Oct 23

Win 7

The big question I had was whether or not entering a retail code into the RTM code would work. It did not work for me.

Now that I’m running 64-bit Windows 7 Professional on my Dell XPS M1210, I thought I’d go through a little of the process so far. First of all, I used the upgrade version, but did a clean install. I verified also that the old trick about installing without a key, not activating, and then using the upgrade key still works. I am upgrading from Vista, but I wiped it out first (dban) in order to try since I had heard conflicting reports on the net about that.

So now the reload process is in full-swing. First on were some windows patches that included a driver for my Nvidia GO 7400 card. A previous install I had attempted to find drivers directly through Nvidia. I went through a few attempts to install a version that wasn’t specifically for my card by changing the INF file. It worked, but I see no advantage of that over the built-in driver, and the built-in driver is certainly easier to install. I installed the Windows 7 compatible Synaptics driver as well because I like the scroll zones and a couple other features of the touchpad.

Next on was ESET Internet Security, my favorite AV software at the moment. Note that these things change as soon as a company starts getting the idea of packing their software full of useless additional components that slow a computer down more than help it (Symantec I’m looking at you, which I dropped shortly after 2000, and also Trend Micro which I dropped around 2007, but should have dropped sooner – you can thank a corporate agreement for keeping me that long).

Next on was Office 2007 Enterprise (thanks to work for the home licensing arrangement). Now I’m starting to see a trend of patch, reboot, patch, reboot for Microsoft things. I’ve done this 4 times now, and although Microsoft Update says I’m done, my AV software says it detects missing patches. Interesting.

Next on was TrueCrypt which recently updated to 6.3 for what they call full Win 7 support. I’m not sure what exactly changed, but it works fine. I run full-disk encryption on my laptop. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to do the same.

Next on was Free File Sync, an open source Windows based synchronization GUI which I used to restore my previously synchronized folders from the Windows Home Server that I’ve been evaluating. While that was synchronizing I kicked off the encryption process for TrueCrypt and downloaded Mozy. I remembered that I used my own encryption key and that it was stored in Roboform, so I downloaded, installed, and re-activated my copy of Roboform in order to pull out my custom key. I need to remember to locate and test my offline copy of that key or there’s little point in my using Mozy in a disaster recovery situation.

I made an image of my system with Acronis prior to wiping it out. For reasons I’ll describe later, I still do not trust Windows Home Server completely. I am not going to put Acronis back on for several reasons. First, Windows Home Server is supposed to be able to do image restores of my OS, so I’m going to do some testing to verify that works properly. Second, Acronis does a major release way too often, and I can’t afford to keep purchasing the software. The version 2009 of their software is not Windows 7 compatible, and they want another $30 in order to upgrade to 2010. If I need that image, and I probably will, I will install my license on another PC and use it to restore. Between Mozy, my offline backups, and Windows Home Server, I just don’t need an additional solution.

Somewhere in there I managed to get Firefox installed. The integration between Firefox and Windows 7 “feels” tighter than it did with Vista. It is hard to describe really, but links appear to open more quickly now, and I haven’t had anything strange happen yet.