The date is October 22, 2009, Windows 7 was released today. Its kind of funny, I remember when Windows XP was released and people actually stood in line to get a copy and make the transition from the 98/ME versions. When Windows Vista was released there was also a lot of fanfare that unfortunately turned sour. Vista brought with it a lot of change, and people don't like change, at least not that much.

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It was too cutesy for me, lots of flash and not a lot of substance. So, today I went down to my local Staples and purchased the Windows 7 Professional upgrade to put on a machine. There wasn't a lot of fanfare and I didn't see anyone standing in line to buy the new operating system. I definitely felt like an early adopter when I paid for it and walked out of the store. Let's hope I don't regret it.

Why did I buy the professional upgrade instead of the home version? Because I want to see and test out the Windows XP Mode that is only available in the professional and ultimate versions of Windows 7.

See the chart below for a comparison (straight off the installation box) of the different versions of Windows 7.

Installing Windows 7 I'm going to install Windows 7 by reformatting and installing a fresh copy of Windows 7, instead of upgrading over a previous version.

Windows 7 will upgrade over Vista, but the upgrade path for Windows XP is more difficult. According to the directions inside the case, you should run the Windows Upgrade Advisor, then save your important files and settings to an external hard drive using the Windows Easy Transfer Utility or copy the files to a CD, DVD, or flash drive. After you've backed up your data, you need to make sure you have all the installation disks for your programs and license keys. For Windows XP, Microsoft wants you to perform a “custom (advanced)” install, and finally use the Windows Easy Transfer to restore your files and settings. Sounds like a normal “wipe the hard drive and start over procedure” to me.

Opening the installation case, I found two DVDs, one for the 32-bit installation and one for the 64=bit installation. I chose to install the 64-bit version on this particular computer. I should tell you the computer I'm installing Windows 7 on is an AMD Athlon 64 Processor 3500+ (about 2.2GHz) with 1.5GB of RAM, and a 300GB hard drive.

The installation took about 35 minutes to complete. The impressive thing was it found all the drivers for the computer right off. For the most part, it was an uneventful installation. No glitches during the install and all the drivers are installed and working properly. I was prepared for the worst, and I have to admit I'm very surprised. Everything appears to be working from the start.

In fact, I'm typing this article on the new computer (using OpenOffice 3.1)Now I need to install some more programs and see how it behaves....

I'll be updating this page frequently as I study and analyze the new operating system in the coming weeks.

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