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Windows 7 Install

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Postby CodeBlack » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:22 pm

I just installed Windows 7 and I thought I would share my experiences. I bought 2 copies of Win 7 Pro (OEM) since I have 2 computers to upgrade. I skipped Vista so I'm starting with XP. Good thing I got 2 copies as one of the discs (from Tiger) was scratched so bad Windows would not install from that DVD. The 2nd copy was scratched as well but my drive was able to read it well enough to get through the install. I'm sending the other copy back. And these discs came packaged in a full sized DVD movie case so they got scratched before they were put in the case. Mass duplicators suck.

First, I recommend you read all the available material about pre-requisites. A GOOD idea is to go to MS's OEM website and read the docs. Good stuff there. Also, the Win 7 Upgrade Advisor should be D/L-ed and run to see what HW needs updating or replacement. Luckily all my HW passed and its all 3 years old.

I have been installing Windows since version 95 and the Win 7 install is the smoothest yet. Having said that, its not without difficulties. I installed onto a 2nd HD and that's what I recommend. That way you can dual boot your current OS with Win 7. And then you can migrate over your apps at your leisure. Forget the "upgrade" version. That's for people who really like trouble. Windows has the dual boot thing down pretty good now.

The install took less time than previous versions, partly due to using DVDs instead of CDs. In fact, almost everything is faster in Win 7. Boot (not counting BIOS portion) to the password prompt takes 23 seconds on my box, from that point its another 7 seconds. Shutdown takes 6 to 7 seconds consistently! Apps start up faster, the ones I've tried anyway. The internet is WAY faster. Web pages load almost instantly! I don't know what they did but it worked. I can only imagine how fast this thing would be in a new system with an i7 processor with fast RAM, a solid state HD, and 2 GTX 275's SLI!

Win 7 comes with NO GAMES. Zip, nada. I installed the 64-bit version and have only had one app fail to run and that one is really old anyway. I'm still installing apps though. Oh yeah, the "compatibility mode"? Scratch that. It didn't work for me. I suppose in some specific situations it MIGHT work, probably not. So if your app doesn't like Win 7 then you won't be running that app on Win 7. I don't know why anyone would want the 32-bit version, defeats the purpose of upgrade.

Win 7 is more in tune with multimedia, than prev versions, including making things easier to find, when its not busy making things harder to find. E.g. try bookmarking in IE 8. Until you find the right shortcut key you'll have a hard time. Similar for Win Media Player, MS hides features. Windows Media Center features are built in to Win 7 so if you want to use your computer to run your home entertainment system then Win 7 is a good choice. Home networking is even more improved since XP and Vista. Its come a long way from the crappy Win 95/98 days. Win 7 seems to handle far more types of devices with ease.

Win 7 runs an enormous number of processes, 50 on my box (Damn!). And it uses 1 GB of RAM, I have 4 GB installed and I would call that minimum. 2GB will be a stretch. Also, Win 7 uses twice as much HD space as XP, 16 GB vs. 7 GB, so make your partitions big enough if you do partition. Those numbers include the swap file which can be moved. I would give Win 7 30 GB. User accounts will fill that up pretty quick though.

Visually, Win 7 is stunning. Very nice. If you've used Vista it may seem about the same, just more of it. The gadgets are carried over from Vista. I expected "gadgets" to take off but that has not really materialized. There are some useful gadgets though.

IE 8 looks nice and seems to run very fast and integrates all the new internet stuff, feeds, IM, multi-device sync, web slices, the whole 9 yards. But it does not work well with BV! I tried to write this in IE 8 and it has problems with BV's scroll panes. Luckily Firefox works fine.

Oh yeah, when you boot the Win 7 DVD the 1st screen you get, the "stupid" screen, is gonna make you laugh & scream. So before you boot the DVD go into your BIOS and make sure you know your boot priority because the first thing Win does is ask you to select a "boot type". What the hell does that mean? Well its the devices in your boot priority and Win gives you a numbered list with no text to tell you what the heck it is you are selecting. Doh! If you put your DVD first in the boot priority then select "1" on the "stupid" screen. Aaargh!

As usual Win loves to go infinite loop on the first reboot. Just make sure you select the HD on reboot, that's probably "2" on the "stupid" screen. Otherwise you'll be starting the process all over, and over and over. Same as all previous versions of Windows.

Things you could have problems with: Hardware and/or drivers. Some companies are just not supporting Windows 7 on hardware that is more than 2 years old. Yep, 2 years old! That is completely unacceptable to me but that is not MS's fault. ATI/AMD is not supporting Win 7 on video cards older than about 2 -3 years old (which covers pretty much everybody). Believe it or not. Ooooh kaaaay AMD. Same goes for Hauppauge (assuming you had a device from them that was working to start with).

Bottom line: I like Win 7. Looks nice and runs well. Simplifies many tedious things and, so far, is making life a little easier than what it replaced, a 3 year old install of XP that needed re-install to get rid of built up internet gunk. Now to try installing a game...

My Rig:
Win 7 Rating: 5.8 (due to the Seagate HDs, 6.7 otherwise)
Mobo: Intel D975XBX2(KR)
Proc: Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4 GHz (slightly O/C-ed)
Ram: OCZ Platinum Series Dual Channel 800 MHz (4x1GB) 5-5-5-14 (slightly O/C-ed)
HD: (2) Seagate Barracuda 500 GB 7200.11 SATA (get solid state!)
Video: ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT 512MB DDR3 (not recommended, bad design, but very fast)
Media: Sony DVD Burner DRU-170C (had problems with this, noisy, unreliable)
Cooler: ZeroTherm BTF90 All Copper (works well)
Case: Thermaltake Armor VA8000BWS (big, lots of led fans)
P/S: OCZ GameXStream 700W (not quite enough juice for SLI/X-FIRE)
Other: Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-350 (Worthless POS! Vid Quality <VHS, big fat pixels!)
Other: Logitech diNovo wireless bluetooth KB, Mouse, Keypad
(another POS, BT sux! short range, interference, disconnects, uses batteries very fast)
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Postby truthisthere » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:52 pm

Hey thanks for this post, it has some great info here for anyone considering Windows 7. I too love it a lot, its fast, looks great and works well for gaming.

My Rig:
Windows 7 Rating: 7.4 (highest 7.9)
Mobo: Gigabyte P45
Processor: Intel Quad Q9400 2.66 ghz
Ram: 4 gb of Kingston DDR 2 800
HD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB 7200 RPM
Video: BFG GTX 260 OC 2
Media: Lite-On Dvd Burner 24x
CPU Cooler: Zalman 9500
Case: Antec 900
PSU: Antec TruePower 650 Watt
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Postby CodeBlack » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:06 pm

Update: It turns out that Win 7 does have games but they are not installed by default. And those games have been updated and a few new ones have been added. Also, Win 7 does not seem to be significantly faster booting after you install a few apps. Even MS apps cause longer boots. Virus Scanners will cause your computer to be as slow as it ever was. The speedup is only on a fresh install before you modify anything. Other things slow down over time as well, like web page loading. Cleaning the cache and offline data, cookies, etc. does help some.
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Postby at1with0 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:20 am

Is it normal for win7 64bit to only recognize 3.25GB of ram when I have 4GB installed?
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Postby CodeBlack » Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:44 am

No. Win 32 bit will only recognize 3.25 but 64 bit supports many gigs, don't remember what the limit is but you can't get that much memory in your computer anyway.
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Postby at1with0 » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:03 pm

I have 64 bit installed. Only 3.25GB usable. In system properties it says 4.00GB (3.25GB usable). My mb reports 4GB correctly (that's what I got in there).

When I increased my ram from 2 to 4, my hardware reserved memory went up about 0.75GB which seems to be where the ram is.

I've seen threads where people have 6GB installed but only 3GB usable.

It may be that the chipset is 32bit. But my mb manual says I can upgrade to 4GB. So I'm not sure who to whine to: the mb manufacturer, microsoft, the maker of the ram...
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Postby CodeBlack » Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:35 pm

Probably not the RAM or MS. What mobo is it? Do you know the chipset? Type Windows-Break and see what it says under System.
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Postby at1with0 » Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:48 pm

I'm gathering from the many places this "problem" is reported that this is expected behavior in Win7. Win7 is taking 0.75GB from usable RAM and dedicating that to the video card in the guise of "hardware reserved."

There have been two common answers: one is to use msconfig to get maximum memory and to enable "memory remapping" in BIOS. I don't have a memory remapping feature.

I have come to conclude that while the mobo manual says it supports 4GB of ram, the chipset might secretly be a 32bit one that will limit ram to 3.25GB. Technically I do have 4GB of ram it's just that 0.75 GB is being dedicated to video hardware.

This is what I get for skimping on the mobo it's Foxconn Model G31AX-K and I have the latest bios flash installed. THe last bios update for that mobo is like july of 2009.

The chipset is reportedly P35/G33/G31. Looking into these chipsets now to see the specs.
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Postby CodeBlack » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:15 pm

Ooops. sorry to hear about that. Cheap mobo. I'll bet you have either no graphics card (integrated graphics - like a laptop) or one without any memory and the mobo has to allocate memory for video. In that case its time to upgrade your computer. There are some cheap deals out there. Keep your Windows DVD and re-install on a new system. I'm surprised you got Win 7 running on what you have.

If money is an issue I could sell you my old system. It has a kick-a$$ graphics card, high speed, low latency memory (4 GB dual channel), great Asus mobo. Its not multi-core but it rocked for its time. Also has a large (re-usable) steel case and a good P/S. Two 320 GB drives and an expensive Sound Blaster card as well. Also have a 19" Dell Trinitron monitor that's in good shape. New, system cost over $3G. Win XP SP-2 freshly installed. You can dual boot your Win 7 (MS lets you install on up to 5 systems now).

I'd stay away from Foxconn, just my 2 cents.
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Postby at1with0 » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:39 pm

I'll probably get an Alienware Aurora soon...
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