Longtime subscriber Clif of the Clif Notes Newsletter wrote about my Windows 7 installation experience articles in last week’s online issue:
Thanks for the preview of the hassle to come when I move my laptop to win7 from the RC. Hopefully the drivers I have backed up will work. I’m hoping the driver backups I have will help me avoid the issues that you had getting the correct drivers installed.
See the following:
The last I looked, these are all free and make it easier to do a clean reinstall. These create copies of the currently installed drivers on your PC and let you restore them to a new copy of Windows.
The real issue to me was that things that worked without issue in the final Windows 7 Release Candidate simply did not work in the final release of Windows 7. I’m not sure what broke, but it should not have happened.
Once I searched for drivers for the hardware that didn’t work in Windows 7, all turned out to be ok (read more in last week’s online newsletter about my Windows 7 installation experience (Windows 7 Upgrade — the Disappointment, Windows 7 Upgrade — Handling Disappointment, and Windows 7 Upgrade — I Love It!).
The basic key is that, if there’s not a Windows 7 driver, try the available Windows Vista driver. If there’s not a Windows Vista driver, try the Windows XP driver. You may be pleasantly surprised, as I was.
I did run the latest version of the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. A flyer in the Windows 7 DVD package pointed me to it at http://windows.microsoft.com/upgradeadvisor.
I also did a full backup of my hard drive using Acronis True Image Home 2009 (they also have discounts for upgrades) before installing Windows 7. It’s come in handy as an easy way to copy individual data files back to my new installation.
I forgot one important step after I installed and got the drivers working. I wish I had made a "clean" full backup using Acronis at that point. If I had, I would always be able to restore to that point.
Of course, I’ve made a backup with all my programs loaded and data restored, but, sometimes, you really want to go back to that initial level. Restoring the image would be much easier than reinstalling Windows and reinstalling the drivers, even though I have them identified and saved for later use.
Would I upgrade my 5.5 year-old notebook from Windows XP to Windows 7, if I had the decision to make all over again?
Windows 7 feels as snappy as Windows XP did (and I’ve read other articles saying the same thing). It’s just a lot nicer.