So, if you haven’t heard, Windows 7 is being released to the general public on the 22nd of October. I was one of the lucky people selected by House Party to host a Windows 7 Launch Party. Yesterday, my party pack arrived and I got to work installing Windows 7 Ultimate on my HP dv9700t laptop. This laptop is over a year old and had a Vista windows experience index score of 5.0. It took ~ 1.5 hours to do a clean install of Windows 7 over my existing Vista Ultimate installation. I took some photographs and shot some video which I will upload when I have the spare time.
For those new to the upgrading experience, I highly recommend backing up important data you may need like your browser bookmarks, work and personal files, et cetera. I completely forgot to back up my firefox bookmarks and as a result, I’ve lost over a months’ worth of painstakingly collected bookmark-data. Thankfully, my Roboform installation ensured that my passwords and login identities weren’t lost. My other backup plan was that I would be able to reinstall Carbonite (an online backup service) and possibly scrounge for my bookmarks there. However, according to a customer service agent I chatted with, Carbonite currently does not officially support Windows 7. Bummer.
Anyway, after I set up my user account and logged into Windows 7 for the first time, my screen resolution was a crummy 800 by 600, there was no Aero eye-candy and my hard disk was bursting at the seams because of the Windows.old folder. I was NOT happy at this turn of events because I had wrongly assumed that Windows 7 would perform a complete wipe and install. I was also NOT happy because I spent a pretty penny on tricking out my laptop and for me to not have the much vaunted eye candy was a slap to my face. To solve the first problem of my screen resolution, I simply right-clicked on my desktop and selected “screen resolution”. The option was available to take the resolution up to 1400 by 900 so I did and voila! Next, my Nvidia graphics card wasn’t automatically installed or recognized so Windows put up a generic VGA adapter. After trial and error, I discovered that the Windows 7 Action Center really knows its job and that given time, it WILL find the right solution to your problem! It led me to the right Nvidia driver for my graphics card (the GEFORCE 8600M card), but after installing, I still didn’t have Aero activated. Without wasting any more time, I fired up the Action Center and it alerted me that the desktop windows manager had been turned off and it ever so kindly offered to turn it back on for me. Once I did that, I was back in business with my beautiful transparent windows and such! 🙂
I have to confess that working on Windows 7 feels like doing things thrice as fast as I would on Windows Vista. I was not too upset about the Vista operating system because I prepared myself for its shortcomings. Most of those shortcomings have been resolved by Windows 7. For instance, my computer feels much snappier because Windows 7 has been streamlined & thus can run on hardware that Vista would choke on! Also, my windows experience index score dropped to 4.6 because of my graphic card. I don’t know if that’s a function of the drivers available for it or what, but I’m not complaining because I only care about what I can feel and that is: my computer is a speed demon now. 😛
The last issue of the hard disk space was solved by going to the start menu and searching for “disk cleanup”. Now, all sites I looked at on getting rid of Windows.old did NOT help me. They swore up and down that the Disk Cleanup tool was the way to go. The “take ownership” of the Windows.old folder trick did not help me because it took too darn long! I started my installation at 8pm and I needed to get to bed at a godly hour! What they did not tell me was exactly what to do. Let me help you there:
1) Go to Disk Cleanup. It should pop up a box asking what drive you want to clean. If you’re like me, all you saw available was the C: drive (the one Windows is installed on) and the D: drive (where your recovery partition is)
2) Click on the C: drive and let it work. When the next box comes up, there should be a button for “clean system files”.
3) Click on “clean system files” and it should show a dialog box that’s scanning and detecting “previous windows installations”
4) When this box is done, it reverts back to the box in step (2) and you should see the huge Windows.old folder there like in this picture:
Oddly enough, according the properties of the Windows.old folder, the size displayed was 10GBs more. I need to call for help to find out where my hard disk space went!