Windows 7 – Finally

January 10, 2009



It’s almost 3:00PM CST on Saturday.  And I’ve been working on this for over six (6) hours.  But I’m sure that a whole lot of people have spent a whole lot more time than I have.

Yesterday morning, Microsoft was supposed to make a beta version of Windows 7 available to 2.5 million customers.   So far, there is no single proocess that works to make that download process a reality.  Indeed, the Internet was abuzz with the challenges that Microsoft was having  with the huge demand for Windows 7.  I don’t know about any of that, but it sure has been a Byzantine process getting all the bits and getting the appropriate product keys.

After hearing all of the whispers, groans, screams and general noise yesterday, I waited until today to start the process for myself.  I got up bright and early and walked the dogs.  Once they were fed and watered, I started the process.  I tried to go to the Microsoft location where I could get the download and the product key in one place.  But that was not a workable solution this morning.  It may be OK as you read this post.  Check at Microsoft’s site first.  And if it is still down, here are some tips on how I proceeded.

So I figured that I would try and do the two things separately.  I found a great link over at Neowin.  From there, I was able to get to the product pages where I could request a product key.  Fortunately, I did this before 2.5M other people did.  So I got a good key.  Then I went over to Technologizer to see where the downloads for the ISO were hosted.  It’s important that you get a file that is hosted at Microsoft as there are lots of BitTorrent trackers that are pointing to very old versions of the code.  Get the dowload from Microsoft and you can be more comofortable that you are getting the Build 7000 bits.  And the Microsoft folks have updated their infrastructure.  It only took me about ninety minutes to download the 2.4GB ISO file.

Once I got the product keys and the ISO, I burned the DVD and started the install.  That was before 10A.  That’s when the fun began.

8:3oAM – Began ISO download

9:45AM – ISO downloaded

9:50AM – Got product key

10:00AM –  I rebooted the system and I started the install.  I chose to upgrade an exising partition.  That is a risky proposition.  But it would best represent the experience most people would encounter.  So I checked currency of backups and started the install.

The install looks almost identical to the Vista installs I’ve performed hundreds of times.  Unfortunately, the instller also acts like the same installer.  You get precious little feedback to determine if the process works or not.  You can wait for five minutes to progress 30% across the progress bar.  But sometimes, it takes thirty minutes to move a single percent.  The good news is that the installer at least lists the number of files it is dealing with in each step.  So while the progress bar may not move, you can at least tell if things are “stuck” or not.

It took almost an hour to “check the files” before the next step in the installation could proceed.  I was starting to get a little worried.  But then things started to move along.  By noon, the installer had finally prgressed to the last step (“Completing upgrade”).

12:01PM – The “post-migration” steps are taking longer than the unpacking and copying of files.  Arghhh.

12:48PM – The post-installation process has jumped from 34% complete to 57% complete.  I am really glad to see the file count.  Otherwise, I would have abandoned the installation long ago.  I’m becoming a little peeved at the note that says “this may take a few minutes.”  OK, Redmond’s definition of “a few” and my definition are not in agreement.  But this installer is acting just as it has in the past – very little feedback with data that is non-representative.  At 57%, I can be certain that I am not 1/2 of the way through this process.

1:10PM – Is this thing scanning my HD and sending checksums to NSA or the RIAA?  This is taking forever.

1:25PM – We’ve rebooted yet again.  But I’m seeing a new splash screen.  So far, it’s the only indication that there is anything different between this OS and Windows Vista.  I do like the animations of the swirling balls morphing into the Windows logo.

But I’m greeted with the post-installation process still being at 57% – arghhh!

1:30PM – Whoa.  We’ve jumpted to 63%.  I wonder if the reboot was needed to clear a file lock.

1:37PM – 74%

1:44PM – 87%

1:45PM – Restart again

1:47PM – Hey, it’s asking for the product key.  I must be making progress.

1:50PM – I’m being asked for the first Ctrl + Alt + Del of the new OS.

1:55PM – I finally see my standard desktop

So the installation / upgrade process is very long.  And you need to be patient.  But my upgrade went fairly smoothly – except that Citirx ICA had to be disabled and uninstalled.  Otherwise, the upgrade is pretty good – f0r a beta.  It took a little over five (5) hours to upgrade an existing Vista SP1 system.




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