I took advantage of Microsoft’s It’s Not Cheating offer last Friday and bought myself a $50 Windows 7 upgrade online, paid an extra $141 to get a DVD rather than battle Telstra BigPond and download it all myself. The DVD arrived yesterday, here we go. So it begins…

Of course like 99.9% of the people out there with Windows Vista on their laptops we’ve got Windows Vista home premium, and the Windows 7 Upgrade that Microsoft will happily sell us is for Windows 7 Professional, which cannot be used to “upgrade” the system, only to perform a clean install over the top of it! If there’s an easy path and a hard path you know which one they’ll choose for you…

Backed up both our accounts from Vista with Windows Easy Transfer; 7.6G for Jo, 39G for me. Then did a very simplistic xcopy of everything onto the external drive, its not as if I don’t trust the Windows tool and its unknown format, giant blob archive, its just experience at work here…

Meanwhile poking around on the Windows 7 upgrade DVD reading the help.

Wow that took a long time, my goodness Vista is slow copying files. The xcopy process took almost 14 hours!

This morning I logged back in and tried to start the setup program. Surprise, surprise, Vista can no longer read the DVD and shows a single README file telling me that I need to use a drive with UDFS capability! Hey guys, I was reading it yesterday and every day prior to today. Standard Windows fix for this one, shutdown, restart, TADA, a readable DVD drive. Pathetic.

Started the setup program and I’m drastically short of disk space; first I need to clear out about 1G to allow setup to download updates and start, then its 6.8G to let the upgrade commence, finally I need to clear out 11G for “recommended” operation.

Ugh, 800x600x16 colours, I sure hope we can find a better resolution than that once we’re finished, of course the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor was useless, offering the advice that:

Check Windows Update after installing Windows 7 to make sure you have the latest driver for this device, otherwise it may not work.

Yes, I knew that already. That’s not bloody advice, that’s just “suck it and see, and if it doesn’t work then too bad because you’ve already upgraded, sucker.”

First half of the install takes about half an hour, only a little fun and games as Cam tries to help by tapping maniacally on the keys. The last step of six then takes about half an hour; no appreciable activity, just the words “Configuring.”

Reboot; enter my account name and choose a name for the computer. Then try and remember the key for my wireless network. Um, err, its written down somewhere and I’ve lost the somewhere… Oh well, “Skip” and on to the next step.

Reboot; login. Ugh. 800x600 pixels bog-standard ancient VESA resolution at 4x3 aspect-ratio on a 16x9 aspect-ratio laptop; “Ugly fat-bastard mode.” Try to change it and all I’ve got available is an option of 1024x768 — I guess that’s an improvement.

Plug in to the wired network, connect to the Internet and hit Windows Update — 8 security updates and 7 optional, and the optional ones all look to be drivers for my hardware. 59.2M downloading, slowly, ever so slowly.

Waiting, waiting, waiting. Oh, failed. “Windows cannot install updates because Windows Update is installing updates”. Ah. Obvious. “Try again later.” So I did, and it installed seven updates, then rebooted.

Login and start Windows Update again. Hmm, “Most recent check for updates: Never.” I do not think that is correct, I distinctly remember checking for updates five minutes ago! Five important updates and four optional ones this time.

A few more reboots — yes I’ve got my 1280x800 resolution back — start reinstalling the applications, start rummaging around through C:\Windows.old\ and purging as we reinstall so that there’s a usable amount of disk space.

Connect up to the SpeedStream router via the wired interface to find out the WEP key, then reconfigure the wireless network. Easy enough, but I really should find where I wrote it down — inside the cover, in the manual, but where is the manual?

After a fruitless search for the destination end of the Windows 7 transfer tool I re-attach the external USB drive and double-click on one of the two archives, perhaps I should have read the instructions and saved myself some fruitlessness — twenty minutes and eight gigabytes later and I’ve restored all of Jo’s photos. Now to repeat with the 40G of data for my account, after first clearing yet more space on the disk.

Tada! We’re up, we’re running, we’re 95% full on the disk and sometime soon I think I’ll have to find out what hideous hoops I have to jump through to replace the 100G disk in the laptop with a 300G or 500G one, whatever the largest laptop non-SATA IDE drive is.

Oh, big surprise and THANK YOU VERY MUCH to Microsoft. The Windows Easy Transfer archive of my files includes everything… everything EXCEPT 17G of my photos! Restored a nice empty Pictures folder just ready for me to curse and swear and copy back all my photos from my other backup because… wait for it… I DON’T TRUST THE MICROSOFT TOOLS BECAUSE THEY DON’T WORK!

Then endless hours of reinstalling applications from my great archive of application installers, followed by watching as they download complete upgrades of themselves because my installers are out of date! The endless treadmill of patches and application upgrades.

Footnotes

1 Doesn’t look as though they can get that right, according to the receipt email on the 11th:

$63.95AUD The charge(s) will appear on your credit card as
DRI*StudentOfficeAU". Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Upgrade - 32
bit

Checking my credit card account today, the last three transactions are:

date vendor amount
12/11/2009 Dri*Studentofficeau Orderfind.Com $49.95
13/11/2009 Acp Publishing P/L Sydney $49.95
16/11/2009 Dri*Studentofficeau Orderfind.Com $14.00

Why on earth does it take them a second transaction and an extra four days to include the DVD? I haven’t bought anything from ACP Publishing that I know of2, so is that a double charge, or just a coincidental random wrong charge from ACP?

2 Revisited : Pure coincidence, the ACP purchase for the identical amount was a magazine renewal I made weeks ago that has taken until now to appear in my statement. I wish ACP could print the name of the subscription, especially as it seems to take them at least ten days to process an online purchase!