I was happily running the Windows 7 Release Candidate on my 5.5 year old Dell Inspiron 8600 notebook computer. Aero looked gorgeous. The performance was relatively snappy. The only thing that didn’t work was the dialup modem that I haven’t used in years.
So, when Microsoft offered special pre-order pricing for Windows 7 Upgrades back in June, I quickly ordered two copies of the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade.
I knew that, since I was using Windows XP, I would not be able to upgrade over Windows XP. I also "knew" from prior Windows upgrades that we would not be able to upgrade to Windows 7 over the Windows 7 Release Candidate. That was fine.
My first step on Thursday night (October 22nd, the release day for Windows 7) was to use Acronis True Image Home 2009 to back up my C: partition and my data partition onto an external hard drive. From this image backup, Acronis will alow me to reinstall either or both partitions, with all their data, in an easy step. Acronis will also allow me to load ("mount") the images as if they were themselves drive partitions. That means that Windows Explorer can copy individual files and folders, or groups of them, from the image to my hard drive.
I strongly recommend backing up your data and, at least, your C: partition (most people call this the C: drive) before installing Windows 7, whether you are upgrading from Windows XP or Windows 7.
I opened the Windows 7 Professional Upgrade package…
My first warning of impending problems was the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. No, not the one that has been available for so long on Microsoft’s web site and labelled as a Beta version. This was the one mentioned in the flyer inside the package.
The new Windows 7 Upgrade Adviser told me that my modem wouldn’t work (ok, I knew that), that my sound card would not work, and that my video card would not support the new Aero interface and that I would be stuck with the "standard" interface. That got my attention.
I decided to install Windows 7 anyway.
The installation process went very smoothly, although the new license was not as user friendly. Microsoft now defines that, if you install Windows on multiple partitions on one physical computer, each partition on which Windows is installed is considered to be a "separate computer" requiring its own individual license for Windows. There goes my plan for dual-booting Windows XP and Windows 7.
Unlike earlier Windows versions, you do not have to enter the Windows product key in order to install Windows 7. Windows 7 will actually install and run without the product key. I think we have 30 days to enter the product key and activate Windows 7.
When Windows 7 finished its installation processes, including automatic multiple reboots, I was presented with the new log-in screen for Windows 7. I entered my password and Win7 finished logging me in, and then displayed the Windows 7 Desktop.
The boring Windows 7 Desktop. The "I can’t run Aero" boring Windows 7 desktop. The desktop I never saw when I was running the Windows 7 Release Candidate. The "standard" interface that anyone running a low-powered, el-cheapo computer might see. Certainly not the Aero interface from the Release Candidate.
Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.
I installed Sunbelt VIPRE AntiVirus + AntiSpyware and left the notebook running as I went to bed. That way, VIPRE could do its initial full-system scan during the middle of the night.