Windows 7 First Boot

OK, this resembles dynamiting fish, but I can’t help myself. A cute little Lenovo Q150 with a D525 dual-core Atom and nVidia ION graphics just arrived, which, perforce, has Windows 7 preinstalled. The first step is to get Windows activated, updated, and settled down… the second step being, of course, to shrink that partition to a nub and install Linux for actual use.

After a bit of huffing & puffing, reading (*) & clicking of many EULAs, and the first round of updates:

Windows 7 - You must restart your computer

Windows 7 - You must restart your computer

Every time I see that, I think of the old dialog box joke:

Mouse motion detected. Windows NT must reboot to apply this change. [OK]

Then it had to update .NET, which produced this unbelievable body count of changes:

Windows 7 - Applying update operation

Windows 7 - Applying update operation

And then another few rounds of updates, the last of which evidently crashed & burned. The Get help with this error link was, mmm, unhelpful; it simply reported they hadn’t the foggiest idea what went wrong. Rebooting and retrying the automated updates presumably worked:

Windows 7 - Some updates were not installed

Windows 7 - Some updates were not installed

Doing all of that while puttering around with other stuff occupied the better part of a day, after which one owns a PC with an operating system installed. Yeah, you do get a UI that exposes IE 9, but if you want to do something with the PC, well, that requires installing applications.

I loves me my default Windows desktop background, from a long-ago crash inside a VM:

BSOD - fatal app exception

BSOD - fatal app exception

(*) Yes, I do read them, mostly for comic relief. The general practice of forcing you to scroll through a sheaf of typewriter-formatted pages in a 2×3 inch peephole centered in a huge monitor suggests that they really don’t want you to know what’s going on. Anyone who suggests buying commercial software because it has a reputable company standing behind it has obviously never gone to the trouble of reading the relevant EULA.

  1. #1 by Brian on 2011-07-20 - 09:25

    ;-> lol. sigh. Thanks. I knew I wasn’t ready to discard my 7 & 9 year old XP machines. I hate wasting the days of what you’ve begun and yet to install the needed applications.

    You are a smart guy. Give up the OS hope and Just – wipe clean. Rewrite everything with 0s and 1s. Format for Linux, install good stable and compact. Smile, use, be-happy.

    • #2 by Ed on 2011-07-20 - 11:17

      wasting the days of what you’ve begun and yet to install the needed applications.

      Ah, you misunderstand: that Win 7 install will never again see the light of day. I just set up so that in the event of hardware failure I can always run the “standard” operating system to demonstrate the problem. That’s happened once or twice over the years.

      I have one token Windows laptop for the very few programs that I can’t run under Wine: USB-connected hardware and stuff like that. It boots Windows once a month for my “monthly science” data logging, occasionally for battery testing, and once a year for TurboTax. That’s it for Windows around here!

      The Linux installation went smoothly and that’s what gets used on a daily basis.

  2. #3 by Raj on 2011-07-22 - 08:47

    Windows 7 on my Sony Viao sucks! I prefer XP that I have on my tabletop. I crashed Linux and went through a lot of hand holding help from Hughes Linux chaps and finally just gave up! My win7 works well except it does not remember the last size of a window or its position and that sucks big time for me. They removed that functionality to speed up the OS from having to store and recall the data in the registry.

    Good luck Ed.. these installations are very trying times!

    • #4 by Ed on 2011-07-22 - 09:51

      Apart from the repeated booting, it went fairly well. Of course, I didn’t actually do anything with it and it’s now stuffed into a smaller partition, safe from the hostile world at the other end of the network cable…

  3. #5 by frenzie on 2011-08-01 - 06:57

    Heh, I had practically the exact same experience on the same kind of hardware (but actually a netbook) around the exact same time, but luckily without any errors. That’s assuming you actually wrote and experienced this about two weeks ago, of course.

    I figured I’d take a quick peek at Windows 7 since it came preinstalled. However, after filling out a couple details (username, timezone, etc.) it decided it needed an hour or so to install all kinds of stuff. It probably took about as long as if I had actually installed Windows 7 from scratch. Then once I finally got into the OS and onto the WLAN it apparently decided to pull in about 700MB worth of updates remarkably quickly and when I told it to shut down, rather than doing so, it spent the next 3-4 hours installing all the damn updates! I had all of about 5 minutes worth of actually using Windows out of about 4-5 hours of the damn computer being activated.

    (I realize I chose the default option for updates, but little did I know that meant signing over control of the computer to Windows. Oh! how pleasant updates are in Debian and Ubuntu, with a nice notifying icon that updates at your will and doesn’t try to restart your computer at random.)

    The next day I put Ubuntu 11.04 on it with the help of http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net and I haven’t looked back. In fact I quite like Unity on the small screen, whereas I fled back to something more regular and better ASAP when I spotted the interface on a more properly sized screen. It’s also amazing how much faster than Windows it is. In actual use it seems to be about the same, but things like boot time and shutting down take seconds in Ubuntu and I’d almost say minutes in Windows.

    • #6 by Ed on 2011-08-01 - 07:16

      doesn’t try to restart your computer at random

      I absolutely hate the little Windows dialog box that pops up after a must-reboot update, reminding you that “updates aren’t complete” and asking if you want to reboot now or later. OK, so I pick “later” and that’s good for an hour or two. I want an option for “I’ll reboot this thing when I’m ready, now get out of my face!”

      That little PC got paired with a 24 inch display and 11.04’s Unity does look a bit weird at that scale. The Unity UI got badly rushed to market and has plenty of rough edges sticking out, but it’s Good Enough for what I need.

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