As a Microsoft Certified Partner, my company, The Computer Doctor got our Windows 7 final copy last week as the official date for the new operating system has been confirmed for October 22nd.
This old laptop will run Windows 7???
The old Compaq Presario laptop (purchased November 2005, 2GB RAM, AMD Turion 64 processor, 60 GB hard drive) has served me pretty well with a factory installed Windows XP Pro SP2 which I have since installed a dual boot of Windows XP Pro 64bit, Windows Vista Business, Windows 7 Beta release, and now, Windows 7.
I might suggest that you “don’t try this at home” since for most folks the best way to experience a new operating system (OS) is to purchase it pre-installed on a new PC or laptop. That way the PC manufacturer has tested all the hardware with the new OS and warranties the results. However, some of us can’t wait for a new PC and want to keep up with the latest and greatest that Microsoft has to offer and want to install Windows 7 on their old machine.
Upgrade vs. Custom Installation
So you are ready to upgrade? Well not so fast my geeky friend. If you are running XP like about 80% of the world, you cannot upgrade, you have to do what Microsoft gently calls a “custom” installation, aka a “clean” install which wipes out your programs and data (you can backup data before you upgrade but have to reload programs from your CDs or downloads). Vista users can upgrade, but are warned that it may take much longer than a clean install.
My laptop had been running a beta version of Windows 7 so I already knew it was capable of running the final version, but I wanted to test what would happen on this “old” laptop, therefore I popped in the DVD (What no DVD drive? Windows has been to big to fit on regular CDs since Vista was released!) and boldly skipped the compatibility advisor check, which would have scanned the laptop for any potential installation problems. Hey, I’m a Microsoft Certified Engineer, I can do this!
I selected the “custom” install and had already backed up my data files so the installation program copied files, ran for about 40 minutes, with 2 automatic reboots and zero input required by me. Once it booted Windows 7 for the first time, it asked for the wireless network password, went online and then automatically downloaded a video driver and a sound card driver. I did a quick network printer installation (to a HP LaserJet 1020 that HP said was not yet ready for Windows 7) and printed a test page perfectly.
Start to finish time under 50 minutes—on this old laptop—no driver errors or any problems. Looks like Windows 7 is going to do just fine!
Coming soon: I UPGRADE my Windows Vista PC to Windows 7. Stay tuned!