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Windows 7 RC 1 Install

What an ordeal… 5th Try was the charm thanks to a friend at Microsoft. You can do a clean Operating System install on Windows 7 WHILE while Windows 7 is running. (Meaning, you don’t have to install from a DVD, but instead it installs in a fashion similar to installing Office) Why didn’t the install instructions tell me to take this unprecedented action in the first place?

Take 1 – Burn the DVD

OK… I started at 5pm Friday. Downloaded the file… I Burned to a DVD using the existing Windows 7 Beta version… Then I went to boot from that DVD and install… Oops, I got an error, “A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing…” I tried quite a few things there, but could never get past the error message.

I did all this according to the instructions at the Microsoft install site: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/installation-instructions.aspx.

I found quite a few sites that said, “You need to burn the DVD at a slower speed… Otherwise you run into trouble.” Well, since I’ve burned 2 DVDs in the past 3 years (Windows 7 Beta and Windows 7 RC) I don’t have DVD burning software just sitting around. I was thrilled when I saw that Microsoft had the burning built into the OS. However, there were no speed selections.

Take 2 – Re-burn the DVD

No luck here. There are no speed options for burning a DVD in Windows 7… Next?

Take 3 – Boot from a USB Drive

OK… This is not Microsoft’s fault… I have a Dell Latitude D820 and I could not find ANY way to boot from a USB drive. There were some excellent directions at http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-install-windows-7vista-from-usb-drive-detailed-100-working-guide/

But, even if I asked my Dell to boot to USB first, I had no luck. It doesn’t seem that the notebook recognizes the USB devices at boot time. (You can’t boot to something you don’t recognize.)

Take 4 – From the USB Drive while Windows 7 is Running

It gave me the option to upgrade! COOL!… But that feature is clearly not yet implemented. I got an error message and it just exited the program.

Take 5 – From USB Drive while running Windows 7, but do New Install

At last. This option worked just fine.

For this I merely used DVD emulation software to mount the ISO image. I then copied all the files from the ISO image to a USB drive. (I’d already done that in Take 3) All I did was click the Setup.exe program, much like you would install a new software package.

This was so easy. I could have installed the OS in minutes instead of hours. I believe this is the first time that Microsoft has allowed an operating system to be installed while the installed operating system was running. Very nice.

BUT – If that was so easy, why didn’t the instructions tell me to take this unprecedented, but simple action in the first place?

I’ll see if any issues arise from installing the OS in this manner.

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