Entries from January 2010 ↓

Windows 7 – the journey continues

The bridges are burnt, there is no going back. It’s Windows 7 from here on out. Still lots of software to install.

  • Password Safe, copy the database
  • SpamBayes,  copy the database (takes some fiddling)
  • Nokia PC Suite, new install, test synch with Outlook
  • Garmin Mapsource (GPS) has a new bug saving as GPX, workaround is to load a GPX first.
  • Microsoft SQL Server and Management Console Express are hard: there is a complex sequence of installation, install service pack and manually set configuration without which the 2008 release will not work.
  • Picasa, Gimp, Adobe Flash
  • XNA: build some samples, check out the video card.
  • RenderMonkey is excellent for stressing the video card, and turns in around 1300 fps on a test picture compared to around 100 on the previous card. Fast!
  • Putty, Ruby
  • WinZip, EditPlus, Beyond Compare are all upgrades and have to be paid for. Well worth it.
  • Silverlight.

Finally, activate Windows. So what now?

My Documents

Windows XP introduced the idea of a single user root folder, hidden down amongs the Documents & Settings, but allowed it to be moved elsewhere. It was my practice to set up a D:\MyDocs and make that My Documents. The downside is that lots of pieces of software know about My Documents and it rapidly gets contaminated by “stuff I didn’t put there”.

Windows 7 is different and it’s hard to know the best way to go. There is a user directory with your login name on it, but that is contaminated with AppData, Desktop, Searches and all kinds of other stuff. There is also a Libraries capability, which makes it easy to find things in other places if you add them to the list of Libraries. On the other hand, lots of older software really doesn’t play all that well.

Solution pro tem: Stick with D:\MyDocs and D:\DL (for downloads) and add them, plus a handful of other interesting places, into Libraries\Documents. Seems to work for now.


Windows 7 Search is great! Just press the Windows key and start typing. It searches installed programs, recent documents, all files and email messages in roughly that order. Compared to XP, the indexer does not keep folders and files open, and after a rename or move it updates almost instantly.

On the minus side, the search doesn’t tell you much about what it found and it would be nice to know which found a file is found in. Still a few minor bumps to iron out, methinks.

Windows 7 – the start of a journey

Windows has been my choice of poison continuously since Windows 3.0 in 1990, followed by 3.1, NT 3.5 (buggy), 3.51 (not so), 4.0, 2000 and finally XP for the past nearly 10 years. After missing Vista, it is past time for a change.

The hardware is Intel i7 860 (4 core hyperthreaded), 4GB memory, 950GB disk, ATI Radeon 4770 with 512MB, dual 1680×1050 panels. Nice. Software is Windows 7 Ultimate from MSDN.

Installation is remarkably smooth. First, install off DVD and get the partition layout just right. The CD supplied for the video card has no Windows 7 driver, but the network connection works almost instantly and the driver is up there on the ATI site. No surfing yet, until updates are installed.

Configure desktop, explorer, network printer, turn on IIS, enable IE8, install Firefox, pick up some other useful software and that’s enough for Xmas eve.

Xmas day: install Office 2007 and Visual Studio 2008. Now Windows Updates: 40 of them. Why so many for an O/S just released?

Boxing Day: use Windows Easy Transfer to pick all the data off the old system. The SATA drive from the XP system drops straight into an external eSATA box and Easy Transfer copiea 5.6GB of data including Outlook PST and My Documents in around 30 minutes. The wonder is: It Just Works! A few more minor tweaks and it’s fully operational. All up, around 12 hours which is a vast improvement on the previous system build.

Make sure to keep detailed logs of every piece of software installed and every item configured, so next time should be even faster.

Windows 7 is nice, really nice. More later.

Happy New Year!

It’s a new year and I made some resolutions. Not all of them are suitable for public consumption.

One of my resolutions was this blog. At least a post a week for at least a year. Let’s see how we go.

Another was to make the switch to Windows 7. I missed Vista entirely, which probably was not such a good idea, so the sooner the better. That resolution is already largely complete, as my new computers were delivered on 23/12/09 and I started the installation on the 24th. Xmas was a good day for getting some work done. More on Windows 7 later.

Yet another was to get the Econodata site properly functional. Much work remains to be done.

Also, finish some unfinished business: ACS Fellows committee, Gramercy, Melbourne Angels. Lots to keep me busy.

Enough for now.