Windows_7_build_7000 It turns out I wasn’t the only person out there who was excited to get access to the Windows 7 beta when it hit last Friday. I checked the site over and over during the day, waiting for a download link to appear, but headed home before it did. That night, when I got home, I figured the download had to be available, and I would be able to grab a copy overnight. No such luck. The beta was so popular, the servers couldn’t keep up with the demand, so they had to take down the links. There were people out there running the beta now since it hit BitTorrents, a number of my friends included, but I couldn’t get a copy. I scoured some message boards for news about the beta, and came across a site where a commenter posted the .iso links directly. I checked them out, and they were Micrsoft.com urls, so I tried them out. Sure enough, they were good, and I was downloading. Further down the page, someone had posted a comment linking to the page on Microsoft’s site where you could get assigned a CD-Key, with the recommendation that you sign in to live through another service to make sure you get in. I tried it out, and there was my key. I was good to go.

I installed first on my wife’s new netbook. She had been using her laptop for some years, and it was needing replacement. I visited a friend’s place a while back, and he told me about how he had just picked up the MSI Wind u100, and told me about the comparisons that he had done with some other netbooks, and showed me how he had upgraded it to 2 gigabytes of RAM, and everything it could do. I trust this guy when it comes to computers, so when I got home, and found out that it came in pink, I ordered one on Amazon. The interesting thing about installing on the netbook was that it didn’t have a DVD drive. I’ve got some links at home that I’ll post a bit later, but the basic process I used was to take a 4 GB thumb drive, format it for NTFS, used bootsect to make it bootable, then copied the contents of the Windows 7 .iso onto it. The netbook booted straight from the thumb drive, and I was off. The install was extremely clean, and because a thumb drive is so much faster than a DVD drive, the install even benefitted from the whole process. Next, I installed onto my home desktop. This one was a bit more straight-forward. Just burned the x64 .iso and installed from the DVD.  MSI Wind

I’ve been using the beta since then, and things are going great. I’ve posted some feedback to the Windows team through the links on all of the windows, but they’ve mostly been little things like the mismatching case in HomeGroups and homegroups. I worked tech support and wrote user manuals for a product I worked on in my first development job, so I get a little obsessed about those things. I have to fight not to highlight errors in tech books I read through.

Most applications have run without a problem. I did run into a problem with Skype, but it was actually just a popup that came up when I was running the install that told me that it wasn’t going to work, so I should download the latest beta. I did, and it worked fine. Another thing I ran in to was getting my phone connected to it. I have a Blackjack II that is really particular about how it charges off of USB, and unless it is recognized, it won’t take juice from the port. I plugged it in, and the driver tried to install, then failed. I looked around for some information on it, but couldn’t find any, so I just tried installing the Windows Mobile Device Center for Windows Vista x64, and it suddenly found my phone and everything worked great. The final thing I ran in to was a problem with Live Mesh. I use it a lot, so I couldn’t be without it on any machine. I even got it on my phone (They just expanded the CTP), but on Windows 7, Live Mesh didn’t play well with Aero. Turns out there was a fix for it ready, but it was being held off of until the holiday freeze on new installs was off. It should be available tonight. I’ll let you know how it works.

Update: The site with the process I followed for creating the USB drive installer is at http://kmwoley.com/blog/?p=345

Live Mesh has been working great with the new update, though I did have some problems remoting into my 7 desktop from my Mom’s place over the weekend, but I think it may have been in part because her internet barely qualifies as broadband.