After a long wait I have finally made the switch to Windows 7. The gist of it is this: I love it. Now for the story.
I was pretty happy with my because it ran decently and was fairly stable. I have long been an advocate of "an OS is just a means for me to run my programs and applications, nothing else". If it hadn't been for an excellent deal that I signed up for months before, I don't think I would have made the jump to Windows 7. Many moons ago, Microsoft offered a promo for those who preordered a copy of Windows 7 Home or Professional. The deal was too good to pass: only $50 for Home and $100 for Professional. So I did the right thing and pre-ordered a copy of Home Premium. I didn't go for Professional because the extra features aren't something that I would use.
If you're having a hard time choosing between the two, Professional has a couple of useful features extra that you might need (or not). Here are some of them. There's Windows XP mode which basically contains a full, licensed version of XP that runs in a virtual mode, useful if you want to run older programs that refuse to run under Windows 7. There's also a backup utility that has more features than copy/paste. A third important feature is which can come in handy if you want to connect remotely to your home computer like, for example, from work so you can camp that Auction House!
The nice thing about Windows 7 is that the box contains 2 CDs: one for the 32-bit version and one for the 64-bit version. I would highly advise against installing the 32-bit one, unless you expect to run into major compatibility issues. 64-bit is the future and one of the main reasons is that it allows you to install virtually unlimited amounts of RAM. In my case, 6GB are just right.
Before you start installing, here are a few things you should do. Backup all the stuff on your main drive. If you have several drives, that can be as easy as moving everything not related to Windows to another drive. Move all your movies, music, games, documents, etc. Make a backup of your desktop, i.e. all the stuff in the Desktop folder. If you're like me, you'll have tons of crap there, including documents and folders.
Make sure to clean your main drive as much as possible. If you upgrade from Vista and choose the "Upgrade" option, you will be able to keep all your installed programs. You also have the option to do a "Clean Install" which I recommend anyway. Upgrading from Windows XP can only be done with a "Clean Install" which is just as well. I loves me a clean new system.
When performing the clean install, W7 will move your old Windows (including Program Files) into a Window.old folder. You can delete that if you think you don't need it, later. I will archive it though, just in case.
Since my only option was to do a clean install, I booted from the 64-bit DVD and the installation started. I was surprised by how few things it asks you, merely a couple of items of localization information. From there, just let the installer do its thing. The whole installation lasted about 40 minutes. I'm sure it would have been shorter had it not needed to backup my old Windows files. During the installation it rebooted twice: one too many if you ask me. The first time it reboots make sure to remove the DVD beforehand, or else it will start the installation all over again. If that happens, eject the DVD and reset the computer. The installation will resume.
Long story short, the installation process was very user friendly and it didn't require my attention at various times. The only thing that slightly bothered me was the lack of progress information. There's nothing tangible like a real-time progress bar, but merely status information for the various stages and a general progress bar that is very lazy to update.
When my new OS started for the first time, I was impressed. It looks very good compared to XP (I skipped Vista), it's sleek and responsive, even with the Aero interface and all the effects enabled. I liked the fact that it installed drivers for all my components and that it updated itself nicely.
One of the first things I did, after installing an antivirus, was to start WoW. If you've been wondering if WoW runs under W7, fret no more: it does, and nicely. In fact, it seemed to me that it ran even smoother than before. Whether it's the extra 3GB of RAM (for a total of 6GB), the new OS or pure coincidence, I can only be pleased by the apparent increase in performance. I didn't get to play a lot, just checked/reposted some auctions and emptied the mailbox. Hopefully tonight I'll get some more play time but I'm also about to upgrade my graphics card so that will definitely be a factor.
Well, that was a very short WoW-under-W7 review, wasn't it? In truth, I'm a lot more excited by Windows 7 itself than by WoW under W7. I wasn't worrying that it wouldn't run, I was merely curious as to whether there's any performance increase. First signs point towards that but more experimenting is required. One thing is certain: I've got a lot of work cut out for me installing my applications all over again.
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4 years ago