One Family’s Upgrade to Windows 7, Part One

I went home over Thanksgiving determined to upgrade my family’s computers to Windows 7. This is my story.

My immediate family has a fleet of six computers of varying pedigrees – some custom-built desktops built mostly from my hand-me-down parts, and some laptops bought from Dell and Acer. It was a wide group of hardware, and I have had trouble supporting everything for them in Windows XP – the number of updates and the variety of different drivers required to make these machines tick was becoming too hard to manage. Since my family elected to skip Windows Vista, it was time for a change.

I knew it might be a bumpy road – there were some old software packages they used that I wasn’t sure would work, and given HP’s reluctance to provide new drivers for their old products I had some doubts about their printer working as well.

Today I’ll be covering the first three computer upgrades – I’ve included computer specifications and notes about how the computer is used for reference. Tomorrow I’ll write about the final three upgrades and wrap things up with some thoughts and conclusions about how everything went.

None of these are high-end machines – many of them use older or slower processors and nearly all feature integrated graphics chips, and some of them sneak right in under the minimum system requirements for the OS. I think you’ll find it helpful, though, because it’s a pretty good snapshot of the computers that normal people use to get things done – nothing laughably awful, but nothing special either. Most people experience Windows not on quad-core computers with dual graphics cards, but on PCs like these.

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4 Responses to One Family’s Upgrade to Windows 7, Part One

  1. Ryan Hothersall November 30, 2009 at 2:44 am #

    Sounds like so far so good.

    My experience was my new core i7 had a few problems which turned out to be a dodgy video card which once replaced with another GTX 275 but from a different manufacturer runs fine. This is my main machine for web, photos, video and flight sim.

    second machine is a core 2 duo 3 Ghz which I kept when I upgraded to the i7. Windows 7 went on without a hitch, no driver issues no nothing. This machine is hooked up to a weather station, runs a SBS 1 virtual radar and jammed full of photos and videos and serves as a NAS drive.

    Finally my five month old Toshiba laptop had no issues when I put windows 7 on with the upgrade disk from Toshiba. Only driver I had to hunt around for was the bluetooth driver.

    Dad’s computer is a similar home made core i7 which also had a video card problem, again this was sorted out.

    However the one that caused the most problems was the computer that is connected to the tv in the lounge. Although it is a dual core, the on board video was up to the task for general use, but playing dvds and blurays was pushing it, so after much messing around a stand alone video card was put in and a network cable was put through the roof as wireless reception was patchy.

    So everything is now windows 7 and vista is banished from the house.

  2. Anonymous November 30, 2009 at 9:14 am #

    Great job, and frankly I’m surprised the HTPC went well. Good luck with the next 3!I personally found the most horrible part of the upgrade to be not the installation itself, but the actual reinstalling apps and restoring data and whatnot.I tried Easy Transfer, and that did nothing good for me – I still spent the entire weekend just reinstalling my laptop.I still had my “general purpose” PC and daugher’s laptop to upgrade. So I found a life-saving app which actually solves this “clean install” problem once and for all. It’s called Zinstall.It worked for me upgrading from one XP Home 32 bit and one XP Pro 32 bit, both to Windows 7 Professional.Would be very interested in your experience (if you had any) with Zinstall.

  3. Jason November 30, 2009 at 10:18 am #

    Good article, sounds just like upgrades that many of us do on our own family’s machines. And, like your experience, most of my friend & family’s computers are built using hand-me-down parts everytime I go through a hardware upgrade, so I can relate completely.

    As weird as this sounds, I have come to expect almost no issues when upgrading a PC to WIndows 7, no matter what the setup.

  4. SoStupid November 30, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    “Those suckers that bought Vista Ultimate, myself included, are screwed,” said yet another commenter. “There isn’t a chance in hell that I am paying $219 for what should really be Vista SP2. We were promised ‘extras’ which we never got, now we are being excluded from the pre-order special. Anyway even at $49, it is still too much to pay.”

    The extras that commenter mentioned refer to “Ultimate Extras,” one of the main features Microsoft cited in the months leading up to the 2007 release of Vista Ultimate to distinguish the operating system from its lower-priced siblings. According to Microsoft’s marketing, Extras were to be “cutting-edge programs, innovative services and unique publications” that would be regularly offered only to users of Vista’s highest-priced edition.

    But users soon began belittling the paltry number of add-ons Microsoft released and the company’s leisurely pace at providing them. Just five months after Vista was launched, critics started to complain.

    Earlier this year, Microsoft dumped the feature, saying that it would instead focus on existing features in Windows 7 rather than again promise extras.

    The furor over Vista Ultimate has even reached analysts’ ranks. In May, Michael Cherry of Directions on Microsoft urged Microsoft to give Vista Ultimate owners a free upgrade to Windows 7. “It would buy them a lot of good will, and I don’t think it would cost them much,” Cherry said at the time.

    Some of the commenters in the latest Computerworld stories about Windows 7 echoed Cherry.

    “I am running Vista Ultimate and feel ripped off by Microsoft because … [we] never received the extras we paid good money to get,” said “Hellfire” in a long comment. “The very least that they should do is offer a heavily-discounted upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate to those that have lost money by purchasing Vista Ultimate.”

    check google for source

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