Windows 7 beta 1 - first impressions and giving it a good test run

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Mark Vergeer
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For lauchs installed the Windows 7 beta to see what all the fuss is about. I intended to do it as an 'extra' install on my P4 3.4Ghz to make it dual booting with Windows XP. But I didn't have any serial as the Microsoft servers were overloaded as it is so I opted to install it on a Virtual Machine (Virtual Box) and use up the 30 day grace period.

The installation process is far easier than the Windows XP or even the Vista installation procedure. It requires virtually no user-feedback. At the beginning of the installation process you define the local settings and how you want to install the OS - dual booting, single booting, upgrading a Vista installation. Then entering a username and password combination and that's just about all the user-interaction that is required.
The installation on the virtual machine went very fast, it seems like everything is put on the pc from an image in a much more efficient way than with Vista and after booting one is greeted with the new desktop and taskbar. It actually reminded me of the easy of Installing OSX quite a bit. Funny enough there's a directory called Panther that is associated with the Windows beta install.

Everything looks and sounds pretty much like Vista only the taskbar is functioning rather differently - actually resembling OSX launchpad functionality. The taskbar requires quite a bit more vertical pixels than the XP/Vista one and I am not sure whether I like this. Sort of reminds me of KDE/Gnome too. The desktop shows the Windows version and build-number just above the clock.

Setting up the network is easy and difficult at the same time. Microsoft has managed to completely rework home-network functionality yet again which could make interfacing with Vista/XP/2K machines not as easy as it could.

But running Windows 7 in a virtual machine isn't what I intended to do. I want to see it working on real hardware so I am going to try and get personal keys from the Microsoft Developers site. Wish me luck! I'll probably put up some videos and photos too.

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Mark Vergeer
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Screen shots....
Anonymous wrote:

It would have looked nicer and been easier if you had just taken screen shots instead of taking pics with your camera. Just a suggestion

Your suggestion is noted, thanks for responding anonymous.

The thing is that when in the actual process of installing an operating system on real hardware things like making actual screenshots with the computer is not possible because to do so does require the operating system to be totally up and running. This is the only the case after the final boot up.

So yes I could have made actual screenshots of the last part as the operating system was fully operational and things like print/scr and pasting it to Paint and then saving the jpegs work then. But I just didn't feel like changing the 'mood' of this small article by switching over to real screen shots when the first section was camera shots.

There is a way to go real screen-shot all the way by installing Windows 7 in a virtual machine and making screenshots of that from the host operating system. It would have made a more clean looking article for sure. But I kind of like the roughness of the one I made.

Thanks for your suggestions again!

PS3: MarkVergeer | Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Anonymous (not verified)
It would have looked nicer

It would have looked nicer and been easier if you had just taken screen shots instead of taking pics with your camera. Just a suggestion

Mark Vergeer
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I believe it isn't Vista 1.5 - it's something new!

I believe it isn't, that is they continued development of the system and made it a lot lighter on the hardware so netbooks supposedly are able to run it without any big problems. It seems to scale a lot better then Vista does.

Since I posted about installing the Windows 7 Beta my Asus Motherboard short-circuited and was partially fried. I got another motherboard and core2duo intel cpu and installed the new RC beta. It does fly a lot faster than Vista.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Los Angeles Locksmith (not verified)
I hope it's not modified

I hope it's not modified vista.

Mark Vergeer
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Hmmm thanks for the suggestion Paul.

Sounds like a very interesting project that VLite. I am going to check that out. Thanks.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Paul (not verified)
Vlite

Try using a program called "VLite" on Vista and it will run a lot faster on old hardware. I stripped Vista down to a 550MB ISO so it would fit on a CD. I still have the Aero theme and it only uses 300MB of RAM at startup (400MB if using Avast Antivirus).
It is 3 to 5 times faster and almost as fast as XP on my old Duron 1.8GHz and 2GB of RAM.

Vlite can also be used to strip down Windows 7 beta, but it is a bit more tricky. Look up "Kazuni's preset" on MSFN.org to find a successful use of Vlite on Windows 7.

Trust me.. on old hardware, Vlite makes a big difference and Vista is actually enjoyable to use. :-)

Mark Vergeer
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New blog on the new Windows Experience Index

Somewhere on the main/front page I've made a blog entry about the new Windows Experience Index in Windows 7. And yes it is definitely different from the one found in Vista.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Mark Vergeer
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The average older machine just won't cut it

Throwing various games at it than run fine on Windows XP SP3, and worse of Vista won't run at all on Windows 7 on my machine. Emulation software (Zsnes, Mame, Gens) runs about as good on Windows Vista as Windows 7 and it runs a whole lot smoother on Windows XP. Results vary a little with older games and newer games are a bad idea on my system any ways. So extensive testing of newer game software will not be possible on my machine.
My test machine is too old to be of any real use comparing the 3 systems.

My advice for now would be:
Don't ever try to upgrade an older XP machine to Vista or Windows 7. Both newer systems just tend to perform worse on the older hardware even when Windows XP is very snappy and games run fine on XP.
So for game playing non of the computers I own are qualified to run Windows 7 better than any of the previous Windows. Mind you the definite Windows 7 will perhaps produce a different result but I think it is better to stay away from Windows 7 on XP hardware.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Bill Loguidice
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It's very worth doing the

It's very worth doing the testing you're doing, Mark, but personally I've resigned myself a few Windows versions back to never upgrade one of my systems again. When I get a new system, I just get the latest Windows version. I find it's much easier on the old sanity.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Mark Vergeer
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The Windows 7 beta doesn't like games that much :-(

The Windows 7 beta 1 doesn't like the games I throw at it that much. I need to do more compatibility tweaking than with Vista. On first look XP performs much better in the 'slightly older games' department than Windows 7 beta 1 or Vista. Comparing performance is tricky because of that and not very fun either.

I am going to put the Windows 7 harddrive space to better use - EMULATION!

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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