Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Windows 7 is the most Linux-like Windows

And this is a good thing!

Recently, when my laptop hard drive failed on my IBM Thinkpad,  I was faced with having to re-install Windows XP before upgrading it to Windows 7 on a new hard drive which formerly housed a Linux distribution.

Being familiar with installing different Linux distributions over the years, I thought it would be very simple to do.  I had the recovery disks, so how difficult could it be.

Boy was I in for a surprise.

Restoring from the Cds went smoothly and predictably as expected. This issue arose when I tried to upgrade to Windows 7, in the same method I used last time on the hard drive that died.

No go.  The installer said it could not continue because the partitions were of a “not supported NTFS format”.  This was a surprise.

After running the recovery disks again after pre-formatting the hard disk using an Ubuntu LiveCD it still did not want to install.

I found a CD, though, that came with a Dell and figured I had nothing to lose trying it.  There was no surprise that when the installation was done the screen did not reach end-to-end and the network (wired and wireless) was not detected, but this didn’t bother me.  I knew that Windows 7 was going to have to overwrite everything on the disk regardless.

Thankfully, that is exactly what happened, the entire disk was overwritten and when Windows 7 booted up for the first time the wired and wireless internet connections were available.

The screen still did not reach end-to-end, but this was the only thing that didn’t “just work” and letting it search online for driver updates solved that painlessly.

All-in-all, installing Windows 7 was almost as smooth as the numerous times I’ve installed Linux on desktops, laptops and servers, with the exception that I still had to install the applications to make it usable on my own.  But hey, this is an experiment anyway.  If all else fails, I'll just wipe it out and put some version of Linux on top of it.  Within an hour I should have a working, usable system.

But Windows is getting better.