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November 2nd, 2009
November 2nd, 2009

And the winner is: Windows 7 - 64Bit

Making the decision to upgrade to WIndows 7

In a previous post I waffled about electing to take the Windows 7 - 64bit plunge or rather move to XP 64 in order to finally unlock the rest of the RAM on my systems. I have just about finished up testing Windows 7 on my 2nd desktop and thought I would share the results...

The test system in this case is an Athlon X2 64 with 4Gb of RAM that had been suffering from the XP Pro 3Gb limit and was pushing 3 years old anyway. I swapped out the C drive so I had a surefire way to roll-back and went ahead and dropped Window 7 Pro on it.

My first impression was the speed of the install. Usually a windows install was something that at least lasted several cups of coffee if not a sleep overnight somewhere in the middle, but this one only lasted about 20 mins!

As for the OS in general, so far I´m impressed, the extra Gb of ram is certainly a factor as is having a fresh install to iron out any kinks - but beyond that is also has some handy features and the start-up is certainly faster.

So, on to compatibility... This aging system did require some ´jigging´ to get everything to play - including using some Vista drivers to unlock all the components on the motherboard - and one of the two built-in Gig-Ethernet ports (the Marvel Yukon one) I was forced to disable entirely.

The real shocker for me was the lack of support from the Anti-virus community! My all time favorite Symantec Corporate wouldn´t even install and after recent experience I wasn´t about to touch AVG (which seems to have support) So I did my research and elected to try a few new ones. I had heard a lot about the speed and low resource use of Vipre so thought I would give that a try. Vipre installed and seemed to work fine until it found some of my networking tools and application installers - Then it went on a false positive rampage and I had to give it the boot. It seems to think both SSH and VNC are harmful and wouldn´t give it up. More reading led me to something I had never heard of called anti-vir which has a free edition and so far is showing promise, apart from the HUGE advert that pops up every so often asking me to get their paid offering.

Disk Defrag was also a problem as Diskkeeper wouldn´t install - seems only their latest latest version will work and not eager to fork out the bucks for that without trying a few others things I am still trialing several other possibilities.

In my case some of these issues are because of the 64Bit OS more so then Windows 7 and beyond these the only other issues I had were Adobe Type Manager (replaced with the Printer´s Apprentice - much better anyway) and my password manager AnyPassword (replaced by KeePass - also better) but despite an import of all the old ones - I have several hours of re-sorting to do.

Some of the things I thought may not work even did like a mapserver for windows install, ObjectDock and my Startup Manager, SysInternals Task Manager replacement and TCP Viewer. Open Office, SSH Clients, and the Adobe Software I use rounded out my fairly standard work platform along with trying on the Komodo IDE as a Zend Studio Replacement (why they changed to eclipse I´ll never understand, so sad)

Conclusion:
Looks good to go and I plan to upgrade my primary desktop later this week - the fact that I have 8GB of RAM in there and will finally be able to see all of it being a large factor in my push to get to this point sooner rather then later.

Hope this helps anyone considering taking the somewhat ´bleeding edge´ move - feel free to ask about any specifics if you have a burning question that is holding you back.

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