The instructions basically said, "Stick this in your drive and wait."
So I did.
Setup initiated and before long I was looking as a screen that warned me to uninstall four programs before continuing. Since all of them are programs I don't use, like Dell Modem Diagnostics, I naturally ignored the warning. Windows also warned me that the installation would take up to… "several" hours. Those of you who have installed a significant number of programs (defined as: more than zero) know that "several" could mean anywhere from a half hour to… infinity!
So the first bit of good news is that it took exactly "several" hours "more or less."
There were a number of reboots and too many moments when I didn't know whether the install was going OK or whether the screen had frozen. Luckily, the overall progress was smooth and flawless…
Until the very end.
That's when I was asked out of the Microsoft blue for the "Product Key." That's the string of numbers and letters Microsoft uses to validate your windows install… and which I didn't have because Vista had come pre-installed.
No problem, the message tells you where to find it – "a multi-colored label on the side or bottom of your computer."
So I looked at the sides – no label, of course. So now I have to look on the BOTTOM? Of my running computer that I dare not interrupt? Well, I took the pile of debris off the top of the case and… it was like when they found the "Big W" in Mad, Mad, World. There… right on top… was that beautiful multi-colored label! I was never so happy to see a sticker in my life!
I entered the code and mere moments later… I was told the key was invalid.
No problem, I put the Caps Lock on and re-entered the crap.
Being a baseball fan, I carefully entered the string a third time and… struck out. Hey, I said I was a fan, not a player!
Now here's where it gets interesting….
There was a checked box below for "Automatic authorization from the Net" That sounded GREAT!
One problem,,, the "Next" button was grayed out. Amazingly, unchecking the "automatic…" caused the "Next" button to be clickable.
So I clicked it…
And my desktop appeared!
Am I validated? Who knows. Am I concerned that I'm invalid? HELL YES! I saw something somewhere about a thirty-day test ride, and besides, this is MICROSOFT, you fool!
I'm sorry, my frustration was showing… you're not a fool, I was transferring because I hate being the fool – so regularly.
So let's deal with the good for now….
As I said, there was my desktop in all it's blue glory! The trouble is, my desktop had been a shade of medium brown two hours ago! So I brought up my browser and… there was the familiar battleship gray… which had been gold two hours ago!
And the desktop and browser fonts were a lot smaller…
The bottom line is, Windows 7 has returned all my settings to default, including the welcome screen that had been a lovely scene of the view out my back door. No problem, it should only take a week or so to get all the settings back to the way they were. My desktop and browser are already back… except that I couldn't just click the theme I'd been using – because that's gone. I had to obtain the colors from a networked computer using a color picker.
And there's more bad news (that I know about). Windows Mail is also gone… Let me put that another way… the email program I'd been using is GONE!
OK, that's not completely accurate. It's still there, it just won't run… no mater how much administrative approval I lump on it! I learned from the web that the emails and settings are still there – just waiting to be imported by "your new email program"… which I, of course, don't have!
But at least Microsoft is consistent – they did the same thing when they eliminated the great Outlook Express from Vista… and replaced it with WINDOWS MAIL! This time there's not even a replacement, something about an anti-trust settlement…
But there is a bit of actual good news – I haven't had any programs not work yet (other that's Microsoft's own Windows Mail, of course) and Windows 7 does seem to be the slightest bit faster than Vista, even if it boots slower. But I may be able to tweak that slow boot, and the tweaking starts as soon as this posts.
But get this, When I went to save this column to my usual folder, I got a message that said, "You don't have permission to save to this folder, would you like to save to My Documents?" This is what drives me nuts. I'M THE ADMINISTRATOR! Who do I need to get approval from? And they said the security restraints that I turned completely off in Vista were less troublesome in Windows 7? All I know is that I never had to have someone approve my saves in crummy old Vista!
So will that person please identify himself already?
One last thing… the Windows taskbar that used to be populated with rectangular icons of running programs that took up a lot of horizontal space when "several" programs were running? That's gone too…. replaced by square icons of the running programs… That transforms the horizontal space the icons used to take up into VERTICAL SPACE they now take up! (see below) So… more taskbar space, less screen space… does that seem like a great tradeoff to you?
Pictures are not to scale, they are merely meant to show the difference in height between old and new, and if you look at the clock on the right, you get the best idea. The Windows 7 taskbar is about 50% taller.
Edit: My Windows 7 is activated! Unless I misread something, the installation directions were incorrect – they wanted the product key for 7 – inside THE BOX!, not ON THE COMPUTER!
How could I have misread that?!?
Also, you can shrink the taskbar by using SMALL ICONS. That makes the running programs icons the same size as every other icon. Now THERE'S change you can believe in!
Which reminds me.. screw Scumbama!
Edit 2: Damn, I forgot to add "politics" to the keywords