12 things need to know before installing Windows 7  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

Today’s the big day. Windows 7 RC will finally be publicly released by Microsoft. Remember, Microsoft has said that it will provide an unlimited number of downloads this time, but they will only be providing it until June 30th. Beta keys will still work with the RC and you can download the RC from microsoft here.

But before you download and install Windows 7 RC, here are 12 very important things you should know beforehand:

12. You’re probably not going to get it on May 5th

As we saw with the public release of Windows 7 Beta, Microsoft’s servers crumbled from the traffic generated to their site. The same happened with the Technet/MSDN subscriber-only release of the RC. They even sent an email out with this phrase bolded:

So you don’t need rush to make sure you get your copy. When you’re ready to download the RC, it’ll be waiting for you.

Still think Microsoft is going to try their best to keep their servers up tomorrow? If you’re fast enough, you might be able to access the download. If not, luckily you have some alternatives:

  • Wait a day or two until the server errors are over. You have until June 30th to download the RC.
  • Download the image from P2P networks. Make sure your image contains the right hashes before installing.

11. What the changes are:

Everyone always asks what the changes are. Microsoft has listed 64 changes from the Beta RC here, here, and here. If you want the short version, here’s a quick list of the most significant changes:

  • Improved Taskbar: Can now fit 24-39% more icons depending on your resolution, opened apps stand out more, smaller jumplists, and items that need your attention now blink faster.
  • UAC vulnerability fix: Every time the level of UAC is changed, you will be prompted for confirmation.
  • Stream your music library over the Internet in Windows Media Player: This feature would be great if easier to use. To access it, go to Library in WMP and click on Stream in the breadcrumb. It is a lengthy process but the instructions given should get you where you want.
  • Turn Windows features on or off: Yes you can finally “uninstall” IE8 or other “unnecessary” Windows features. Read about it here
  • Improved Driver Support: Didn’t download the beta because of all those hardware incompatibility stories you’ve heard? It’s still not perfect in the RC but a lot has improved since the Beta. It’s worth a try.
  • Insane wallpapers, new themes and sound schemes: If you love customization, Windows 7 RC will satisfy your tastes. There are a lot more goodies added for you to customize to your liking in the RC.

10. You DON’T have to burn a DVD or create a bootable flash disk to install Windows 7

Most users won’t have to burn a single DVD to install Windows 7 RC. You’d have to burn a DVD if you want to install a 64-bit edition of Windows 7 and you’re running a 32-bit edition of Windows or vice versa

Since Windows Vista, you can now install Windows even after already booting up into your OS. After you have downloaded the .iso image file, instead of burning it, simply download an archiver program such as WinRAR, extract the contents to a folder, and run Setup. And yes, you can install Windows 7 on the same volume as your existing OS.

Bonus Tip: If you want to install now and backup later, choose Custom Installation instead of Upgrade Installation during the setup wizard. Windows will store all the contents of your C Drive in a folder named Windows.old once Windows 7 is installed.

12 things you need to know before installing Windows 7 Release Candidate

9. Upgrade installs from the Beta won’t work

Microsoft has stated that they’d prefer users to either do a clean install or do an upgrade install from Vista to help them evaluate how they can support the most real world scenarios possible. Unless you’re running Windows Vista or Windows 7 Build 7077, you won’t be able to perform an upgrade install. To help with Microsoft’s testing process, I would recommend testers to help MS out on this one and go for a clean install or Vista upgrade.

8. How to do a build-to-build upgrade installation anyway

12 things you need to know before installing Windows 7 Release Candidate
Microsoft realized not too many users would be happy if they made everything impossible so they have provided a workaround for users to still perform an upgrade installation for Windows 7 Beta. The workaround is very simple. Simply extract the image, browse to the sources folder, and open cversion.ini. Then edit the MinClient value to 7000.

7. How to create a separate partition for your Windows

12 things you need to know before installing Windows 7 Release Candidate

7 Beta installation:

Running Windows 7 Setup in Windows XP or Vista will not allow you to access the Disk Management options during the setup wizard. Instead, you would have to do this manually.If you plan to resize partitions, I highly advise you to backup your files.

If you are running Windows Vista or 7, open up your Start Menu, type Disk Management and push Enter. Right click any area of Unallocated Space and create a New Simple Volume. From there, complete the wizard to create your new volume. Once created, make sure that it is a Primary Partition. Now you’re all set and good to go with the installation.

12 things you need to know before installing Windows 7 Release Candidate

If you are running Windows XP or you’re having problems dealing with parititions in Windows Vista, you can download the EASEUS Partition Manager. EPM is only compatible with Windows XP and Vista. The process for creating a new partition with EPM is the exact same as above, except that you must select to create a Primary partition as shown below:

12 things you need to know before installing Windows 7 Release Candidate

6. You can run Windows 7 under VMWare or Virtual PC instead of doing a full-fledged install

12 things you need to know before installing Windows 7 Release Candidate

If you just want to briefly check out the RC, you may want to consider the option. However, you won’t be able to fully take advantage of all the features of a full installation such as the Aero Interface. Also keep in mind that Virtual environments are incapable of running hardware intensive apps such as games.

In Layman’s terms, running Windows 7 under a virtual environment is like running an Operating System (OS) inside an OS, so you don’t have to worry about putting your actual computer at risk. You can start by downloading Virtual PC here for free. For further instructions please check out the tutorial here. (The tutorial is for running XP in Vista, but works for Windows 7 too. Just select Windows Vista at the OS Menu. When your mouse is in the Virtual PC area, press Right-Alt to drag your mouse back onto the screen of your current OS.)

5. How to properly burn an ISO to your DVD

If you still want to burn the image onto a DVD, make sure it is done properly. I know a few people that actually just took the ISO file and burned the exact file directly onto the DVD. That’s not the way to do it. The DVD should show the ISO image’s contents (not just one .ISO file) once you have burned it. I recommend using ImgBurn, which is a free and easy tool for burning ISOs.

Your DVD contents should look this after you've burned it

Your DVD contents should look this after you've burned it

4. Don’t take out those driver CDs yet…

Windows 7 contains updated hardware drivers so chances are you won’t need to install a single driver if your hardware isn’t as old as Zeus. Once you’ve got Windows 7 installed and running, perform a Windows Update and Windows should download the necessary drivers.

If you run into any incompatibility problems, then you may want to install the Vista driver instead. You can find it on the manufacturer’s website. Once you’ve downloaded the driver, if you run into compatibility problems, you may have to run the setup file in Vista compatibility mode for it to work. Consult this guide for more help if needed. (full Story)

This entry was posted on May 7, 2009 at 4:46 AM and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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