My excellent Windows 7 adventure

Windows 7 This weekend I decided to download and install Windows 7 RC on the PC in our kitchen. It’s a few years old and with the kids pounding on it (sometimes literally) was time to wipe it clean anyway. Through countless downloads of crap from untold number of game sites it had gotten sluggish. So I decided to surface my inner geek and load Windows 7 on it.

My PC configuration

First a little about the PC. It’s a Compaq Presario SR1910NX with an AMD Sempron 3200+ processor, 1GB ram, a 120GB hard drive, and an upgraded video card (256MB I think).  Attached is a Linksys wireless N adapter and an HP 3900 inkjet printer. By no means is this a screaming configuration. I bought it at BestBuy out of the box for less than $300. If the kids broke it I didn’t care.

As part of running the Windows 7 install it will review your PC to see if it meets the minimum requirements. My PC does so off we go.

The Windows 7 install

I decided to wipe everything clean for the install because there wasn’t anything critical I needed to save.

The first pass got almost to the end and hung. I wasn’t sure why but went online and found a few others reporting that connected USB devices might be the culprit. The HP 3900 was still attached so I disconnected it and rebooted. The install went through flawlessly this time.

It recognized the Linksys wireless adapter without interruption – knew what it was, added it and let me know. I didn’t have to click or choose anything. It recognized the video card and activated the Aero user interface (which is very nice).

The total time to install Windows 7 was about 30 minutes.

Add the printers

I have two printers to add. One locally attached and an HP 7500 attached to our home network. In Windows XP connecting the HP 7500 was always a pain, especially if the router was turned off (or power outage) and got a new IP address. This time I was ready.

First the locally attached HP 3900. I plugged the USB cable. Windows 7 recognized the device, added the driver and told me it was ready – without interruption or asking for information. Next came the network attached HP 7500. I went to the control panel, found the hardware section, chose add a printer and then a network printer. Windows 7 found the printer on the network for me. I chose it and the drivers were installed without out interruption or asking for information. Very, very nice. I’m convinced my eight year olds could do this.

First impressions

Fast, nimble and easy. The user interface is clean and crisp, especially with the Aero interface activated. Booting is much faster as is logging off to change users. I’m confident my help desk duties will diminish significantly. :-)

Parental Controls

I really like this part. My kids are like zombies while on the PC and we are diligent about when they get on and what they do. However, we can’t be hovering 24x7. With parental controls you can define the days of the week and the times of the day they can log on, and which programs they can access. You can also set rules for the level of games they can play based on the ESRB game rating.

Suggestion: I would like for Microsoft to allow for daily time limits in the parental controls. You can set the hours – e.g. 9am to 12pm but not limit it to 1 hour per day.

What do the kids think?

They love it. It’s intuitive and easy to use compared to Windows XP. My twins really like the Internet TV option and the gadgets you can drag to your desktop.

So we did a little accessorizing

We were so happy with Windows 7 we went to Sam’s Club and bought a Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse to complete the ensemble.

Definitely worth the upgrade effort

I wanted to share this experience, particularly for those of you who haven’t made the leap to Vista (or did and retreated to XP). I’m sure we’ll learn more along the way and as we do, I’ll update this post with the details.

David Daniels

David Daniels

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