Well, the install was a pain. Not really — but my initial install worked extremely smoothly until Windows rebooted.
At that point, it simply failed to boot with an ambiguous error message that was less than helpful. It told me to reboot the installation DVD and select the Repair option.
When I did selected Repair, there were five new options that showed up. Fortunately, one seemed appropiate — automatically fix the windows installation (or something like that). Unfortunately, it didn’t work. The only good thing was it told me that it was unable to fix it.
Here’s what the real problem was, which was not identified by the Windows 7 RC installation: I was trying to install Windows 7 on a Logical drive within an Extended partition. So far, every Windows version has required that it be installed in a Primary partition.
This is basic formatting stuff for the drive that goes way back to the early days of DOS. I would think that Windows would identify that the partition was not a Primary partition and refuse to install, since it couldn’t boot from there. Wouldn’t you?
Now, Linux can install itself onto and boot from Logical drives — it’s just that Windows can’t.
Once I realized that was the problem, I deleted my two Logical drives. One of them had data I wanted on it, but I had it backed up elsewhere. Then, I deleted the Extended partition and created two more I set up two Primary drives. I installed Windows 7 RC on one of them — and the installation went smoothly.
With the exception of that boo-boo, it looks like Microsoft is trying to swipe Apple’s slogan "It just works…"
My first few days experimenting with Windows 7 RC have been a joy. In the installation, it found my home network, asked me if it was a home network, a business network, or a public network (where I would not want to trust the other computers) and then it set up the networking without further hassle.
Of course, I still needed to tell it what i wanted to share (duh!) and needed to identify which printer(s) on my home network I wanted to set up to use, but that all went smoothly and easily.
One thing I have discovered — if you’re going to set up a dual boot system like I did, set up three primary partitions.
Install Windows 7 on one partition, keep your earlier OS (Win XP or Vista) on its current partition, and format the third partition to use for data.
Move, or better yet, copy the Windows XP / Windows Vista data that you will want to access onto the third partition. The reason you need to do this is that Windows 7 recognizes that your old C: drive (which is now called something else — mine is D:) is a bootable drive with Windows on it, and it treats files on that drive as read-only.
By copying your data to a third partition, you can use it from both Windows XP/Vista and Windows 7.