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Upgrades Operating Systems Software Windows

Microsoft Begs Win 7 Testers To Clean Install 420

Posted by timothy
from the time-for-a-memory-wipe dept.
Barence writes "Microsoft is imploring millions of Windows 7 beta testers to perform a clean install of the forthcoming Release Candidate, rather than upgrade from the beta. 'The reality is that upgrading from one pre-release build to another is not a scenario we want to focus on because it is not something real-world customers will experience,' the company claims on the Engineering Windows 7 blog. Those who attempt to install the Release Candidate over the beta will find their path blocked." I've read complaints that reviews of new Linux distros often focus too much on the installation process; Microsoft seems to understand that complications at installation time (dual booting? preserving an existing data partition?) can sour one's experience pretty thoroughly.
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Microsoft Begs Win 7 Testers To Clean Install

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  • by Taimat (944976) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:53PM (#27521431)
    ....linux
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekoid (135745)

      Except now Windows is as secure, easier to install, has more products, and behaves 'smother' then Linux.
      Now I promote Linux for cost reason, or becasue of MS's behavior, not for technical merits on the desktop.

      I ahve installed and used every major Linux Distribution, so I am speaking from experience.

      This is the first version of Windows I have said that with.

      So before modding me a troll, or flamebait, or calling me an MS fanboi or shill, please post some technical arguments as to why Linux is better.

      • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @04:13PM (#27523671) Homepage Journal

        Except now Windows is as secure, easier to install, has more products, and behaves 'smother' then Linux.

        Is as secure? Uhhhhh - you'll have to offer more than a "take my word" statement to that effect. Windows what, is as secure as what, exactly? You are hoping that Win7 is as secure as SEL?

        Ahem. You'll excuse me if I wait for a LOT of people to start saying so? Experience teaches us that every time Microsoft enhances their security, first, people defeat that security on their own machines, then the crackers defeat that security from the outside.

        As things stand right now, I'm simply not believing that a default installation of ANY Windows system is as secure as a default installation of ANY Linux. Or, Mac for that matter. Win2003 is the most secure MS operating system I have any experience with, and it doesn't even stack up to a default Ubuntu install, IMHO

        Let's turn your little "challenge" around. You tell us why you think Win7 is so very secure, alright?

        You should be aware that I actually like Win7 - it really is an improvement on everything I've seen before. But making claims that it is as secure as Linux seems pretty ridiculous.

        • by Ralish (775196) <ralish@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @05:04PM (#27524325)
          Well, it depends what you mean by secure?

          If by secure you mean has a proper security model in place, defence-in-depth (DEP/ASLR/etc...), automatic enablement of operating system updates, firewall, malware protection and reasonable defaults; then yes, I'd say Windows 7 is secure.

          If you mean secure against your 13 year old daughter with Admin rights downloading a random program, running it, ignoring the UAC prompts, and installing some malware deep into your system, then no, probably not secure. But, the most secure operating system in the world can't protect against abject stupidity.

          If you talk to a Windows user who knows what they are doing, much like a Linux user who knows what they're doing, you'll find they almost certainly have no security problems. I certainly haven't.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Dekker3D (989692)

            just to confirm his point: i use linux and windows evenly. slightly skewed towards windows. i don't run into any trouble on either one unless i do something stupid. i know the exact definition of "stupid" in this case too. with firefox instead of internet explorer and avast antivirus guarding my files, the only way for viruses to gain entry is either by mom's outlook express mail-checking (which she handles somewhat responsibly) or from dangerous programs i downloaded by torrent somehow. avast even warns me

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by el americano (799629)

              Conficker? Exploited a defect in a network service that was enabled by default, whereupon it disabled the anti-virus and blocked OS updates. If we're even discussing third-party virus scanners that have to be installed after you've installed and updated your OS, then it's *not* as secure.

              Thanks for confirming the point.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by dhavleak (912889)

                I dont' think anything's been confirmed.

                Are you suggesting that the lack of exploits (in the wild or otherwise) on Linux/Non-Windows-OS-of-your-choice indicates a lack of security holes?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by geekoid (135745)

          It's as secure as any standard Linux install, and can be made far more secure then people here think it can.
          What do you want, a list of the techniques you need to make it secure? There are plenty of those online, if you bothered to look.

          However, in essence you are correct. I wasn't thinking default install, I was thinking install and 5 minutes of setting up. I wasn't thinking default install becasue I consider the five minutes of setting the security as part of the default intal; which it is for me.

          You nede

      • by frith01 (1118539) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @04:39PM (#27524009)

        Windows is as secure
                          http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10156617-56.html/ [cnet.com] Windows UAC flaw
                          http://www.istartedsomething.com/20090204/second-windows-7-uac-flaw-malware-self-elevate/ [istartedsomething.com] Windows UAC flaw
                          http://www.linux.com/feature/131059/ [linux.com] Only Ubuntu survived Pwn to Own contest.

        has more products
                          http://stommel.tamu.edu/~baum/linuxlist/linuxlist/linuxlist.html/ [tamu.edu] Linux software encyclopedia
                                        There are literally millions of unix scripts, programs, and utilities for Linux.
                                        I will concede that there are several 3rd party tools that are windows-only, and limit the adaptability
                                        of some business's switching, but you'll never win the "more products" argument in windows favor.

        Easier to install
                          This will vary with the flavor of linux. Some are definitely more challenging to get functional. If
                          you compare the installation / setup time for 50 computers, with ease of installation being a priority in your
                          choice of distributions, then you can have them up & running quicker, and more consistently with Linux than
                          with windows.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Stormx2 (1003260)

        I'd say just from a user experience point of view, it's easier to get things done on.

        An example I always cite is the windows Control Panel. It's just a mess, because everything is a relic of older versions. Things like Font Smoothing could easily be moved under "Appearance" like ubuntu does.

        It just seems infinitely better organised. Programs are organised by function, not company name. A lot of useful applications are pre-installed. CD Burners, editors, graphics software, office apps, etc.

        Secondly applicati

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by vux984 (928602)

          An example I always cite is the windows Control Panel. It's just a mess, because everything is a relic of older versions. Things like Font Smoothing could easily be moved under "Appearance" like ubuntu does.

          Sorry. Linux does this even worse than Windows does.
          This is an area OSX does mostly right, and even OSX could use some improvement.
          But between Windows and Linux there's no way I could agree that Linux is more organized.

          Network settings (hostname, ip configuration, dns, windows workgroup name (samba)... e

      • Except now Windows is as secure, easier to install, has more products, and behaves 'smother' then Linux.

        Strange, I think the opposite, having shifted to Ubuntu a month ago for those very reasons. Reason one: Confiker & Co. Reason 2: click install, select all the software you want, after 10 minutes it's done with extra software, on Windows you spend 3 days hunting down software on google, downloading, installing, setting options and configurations, etc... 'Smother' I don't know, but smoother, certainly not. Go FUD somewhere else, troll.

        And one final thing: I never want to install an OS again. I just want to see an upgrade option in Adept or whatever, click it and be done with it. As often as necessary so that the process is as smooth as possible. So MS is saying I shouldn't do an upgrade but instead waste 3 fucking days just to reinstall everything ?!? Excuse me, but fuck you.

        • by pfleming (683342) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @05:49PM (#27524975) Homepage Journal

          And one final thing: I never want to install an OS again. I just want to see an upgrade option in Adept or whatever, click it and be done with it. As often as necessary so that the process is as smooth as possible. So MS is saying I shouldn't do an upgrade but instead waste 3 fucking days just to reinstall everything ?!? Excuse me, but fuck you.

          This really isn't about upgrading or installing. It's about installing the next version of test software. Love or hate Windows - this is about testing versions of commercial software. MS doesn't have the same upgrade path as a *nix system because they "sell" their software differently.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Draek (916851)

        So before modding me a troll, or flamebait, or calling me an MS fanboi or shill, please post some technical arguments as to why Linux is better.

        According to my own experience Linux is far more secure, easier to install, has more quality products available at no charge, and behaves smoother than Windows. I have installed and used every major Windows version since 3.1 (except for Vista but including 7 beta), so I am speaking from experience. Happy now? ;)

        To be completely fair cost is also a factor, replicating the software I have on my laptop with only closed-source software would set me back a couple grand at least (Matlab for Octave/Maxima, Illustr

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rantingkitten (938138)
        Except now Windows is as secure

        Considering Microsoft's two-decade track record of producing horribly insecure garbage, you're going to have to back that up. I'm not saying Windows 7 isn't secure -- I'm suggesting you have no real data with which to back such an audacious statement. Vista was supposed to be the ultimate in Microsoft desktop OS security too, and it isn't.

        easier to install

        I don't know about "easier". It is insanely easy (so was Vista), and fast. I'll grant that. But I ran into t
  • Be happy to (Score:5, Funny)

    by thewils (463314) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @01:58PM (#27521511) Journal

    Just as soon as they release it on Pirate Bay.

  • by Un pobre guey (593801) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:02PM (#27521601) Homepage
    After a recent update to an XP box (an MS automatic update) DAZ Studio [daz3d.com], a piece of software I enjoy, stopped working. It is really the only reason I still have a windows box. The XP clean reinstall process went through without a hitch, but it took me a day and a half. I shit you not. Endless downloading of files and updates, far too many reboots. I hope this is remedied in Windows 7, because when it comes out I will probably get a new beefier windows box for DAZ Studio.
    • Couldn't just uninstall the update?
      Couldn't check with DAZ on wtf was going on?

      I clicked that link and saw the creepiest dolls I've ever seen.

      • Didn't know what update, and anyway I wanted to be fully updated since XP support is ending soon.

        Just out of curiosity, what dolls did you find creepy? The Girl 4 has a curious combination of cuteness and creepiness. It is proving relatively popular.

        • by T-Bone-T (1048702)

          You know it was recent so just uninstall the recent updates and reinstall them one by one until things break.

    • That's the reason that the only windows I run is via vmware workstation. Issue? Revert to snapshot. I don't bother with / trust the windows uninstaller, especially with some of the garbage I end up using in the windows world (exam study software is horrible)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Volante3192 (953645)

      Well, same happens with my ubuntu install if I forget to burn a new copy of the distro. Updates take a loooong time.

      Slipstream SP3 into that install disc you've got. That should cut down the update time.

    • There is a Mac version of Daz [cnet.com], no need to use Windows if you do not want to.

      It's much nicer working on a real UNIX system.

  • by earlymon (1116185) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:03PM (#27521631) Homepage Journal

    We test a lot - we produce software. And all testing platforms are defined as soft, meaning that the platform is to be completely scrubbed before new systems tests or that they are literally soft, as in virtual machines.

    Whether testing an OS or a complex app suite, this is the way to go. When the item under test is the operating system, only upgrade when it is the upgrade process itself that is being tested.

    We got this from the hardware community - always KNOW your testbed.

    So-called beta testers that have had no real exposure to the known disciplines of testing are - in my opinion - not testers at all.

    That Microsoft is trying to specify test parameters is very good thing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Obfuscant (592200)
      Mod parent up. He's spot on point. This is beta-testing, not production.
    • by Spuds2600 (141122) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:23PM (#27521947) Homepage

      It's also kind of a good thing that Microsoft has decided to send this 'beta' release to such a wide audience. Those that use Windows SHOULD all be beta testers of the software with the understanding that each successive release should start clean.

      I'm sure a lot of the "beta" testers are simply people that are very very hot to try out the new (and supposedly improved) release of Microsoft's new OS.... they often are just savvy enough to format and reinstall windows and nothing else, and don't really know how to 'test' software.

      The 'soft machine' concept is really something that users should be introduced to when installing the beta Windows software. A window should pop explaining the concept, and advising that trying to upgrade a beta to a new beta or release candidate could cause massive problems, and the only way to truly experience the improvement of the build is to start from scratch.

      Microsoft should continue this trend they started. I believe that with the wide variety of hardware and software out there, it has the capacity to allow Microsoft to build a vastly better product, and understand what it takes to build an OS for the less savvy computer individual.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by vertinox (846076)

      That Microsoft is trying to specify test parameters is very good thing.

      Wouldn't they be interesting in finding out what might happen to paying customers when they buy the product and try to upgrade?

      • by colonelxc (1467119) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:48PM (#27522369)

        That Microsoft is trying to specify test parameters is very good thing.

        Wouldn't they be interesting in finding out what might happen to paying customers when they buy the product and try to upgrade?

        They are interested in upgrades from Vista to 7. What they aren't interested is in upgrades from Win7beta to Win7RC (or 7full).

      • by ChatHuant (801522) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @03:15PM (#27522741)

        Wouldn't they be interesting in finding out what might happen to paying customers when they buy the product and try to upgrade?

        You misunderstood the article. MS is asking existing beta testers who already have installed a previous Win 7 build, not to upgrade from the old build to the new version. This is not the scenario paying customers will face: they'll upgrade from Vista or maybe XP, not from a beta Win7 build.

  • by OglinTatas (710589)

    Back when I still bought microsoft software, if you wanted to upgrade you'd buy the upgrade version, format your HD and install the full version you borrowed from a friend. It was the only way to get a working product. Win 3.1 to win 95(b or c because a was the suck), 95 to 98(SE because 98 plain also sucked), and from 98 to XP(pro because, well, you know).

    OK, it wasn't the only way to get a working product:
    1) you could buy the full version every time, but you already had the prerequisite license, so why

    • by Sancho (17056) * on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:18PM (#27521867) Homepage

      I seem to recall upgrade versions of Windows being just fine to install fresh--though it would ask you to insert the previous version's disc to ensure that you possessed a copy.

    • by viking099 (70446) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:20PM (#27521905)

      Or you could install the upgrade on a clean disk by inserting your old media at the appropriate time.

      I've been installing Windows ever since 95 and not once have I been forced to install an older version before "upgrading" to the newer one. I just wipe the drive, show the installer I have an older version of Windows, and get the exact same thing as a full OEM verson.

    • by Endo13 (1000782)

      Back then you could do a clean "upgrade" install using the upgrade disk. All you had to do was put in the disk for your old version when it was requested. In fact Vista was the first version where an upgrade had to literally be an upgrade.

  • Not evil, business (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:06PM (#27521677)

    Since they announced this tidbit, people have been complaining about it... But it's just simple business. They -know- a clean install is the best way to go and it's still a pre-release product. I don't think it's unreasonable for them to require a free, pre-release product to be installed from scratch.

    On the other hand, I'm sure glad I didn't try it on my PC, as I really don't need the hassle of a wipe and reinstall.

    I have to think that future pre-release versions will have the same caveat, and the release version may as well. In that case, I'm content to just wait.

    • I don't understand, who's complaining all that loudly about this? This is a perfectly reasonable request from Redmond. What type of person gets upset that they're being asked to perform a clean install of pre-release software if they've been using the beta of a closed, commercial operating system???

  • Understandable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:07PM (#27521689) Homepage

    I can understand this. The RC is coded to handle upgrading from a Windows XP or Vista installation, it's not coded to handle upgrading from itself. A Win 7 beta installation's not going to match, it's going to have things already upgraded and other things upgraded to different versions from what the RC has. It's one of those situations that nobody who gets Windows 7 once it's released will ever have to deal with, and it doesn't make sense most of the time to have code in the release to handle a situation that can't happen. Except that it can happen if you happen to be part of the beta program, so you're warned loud and clear that the software isn't designed to do that so don't try it.

    Now, if I were getting the RC, I would be testing upgrades from WinXP and Vista installs in varying states of disrepair. A clean install is easy. Upgrading from a fresh, untouched XP or Vista install should be easy. Upgrading from a Vista install that's an upgrade of an XP install, after having a couple of dozen games (with all their DRM), audio and video codecs (with their DRM), media players (with their DRM), browser toolbars, Firefox, Opera, Thunderbird, a double handful of applications that've gone through multiple upgrades, all after multiple malware-removal tools have been run multiple times to try and clean things up, all the while trying to preserve the D: (second partition on the main drive) E: and F: (the two partitions on the second (old) drive that got repurposed for holding your archives) drives... that may be a bit more interesting.

    • Re:Understandable (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tawnos (1030370) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:43PM (#27522293)

      Upgrading from XP is not supported. Only Vista SP1 is supported for upgrade.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Todd Knarr (15451)

        TBH I gave up on upgrade installs of Windows long ago. If I need to upgrade I back up my data, make sure I've got install media and keys for all my software, then wipe C: and do a clean install of the new version. Fewer headaches and inexplicable glitches that way. Ideally I'm also doing a forklift upgrade of the hardware so I can keep the old machine running and available until the new system's up and working.

        Helps that I also follow the first commandment of Unix: thou shalt not place / and /home on the sa

  • If the submitter had bothered to RTFA, they'd realize that Microsoft actually recommends that the user nuke the Beta install from orbit. It's the only way to be sure...

  • I've read complaints that reviews of new Linux distros often focus too much on the installation process

    The complaints are generic that, imho, revolve around "Why are you focusing in <thing I can do easily> instead of <my strange special case scenario feature>?"

    Sadly, while I can not hardly fathom difficulties in installing Ubuntu Linux, or many other distros, The incentive and ease for a non-techie person to TAKE THE INITIATIVE to install their own operating system MUST be very high. This means FLAWLESS in every respect with EVERYTHING. The fact that OEM's often must tweak Windows to get it to

  • I don't think I'll install the RC or the retail product. My Windows 7 partition appears corrupted, and it won't boot. In XP I could do a repair install. With Vista and 7, the option for a repair install was removed. Is there any good reason for this?

    I won't run an OS that I can't repair if I need to.

    • by master811 (874700)

      No the option is still there and always has been, you simply run through the process of putting disc in drive and booting from it and you will see an option of repairing. I've had done it loads of times for instance when installing XP as a dual boot and accidentally overwriting the Vista boot software.

    • by dword (735428)

      Is there any good reason for this?

      Yup! It's the same reason you chose to install a BETA operating system next to another operating system.

      I won't run an OS that I can't repair if I need to.

      OTOH, you make an excellent point... just give 7 another chance.

      • Vista, a non-beta OS also has the feature removed, and the final retail version of 7 won't have the feature either.

        I won't run an OS that I can't repair.

    • I don't think I'll install the RC or the retail product. My Windows 7 partition appears corrupted, and it won't boot.

      Did you file a bug? What the heck did you expect from a beta product. For all we know, this corrupt filesystem bug you encountered is the reason for Microsoft's clean-install statement. Perhaps every previous Windows 7 install has a corrupted partition. You could of been famous.
      • No. I am aware of the reporting features within the OS (which I can't boot to) but I was not aware of a Microsoft bugzilla.

    • I don't think I'll install the RC or the retail product. My Windows 7 partition appears corrupted, and it won't boot. In XP I could do a repair install. With Vista and 7, the option for a repair install was removed. Is there any good reason for this?

      I won't run an OS that I can't repair if I need to.

      The repair install option is still there and the process is the same as in XP. You should have checked before assuming it was gone.

      • This simply is not correct. I thought maybe it was hidden, or in a different place. Microsoft's support confirmed the option was removed, and a Microsoft Evangelist yesterday confirmed that it will not return.

        I'd like you to please point me to information that shows where this repair option exists, given that it doesn't.

  • Confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hmar (1203398) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:35PM (#27522149)
    Why does it seem that so many people are keeping important data and programs on a beta?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kenp2002 (545495)

      "Why does it seem that so many people are keeping important data and programs on a beta?"....

      Because it's free? You can keep your data on one parition and your OS stuff on another (what I see most often) so you can run beta crap all the time to get to your normal data (pictures, music, etc.) Common with dual booters. I dread when a crappy OS butchers the other partition...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It seems that my computer keeps catching the Linux virus. Can anyone tell me how I can prevent getting it

  • by danheretic (689990) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @02:49PM (#27522415) Homepage

    Seriously, I don't understand the fascination with in-place upgrades. Why not clean install?

    I use Windows (have to for work) and support it, and it's so much better to do a clean install. In fact, I recommend wiping Windows* every year or two and starting with a fresh clean install anyway.

    *Anticipating the obligatory "fixed it for you" response: "In fact, I recommend wiping Windows and starting with a fresh clean install of Linux." If only everyone thought the same way...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PitaBred (632671)
      Because for people who just use their computers rather than living to use them, a clean install means a week of fiddling with installing things. Doubly so with Windows. People don't want to copy all their data over, or try to find all the game install discs. Reconfigure all the identity information in office, all of your templates, move over your saved games, put them in the right places, web browser bookmarks...

      You obviously don't use your computer for much, or have much better habits and a lot more know
    • by kenp2002 (545495) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @03:47PM (#27523279) Homepage Journal

      The reason in-place upgrades are important to most non-technical people is:

      they don't have the storage to offload say 120 GB of data
      do not know which data they need to save
      they don't have original software discs for many of their apps (think a dell pc pre-installed with crap).

      They can't for various practical reasons wipe their PC and do a fresh install. We (you and I) are not in a position to quantify a good majority of people's priorities with their computers. Slashdot is a minority in the big picture of the PC consumer marketplace and we make a very poor scientific sample of priorities. We often are akin to car people telling the average person: "What do you mean you don't replace your own brakes, shocks, and struts? You should know how to do that or you are too stupid to own a car..."

      We need to be careful a recognize that most of us here on /. are not the average users out there.

  • by juancnuno (946732) <juancnuno@gmail.com> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @03:18PM (#27522797)
    It's good advice for any OS install. I run Ubuntu, and I wipe my drive clean with every new release. Even my home directory dot files. I keep my data backed up, of course, and restore from that. This way, I also verify that my backups work.
  • by ethana2 (1389887) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @03:20PM (#27522835)
    'We still don't have a decent package manager.'
  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @04:03PM (#27523531)
    It's a beta. There are no promises. This is true for ANY software, not just Microsoft. Just because someone takes the time to allow folks to upgrade software from beta doesn't mean it should be expected. I'm far from an MS fan, but this seems redundant. Why should MS waste cycles on troubleshooting beta upgrade bugs when Joe User will never experience them? It's a waste of time, money, and resources.
  • Why beg? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hahn (101816) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @04:34PM (#27523955) Homepage

    This is weird. If MS wants users to clean install so badly, why not just have the RC refuse to install unless it's clean? This is harder to do than beg users to not do it because they're worried about the damage it might cause?

  • The Mac approach (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @04:48PM (#27524125) Homepage Journal

    I don't know how it is like on Windows Vista or Windows 7, but on MacOS X there is a 'backup and install' option. Basically this renames the existing system folder and then install the new one.

    From my experience with Windows XP, is that any time you wanted to reinstall the OS you would have to reinstall tons of other software, simply because the registry gets recreated from scratch. These programs can't deal with recreating the missing data, so you are force to reinstall the application. This is a major pain in the butt. Of course, things with Microsoft's latest systems may have improved. Can anyone tell me whether it has?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shados (741919)

      There is a backup and install option as of Vista.

      If you upgrade, some software will still work, some has to be reinstalled, that depends how they work. If you backup and install, you have to reinstall all your software though.

  • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @05:47PM (#27524947)
    The last beta had a funny "install-time complication" I hope will be fixed before launch: It can only be installed on the first HDD; attempting to install it on any other drive will lead to a message about not being able to locate any "system partitions" (a "system partition" appears to be a primary partition with the boot flag set, of which all HDDs contained one). I only found out that the HDD has to be the first one through trial and error - and trial and error involving the physical hardware configuration is one hell of a disincentive to continue the installation.

    Of course I later changed the Windows HDD to be the second hard drive and Win 7 boots happily. So if anyone tries to install a beta or RC and is denied due to "system partition" problems: Mess around with the SATA plugs so that the intended target drive is the first one. After installation, return everything to the original state if you want to.
  • Comments (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:15AM (#27528481) Homepage Journal

    ``I've read complaints that reviews of new Linux distros often focus too much on the installation process;''

    It's not that they focus too much on the installation process, it is that they pay too little attention to the rest. Many of these reviews can be characterized as "the installation process such and such, this and this were my experiences with support for my hardware, and the GUI looks good".

    What I want to know is what the everyday user experience is like. How the installation goes is important, but you're performing the installation because you want the installed system. So how well are the various packages integrated with the system? Which applications are available? What is the quality of the packaging? Are dependencies automatically resolved? What about uninstalling software? How responsive is the security team? Do you get timely security updates and do they break things? When you get non-security updates, how likely are they to break your existing configuration? Can you upgrade the whole system to the next release, and how well does this work? All things considered, how much time do you need to spend on maintenance to keep the system secure and working smoothly?

    All these points are very important in determining choice of operating system. Alas, you only find them out after running the same system for an extended period of time and learning the ins and outs of it. Reviewers almost never take the time to do this, so the review pretty much stops after the installation is complete.

    ``Microsoft seems to understand that complications at installation time (dual booting? preserving an existing data partition?) can sour one's experience pretty thoroughly.''

    I completely understand Microsoft's point that "upgrading from beta to release candidate" is not a scenario they have decided to support, and issuing a warning to the world that this might well break things horribly.

    However, you seem to be suggesting that Microsoft understands the finer points of upgrading one OS to another and/or running multiple OSes alongside one another and are doing the right thing. I can't really agree with that. I've seen multi-boot the Microsoft way, and it's usually "do you want to boot this Microsoft OS or that Microsoft OS?". Other operating systems are completely ignored. And don't try mucking with the boot loader, or you may well get the "NTLDR is missing" error and be unable to boot Windows anymore. Maybe all this is intentional, but all I know for sure is that things are worlds better in the open source universe.

NOWPRINT. NOWPRINT. Clemclone, back to the shadows again. - The Firesign Theater

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