Thursday, October 22, 2009

Windows 7 First Impressions - Updated

Tonight I installed Windows 7 Home Premium on my notebook, previously running XP. This machine is slightly over two years old and the graphics chip does not support the Aero Glass feature – which I would have turned off anyway. The installation was pain free and clearly faster than XP and Vista installations were.

And believe it or not: Subjectively the little notebook with Windows 7 feels faster than with Windows XP! That indeed is a welcome surprise.

For the transfer of my data files and settings from the XP environment into Win7 I used Microsoft’s program Windows Easy Transfer. I had to transfer three user accounts with all their files and settings. The worst part was that writing the migration file took 1.5 hours, certainly because I had about 11.5 GB of data in my account alone. The migration file had a total size of over 14 GB. Restoring all this took a little less than one hour.

My opinion about Widows 7? I love it!

I know Microsoft products since long before the first PC was released – and that was in fall 1981! This is the first time I see a major Microsoft product being released that is useable from the day of the release on. Congratulations, Microsoft. 

I will report back after I have done the first in place update from Vista to Win 7.

October 30 2009: That has happened in the meantime. Here is a brief summary.

If you have to transfer any of the following

  • many files
  • Firefox settings, bookmarks, extensions and so on
  • Thunderbird email settings, mail and address book
  • and/or more than 1 user account

plan for several hours and use Microsoft’s utility Windows Easy Transfer. This little gem of a program is still quite minimal but it does the job AND it allows you to select additionally to it’s standard selections any folders of your choice, for example Thunderbird, Mozilla (Firefox settings) and others according to your needs. Be aware that programs can NOT be transferred to Windows 7, they always need to be re-installed. And naturally you need a sufficiently large external storage device; I recommend to finally buy that external disk drive you always wanted. You get good Seagate FreeAgent drives for well under $100 and finally have no more excuse not to have a usable backup as well.

If you have to transfer only one user account AND if your system is well maintained, that is temporary files deleted, virus free, completely up-to-date AND if it is a relatively recent Vista system, maybe less than 6 months old, you can try an in-place upgrade. Caution: The very last phase of the process takes quite some time; go have a Starbucks or jog around the park. I have done already two of those and they were pain free.

Personally I prefer a clean complete new install (Microsoft calls it Custom) for any system that has had some use already; for XP systems it is a must anyway. Beware, this install completely wipes all old content from your hard disk. Do you have a recent or current backup of your files OUTside of your computer? If not you got to do some homework before you can install Windows 7.

And another experience: If your computer is more than 6 months old download and run Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. Heed it’s warnings and do your homework BEFORE you attempt the upgrade to Windows 7.

You may ask “My XP system runs ok, why all that trouble”? If your computer meets the requirements for Windows 7 you will love the result. IMHO Windows 7 is faster and MUCH safer than XP; it is MUCH faster, somewhat safer and MUCH less annoying than Vista! Again, applause to Microsoft.

As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog.

Thank you in advance.

1 comment:

The Old Gnome said...

I have been running a release candidate of Windows7 for a couple of months. I completely agree with Eike's comments regarding the new operating system. It is the fastest version of Windows I have ever seen. It has proven quite stable over the past couple of months, with no crashes.