Cole’s Windows 7 adventure

Well, despite my cranky post a couple of days ago – I did manage to get a copy of the Beta and a Product Key.  And I’m playing with Windows 7 this week and was really pleasantly surprised.

As the documentation recommended – I set aside my test Mule to test the software – and ran into a problem right away.  The Dell Test Mule DVD drive is an external USB and wouldn’t boot.  Sigh.  So the fix for that is to install the DVD drive internally and update the BIOs to handle it.  This unit is an older desktop unit – so offline it comes to do some hardware updates.

Well, since I couldn’t get to the test mule update until the weekend – I decided to dust off an old laptop that had been sitting semi-idle in the corner.  At first glance, it wasn’t up to even handling Vista – let alone Windows 7.  It’s a Toshiba Tecra A1, that used to be my main laptop.  It was in semi-retirement as it was running an old version of XP and the XP version of Office, with 512 Mb of RAM and a 30 Gig drive.  What I was actually using it for was to have a machine to sync my iPod Touch with, and do some playing around on the internet. 

So just for the heck of it – I dropped the beta DVD into the Tecra – just to see if the beast would check the machine out and tell me that the machine wouldn’t be up to snuff to run Windows 7.  To my surprise – it not only ran and installed – it ran wonderfully.  Now the Windows Aero features don’t work – the graphic card isn’t up to the job, but the rest seems to run and run well.  On 512 Mb – and they recommend at least a 1Gig of Ram.  It’s a complete turnaround on what used to happen – I remember that if Microsoft said use 1Gig as minimum, you needed at least 2 Gig to run properly.  Well, this Pentium 4 2.2 MHz is running great on 512 Mb.  But since the recommended minimum is  1 Gig – off to Memory Express and get two 1 Gig sticks.

Back at the shack – the BIOS won’t read the Gig sticks – off to Toshiba’s site for a BIOS update. The one in the machine is the latest version – but still won’t read the sticks. So back to Memory Express and swap them for two 512 Mb – and zoom we’re up and running.

First impressions on the Windows 7 are impressive.  I did a clean slate install – re-formatting the drive and just adding in the Windows Live  and now iTunes.  I’m planning to keep using the machine as the iPod tender and generally play with the Windows Live and on there.  I’ll play with this stuff until the Beta expires in August – and sort out then if to rollback to XP or Vista.  I have a license for XP on this unit and the OEM disks, but I really think that would be a rollback I don’t want to do.  I’ll keep you posted.

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