I installed the Windows 7 Beta last night on my 6 year old P4 3.0GHz desktop. As many know I have been no proponent of Microsoft for a long long time. I have ripped on them daily to co-workers, friends, family, and especially to my spouse. However it seems as though there may be a bright glimmer of hope off in the not too distant future. The Windows 7 Beta is not too shabby. Wow, did those word actually come out? It is only 5 degrees in hell, er Pittsburgh today so what does that mean?
I have however been a huge fan of beta software for many years. I’ve run Mozilla Firefox as my main web browser for years. Open Office is the only thing I will install for family when they ask me to fix their machines. My daily tasks all revolve around the open source community and the awesome products that they produce. However Microsoft is the anti open source. But I decided to do this against my better judgment anyway. I had the occasional run in with Vista from family machines that were bought over the past two years. I shudder at the thought of fixing those machines. Very decent machines far outpacing my old beat up P4 machine mind you. But all of these Vista machines with 2-4GB of RAM would run so slow and sluggish compared to my old P4 with 2GB of RAM. Why is this?
Windows XP is to Window ME as Windows 7 is to Windows Vista. Bold statement indeed. I swear Windows Vista was an interim turd OS just like ME was. Pushed out onto the public just for quick sales in between a long lapse between OS refreshes before the real OS was ready, i.e. XP and Windows 7. But that’s okay if you don’t mind waiting for the good stuff. I guess that almost goes against my beta mindset mentality. Because Windows ME and Vista were fully released beta software gone wrong. And XP and Windows 7 seemed to be the golden tickets if you will.
Now about beta software forums. When you run beta software it is a good idea to know where the forums are for said software in case something goes wrong or you need to know how to do a specific task. With the Windows 7 Beta this is also the case. However across the net in all sorts of forums and user comments there are countless entries of people asking how to dual boot, whether they will lose their data, can they simply upgrade, what will happen after the August Beta period ends, etc. This is so frustrating. It’s a beta OS, just like testing out a pre-release for Ubuntu, back up your stuff! It’s common knowledge. At least I thought it was.
Here is a breakdown of the easiest way to test a beta OS or run Windows in general:
- Backup your precious data (photos, video, resumes, etc.)
- Re-install cleanly by re-formatting your drive. If you want to dual boot you are not committed to the beta!
- Install a fresh copy of the OS. Previously I had a perfectly tweaked Windows XP SP3 slip streamed disc made by using n-lite.
- Use Portable Apps and install as few applications normally as possible.
It’s this last step where I lose people. There are a few apps that must be installed normally, such as AVG free and Spybot Search & Destroy. But that’s about it. After that head on over to http://www.portableapps.com and get everything you need. Firefox, Open Office, 7-zip, VLC, etc. Even ccleaner has a portable build. This ensures that all application settings remain with the app themselves and not embedded into Windows. Almost like installing an application of a Mac. So after the August date, simply backup all your portable apps folders and user documents and wipe the OS clean with your old copy of Windows. The portable apps travel so you don’t have to worry about anything. And not only that but the process of installing and uninstalling applications in Windows always causes the phenomenon known as bit rot. So many entries get put into the startup that each boot up gets slower and slower until it crawls to a stop.
The last time I remember Microsoft having the rabid fans and excitement around it that Apple has enjoyed over the past few years has to have been when Windows 95 released. I remember it being on the news that people were lining up outside of EggHead and Sun Appliances to get their copies. I have a feeling that Vista burned a lot of people, just as ME did for many. So in my opinion Windows 7 will have the same adoption rate as XP, slow at first, but loyal to the end.
The beta is impressive, fast, sleak, and for once in a blue moon the big guys got it right. So try it out for yourself Windows 7 beta it’s worth a shot.
- P4 3.06GHz Northwood
- 2GB RAM
- Install Time with HDD formatting, about 25min
- Boot Time: < 30 sec
- Shutdown Time: 12 sec