Tuesday, January 13, 2009

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Windows 7 Beta 1: My Experience

Back after some time off during the holiday, I had a chance to install the Windows 7 Beta on my 3+ year old HP Pavilion zd8200, and here's a summary of my experience so far:

When using the Pre-Beta builds, I had created a 20gb partition upon which to install my test subjects, and that's also where I installed Beta 1. Starting off, I decided to go with the 32-bit version for compatibility reasons, even though I have little issues running x64 Vista on my main partition. Funny thing is, this ended up NOT being the way to go, as I had unrepairable sound card driver issues that caused unbearably choppy video/audio.

So, after downloading Windows 7 x64, I encountered a couple driver issues I figured I would considering I originally had the same problems under Vista x64. The sound card, this time, decided not to work at all, and neither did my media card reader. However, even though Windows Update wasn't able to find the correct drivers, I was able to pull them same drivers I use in Vista over to 7 using my USB flash drive, and, as long as I run in "Disable Driver Enforcement" mode, both devices now work.

Once the driver issues were resolved, I was pretty happy with the overall experience. I enjoy the window preview that brings particular windows to the forefront when highlighted in the taskbar, and the "Desktop Slideshow" feature, which I have set to change wallpapers every 5 minutes, is pretty cool. Shutdown time, more so than startup, is extremely peppy as well.

The only real issue I have with 7 comes in the form of sleep mode, from which it has had a couple issues recovering. The biggest issue here was when it woke up once without recognizing, or even powering, my USB flash drive that had been plugged in even before it went to sleep.

All-in-all, 7 has been a decent experience so far, but I've only used it for a couple days, so I'll let you know more of what I think as I become more ingrained in the interface.

NOTE: If you are also having sound issues with a 2005-2006ish HP Laptop (remember, I have a zd8200) and are having problems finding drivers, follow this link:


Put all the files into a folder where you would keep your drivers on your local hard drive, and then manually install them through the Device Manager in the Control Panel. Also, you can get ReadyDriver Plus, a program to ease your pain when attempting to boot into "Disable Driver Enforcement" mode, here.

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