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November 4, 2009

My Windows 7 Upgrade Story

Filed under: Main — Tags: , — Dan Gookin @ 12:01 am

Yes, I took the plunge. My test computer was stripped of it’s Windows Vista-ness and now has Windows 7 installed. It wasn’t as painful as I was dreading.

So far I’ve updated two of my titles to include Windows 7. They are the 12th Edition of PCs For Dummies (which should be out any day now), and the 4th Edition of Laptops For Dummies.

To write those books, I installed the Windows 7 beta on my desktop test machine as well as my Tablet PC. In both cases, I added a new partition and installed Windows 7 on that partition; the computers continued to run Windows Vista on the main partition.

Eventually, as these things happen, the Win7 beta expired. I didn’t have a product key — that long series of numbers and letters you have to type in to “register” Windows.

Fortunately, my publisher supplied me with a product key for my Tablet PC, so I could continue to work on Laptops For Dummies. But on the desktop, my copy of Win7 refused to cooperate. I could use it, but the desktop went black and the program nagged me constantly about inputting that product key.

So I went to the store and bought a Windows 7 Ultimate upgrade.

It wasn’t cheap.

The process went well: Before installation, I was warned about which programs on my computer wouldn’t work with Windows 7. There were only a few utilities that were suspect, none of which I really used, so I uninstalled them. No biggie.

The upgrade took a long time, which is typical. Eventually Windows 7 popped up on the screen and I was set.

I must say that this was perhaps the easiest and least painful Windows upgrade I’ve ever done. That’s unusual, of course. In my books I recommend against upgrading Windows, mostly because things just don’t work right after the upgrade. This time was different.

Then again, it could have just been me. I’d still recommend not upgrading just because I don’t know every PC and every situation. It’s just best to wait and get Windows 7 with a new PC.

Next time I’ll offer some more Windows 7 insights.

PS. There are other Windows 7 upgrades that are cheaper than the Ultimate upgrade. Costco has some Windows Home Premium upgrades at about $100. Home Premium is a good version of Windows, suitable for most folks. The Ultimate version I bought has all the bells and whistles, which I don’t really use but need in order to write my books.

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