How to: Install Windows 7 RC

Today i decided to upgrade my Vista machine to the Windows 7 RC. I have been awaiting Windows 7 pretty much since i installed Vista. Although i have grown to like Vista when i first installed it i found it pretty hard to live with. Windows 7 eliminates some of the key annoyances i had with Vista so i thought it time to upgrade.

A couple of key points before upgrading:

– This is not a final release of Windows 7, it is the Release Candidate so it’s the closest release to the finished product. Bugs may will still be present (well duh this is still windows right?)

– A full backup of your system should be made before installing the windows 7 operating system.

– Ideally you should run the proposed new OS in a Virtual Environment before upgrading your everyday workstation, to ensure compatibility with your applications and to verify you actually want to install the proposed OS. I recommend using VMWare or Microsoft VirtualPC to install Windows 7 as a Virtual Machine before upgrading.

Once you have downloaded the ISO, burn it to a disc, make a note of the product key from the Windows 7 website. Insert the disc into the drive and run the setup executable. Before you install you should check the compatibility tool to ensure your machine is going to run adequately with windows 7. If your machine runs Vista you should be fine.

Installation can be done in one of two ways:

1. A clean install (this will wipe your existing OS, applications and files and start a fresh)

2. Upgrade, this will maintain your applications, files and settings.

The upgrade path is easier and preferred if you want to maintain your current system personal settings, however a clean install is beneficial every so often as it’s the only truly efficient way to clean your system of all the crap which accumulates over time.

I chose the upgrade path, and i did have a few setup issues. The problems i encountered were due to the image i had burnt to disc, i tried a number of times, with different discs and different burning apps. Nero and Windows both produced errors when burning the disc, which resulted in the setup process failing – in the end i installed IMGBurn which produced a working disc from the same ISO image.

The upgrade process took some time, but then again i expected it to. My system had not been wiped for some time and i had a lot of applications and personal documents and settings to transfer. From start to finish the upgrade took about 45 minutes.

Early impressions are very good, i’m easily annoyed and i can honestly say after a few hours using windows 7 i have managed to maintain my natural Zen with the world – no doubt you will hear more about this in future posts.

Verdict: If you have Windows Vista currently you have little to lose migrating to Windows 7. It’s not massively different but it is much more polished. It’s what Vista should have been. Faster, more intuitve and less annoying.

If you have Windows XP then it’s a harder decision – i still think XP was/is the best OS Micro$oft have produced. Moving to Windows 7 would be a worthwhile upgrade if you fancy something new, that said if you favour the stability of your Windows XP OS then you might want to wait for the final public release before taking the plunge. 7 is after all still a release candidate.

If your using a non-Microsoft flavour OS then i would certainly say give the RC a try, it’s free after all – but die hard anti-windows users will probably not be turned by the latest Microsoft offering.

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