and Hibernate).
All in all, this is simply the best OS that I have ever used, it’s remarkable and I have not one complaint about it – despite being a huge geek, it really has revolutionised how I think about and use my computer! (sorry, I know that sounds like part of their awful “I’m Gari and I developed Windows 7” marketing drivel heh!)