Last year I installed a copy of Windows 7 RC. Everything went great. I didn’t spend a lot of time using Vista, so I won’t do any comparisons here. But the few months that I spent using the RC, I liked it a lot. For the most part, I didn’t have any problem (aside from learning where things moved to, and getting adjusted to the new task bar). I liked it so much that I bought a copy of Windows 7 when it was on sale. I just hadn’t gotten around to installing it.
Finally last week, the RC expired. So I backed up all the important stuff. Actually I have all my data on separate hard drives and the OS on an 80GB, IDE one. So I didn’t have much to back up.
I tried doing a “custom”/clean/fresh install. Right away I ran into a problem. For some reason during the boot up process, there was a few seconds where it wasn’t recognizing my keyboard. And those few seconds happened to be when I had to press a key, any key, to boot from the optical drive. Took me a while trying to figure out what was going on. I tried different USB keyboards to no avail, Finally I ended up using an old PS2 one.
Next problem: for some reason the computer couldn’t see my IDE hard drive. After searching the web, I remembered that my motherboard (ABit IB9
) was a bit quirky in that it required you to install an IDE driver via a floppy(!) if you want to install Windows. I hadn’t use a floppy in years. So I searched around to see if I can find the driver and maybe I can install it via a USB drive instead. No luck. I couldn’t even find the Abit program that’s supposed to make the driver for the floppy, let alone try to find one for a USB drive.
I read a blog post by Peter Bowyer
about a similar Abit board. I tried updating my BIOS and hoped that it wouldn’t need the external IDE driver. The update went well. But I ran into the same problem: IDE hard drive not recognized.
I had a copy of Windows XP that I got from MSDN way back when I was still in college. I decided to give it a try. Same problem. No IDE.
I gave up on installing an OS on the IDE drive, and used a SATA one (1TB) instead. But since I hadn’t backed up the data on that drive (wasn’t planning on doing anything with it during the OS switch). I took it to work and asked my IT guy (Alex
) to help me move some data around and create an empty partition in the beginning of the drive. It took a day and a half.
I plugged the SATA drive in and went with Windows 7 first. It bluescreened during installation. The error (XXX) was something about new hardware. I didn’t add any new hardware. I searched the web some more, but no luck.
I tried Windows XP. This time it saw my SATA drive! But there was a problem. I had 3 partitions on it: 90GB, 200GB, and the rest. The XP installtion saw one partition with 130GB (which is a known issue
). The problem is that the partition I specifically set for this was only 90GB. It must have been seeing something else. But by now (been about a week) I was so weary that I didn’t really care. I backed up all the important files, and the rest I would be able to obtain again. So I told it to just format the 130GB partition. It did and then restarted. Then it went back to the same partition screen… (I later realized that I was missing a step.)
I got another SATA drive from Alex to try. Windows 7 still bluescreened. During XP installation, I saw the step that I was missing earlier (I had to delete a partition, create it, and then choose it). The installation was a success! I switched my SATA drive back in and did the same and got XP to install. Finally!
I spent a few hours updating XP including SP2, SP3, and a few other drivers.
I spent some more time installing software such as Firefox, Pidgin, Dropbox, and Magic Jack. Back to operational! w00t