Windows 7 RC – day 1

So I’ve been having problems with my computer since I built it. In particular the screen will freeze up from time to time with this checkerboard of black and normal. I can’t really describe it, and since the computer’s frozen when it happens, I can’t screenshot it. Anyway, I reinstalled XP a while ago and that didn’t do anything to solve it.

On Thursday my computer started really pissing me off because when I plugged in my camera, the Canon CameraWindow app that I use to transfer stuff off wasn’t autostarting. When I then tried starting it manually it still wouldn’t start. When I opened “My Computer” what greeted me was a flashlight, apparently searching for the innards of my system. It searched for about 60 seconds before showing me the correct contents of the computer, but when I closed My Computer and reopened it, it did the same thing. This persisted through a reboot. So I had a bad feeling that maybe the computer was about to do something unpleasant.

This probably doesn’t sound like enough of a reason to ditch the whole OS and install a beta as a primary OS, but I was already kind of sick of running a 32-bit OS on 64-bit hardware; my computer has 4 GB of memory and XP was only able to see 3.25. So I resized my 1 TB partition down to 500 GB and installed build 7100 of Windows 7 in the free space. I assume this will allow me to boot back to XP when I want to, but I haven’t tried it.

Anyway, the install went fine — my computer’s performance score is only 5.9 out of 7.9, I guess due to disk performance — though it did spend a lot of time doing absolutely nothing, which made me think it was hanging. I’m not crazy about this taskbar, and I miss the Quick Launch bar from XP. Also not a fan of the Program selector in the Start menu. I’ve never liked “personalized” menus; I like to know where something is always going to be rather than having the computer populate a list for convenience. There are some other minor annoyances but overall it seems pretty fast – Firefox started up very anyway, and that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve installed so far.

One problem I ran into was trying to connect to my old Linux box via Samba. It wasn’t accepting my password no matter what I did; I reset it on the server and it still wasn’t working. A quick Google search turned up a solution: Get Vista and Samba to work. This post is from 2006 and it’s now 2009 and it’s still a problem, so I guess Microsoft doesn’t consider it a problem. My Samba installation is way older than that, though, so maybe it’s more of a Samba issue than a Vista one.

The other thing, which wasn’t as much of a problem as something that just sucked, is I had to reauthorize my computer in iTunes. I copied over all my settings – this page explained what goes where – but I still had to reauthorize the computer. I guess I could have dug further, but I just assumed that going from Windows 5.1 to 6.1 and 32-bit to 64-bit, there’s no way to “trick” it. This is only my 2nd authorized computer though so it’s not a big deal… just annoying, since it’s not a second computer.

Anyway, back to my original problem: the camera now works as expected. That reminds me of another problem I had – I couldn’t run my Java program to reorganize the pics for some reason. It turned out that even though I had a 64-bit JVM installed, and Java is supposedly platform independent, I need to download 64-bit Eclipse. Then I just had to hunt down the old jars and put them back in the classpath of my project and that worked well.

So overall I’m pleased with the speed and responsiveness, and the Aero stuff is pretty, but I don’t get the taskbar changes.

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