Since my last post, Windows 7 RC1 has been released. I am now assembling a production system to use for the installation of RC1. I have changed my mind on how I wanted to test this new OS from Microsoft. My original idea was to use a typical system with components that were widely available.
I then thought back on all of the new technology that has come out since Windows XP was released. I think everyone will agree that Windows Vista was somewhat of a stepping stone. Just like Windows Millennium was to Windows 98SE.
We now have hard drives over 1 terabyte, Quad-core processors and 64-bit computers. And quite a bit of these are now out in production systems, like yours. 64-bit enabled motherboards have been out for years now. If your computer’s motherboard was manufactured within the last few years, your computer is probably 64-bit compatible.
With that said, I started to look at some of the features of Windows 7 and what hardware I would need to run them. As I stated before, 64-bit enabled computers are pretty much main stream now, and with the memory limit of 128 gigabytes, opposed to 4 gigabyte memory limit on 32-bit, I think this is the way to go.
You cannot do an in-place upgrade of a 32-bit operating system to a 64-bit operating system. To do this, you have to backup your files and settings and then restore them to the new installation.
Microsoft has had two different versions (32-bit & 64-bit) of their Windows operating systems (XP & Vista) that support x86-64 architecture since 2005. So I will use the 64-bit for this installation. I also want to use the Windows XP mode for Windows 7. This requires a processor that has Virtualization Technology (VT). The Intel E6600 processor in my system has VT. So the VT processors are out there, you just have to check with the manufacturer to see if it is compatible.
So with all of that information, I am going to put together a production system in the next few days from standard parts from my favorite vendors. I already have a parts list and it’s time to see how cheaply I can put this together (I have a big surprise for what I use as a monitor).
I finally got around to installing the Beta release of Windows 7. Did the first install into a VM (virtual machine), just to get the feel for the new OS. I installed a copy of Sun xVM VirtualBox, version 2.2.2, which has predefined settings for a Windows 7 environment. I then loaded the Windows 7 image file as a DVD drive and got the install going. The install went smooth and the interface looked quite a bit like Windows Vista.
I will work with the VM installation while I assemble a non-production test system. I'll keep you updated on my adventures.