Upgraded to Windows 7

Microsoft’s latest operating system hit the shelves not a week ago, and I’ve already installed it. This is interesting, as I am not usually an early adopter. I have been running the release candidate for some time on my formerly-XP desktop, and was impressed with the changes. I liked what I saw, and decided to upgrade my laptop, the HP G60-230CA.

Windows 7 is a popular topic on the internet these days, so I won’t bore you with all the upgrading details. Information on new features is widely available, so I won’t repeat it here. I will share my impressions of the experience, though.

I bought the laptop earlier this year, and subsequently reviewed it. In short, it was loaded with Vista Home Premium, and has good specs for a laptop. Vista was working fine on the system, but I decided to go on the cutting edge for this upgrade. Because of the work I do, I decided to pay extra to upgrade to Windows 7 Professional, rather than stay with Home Premium.

I didn’t expect any difficulties: HP provides Windows 7 drivers for a number of their recent and current systems. I suspect other manufacturers are doing the same. Supposedly you could attempt to upgrade an older system to Windows 7, but the upgrade may not be officially supported.

I bought the upgrade, backed up my files, and started the installation. Windows 7 supports an in-place upgrade from Vista, but the common wisdom indicates that a full install is the better route, since it provides a clean slate for the new OS. So that was what I did. I had to anyway, since I was changing editions (Home Premium to Pro), which requires a full install. I started the process one evening, and it was done when I had finished dinner. Much quicker than an XP installation.

Off the bat, the necessary drivers were installed, saving me from having to install them myself. This is a big step up over XP, and apparently Vista. I got logged into a fully functional system. Well, except for useful software. That took longer than the OS installation to get done, but I have encountered no issues so far. Windows 7’s UAC is less intrusive than the one in Vista, and the whole system seems a little snappier and more responsive.

Admittedly, Vista is not a terrible operating system, although it did have a rough start on the market. But Windows 7 provides many enhancements and new features that appealed to me to make the upgrade, and I am glad I did it. Your mileage may vary!

Below are some screenshots of my upgraded system, with some indications of various new features in Windows 7.

Update: some extra thoughts

Windows 7 allows for much customization out of the box, but mostly high-level stuff. There is a tool available, called Ultimate Windows Tweaker that provides many more customization options, ranging from security to performance to usability. The tool reminds me of the TweakUI powertoy available for Windows XP, but seems to be much more. UWT is freely downloadable, and does not require installation. Just run it (you do need administrator permissions), and customize away!

If you are a developer working with .NET, the Web Platform Installer provides a gateway to numerous tools and components, which saves having to chase them down and install them individually. Download the tool, install, and run. You’ll then be able to have the tool install a range of useful components for you.