Installing Windows 7 Ultimate: Tips and Quirks

I have a Core i7 Machine that was running Windows 7 Ultimate (32 Bit). It had been acting a little fruity, (it was updated to full Windows 7 from the Windows 7 Beta) so I finally copied my data off of it and reformatted.

A couple things I noticed when trying to copy the data off in Peer to Peer mode. Windows 7 with its more developed security is a lot pickier than Windows XP when copying from machine to machine. Several things that I tried just did not want to work, so I reverted to using Robocopy. I do not trust drag and drop copy with lots of data, because sometimes it does not copy everything.

Robocopy is a great copy utility that was an add-in for XP, but is a standard feature with Windows 7. It is great for copying huge enterprise network shares while keeping security and attributes intact.  It also works great copying from machine to machine.

To run robocopy, what I found works best in Windows 7 is to click the start button, then in the search bar type “cmd”. CMD.exe will show up in the list. Right click it and check “Run as Administrator”. This will open up a command prompt. Then put in the robocopy command with the switches that you need.

A simple example would look like this:

C:\robocopy C:\windows\users\Spongebob\ Z:\Backup\Spongebob\ *.* /E /R:0 /W:0 /V

You can also use network share names, and set a plethora of options to copy security, attributes, etc. It is a very powerful tool. It is like XCOPY32 on steroids. Just type “robocopy /?|more” at the command prompt to find out more about the tool.

The Windows 7 install from DVD was a breeze. It is fast and only rebooted twice. It actually installs some of the Windows updates during the initial install. If you have installed previous versions of Windows, you will love this install. It is smooth as silk.

When the install was done, I was greeted with a login screen (Use a good strong password by the way). I immediately ran the windows updates. It downloaded several critical ones and rebooted. At this point I installed my system drivers; you should always do this when installing a new OS. The included hardware drivers could be several years old. Go to the manufacturer of your system or components and get the latest drivers. It is best to do this beforehand and save them on a CD/DVD/USB drive.

I then installed my anti-virus program and got that updated. I then took a few minutes and played around with the system. It was smooth as glass. Website use was snappy and responsive. Just navigating Windows 7 itself was like lightning. All was well…

Then, I ran Windows Updates again, just to be safe. It found several more critical updates. I installed these and my machine rebooted again. I at once noticed a visible speed change. I do not know what the last critical updates patched, but the machine was visibly slower. Web page surfing was slow and clunky. Now, when I put an address in the web browser it was not coming up right away. I would have to click on the address bar and hit enter to send it again. Also, intermittently when exiting IE8 and coming back in, it started saying that the previous browsing session was not closed properly.

I have actually seen these symptoms on several Windows 7 machines, and have come to accept it as a Windows 7 quirk. Also, when I mapped a network drive to copy my data back, the drive letter was not showing up in the command prompt, even though it clearly showed up in Windows Explorer. As a matter of fact, it didn’t show up in the command prompt until I turned off the annoying UAC. Then all of a sudden it showed up.

Windows 7 is not perfect, and has its odd quirks. But it is much better than Vista, and actually some of my XP systems seemed to run faster with Windows 7 on it (One was much worse, so I put XP back on it!). It may have its foibles, but I like it. I just hope they can get the kinks ironed out so it is truly a worthy successor to the XP crown.


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