How I’m installing Windows 7

I have been really pondering this issue since the beginning. I have a relatively new machine that I installed less than 2 months ago: It’s working pretty nice in Windows XP land. However, it was a futile effort, because it was going to be assimilated to the new version once it came out. So the preparations were taking place since day 1.

The biggest thing was to back up the system. Now the old machine was cleaned up, and now it serves as part of the backup process. I also use an online service to backup important files off-site. It does the backup in the background and like I said – It’s off-site, so if the drive dies, or anything happens in the home, I can restore that data.

Finally, I used an Imaging program to make a duplicate copy of the C: drive as it is. The C: drive is only the Operating system. The data is on the D: drive, which is backed up via the off-site and old machine. This will just allow me to bring the computer back to the last thing I did on XP.

However, there is one more step here: I will switch out my C: drive with a fully blank hard drive. A SATA 80 GB drive is where the OS gets housed. By swapping the drive, I will have a clean drive separate from the XP partition. Further, I don’t want Windows7 to do anything to the XP side just yet – therefore I will be disconnecting that hard drive completely.

There is another partition I have, and that is a Ubuntu setup. Next week, the newest version of Ubuntu will be coming out, therefore I will be creating a new partition at that time. 3 separate hard drives for 3 Operating systems.

Now you might have a different setup, or don’t care to do 3 Operating systems, but I would highly suggest that if anything – get another drive to replace the one in your computer. It’s a great way to keep your old OS intact and when it’s all done, it can be added to another machine as a spare hard drive.

There is one more thing about this install – 32 bit or 64 OS. The new version of Windows7 comes with both. I got a computer that will work in 64 bit mode, the reality will boil down to whether the programs and hardware I run will work in the 64 bit OS. I will be starting with the 64 bit version and make the assessment to whether it will satisfy my need. Further, if I put on the Virtual XP mode, I should be able to run the programs that don’t work right in Windows7.

This process will be happening in the next 24-48 hours, once all the scheduled events will be taken care of. I don’t foresee any problems, but if I do have them, I have a full backup system in place. I also have a way to get back to normalcy if I need to.

Changing Out to a New Computer

I told myself a long time ago that I would only upgrade my main computer if a new one could triple the performance. It would be so I don’t sit and waste money every year just to buy a machine that was a few MHz faster than the previous one. I know I can get by with an increase in RAM, an updated hard drive or new video card.

This machine was 6 times better.

The kicker was that I was trying to do video on the old machine and it would take forever. I was sitting there waiting for items to load…. and load…. and zzzzzzzzzz… huh? oh. It’s still loading.

WARNING – GEEKY STUFF AHEAD: The new machine is an AMD Phenom II 945 with DDR3 support. The processor is a Quad-core – 3.0 GHz processor. It has a 6 MB L3 Cache. With the AM3+ board (The M4A78T-E from ASUS), this machine  will power through what I need. With the 2 PCIx slots (yes, I said 2) for the connection of ATI’s CrossFireX technology, along with the build in dual video support and HDMI support, this could easily become a fully functional home theater.  I even have a USB. Firewire AND eSata port on the back, so it can connect to my favorite storage drive and back up data.

WARNING – ENVIRONMENTAL STUFF AHEAD: The best part about this proc / board combo is that it runs at 140W. Add a hard drive and DVD RW: You are looking at 190 Watts to run this computer. My other machine took almost twice as much to run. I have a 450 W power supply which will be perfect for this.

I am also not a high – end gamer, so those of you looking for better frame rates and overclocking will probably be laughing at this.  Still, if I want to change out the heatsinks, double the power supply and put in 2 high end dual graphics cards to build a computer video wall, then at least I have the computer to do it.

The best part is I might be able to knock 3 computers down to 1 (if I wanted). I will most likely have 2 in the end, though.

Being that I have had the previous machine for 3 years now, it has complied with the George Carlin comedy skit and accumulated a lot of “Stuff”. Even half-way through it’s use I reloaded XP because of a hardware crash – yet there still seems to be a lot of data I have to account for.

Therefore it’s a slow process of loading and configuring, then bringing over the large amount of data. The last machine was still running all EIDE drives; 2 of them were on a EIDE controller in which I striped the data amongst the two disks. The 320 GB was perfect for 2006, not so much for 2009. Therefore, 4 – 500 GB SATA drives are in order.

Yes, I said 500 GB drives. Why? Well simply put, even though I read that Terrabyte drives are reliable, tech friends say they see too many RMA’s on the drives. While I do not have to worry about petabytes of data just yet, I want to make sure my machine will survive for a while. When I see the repair requests go down, I’ll get a TB for an external drive.

Once I have all programs loaded, then I will set aside time to bring over the big programs. Changing data. My websites – for example. That way I don’t have mismatched data across 2 computers.

I still have a long ways to go before I am done swapping out the machine. I might even have a hard time trying to find the software and reg keys I used so long ago. By the end of the week, though, the switch should be complete. Then comes the fun chore of….

Backing Up:  I did it before I started moving data around and I will do it when it’s all complete. Acronis will get the task of imaging the drive. I will also use an external to back up all data on a regular basis. That way, if any major failure occurs, I can restore ASAP.

Operating Systems: Right now, it’s XP. Windows 7 will have it’s own partition, as well as Ubuntu. The system comes with ExpressGate – a quick loading OS for easy Skype, web browsing or media playing. But will I Hackintosh the system? Well, the board comes with ATI graphics. There is a version out there that does let you use ATI, so I’ll have to see about that.

So not only could this replace 3 of my computers, it could also replace my TV. It’s really interesting to see how far we’ve come with technology. Yet the real question is: “Where will computers be when they triple this new system?” One can only drool right now….