(TECHNOLOGY EVANGELIST) Author: Mark Kaelin, Senior Editor of the Tech Republic.
The Author's Category: Windows 7, tip
Tags: Clean Install, Microsoft Corp., Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows, Operating Systems, Software, Mark Kaelin
Special Reports » See more posts on: Launch Windows 7,

First a disclaimer: I am the Senior Editor at TechRepublic tasked with hosting the Microsoft Windows Blog. I have to install Windows 7 and use it on a regular basis. I have a compelling reason to upgrade from Windows Vista; you, however, may not.

That being said, I know many of you will (or did) install Windows 7 soon after the October 22 retail release date. I can report that, so far, upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7 has been almost completely painless. Your mileage may vary, but I think Microsoft has done a very good job anticipating and thus avoiding common problems that occur when installing a new operating system.

Take heed. Over the weekend I installed Windows 7 on two PCs. One was a clean install on a notebook using Greg Shultz’s handy tip for creating a USB installation drive, and the other was an in-place upgrade of my Alienware-gaming PC. From these installations I can offer some tidbits of advice:

Greg’s USB installation-drive idea cuts the installation of a clean install to less than 30 minutes and is highly recommended. For a clean, new install, back up your data, make sure you have all your application installation disks ready, and don’t forget to save your browser bookmarks and your desktop settings.

For either, a clean install or the in-place upgrade, run the Windows update immediately after the initial install because there are several updates already available since the code was released to manufacturing.

Be prepared to install drivers for video and sound cards and other peripherals. Intel, ATI (AMD), and NVIDIA have published new drivers for their hardware since the RTM.

For my gaming PC, I needed to install the nVidia drivers so I can turn on the SLI mode.

For the in-place upgrade, give yourself at least two hours to complete the installation — moving the programs and settings takes much longer to do than I would have anticipated. So while it worked just fine, it took a very long time to complete.

For those reading this and preparing to lambaste me for doing an in-place upgrade, remember my initial disclaimer – I need to experience it so I can get an idea of how it works or doesn’t work. And, the gaming PC was the perfect candidate because the only applications installed on the system were easily reinstalled games.


Windows systems specialist Brad Bird lists his top ten items in Windows 7 that will have the most effect on network administrators.

1. You get all of the benefits of the new operating system but can call upon Windows XP if absolutely needed. Network administrators can leverage Windows XP mode, which is essentially a virtual instance of your local PC in Windows XP with most of the XP driver support if you have some legacy hardware to get working or can’t find Windows 7 drivers yet.

2. With pre-patch, automatic restore-point creation, a back door is built-in if patches cause system functionality loss. When applying Microsoft Update patches using the integrated update utility, a restore point automatically gets created before the patch gets applied.

3. Backups are a snap with the complete PC Image Backup. Using the integrated Backup utility, you can create a complete image PC Backup of your system while it is running. This technology leverages VSS or the Volume Snapshot service.

4. Network administrators can leverage the power of virtualization more easily. You can have several operating system instances on VHD files and boot from any of them by merely editing the startup using Boot from VHD. This saves a lot of space from having multiple operating systems installed within the same partition or even multiple partitions. VHD files are far more flexible.

5. Attaching a VHD file as if it were a local drive allows the ultimate in portability and flexibility with backup and restores. Administrators can either attach or detach the VHD directly using the integrated Disk Management console.

6. BitLocker provided military caliber encryption strength for hard disks in Windows Vista. It is back in Windows 7 but with the new addition of BitLocker To Go, it allows BitLocker encryption on USB removable drives.

7. Integrated PowerShell v2.0 allows administrators to easily create commonly used tasks. (Okay, so you could download and install it before, but now it’s included.) It’s a nice touch now to have it pre-installed and available under Accessories.

8. Network Administrators will appreciate the “pinning” functionality which enables commonly used programs to be pinned either to the start menu or task bar for fast and easy access when you need them.

9. Libraries will help administrators with those users who need to access data from more than one system at a time — work computer, home computer, desktop, or laptop. Libraries are an aggregated view of specific document types (music, photos, documents) but you can add folder locations from completely different systems.

10. Lastly, network administrators will appreciate the more positive user experience and acceptance factor of Windows 7. This will undo the previously common perspective of “Vista Bad” and replace it with “Windows 7 Good!”

Brad Bird is a Director of Security and Strategic Solutions for IGI. He lives in Ottawa, Canada. He specializes in Windows systems, security, and network administration. You can find more of Brad's blogs at Rantings of an IT Pirate


        1.XP mode
        Great if you have a processor that supports it.
        Posted: 10/21/2009 @ 07:58 AM (PDT) acook@... Job Role: IT Consultant Location
        Lewisville, Texas Member since: 11/21/2005
2. Xp mode
Exactly. AND the required additional RAM. Posted: 10/21/2009 @ 11:11 AM (PDT)  
(edited 10/21/2009 @ 11:11 AM (PDT)) ghughes@...
Job Role: Networking / LAN Administration Location: Dunlap,
ennessee Member since: 02/20/2001

3. XP Mode and of course - assuming that the feature hasn't been removed from
the BIOS by the manufacturer on the grounds that "there's not a lot of call for it"
Posted: 10/22/2009 @ 06:13 AM (PDT) techrepublic@...2    
Job Role: IT Department Manager Location: Cumbernauld,
United Kingdom Member since: 08/20/2004

3. A bit premature, aren't you?
"Lastly, network administrators will appreciate the more positive user experience
and acceptance factor of Windows 7."

Isn't that a bit speculative? Since no 'real world' user has seen it yet, how do you
know their experience will be positive or that they'll be more accepting of W7?

I can't speak for anyone else, but none of my users ever saw Vista in the work place.
They'll make comparisons to XP. Regardless of what they compare to, something new
and strange often gets criticized when compared to the comfortable and familiar.
Posted: 10/21/2009 @ 08:14 AM (PDT) (edited 10/21/2009 @ 08:15 AM (PDT))
Palmetto 15
Job Role: Technical/PC Support Location: Batesburg, South Carolina
Member since: 05/19/2000

4. Not Premature
Mhaneyit speaks a lot of sense. Microsoft have probably spent as much time and effort
on what went wrong with Vista user acceptance as they have on anything else over the
last year or so. They have come up with a product that is appealing to the user as well
as the IT personnel and that must be good. I have used it since first Beta and have grown
to really like it. I am one of those resisters opposed to change at the best of times, but
this one stole past me!
Posted: 10/22/2009 @ 06:53 PM (PDT) emcbridea@...
Job Role: Networking / LAN Administration Location: Timaru, New Zealand
Member since: 12/02/2007

5. RE: What Windows 7 means for network administrators
First of all i agree with premature article most of my users don't have never seen it yet
so i think a better statement would be "lets wait and see and let the users decide if it is
good or bad". Just remember it's harder to erase a bad mark then it is to make a good
mark to begin with.
Signed Just an opinion Posted: 10/21/2009 @ 10:23 AM (PDT) bookkeeper@...
Job Role: Other IS/IT or Technology Function Location: ABERDEEN, Washington
Member since: 08/19/2000

6. RE: What Windows 7 means for network administrators
As both an MCSE and a Cisco CCNP I find it quite frustrating when I see people use
"Network Administrator" as a description for a "Systems Administrator" or some position
not directly related to network infrastructure (i.e. switches, routers, cabeling, etc).
I would have expected a technical publication to a little more literal in it's writings.
Regards, D Posted: 10/21/2009 @ 11:05 AM (PDT) darcy.walker@...
Job Role: Networking / LAN Administration Location: phoenix, Arizona
Member since: 04/08/2009

7. Where I work job roles are a little less specific - it's a smaller company - so while
I'm the network administrator in the sense that I maintain our router, switch,
fileserver, DNS, DHCP, and all the rest, and liaise with our ISP and PBX supplier,
I am also responsible for maintaining all the machines in that network. All hardware
and software issues as well as networking.

I suppose technically this mean I wear two hats (I actually wear many more than
that but these are the only relevant ones) but for the sake of the discussion I found
the terminology perfectly relevant.
Posted: 10/22/2009 @ 03:18 AM (PDT) darpoke
Job Role: Networking / LAN Administration Location: London, United Kingdom
Member since: 11/24/2008

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