Windows 7 Family 3 pack upgrades and general observations

Following up on my previous post about my upgrade experience, I thought I’d share my Family 3 Pack upgrades.  The first was on a DV7 family HP laptop.  Since we have two laptops from that same family, and I had already performed one upgrade, I knew what to expect and about how long it would.  The upgrade itself took around three hours and I spent another hour or so updating drivers and installing a couple of applications that I wanted to wait to install until I got Windows 7 on this particular machine.

The computer, which is my son’s laptop, is a near twin to my personal laptop, yet it did not have all of the same drivers that my machine has, which means there are some subtle hardware differences.  Not an issue, and, no doubt, due to his computer being a few months older than mine.  At any rate, I ran into no issues on the machine.  Windows 7 upgraded without a hitch.

The Family 3 Pack comes with two DVD’s:  a DVD with the 32 bit version of Windows 7 and the second DVD has the 64 bit version.  Also in the package are the little ‘here’s what’s new with Windows 7’ booklet, the DVD case insert with the activation key and a slip of paper that talks about what to do if you are upgrading from XP.  The package is quite like the Home Premium package, only it is orange.  In fact, except for the color scheme and the product name on the disk, the contents are the same.  You only really know it is the three pack because the DVD is labeled as the Family 3 Pack.

Both laptops only required an in place upgrade.  For the next computer, I had to do a custom install.  This machine was running the Windows 7 RC1 version.  I didn’t even try an in place upgrade since the RC1 was Window 7 Ultimate and you aren’t supposed to be able to upgrade from Ultimate to Home Premium.  Besides, it was the RC1, which was itself an upgrade from an earlier beta.  I didn’t want to mix in the released code with that beta and RC1 stuff.  Starting over is sometimes a better way to go.

So, even though this was a custom install, it still took nearly three hours for it to install.  I suspect it was because I have four relatively large USB external drives. I noticed that for an hour and a half to two hours, there was a tremendous amount of activity on all four, in sequence too.  More than likely, had I unplugged them, it would not have taken as long.

The upgrade went pretty smooth, all of the devices were detected and drivers installed.  Connecting to my HP Office Jet over WIFI was easy and the driver installed.  I have not, however, tried to fax or scan and I’m not too worried about that as it worked great under the RC1.  One interesting thing I’ve seen is the number of Windows updates that have been pulled down.  The two laptops had three Windows 7 updates and a few several Internet Explorer 8 updates.  The desktop, however had FOUR Windows 7 updates and two Internet Explorer 8 updates plus updates for a couple of drivers that I had already updated, specifically the ATI 3200 chipset and the Atheros Ethernet driver.

Re-installing the applications I use regularly is going to be the real pain.  Not a problem, just a pain.  The one thing I have yet to figure out is why can’t Microsoft migrate the installed applications.  The go through the trouble of moving the Program Files directories and the User directories, so why couldn’t they migrate the apps too?  I suppose it has to do the now unwieldy Registry, but it sure would go a long way to easing the upgrade.  Of course, the flip side is that you’ll only install the stuff you really want and use and leave the junk you’ve installed off of the machine.  There’s some junk that I had that will not be going back on the machine.

So far, the Family 3 Pack experience, installation wise, has been no different and I would not expect any differences.  Activation was just as easy as before and only took a couple of seconds. 

My experience with both the single upgrade and the Family 3 Pack has been pretty good.  No problems, no incompatibilities and no driver issues.  Quite a difference from my Vista experiences-which were not that bad any way-and way, way better than XP.  Microsoft deserves lots of credit for the improvements to both the installation and upgrade experience as well as the user experience in Windows 7 itself.

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