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How should I install Windows 7?
October 23, 2009 12:25 PM   Subscribe

How should I install Windows 7?

Our 2-year-old home computer has 32-bit Vista Home Premium as its OS. It's been quite stable for us and I guess I'm one of those rare birds who actually likes it better than XP. We're very light, non-power users and we've been satisfied with our Vista experience.

That said, I plan to upgrade to Windows 7 (32-bit, Home Premium), perhaps as soon as this weekend. The computer can handle it per the Microsoft Upgrade Advisor. It will be an upgrade, not a clean install. I'll back up the hard drive before upgrading.

So far, so good. I understand that Windows 7 may be purchased as a download from the Microsoft web site or as a DVD. My hopefully simple question is, am I better off downloading the new OS or buying a DVD for the installation?

Frankly, I'd rather just download and be done with it... is there any compelling reason not to? A trusted friend suggested the size of the download may be prohibitive - true? (I have Verizon's FIOS service and download speeds are pretty good.) Should I anticipate trouble obtaining a repeat download should the need arise?

I have a subsidiary question about whether Microsoft Security Essentials, combined with Windows 7, will provide enough anti-virus and malware protection to justify dumping my Trend Micro program, but I'm more concerned at the moment with the method of installation of Windows 7.

I've read lots of advice about how to upgrade smoothly from Vista to Windows 7, but not on this particular point. (Hopefully, it's a non-issue!) Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
posted by cheapskatebay to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think you're better off getting a physical copy. There's something like 3 GB on the DVD, and I wouldn't want to download that much if I didn't have to.

I installed Win 7 on top of Vista Home Premium yesterday using the DVD and it was very slow (it took more than two hours) but mostly painless. A couple of my device drivers didn't get retained, and I had to go out to manufacturer sites to get new ones, but aside from that it wasn't too bad.

I think the biggest hassle was that several of my programs decided that they needed to be registered again. Flash CS3 remembered my registration number but still wanted me to confirm it, which is really weird.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:41 PM on October 23, 2009


Frankly, I'd rather just download and be done with it... is there any compelling reason not to? A trusted friend suggested the size of the download may be prohibitive - true? (I have Verizon's FIOS service and download speeds are pretty good.) Should I anticipate trouble obtaining a repeat download should the need arise?

Prohibitive in what sense? Are you extremely short on disk space? I downloaded the file yesterday--on my cable internet connection, it took about a half hour. No biggie.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:45 PM on October 23, 2009


I downloaded both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Professional as ISOs and burned them to DVD last night. Download time was less than an hour on a Comcast connection. It should be faster with your FIOS connection. You can order it online from MS, download it and for $15 more they'll send you the DVD's for backup. No license number with the backups, but just save the one they send in the confirmation email. I stuck everything in my old Vista case.
posted by rsclark at 12:55 PM on October 23, 2009


I can't speak to 7 specifically, but I have downloaded and installed Windows Server 2008 from Microsoft, which is comparably sized, without a hitch.
posted by owtytrof at 12:56 PM on October 23, 2009


I use Microsoft Security Essentials with Win7 and have no problems. I do have a router and that helps with keeping malware out of my computer.

Download or get disk it doesn't matter. If your download speed is fairly fast it seems to not be a problem. If you download it can you then burn it to a dvd so that you don't have to download again. And Win7 will create a disk image of the OS and all the files so that you can restore from t hat.

I really line Win7. For me it is the best yet. And a nicer looking interface after getting adjusted to a few differences.
posted by JayRwv at 1:10 PM on October 23, 2009


I am running W7 off the final release candidate, so I downloaded my version. As far as upgrading over a Vista instal I imagine that unless you have some very old or unusual hardware in your system that you shouldn't have too much trouble with the upgrade. Mine went smoothly. (I did however perform a complete fresh installation afterwards just to see what that process was like, and that is the current build I am running.) The only consideration vs to DL the installer or to get the physical media is the consideration that you will probably need to burn the DL (assuming the DL package is similar to the release candidate) to a DVD prior to running the upgrade. That may be something to consider. If that's an issue I would look to get the physical media then. Best of luck!
posted by theButterFly at 1:35 PM on October 23, 2009


Isn't the download an ISO that you need to burn to DVD anyway? I grabbed the RTM when it went up on Technet and it was an ISO then. Burned it to DVD, upgraded my Vista install, and filed the DVD somewhere in case I ever need it.
posted by IanMorr at 3:00 PM on October 23, 2009


whether Microsoft Security Essentials, combined with Windows 7, will provide enough anti-virus and malware protection to justify dumping my Trend Micro program

Personally, I'd dump Trend in favour of no security suite at all, because I've seen it break machines all by itself without the involvement of any other malware, and because its regular update downloads (last time I looked) were about a hundred times the size of those from competing products.

I'm currently testing MSSE on a handful of machines in a school computer lab (most of the school is currently using AVG 8.5 Network Edition) and if it's caused no serious problems within a couple of months I will probably switch the whole school. So far, the only annoyance has been detecting the UltraVNC remote control software I use for workstation support as a privacy threat, which it is; this was fairly painless to find a workaround for.
posted by flabdablet at 5:29 PM on October 23, 2009


I downloaded the RTM iso for 64 bit Professional, burned it to a DVD, threw the disk in the drive over Vista Business 64 bit, and let the upgrade run. Took about 2 hours, saved all my settings, no driver issues but for one with an odd dongle I have, and made my Adobe apps want me to register again. I'm running a reasonably new Dell laptop.

Other than that, no hitches or issues, it's been at least a month now.
posted by disclaimer at 6:16 PM on October 23, 2009


I appreciate these helpful answers!

PhoBWanKenobi, I was thinking of the size being prohibitive not in terms of disk space, but rather download speed... which sounds like it is not going to be an issue. I'll go the download route.

flabdalet's criticism of Trend Micro confirms my suspicions that it's bloated and more harmful than helpful - much appreciated.

Thanks to all.
posted by cheapskatebay at 7:25 AM on October 24, 2009


I kinda like Security Essentials. But AVG is pretty nice too.
posted by bbyboi at 6:38 PM on October 24, 2009


Having now read the EULA for MSSE more carefully, it looks like I won't be able to use it at school: the licence only allows for installation on a home computer for use by members of the household or for running a home-based business. MS probably wants me to buy Forefront instead. Unless there's a really compelling reason to use some other commercial product instead of AVG Network Edition, I don't expect I'll bother.

Note to self: check the current state of Windows client software based on ClamAV.
posted by flabdablet at 11:19 PM on October 24, 2009


Here's the ClamAV Windows development bug tracker, for others interested in doing likewise.
posted by flabdablet at 11:23 PM on October 24, 2009


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