Windows 7 RC – First Look

Microsoft is giving users a long, long look at Windows 7. The RC does not expire unti June 1, 2010 which is somewhat surprising. Following the recommended installation I installed Windows 7 from scratch. Like the beta, the installation is fairly quick compared to Vista. Windows 7, like Vista,  uses an image for installation and the install took only about 20 minutes.

The system I installed Windows 7 RC on is a AMD 64 x2 6400 processor, 4GB Corsair RAM, sata 320 GB hard disk and a NVidia 9500 1GB video card. Everything worked right out of the box inxluding my D-Link wireless card. I immediately had Internet access. Nice. But I expected nothing less since Microsoft has made a real effort to get the driver problems solved after the mess that happened with Vista.

But stop the presses! Also available are the setup files to try out XPM = XP mode, including instructions on how to setup XP within Windows 7. These files are also listed as being beta files.

So this weekend will be busy while I setup not only Windows 7, but also take XPM for a spin.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Comments welcome.

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

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  • Ryan Farmer

    The “network no worky” dilemma which has been going on since precisely forever in Windows is the biggest “pile of fail with no excuse” that I’ve ever seen.

    If you look back, all the way to and including Windows XP, 99% of the time, you had no ethernet much less wifi, maybe you needed to go online to get drivers but to get those drivers you needed to get online. :)

    Vista at least gives you basic 10/100 ethernet most of the time so that I can go get my gigabit ethernet driver and my wifi driver, so Vista is still a win over XP because you at least have a good enough driver to go get the rest of what you need.

    Now Windows 7 detects my ethernet as gigabit and my Linksys WMP54g 4.1 :)

    So what is the problem?

    The problem is that there’s a lot of BRANDS of network cards, but only a few companies that actually make the chipsets.

    If Microsoft had maybe put a dozen generic drivers from Broadcom, Atheros, and Intel into Vista, or hell, even an XP service Pack, they could have gotten everything working out of the box.

    I think the biggest problem was just a lack of caring.

    Lets look at Linux, if you have a ethernet device, it will almost certainly work, if you have wifi, it will almost certainly work provided that your distribution has either included the firmware (which is separate from a driver and may be excluded due to patent, licensing, or other issues) or the firmware for the driver is freely licensed (Intel), either way, it’s trivial to get it working.

    Microsoft, I think, should have beaten its chest years ago, demanded the generic drivers and firmware, and all of this would have worked already.

    And finally, amusingly enough, I have another Linksys WMP54G 4.1 in an XP X64 system, Linksys told me to go screw myself because they “don’t support 64-bit Windows”, but either the generic driver from Ralink for their RT61 core or the WHQL-signed driver files I grabbed from Vista will work there too.

    So a lot of this I think is also “If we made it known that our stuff works everywhere, Microsoft doesn’t sell you the upgrade, and we don’t sell you the new model of printer, webcam, network card, etc.”

    I’ve even seen Creative rebadge the same hardware chipsets as a “Webcam for Vista” and simply tweak the driver package to allow it to install on Vista. I ran the XP driver installer in XP compatibility mode and it worked fine. (Last Creative product I’ll ever buy too.

    So let’s not forget that the true cost of Windows is “Windows price + printers, webcams, sound cards, and network cards you may need to throw out + software you bought that may not even work anymore”

    That XP Mode you mentioned won’t cut it for games or apps that need performance.

  • Ryan Farmer

    I may also mentioned that space is not the problem either.

    Linux still has support for ISA ports, parallel ports, game ports, the a.out UNIX binary format which has been deprecated since the early 1990s, two versions of the Video For Linux standard, and drivers for every UVC compliant webcam and most non-UVC compliant webcams (including ones made by Microsoft), AppleTalk, NetBIOS, IBM Token Ring Adapters……file systems for 8 file systems you can install Linux too, read write support for NTFS and HFS+, read support for UFS and UFS2……

    Once Linux supports something, it’s supported, and you don’t have to worry about them ripping it out later to force an upgrade just because they can.

    Drivers generally can support a lot of hardware with very minimal duplication of code or effort, and it makes more sense to leave a few kilobytes of code in as loadable modules than it does to rip it out for absolutely no reason (doesn’t even hurt performance if you don’t need it loaded) and tell users with that hardware to go sit on it and spin.

    That’s one area (driver/device support) where I just cannot hate Windows enough. It’s evil in that you never even have a vague idea if what you’re about to plug in will even work.

  • http://miralize.com Sean O’ Grady

    I cant wait to use the RC. I am a huge fan of the beta and I use it as my prmary OS.

    How big is the XPM and how does it run?

  • Ryan Farmer

    One more thing (sorry, I promise):

    The June 2010 expiration is not really a shock, some later test builds of Windows 98 didn’t expire til late 1999 and early 2000.

    The Time Bomb serves two purposes:

    A form of copy protection – A fair number of people would gladly go on using the RC or a leaked test build indefinitely considering the ludicrous costs of buying Windows. (Wouldn’t you see how someone could go forever using the RC as opposed to buying the Ultimate Edition for $350?)

    This way they make sure you have to buy it or go back to Vista at some point.

    -and-

    To make sure that even if it gets delayed considerably, which is known to happen with MS, that they don’t deactivate several million computers and piss a lot of testers off. :)

  • http://wp3.lockergnome.com/nexus/blade/ Ron Schenone

    Sean, The XPM is a separate download which is under 500 MB.
    Works just fine so far.

    http://wp3.lockergnome.com/blade/2009/05/01/windows-7-rc-with-xp-mode-in-place-reviewed/

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  • http://www.kindorf.net Scott Kindorf

    Here’s an idea for you, Ryan – GET THE DRIVERS BEFORE YOU UPGRADE OR INSTALL! Who, these days, DOESN’T do this?

    Every time a Linux Apologist posts crap like this I get another grey hair. So what if Linux has baseline ethernet drivers – Windows does as well, and every time I’ve installed Windows since Win98 the ethernet support has been right there, detected and installed. Your BS is nearly 10 years old; try updating your story.

    /me grabs Ryan Farmer’s FUD-stirring stick and breaks it into toothpick-size splinters and offers one to everyone to pick the Fud-crap from their teeth.

  • tidyj

    …right

    I think 7 just looks pretty.

    but seriously, like Scott, I’ve never had a problem with drivers from Win98 upwards. And like the tuxfag, I enjoy the look of my own writing, hence this comment going on for much longer than necessary.

    if Microsoft keep the work up, 7 should be as smooth as butter.