Windows Weekend

February 28, 2010

Technology, Windows 7

I’ve been running Windows 7 since January of last year.  But over the past few weeks, I’ve been getting the notices that the Windows 7 release candidate that I was running would expire at the end of February.  So it was finally time to buy the upgrade licenses and installl the GA code.

But over the past few months, I’ve also started to have some weird system problems.  Specifically, the video driver I have been using has started to abort.  And in a few instances, I’ve even had a few BSOD troubles.  So it was with a little trepidation (and a sliver of hope) that I decided to upgraded two of our systems here at the bat cave.  And as much as I hate to do clean installs, that is the path that I chose.

It was a good choice.  The install went extremely well on my system.  I booted from the install media, installed into a new directory and the system installed flawlessly.  Yeah, it took a few hours to reinstall some applications, but the system is running wonderfully well.  And my sliver of hope was rewarded as all of my video driver issues have been resolved.  They may reappear.  But I’ll keep my eyes open and make sure that I document all of the restore points I will be setting.

Unfortunately, my wife’s upgrade did not go as well.  I tried to boot from the install media – but I couldn’t get the prompt to “press any key” to boot from CD/DVD.  I went into the BIOS and changed a whole heap of settings.  But I still couldn’t get the system to boot from the Windows 7 installation media.

So I asked my wife if she was having trouble with her CD/DVD combo drive.  And after a few minutes, it became clear that the trouble was with the hardware itself.  There was no way to boot from the drive because the system didn’t recognize the drive at all.

So I started feeling a little stuck.  I really didn’t want to plunk down the cash as Cindy is between jobs.  So I decided to build a bootable flash drive from the installation media.  I followed the steps outlined on the “Into Windows” web site (details here).  From the resulting flash drive, I could boot and install Windows 7 on my wife’s system.

Once I could boot from installation media, I had no trouble reinstalling the GA code on Cindy’s system.  Her install went well, with a few minor hiccups where I needed to remove the flash drive before a reboot.  But the overall process was much faster than installing from optical media.

Once I got the system installed, I migrated all of her apps and turned the system over for her QA.  Everything was great – until she noted that Outlook wasn’t working as it was supposed to work.  I worked to configure Outlook and utilize all of the PST files that she had acquired over the last couple of years.  Unfortunately, I had deleted a couple of the PST files.  So it was time to break out Recuva and get back the files I had eliminated.  After a few stumbles along the way, I got the files restored and I got Outlook properly configured.

The entire upgrade process (with all of the fits and starts I encountered) took less than a day.  And in the end, I had increased the stability of my systems.  So while I was reluctant to spend the money, I must admit that it was money (and time) well spent.




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