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Author Topic: November 2009: Win7 - Microsoft's Defiant Child  (Read 85419 times)
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« on: October 30, 2009, 11:29:39 PM »

November 2009: Win7 - Microsoft's Defiant Child


Background

The internet is sure to be flooded with Windows 7 reviews.  Some reviewers may feel that they can't say anything negative about Microsoft's new kid on the block but those who know me, know that I tend not to sugar coat and I speak my mind.  For me, the transition to Windows 7 was far from smooth and I'm hoping this article will serve to open a few eyes for those who think they are about to jump in a brand new car, turn the key, and drive off into the sunset.  Like all reviewers, I'm new to the public release of Windows 7 but having upgraded from and to just about every prior MS operating system, allow me to share my views on why Windows 7 is by far the worst transition to date and why, as an end user, you may not (at least immediately) realize much benefit from what is being touted as the "fix for the Vista blunder".

 

Windows 7 Upgrade

As I mentioned above, I've done a lot of upgrading in the past and I've upgraded just about every Windows OS that has ever existed.  Until now, most people seem to recognize the XP-to-Vista upgrade as the most difficult.  When going from XP to Vista, some drivers for older equipment were not supported, some software needed to be upgraded or even dropped and new software purchased.  But at least XP would upgrade to Vista.  I have one of the more complex setups with more software than most users.  I have equipment that has to run properly, compilers where I need to do my coding work that I have to rely on, and many utilities and software programs that I must use in my daily computer programming job.  When I upgraded from XP to Vista, it was a breeze.  Sure, I had an old scanner that didn't have a Vista driver and a couple software programs that were no longer supported that I had to give up.  Not a big deal in the scheme of things.

When you use a computer as much as I do, you collect things.  It's like living in a house for a long time and then facing the prospect of moving.  You acquire a lot of "stuff" over time.  With my move from XP to Vista, you upgrade and it's like having a new house with all your old familiar "stuff" in it.  You find a thing or two in this or that corner that you need to tend to, but it doesn't slow you down much and you can enjoy your new home.  Whether or not you need to do house cleaning is up to you.

Now with Windows 7, there is an upgrade path that should allow you to get that new house around your old "stuff" but it is buggy and from what I understand, rarely works.  Of course, if you have XP, there is no (real) upgrade path so we're just talking about Vista users here.  The upgrade from Vista x64 to Windows 7 x64 sure didn't work for me and I spent two full days pulling out every trick from my "hacker" book to try to coax the updater to work.  It would install for about 2 hours and then roll back, bringing you back to Vista and then reporting that the upgrade didn't work and your "old house" had been restored.  Oh what a joy to see the install progress bar move backward when the rollback occurs.  >:-/  Keep in mind that the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor said my machine was ready to upgrade at this point and I even uninstalled ALL of the programs that it said I might even have the slightest problem running in Windows 7.  Some "hacking" into the error logs (ones MS doesn't even tell you about) showed that Windows 7 failed to install because it didn't like a registry key related to a bluetooth driver: I don't even have any bluetooth software or hardware on my machine!  After doing a search, it appeared I wasn't the only one and the best answer to the problem was "Just do a clean install.  That's better anyway".  There's some truth to that, but for people who are time pressed, be aware that you may have bitten off more than you wanted to chew!  So when the upgrade failed, as it seems to do for a fair percentage of people going from Vista to Windows 7, I gave up and just did a clean install.

 

Windows 7 Clean Install

Okay.  So here is where I tell you that I decided on the clean install and everything went smoothly, right?  Oh how I wish!  The install itself went relatively smoothly as did the check for (and installation of) Windows updates.  Of course, I made a backup before I started it, and I was greeted by a fresh Windows background and a desktop with no software: all as expected with a clean install.  No problem so far.  My monitor didn't look quite right, however, and I soon noticed that Windows 7 had installed a video driver for my Nvidia graphics card and a driver for my HP w2408H monitor that would not even allow the true resolution of the monitor (1920x1200).  Never had a problem with that in Vista, but I figured that's okay, I'll just go to Nvidia and download their latest Windows 7 driver.  Windows 7 would only allow 1920x1080 resolution which as you may know, doesn't look very nice on an LCD monitor that doesn't use that native resolution.  So, a half hour later and a new Nvidia driver installed, I had 1920x1200 and things were looking up.  Let's ignore for now the fact that as soon as I installed the (three day old and much newer) Nvidia driver, Windows 7 started complaining immediately that it wanted to install an "update" that would put the 5 month old 1920x1080 driver back in.  So I just checked the box to "hide" that upgrade.  Step one complete.  Now I have a computer I can boot up.

Next I dug out my ColorVision Spyder and proceeded to calibrate and profile my monitor.  The software installed, the driver for the monitor colorimeter worked fine, and I had a profile.  But now the problem.  When I first boot Windows 7 I can see the Colorvision startup program change the color in the graphics card to look nice, and about 2 seconds later, Windows 7 overrides it and brings it back to the uncalibrated state.  Seems Windows 7 now has a horribly convoluted scheme for color management and a new calibration option that can be turned on or off.  Well, even after turning that off and trying every trick in the book, Windows 7 still overrides the "gamma ramp" function in the monitor profiling software and I just couldn't get it to work.  My only solution at this point was to uninstall the monitor calibration tool and calibrate using the Nvidia control panel: the useless "calibration" option in Windows 7 couldn't touch what needed to be corrected on the monitor but fortunately the Nvidia control panel (software that comes with the video graphics card driver) worked well.  Step two complete: the monitor is now such that I can read it without getting a headache.

Now that I have an operating computer and viewable monitor, the next step was to start reinstalling my applications and data.  No problem.  I have those backed up and I'll restore my data folder and subfolders with Acronis.  Did that and all went smoothly.  Or so I thought.  I keep all my purchased and downloaded software and their associated serial numbers in subfolders where I can get to them easily.  For example, I have a subfolder named "SureThing" where I store the install file for Sure Thing CD Labeler and the associated "password.txt" file that holds the serial number for that program.  No problem, just click on the "stcd5setup.exe" file to start the installation.  To my surprise: "Access Denied".  What!?  I have admin rights!  Okay, let's calm down and search the internet to see what others have found.  Well, looks like the "System" owns the folders and files.  So I'll just use properties and change security settings.  Now I'm the owner.  Let's try this again.  Access Denied!  I can't even open EXE files that are in folders I own.  After a second look, my user account, even though it has admin rights, doesn't have "full control" rights on the folders and files.  Let's try changing my access to "Full Control" making sure to check the box that propagates subfolders and files too.  Now I'm the owner and I have all possible access rights.  Let's try again.  Access Denied! 

Okay.  Calm down.  Let's search the internet some more.  I tried a clever little utility that adds an option to the right click menu called "Grant Full Admin Rights".  Tried that.  Access Denied!  I found a few references saying that the Windows Installer actually owns and prevents access to things like install files.  The recommendation was to give full control to the "Everyone" group.  OK.  Did that.  In fact, I got mad and gave every account on the list including "Authenticated User" and "Everyone" full access.  Should work now.  Let's try again.  Access Denied!  Let's search the internet some more.  Now I find a reference that says you should get rid of some of the "superfluous" user groups in the access rights.  Now I'm one step shy of exploding, so I'm angry enough to select the main folder, delete every group/user in the access list that I could possibly delete.  Let's get rid of everything that could be causing trouble that is "deletable" by the administrator and then add myself back as the owner with full access rights.  Done.  Now let's try again.  IT WORKED!  At this point I had been at this for hours, maybe close to half a day, just to gain access to my own data in my own folders.  I was so giddy at this point that I may have peed just a little.  :-)

Now that I had access to my data, I began installing software.  A few, like Pegasus Mail, had minor glitches but I was beyond that at this point.  If I could get my machine "usable" I would be happy.  At this point I had been at the Windows 7 upgrade path for three full days.  When I took a break from my routine and decided to play some streaming media (WMV videos), ones that I had streamed many times before, on other computers on the network, they played about 20% too slow with the video and audio both running slow.  People had deep voices, singers sang a half octave too low, and so on.  I tried tweaking the WMP12 interface every way possible, but I still haven't figured that one out!  I was more interested in why my Canon Pro9000 printer couldn't be used from other networked PC's. 

There was no problem with Vista installed on the print server machine but now that Windows 7 is installed, all PC's on the network inform the user that the print server has the "wrong" driver installed.  After some poking and prodding, I found that I had to install a supplementary driver on the Windows 7 machine: an x86 driver because the other computers were x86 and not 64 bit.  OK.  So I check the box that says install an additional "x86" driver and at that point, Windows 7 responds with "tell me where to find it".  How should I know?  If Windows doesn't know, where would I go to get that?  All the installable drivers on the Canon site are EXE files.  Well, being the "hacker at heart" that I am, I decide to download the x86 EXE install from Canon, open WinZip on the EXE, and unzip the files embedded in the EXE to a folder.  Yeah, that's lame "hackery" but it's still "hacking" because most people wouldn't even realize they can unzip an EXE.  Sure enough, there's the .INF file that Windows is looking for.  I point the additional-drivers dialog in Windows 7 at that folder and I get "There is no Canon Inkjet Pro9000 in this folder".  It seems in MS's infinite wisdom, they decided to add "Inkjet" to the printer name.  Now Windows sees the printer as "Canon Inkjet Pro9000" instead of "Canon Pro9000".  So then I open Notepad and manually search and replace every instance of "Canon Pro9000" in the .INF file, changing them to "Canon Inkjet Pro9000".  IT WORKED!  Wow!!!  That process sure seems logical for the average end user to be able to accomplish doesn't it?

 

Summary: Worth it?

The above just touches on the "highlights" (if you can call them high) of my install.  There were other more minor issues that I had to "hack" to fix, like using a hex editor to change machine code in my compiler, but those were easy compared to the above.  Some of it is a learning curve, but you have to ask yourself why things like printer names were changed to make them incompatible or why the upgrade stalls on a device I don't even have, forcing me to do a clean install.  Maybe all this effort will be worth it.  Is Windows 7 really so good that it is worth going through the equivalent of eating razor blades?  We'll see.  Honestly, I haven't even had the time at this point to check out some of the new features in Windows 7.  People talk about things like "Aero Snap" and some cool features.  Those might be nice and I'm sure there are some more things I'll appreciate over time.  I'll tell you, however, in no uncertain terms that if I didn't have to upgrade to Windows 7 due to my business and the fact that I have to support it to my customers, I wouldn't do it!  To me, Windows 7 is all the things people hated about Vista and more!  When XP just started to get really stable, here comes Vista, the new kid on the block.  Vista is a bit of a punk, defiant in some ways and a bit unrefined yet having such potential.  Fast forward and now that Vista honestly has become quite stable, here comes Vista's demon seed: Windows 7.  Win7 is even more defiant than Vista and it seems has lost some of its roots, forgetting a few things about where it came from and thumbing its nose at those who choose to be friends with XP or Vista.  Maybe that's a good thing and I'm just getting too old for this, eh?  :-D  Time will tell.  I guess around the time I get used to living with Win7 and all it's idiosyncrasies, Win7 will give birth to yet another punk kid that will kick my butt for good!  Win7 gave it a good try and to be honest, I was a gnat's hair from just restoring my Vista backup and calling it quits.  I may be (a little) over 40 but the hacker in me made me keep going.  Who knows, maybe the punk kid will grow on me and you'll see another article soon!  :-)  Still, I can't help feeling sorry for "the masses".  If someone with a computer science degree who has been programming computers since the first IBM PC with dual floppy's hit the road in 1981 can go 12 rounds with Win7 and barely pull off a win in round 12, Apple is going to have a field day making new "Hi, I'm a Mac" commercials.  Buy your Apple stock now!  ;-)

Oh, and if you're just visiting this site, go buy some of my software.  Looks like getting software that actually works is becoming more and more difficult these days.  If not enough people buy it, I may have to add some animated controls, glowing buttons, raise the price, make it so the underlying "guts" don't work as they should, and claim that everything is much better than before.  Maybe then everyone would run out and buy it.  :-}

Mike Chaney

« Last Edit: October 31, 2009, 12:00:34 AM by Mike Chaney » Logged
Jeff
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2009, 08:16:18 AM »

An interesting read.

I have seen various 7 reviews which seem to say that win 7 is a must buy, but I have not seen one feature that I would consider a must have.

My view is why bother, let alone spend money, XP works fine, the only Vista improvement on XP I have found is that creating a folder in Vista takes on a second or two, in XP it takes about 15 seconds.  I have not worked out the cost per second.

I will be keeping my wallet closed.

Jeff
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2009, 09:36:37 AM »

Quote
I will be keeping my wallet closed

For what it's worth (FWIW) I did succumb to the low priced sale that Amazon offered a few months ago.
They had an Upgrade box from Vista to W7 for 49.95 USD.
I have XP and another hard drive with Vista running very well, and then came the surprise. I bought the wrong W7. !!!
I had Vista Ultimate 32, and for some reason, I thought I had a cheaper version, the Home Premium edition.
Needless to say, the Upgrade didn't work.

But much to my surprise, there was a small white card in the box that said, "Follow these instructions to install over XP."
I tried that, and it worked!!  I had a nice fresh install of W7 on the hard drive that had originally been running XP.  (I have a few Acronis full image backups of the latest days of XP, in case).
The only thing that it did well, was to find the other computers on my network.
OOps!   It is W7 32 bit, and it was suggested by a guru whose initials are MC, that as long as I was installing, use the OTHER DVD in the box; the 64 bit install.
So I erased the 32 bit and installed the 64 bit last night.
It installed very easily (fresh install) and I went to bed.

I must add to Mike's dissertation. One missing item that is a royal PITA, Say what you want, this is a ROYAL PITA. NO EMAIL CLIENT.

Mike uses Pegasus. He installed it. He is happy. I was using Windows Mail in Vista and Outlook Express in XP. This puppy has no email client.
Can you imagine writing all this code for W7 with 10,000 people working on creating W7, and no email?
Conservatively, I'd bet there are 1/2 a billion people out there running some version of Windows. You expect them to buy W7 and not have email?
I did download MS LIVE MAIL last night that should work after I get it set up: it asks for Pop server and smtp server and all the rest.... you don't remember? You better find out.
See what I mean?   Who would buy this OS knowing there's no email, and be expected to find a client, install the client, and set up the client manually?

So far, that's where I am.
Fred
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2009, 03:11:16 PM »

You're just getting started my friend.  You're standing at the edge.  The further you walk in, the deeper the poo gets.  Wink

Mike
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Fred A
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2009, 03:45:09 PM »

Hmmm.
Windows 7 just found my printer, or did it? 
It says I have an Epson R800. I have an Epson R1800.
Fred
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BrianPrice
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« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2009, 02:57:56 PM »

Quote
I must add to Mike's dissertation. One missing item that is a royal PITA, Say what you want, this is a ROYAL PITA. NO EMAIL CLIENT.

Fred
You can blame the EU (European Union) for that. They threatened to fine Microsoft a Zillion dollars if they didn't leave the choice of mail client up to the user. Mind you, the EU are to blame for just about everything - a few years ago they tried to ban bent bananas.
I tried Live Mail on XP and I couldn't get it to work like Outlook Express or Windows Mail, so I can see why a lot of people are going for Thunderbird.

Brian
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Fred A
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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2009, 06:26:00 PM »

Quote
I tried Live Mail on XP and I couldn't get it to work like Outlook Express or Windows Mail, so I can see why a lot of people are going for Thunderbird.

Brian,
Thanks for the information. I tend to blame MS for everything  Shocked
As for the mail client, Outlook Express is still running in XP, and I have Windows Live Mail running in my Vista Ult. and my Windows 7.
Didn't mean to mislead.

I am awfully tired of trying to find 64 bit W7 drivers... Cry Cry Cry

But it keeps an old bugger alert and alive.
Fred
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2009, 11:40:33 PM »

Microsoft brought their new profiling system (in simplistic terms) to bear in Vista.  It was generally considered to be better than the Adobe, et al we've been using until then but had virtually no support.

That aside, I went to the eye1 profile and had no issues.  When I went to Win7 (RC) what Mike said reared it's head.  However, I went into through all the display/color management setup and brought the Xrite generated ICC in as default--well, sorta.  There is a module (CalibrationLoader.exe) kind of like the old Adobe Gamma loader that runs at boot.  I imagine Colorvision has a similar launch device.  We all know Microsoft is obstinate and the screen would often default back.  The solution: add the Calibration Loader to the Startup directory in the menu file.  I even keep a shortcut on the Quicklaunch bar in case Not Responding wants to bonk it.

BTW- there are a lot of tweaks already out there to let you bypass some of the MS BS.  Even upgrading directly over Win 7 RC which MS says you can't do.  It does require that you move the DVD image to a drive and modify some of the INI files.  NBD really.

I agree with Mike.  A clean install is always the best way.

But, a question for Mike; didn't you use the function to transport your settings, etc. to the new install?

My only PITA (so far) is the requirement to "unactivate" software and then re-activate it again.
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2009, 11:42:51 PM »



I am awfully tired of trying to find 64 bit W7 drivers...

Not defending M$ here but it's not their fault if the drivers aren't there.  OTOH, I blamed them for not having a generic 1394 driver in Vista.
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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2009, 12:15:31 AM »

Quote
Not defending M$ here but it's not their fault if the drivers aren't there
I agree... but the fact that I NEED to find 64 bit drivers is directly related to the install of W7 64 bit.  I chose to do 64 bit. I could have stayed with my first try, 32 bit, but no, I had to have 64 bits. (I thought they were M&Ms) Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

Just some old equipment like an old HP 952C printer and an old Epson Scanner 1250 Perfection are defunct.
I still have Vista 32 running also, so they can be used mt that computer.

be good!
Fred
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2009, 12:46:03 AM »

Whoa, puckered me for a moment but the Perfection 4490 Photo has drivers.  Haven't updated that machine yet.
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2009, 12:13:00 AM »

Hello Mike and contributing members,

Holy Crap! I'll be going as far as I can with Vista Ultimate. It is treating me pretty good right now, and I've got a lot of software and peripherals hooked up.

Thanks for all the information. It sure helps curb any interest in upgrading  to 7 if you don't need to.

Regards,

Keith
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2009, 02:41:16 PM »

I'm slowly discovering all the dances you have to do in order to get Windows 7 to work properly.  Sometimes it's a matter of making just the right face while praying.  My latest discovery was how (finally) to get the ColorVision Spyder to work with Windows 7 so you get a working monitor calibration and profile:

(1) Right click on the desktop and select "Personalize".
(2) Click "Display".
(3) Click "Change Display Settings".
(4) Click the tiny "Advanced Settings": link in blue.
(5) Click the "Color Management" tab.
(6) Click the "Color Management" button: only button on this tab.
(7) Click the "Advanced Tab".
[8] Click "Change System Defaults".
(9) Click the "Advanced Tab".
(10) Uncheck "Use Windows Display Calibration".
(11) Close out all open dialogs.
(12) Right click on your "Spyder2Express" icon on the desktop.
(13) Select "Run As Administrator": just opening it WILL NOT WORK.
(14) Go through the process of profiling your monitor.
(15) Repeat steps (1) through (9) above, then
(16) CHECK "Use Windows Display Calibration".
(17) Click "Start", "All Programs", and open "Startup".
(18) Right click on the Colorvision Startup and delete it.

When you're done, if you want to verify things, use Explorer and
open c:\windows\system32\spool\drivers\color.  Make sure there is
a Spyder2Express.icm with today's date/time from your above
calibration.  If so, you know the Spyder2Express software stored
the .icm profile in the right place.  If you don't run the
Spyder2Express as administrator, the profile will not go to the
proper directory.  You may also want to go through steps (1)
through (6) above to verify that the default profile is
Spyder2Express.icm.

Yep... seems pretty straighforward, eh?   Huh

Mike
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Terry-M
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« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2009, 05:28:03 PM »

Quote
My latest discovery was how (finally) to get the ColorVision Spyder to work with Windows 7 so you get a working monitor calibration and profile:
I assume the same convolutions are required for any other monitor calibration software  Huh
I checked X-Rite and the IMatch 3 software  v3.62 is "compliant" with W7 but the ColorMunki software has "issues" and a new version is due this month.
I would have thought such software would need to be modified to do all that you have done without special user input. I can foresee people calibrating their monitors and not getting the result implemented.
Terry.
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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2009, 08:06:50 PM »

Wow, thanks again for all the effort Mike. I can understand you having to keep on top of all the newest upgrades, but can you suggest any reasons the average user might want to go through all this trouble?

I use several different high end printers including an HPZ3200-44", 3 monitors on my desk top, many different kinds of software besides Qimage: architecture, Microsoft Office, accounting, Photoshop.......... I can just imagine the time I would have to spend trying to deal with what you describe as a big move. At my end, I'm not a programmer or hacker. I'm happy just to be able to figure out enough of how to use the software to get my work done, and deal with the regular flush of updates!

Come to think of it, I am quite happy in my home too.

Why do this move???

All my respect goes out to you Mike! Thanks for all your efforts.

Regards,

Keith
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