It was time to blast my old Windows Vista to smithereens and install Windows 7. I’ve been using Vista without reformat for 1 year and 8 months. That’s pretty good for Windows. It was much better than the other previous windows incarnation where just about every six months I have to blast the whole installation and reinstall it due to something not working as it should and not able to solve it any other way other than full reinstallation.
Throwing out the gunk!
Most people’s desktop PC usually don’t require frequent reformat if they don’t experiment much and install all kinds of widgets and software. However I have slowdown on my need to experiment with some interesting software here and there and just stuck with those that are useful to me, and throw out the rest of the gunk! There are too many software out there to try it out, and usually if you need a task, just go out and search for the software. Usually I try to look for a good open source software to fill my needs. Sometimes I can find it, sometimes they are just elusive. And there isn’t always a big need to always use the latest software if the current one serves well and able to work in a new O/S like in this case would be Windows 7.
Even then, my Windows Vista was slowing down with each Windows update. If I didn’t know any better, somehow the Windows updates sort of increase more variables to be sorted out by the O/S, perhaps the registry has balloon up or become semi-corrupted, or the hard disk has become more fragmented or it has more bits and pieces with some corrupted info here and there leading to a very slow PC indeed with occasional blue screen of death! No idea why was there an IRQ conflict with the hardware when there was none before. My DVD-/+RW drive was crashing my PC every time I insert a DVD-ROM. Maybe InCD was conflicting with Windows Vista Live System or what I don’t know. No point to try spending hours trying to defrag the hard disk, clean up the registry and rescue a lame duck. Just take your virtual shotgun and blast the sectors to zeroes! Well actually quick format doesn’t really do that… the data is still there just the headers are no longer pointing to the files. I don’t have any critical secrets, so a quick format is just fine for me.
Easy Windows 7 Installation
Nowadays reinstallation are a breeze, it took about half an hour to reinstall Windows 7. Usually for my other Windows installation it took more than an hour, sometimes a couple to a few hours, but for Windows 7, I could do everything on the installation screen from reformatting the hard drive to a clean slate (it uses quick format, very fast! Do so with caution if you got important data, back it up first!). I keep my data in a separate partition, so I know my data would still be intact.
Software Installation Gets Tedious
After Windows 7 completed its installation, that’s where the tedium starts, installing the needed software to make the desktop computer useful to your requirement. Most of the software that worked in Windows Vista would most likely work in Windows 7 without any hitch. My Nero 7 was rather outdated, so I went and got myself the latest Nero 10. The installation took a long while, but it was done.
Next was my Kapersky Anti-Virus. Installing a security essentials is very important! If you are without one and don’t plan to pay for one, hop on over to Microsoft Security Essential and get a copy or any of the other anti-virus security companies like AVG, Avira, etc that offers basic anti-virus protection. Just remember the free ones only provide basic protection, it might still be better to go for a paid version and nowadays the cost is quite cheap. You can get those license that covers 3 PCs for year. Kapersky and Trend Micro are not too bad, and they caught many Trojans and other malicious software that came my way. McAfee was my preferred choice but nowadays it is difficult to find it on retail in my area, so going for Trend Micro and Kapersky anti-virus instead and they are pretty good too and lighter weight than McAfee.
Next was of course Microsoft Office. I have the 2007 version. It is rather bloated due to packing with features which most of us seldom use anyway. Unfortunately Microsoft Office is more or less the standard format used by most computer user. The new Office file format however is less common and we have colleagues and friends saying they can’t open the file! The good old .doc, .xls, .ppt, is still the current standard for most users. Since Microsoft Office price is very expensive (can cost as much as your hardware itself if you choose most of the component software) there is a free alternative call Open Office. It is fairly usable and has less bloat, just make sure you save to the .doc, .xls, .ppt format for better accessibility rather than the native Open Office file format. For me, I’ll just install both. The Microsoft Word 2007 is bugging and tend to crash while starting up. So a good alternative like Open Office Writer as a backup word processor for those days when Microsoft Office is not running as it should.
Other free and good software to install includes the Picasa Photo Viewer / Editor, Notepad++ a good alternative to the Microsoft Notepad, Komposer for HTML editing, other browsers like Chrome, Opera, Firefox and Flock; FileZilla for FTP, SyncToy for synchronizing between your portable files and desktop files.
I have yet to find a good open source data backup software and will have to rely on WD Anywhere Backup that came with my MyBook external hard disk. If you are using Transcend portable hard disk, they have a fairly good software called JetFlash Elite for back up too. Not sure about the other portable hard disk brand though. Will have to search through the internet for a good version. (Just found one, will download it and give it spin!)
The thing with fresh reinstallation, as you use you will find some lesser used software will be required to be installed. That makes the tediousness of having to start a fresh Windows installation, but overall the entire Windows O/S platform will run faster at least for half a year anyway before the software gunk accumulates and start to lag your system!