Installing the Windows 7 Beta

Here I am, typing this blog post with Windows Live Writer inside of Windows 7.  I had installed the beta once before on my desktop, but it was a torrented copy, and it was installed on a spare hard drive.  (Also it as 32-bit, when I want 64-bit.)  I downloaded the beta from Microsoft, which included getting a key, and installed the beta today, overwriting my Vista installation.

From my previous installation of Windows 7, I discovered that the installer allows the user to start a “complete” install from within a current installation of Windows, unlike the Vista installer, which requires the user to boot from the install disk.  I discovered from this installation that the user still needs to boot from the install disk if he wants to format the drive that the current installation of Windows is on.


Onto the install.  I put the disk in and restarted my computer.  When a message was displayed that said, “Press any key to boot from CD,” I pressed a key.  The setup loaded some files, and then showed the Windows 7 boot screen.


Next I was presented with a screen requesting basic computer information that was necessary to proceed.  The defaults were correct.

The next screen:

After clicking “Install Now” I was presented with the following:

Next I was presented with a EULA.  I checked the “accept” checkbox and clicked next.

Next I was presented with the option to do an upgrade or a complete install.  I wanted to wipe out my current install, so I chose “Custom (advanced)”.

Next I chose the hard drive to which I wanted to install Windows 7, which was the drive labeled “Vista 64”.

Fist I wanted to format the drive, so I clicked “Drive options (advanced)”.

After clicking “Format” with the proper drive installed, I received the following message, to which I clicked “OK”.

I had to wait a few seconds for the format to complete.


As a side venture, I wondered what would happen if I tried to install Windows 7 on the Files drive, which is of the GPT partition style, as opposed to MBR.


Back on track, I clicked “Next”, and waited for the install to complete.  I consider this the start of the installation.

The “Copying Files” step completed almost instantly.  I assume this is because the installer expands the files directly from the disk for this installation type.




At this point the installer must have tweaked the video settings, because the output changed to the native resolution of the display, and the secondary display was no longer a clone of the primary display.  (This is usually something that I have to do manually after a Vista or XP install completes.)

I still haven’t had to touch anything.  The install is still running…


Here Windows is checking the system performance to evaluate the computer’s Windows Experience Index.  The Vista installer waits until after the user inputs his information to run the tests and shows a little slideshow of Windows features during the test.  Having the test before the user needs to interact with the installer again means that the user doesn’t have to wait through it to get to his desktop.  The Windows 7 evaluation is also much more elegant, with only a small strip of glowing light rather than the slideshow.

Here is where the installation task is complete, and the user is prompted for necessary information.  That makes the total install time 19 minutes on my standards.

I was prompted for a username.  I put in “David”, and the setup chose “David-PC” as the computer’s name.

Next I was prompted for a password.

Next I was prompted for my product activation key.  I wanted to put that in later when I could simply copy and paste it in, so I just didn’t put one in and clicked “Next”.  (I unchecked the “Automatically activate Windows when I’m online” checkbox out of habit, because the Vista install requires the user to uncheck a box to click next.  Oops.)

Here the user can choose his participation level in Windows Update.

Here the user sets the date, time, and time zone.

Here the user can connect to a wireless network before he ever logs on to the system.  This is new to the Windows 7 installer.  (I blocked out my network’s SSID.)

After I click on the network the item expands to allow me to put in the passkey, which is shown in plain text.

Next I can select a profile for the network, which dictates things such as file and printer sharing.

Next setup connects to the network.

Here setup allows me to set up a new homegroup, which is a new feature of Windows 7 that I need to test out.  The password, which I deleted from the picture, was random numbers and letters.  I am going see if I can set it myself to something that makes sense.

After I click “next” there the system logs me on…

…and prepares my desktop for the first time.

And I’m on.  Windows Update is already doing it’s thing.

So that brings me to the end of the installation.  The whole process up to this point took 28 minutes.

I went on to run Windows Update again and install optional updates, which included a new video driver, which sadly did not work.  I used a new Windows 7 feature that helps troubleshoot problems and discovered that the driver doesn’t support Aero, and when I went into Device Manager the video adapter icon had a waning symbol on it.  I fixed this by using System Restore to restore Windows to before I installed the driver.  I blame ATI, but it’s no biggie.  The drivers, like the operating system, are in beta.

That’s it.  Later I’ll post a video of the boot screen along with other posts about Windows 7.

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