Monday, February 9, 2009

Windows 7 upgrade and networking issues

As a general rule, when I test an OS I do so on a clean drive, or at least an empty sector. But when I was browsing through the MS fora looking for ideas on the network dysfunction it seemed that a number of punters were using the upgrade option, and even that MS intended people to this. So I ghosted my working XP drive to an experimental drive, booted to that drive, and full of optimism, inserted my Win 7 DVD.

Everything seemed to begin well, but then after a few minutes a dialog box appeared with the message: Windows Setup experienced an unexpected error. To install Windows, restart the installation. Error code: 0x0. I am not surprised, but I am disappointed. This is pathetic. Vista was way better than this. I opted not to buy Vista, but I didn't hate it. I just thought it wasn't worth shelling out hundred of dollars. But Win7 seems to be a complete botch. The feeble opening pic, even the name seems to suggest that MS is losing heart, if not the plot.

But I shall continue. My day job is advising people on their computers, and "people" tend to buy computers in shops, and shops will sell computers with Windows 7 installed, because they know no better. So I shall continue to fiddle with Win7 until August, when the trial runs out.

I check the MS TechNet forum on Windows 7 Installation, Setup, and Deployment and search for error 0x0, but get only 14 hits, of which only a couple seem similar to my experience and only one had an interesting suggestion. Sadly the suggestion did not work for me.

During my first clean install I remember seeing an upgrade option. So I booted from the CD and selected Upgrade, only to be told that Windows needs to be running. How annoying is that? Why include the option and then announce that it can't be used. Does MS not have any shrinks on staff to advise them how not to annoy people?

My experimental HD has some empty space, so I create a new partition, and do a clean install on to that. By now I have had a reply to my post in the Windows 7 Hardware Compatibility forum on my Asus p5k networking problem, and the reply works. So now I can connect to the Internet and at least activate Windows 7. But when I start installing programs from my network library, more problems arise.

First I am invited to set up a Home Network Group. I don't want to do this. My computers use a workgroup called workgroup, and in any case I usually access shared resources with the run command. But when I am prompted for administrator permission to open a shared file (I am an administrator), I check out this Home Network Group. Then I am told that all participating computers have to be running Windows 7. How annoying is that? MS really have lost the plot here. XP was better than 98 because networking was easier and worked better. Vista was OK for me because most day to day tasks worked no worse than in XP. But this one is a monster. Some people compare Vista with Windows Me. For me, Windows 7 looks like it is going to be the next Windows Me. Certainly I shall use it for tinkering and testing only. My main working OS remains XP for now.

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