I took advantage of Microsoft’s limited-time “Family Pack” offer for upgrading to the new Operating System, Windows 7. I have three PCs here at the Kennedy compound, two desktops that I built from the ground up, both with Vista installed, plus an old Dell Inspiron 6000 running XP. For $30 more than it would cost to upgrade one of the PCs, I can upgrade all 3. My brother, who uses one of the two computers, was gracious enough to buy the Family Pack for me. According to him, it was the last one on the shelves at the local Best Buy.
- There are two options for installing, upgrade Vista, and “clean install”. Under the upgrade option, the system will attempt to upgrade Windows in place. If it fails, it will remove the software and revert to Vista. With a clean install, the installation programs moves the Windows directory, the users directory, and the Program Files directory, into a directory called “Windows.old”. Microsoft also recommends backing everything up to a external hard before upgrading. A Clean install is MANDATORY when upgrading from XP, or if you have your user data and program files on a separate disk partition.
- I wound up doing a clean install on all three machines. My Desktop is set up with multiple partitions. My Brother’s desktop created a weird screen during my attempt to install from upgrade. After two attempts to do an upgrade install, I went ahead and ran a clean upgrade on my brother’s desktop. I’d probably recommend backing up and doing a clean install. You’ll have to reinstall all of your software after the install, but it gives the PC a fresh start, something that every PC needs once in a while.
- Windows 7 really isn’t Windows 7. If you open a command prompt, (open the start menu and type “cmd”) you’ll see this little gem.
Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]
That’s not really that bad… the previous “dot-1” releases have been more successful than the “dot-0” counterparts. Windows XP is version 5.1, Windows 98 was version 4.1. Although there were some Windows 3.0 out there, I only saw 1 copy of 3.0, versus a lot of 3.1’s.
For the record, Windows Vista is version 6.0, Windows ME was 4.9 (Microsoft was having trouble adapting the Windows NT kernal to the home environment) Windows 2000 (the NT counterpart to ME) was 5.0, and Windows 95 was 4.0.
- The laptop won’t support the flashy “aero” interface. The functionality isn’t affected, however, and the computer is not noticeably slower than under xP. I would caution against upgrading an older XP box to 7. As some have pointed out, those with older computers would likely be replacing their computers sooner rather than later. I would NOT have upgraded the laptop were it not for the family pack offer.
- I did have a couple of minor problems with one piece of software under Vista that would cause a graphics card to act slow. Under 7, the problem has appeared to be resolved.