Microsoft Windows 7 Test Drive, Part 1

Miliimeter by Jan Ozer

Microsoft Windows 7 It's time to look at Microsoft Windows 7, which I'm doing in two phases. First, I'll upgrade an existing Windows XP installation and detail the experience and my first impression of Windows 7. Then, using a multiboot computer, I'll test the performance of Windows Vista against Windows 7, and if the stars align, perhaps even Windows XP.

Today, I'll walk you through the process of converting from Windows XP to Windows 7 on an HP Z400, which was manufactured in 2009 and has a 3.2GHz Intel Nehalem-based Xeon W3570 CPU with 8GB of RAM, currently running 64-bit Windows XP. I start by inserting the DVD into the drive, which loads a splash screen with three options: a clickable link to "What to know before installing Windows," a button to check compatibility online, and another button to forge on and "Install Now." I click the "What to know" link and learn that I can either upgrade the computer and save my programs, install Windows 7 on a partition I select, or overwrite XP. I decide to delay this decision and click "Check compatibility online."
Figure 1. What I want to do is upgrade. What I have to do because I'm on Windows XP is a Custom install, which means that I will have to reinstall all my programs.

This takes me to a web page where I can download the "Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor." I do, and am told to make sure that all peripherals that I typically run on this machine are turned on so the Upgrade Advisor can check them as well. I do this and click Start Check. The program tells me that the check will take "a few minutes," but it returns in about 2 minutes with bad news: Since I'm running XP, I can't upgrade, I have to run a "clean" install, which means that none of the programs installed in XP will survive—I'll have to install them all manually after installing Windows 7. read more...

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