Thanks to geognerd for the image
At 9pm this evening I powered up a brand new Samsung NC10 netbook (I subsequently wrote this post from the machine in question) for the first time. I hit “F2” as the power light blinked into life to change the boot device order – making my USB memory stick(thumb drive) the primary.
I didn’t even both letting the machine boot it’s pre-installed Windows XP Home operating system – I simply booted into a Windows 7 installation, removed the existing partitions and pretty much took the defaults.
At 9:21pm the shiney new NC10 was fully up and running in Windows 7 RC Ultimate edition with aero glass and sound working perfectly.
At 9:25pm I’d connected the machine to the Internet for the first time via my Vodafone 3G card – I have the “pebble” modem which (like most 3G cards these days) automatically provides the associated software and device drivers.
Where did I get the bootable Win7 USB stick?
I build it myself by doing the following:
- I download the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) from here. The resulting file was 2.35Gb in size.
- I configured the target USB memory stick to be bootable following the instructions on Jeff’s blog
- The Windows 7 RC installation kit download was a “.iso” file – I used undisker to extract all of the files (and folders) from the “.iso” and place them on the (now bootable) memory stick
Note: I wrote an earlier post with some guidance that you may find useful
BTW the filename for the Win7 RC installation kit following the 2.35Gb download was “7100.0.090421-1700_x86fre_client_en-us_retail_ultimate-grc1culfrer_en_dvd.iso”
I’m delighted with the result – a fast, lightweight system with a beautiful user interface.
There’s a twelve minute video on Microsoft’s TechNet site that shows how to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 – it demonstrates the User State Migration Tool (USMT).
The short form is that installing over the top of XP/Vista will result in the personal data from your “windows” directory (for each profile) will be moved to a folder named “windows.old”. P0st-install you can move the data by hand into the corresponding directory structure for the new operating system – there are two problems with this approach:
- you’ll have to accept many file over-write messages and elevation prompts
- you’ll have to re-associate the data with each application – going into Outlook for instance to make it aware of the location of your personal folder (.pst) files
The User State Migration Tool is a command line utility which can be used to automate the operations listed above – it’s really intended for managed IT enviroments as it requires some effort in the form of a script – if you’re doing this for a one off machine you’d probably be quicker to move everything and re-associate the data files with applications by hand.
You can now download Windows 7’s Release Candidate (for free) from here – bear in mind that it’s not the finished product hence you need to make your own call regarding whether to use it with critical data – it is very unlikely to go wrong though it is a possibility hence you should consider keeping live data elsewhere or at least implementing a comprehensive/frequent back up regime.
The Release Candidate will be fully functional until June 2010 when the license will expire and you will have to re-install. If you’re already running Windows 7 Beta then you’ll have to perform a clean install – make sure you back up your data before doing so! There’s a detailed post here explaining the rationale upon requiring a clean install together with a word around for anyone who absolutely insists that they need to install over the top.
Jeff Alexander’s blog includes a great post that gives details and shows screenshots of Windows 7’s Release Candidate in action.
How to install Windows 7’s Release Candidate without burning a coaster (DVD) first?
Microsoft’s Windows 7 development team have made a large number of tweaks to the product based on feedback from the millions of Beta testers around the World. The Windows 7 Team Blog is a great source of information on the product as a whole. The question on many people’s tounges is “What’s changed from the Beta” – the team have written two detailed blog posts to drill into the improvements in the Release Candidate – you can read them by clicking here and here.
I’ve been running Windows 7 since October – I spun up the PDC (Professional Developers Conference) Alpha release as a virtual machine while at the conference and tried it on a test machine upon returning to the UK. I was so impressed by both the speed and stability of the alpha that I upgraded my main machine to Windows 7 a couple of days later.
The improvements from Alpha to Beta 1 were significant – the Beta felt like a finished product.
The Release Candidate (RC) is still a pre-release – meaning that while many people (myself included!) will run it in production it’s not quite finished hence it’s critical to make sure you have an effective backup regime.
As you can see on the Windows 7 Team Blog the RC was published to both TechNet and MSDN on the 30th April and it’s due to be made available for public evaluation from the 5th of May.
To move up to the RC you will have to perform a clean install (unless you really insist on doing it the hard way) – there’s a good reason for this – the details are on the Engineering7 blog at this URL – this is another blog that’s a great source of information on Windows 7.
Click on the image below to see the full size version
The image shown above was created using wordle.net – it was created using the words from the Windows 7 Engineering team’s blog (E7).
I was reminded of wordle.net having read a tweet from @billt who linked to Mark Damazer (Controller of BBC Radio 4)’s post depicting an image formed from the “Declaration of Independence”. He described wordle.net as follows:
“The picture is a map of the Declaration of Independence, made using Wordle.net. The larger the word, the more often it is used in the document. A map like this is meant to reveal the main themes of the document analysed.”
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