Saturday, June 12, 2010

Windows 7 experience

My home computer, up until a couple of weeks ago, ran Windows XP.  I have an ATI Radeon 5770 based graphics card in my computer.  I had downloaded an updated video driver for the card and decided to install it.  So I did.  BLAM!!!  The upgrade didn't go so well.  My system blue screened.  The driver refused to work.  I tried, and I tried, and I tried.  Uninstall.  Reinstall.  Install the old driver.  Nothing worked.  Still problems.  So I reinstalled Windows XP and got things back up and running, at least momentarily.

So I was doing this whole cost/benefit analysis in my head...  Let's see...  I've got Windows XP installed.  I'll need to copy all my files over to it.  Install all my apps.  Get everything back to where it was before.  And then, sometime in the future I'll have to do that all over again if and when I go to Windows 7.  And XP is like nine years old and is two versions off from the most current version.  And there is the potential for another botched upgrade.  And since this is XP and not Vista or Windows 7, ATI system test probably isn't spending a whole lot of time testing and vetting the drivers.

So I made the sales pitch to the appropriations committee (my wife) and laid out my reasoning.  To my shock and surprise, I got the green light.  I've learned that when you get the green light to spend money, you go NOW and do it before the appropriations committee (my wife) revokes my spending authority.  So I did.  I came home with Windows 7 64-bit and an extra 4 GB of RAM, bringing the whole system up to 8GB of RAM.  (I remember when 1GB hard drives were $500.)

I brought it home and installed.  The installation was incredibly quick and painless.  I think 20 minutes was the total amount of time it took to do the Windows 7 install.  And the system is FAST.

After getting all my drivers installed, Windows has this user experience index.  I ran the test and my machine came in with flying colors.  Check out the screen shot below:

The reason why my system scored a 5.9 is due to my hard drive.  Everything else is in the low to mid 7s.  I found out that the index max is 7.9, so I was pretty happy.  (You'll notice the machine name is Hercules.  I believe that is an appropriate name for the beast.)

Bottom line, I'm hooked.  And I'm wondering why it took me so long to jump on the bandwagon.  We'll see how it works in the months and years ahead.  At least I skipped the Windows Vista experience.  Vista was a pig.  Windows 7 seems to be a lot faster.

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