Let the blog see the rabbit...

So then... Windows 7...

Even though I'm not likely to use it for myself, inevitably, I am going to have to know about Windows 7 in order to provide support to customers, friends and relatives. It never hurts to be a step ahead of the game, so I decided to download it this evening and have a play with it in the relative safety of a Parallels Virtual Machine on my Mac.

The first problem was downloading it. As a company wanting users to do some of their testing for them, you'd kind-of expect Microsoft to want to make it easy to get hold of their beta software. Go to the Windows 7 beta download page in Safari, and give it a Windows Live login and it just sits there whirling green dots round and round indefinitely. So I tried Camino. It let me log on, but then the download button wouldn't work. Firefox was the same.

Eventually, I gave in and started up an XP VM and tried in IE. It turned out it wanted to install an Active X Download Manager thing by Akamai. I left it downloading while I took the dog for his late-night walk.

By the time I'd got back, all 3.15GB of it had downloaded (I do love having a 20Mbit connection :-) ) and so I'm now starting the installation process.

The first thing I notice when I reach the "Install Windows" screen is that already there's an inconsistent UI. The "Install Windows" window has XP-style decorations, whereas when you click on "What to know before installing Windows", you get Vista-style window decorations - the wide red close button, the rounded window corners and some sort of stripey grey background. Worse, it gives you instructions for "Installing Windows Vista". Well that'll be an "F" for attention to detail then...

Windows Installer Fail!

I accept the license agreement and create a new partition using all of the 32GB virtual drive Parallels created. Windows tells me that it might want to create extra partitions, so I say "OK" and it creates a 200MB partition at the beginning of the drive. It then gets on with the installation.

Two restarts later, you get told that "Setup is preparing your computer for first use", "Setup is checking video performance" and then you're setting your username and computer name. You're then invited to "Type a password (recommended)" and "Type a password hint (required)". Surely that's the wrong way round! Having set my hint to "Mind your own business", I move on. It now wants the Product Key and unfortunately I don't seem to be able to get Parallels to paste it from the OS X clipboard. It invites me to automatically activate Windows and then asks me to "Help protect your computer and improve Windows automatically". Might as well go for the recommended settings. It asks me for my time zone and then finalises the settings.

After some autofrobbing with the desktop settings, I'm presented with a desktop with a rather strange-looking blue and red fish on it. An alert in my system tray tells me to "View important messages", so I do. It's whining about a lack of virus protection. I install Parallels Tools, which wakes the network card up. I opt to share all my files, music, videos and pictures and it gives me a "password to add other computers to your homegroup." In the meantime, Parallels Tools seems to have got stuck at "Registering Host Applications...". There's a fair amount of hard disc activity and Task Manager tells me it's still running, so I leave it to it. Eventually it tells me the installation was successful.

[ Entry posted at: Mon 12 Jan 2009 00:32:31 GMT | 1 comment(s)... | Cat: Geeky ]

Tobeon writes:

Great post, I look forward to more posts about your adventures with Windows 7. Plus welcome to the blog-a-week competition!

[ Mon 12 Jan 2009 10:05:08 GMT ]

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