In This Chapter, You Will Learn To:
Understand Windows 7’S New Features
Understand Windows 7’S Architecture
Prepare To Install Windows 7
Install Windows 7
Understand Windows 7’s New Features
Windows 7 has resolved many of the problems that plagued Windows
Vista. Windows 7 has a much faster boot time and shutdown compared
to Windows Vista. It is also easier to install and configure.
The Windows 7 operating system functions are also faster than its
previous counterparts. Opening, moving, extracting, compressing, and
installing files and folders are more efficient than previous versions of
Microsoft’s client operating systems.
Let’s take a look at some of the improvements and features of
Windows 7. This is just an overview of some of its benefits.
Windows 7 Taskbar In the previous versions of Windows, you
had a Quick Launch bar on the left side and on the right side you
could see which programs were loaded and running. The Quick
Launch bar has been replaced by the Windows 7 Taskbar and Jump
List. The Taskbar is shown in Figure 1.1.
Figure 1.1: Windows 7 Taskbar
The Windows Taskbar: allows users to quickly access the programs
they use the most. One advantage to having the applications on the
Windows 7 Taskbar is that you have fewer icons on the Desktop,
thus allowing for a more manageable desktop environment.
Jump Lists: Jump Lists are a new feature to the Windows lineup.
They allow you to quickly access files that you have been working
on. For example, if you have the Microsoft Word icon in the
Taskbar, you can right-click it and it will show you all the recent
files that you have been working with.
Another advantage to using Jump Lists is that you can preset certain
applications, like Windows Media Player. For Internet Explorer, you
could view all the recent websites that you have visited.
New Preview Pane: Windows XP and Windows Vista have a
Preview pane, but Windows 7 has improved on the Preview pane
by allowing you to view text files, music files, pictures files, HTML
files, and videos. Another new advantage is if you have installed
Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat Reader, you also have the
ability to view Office and PDF files.
Windows Touch: Windows Touch is one of the coolest features
included with Windows 7. It allows you to control the operating
system and its applications by using a touchscreen.
For example, you can open a picture and then move it around,
make it larger or smaller, or place it anywhere on the Desktop—all
with the touch of your fingertips on the screen.
Touchscreens are included on laptops, tabletops, GPS devices,
phones, and now on the Windows 7 operating system.
Windows XP Mode: Microsoft realizes that many organizations
are running Windows XP. Also, many of these same organizations
run older applications on these Windows XP systems. This is where
Windows XP Mode comes into play. Windows XP Mode gives an
organization that chooses to upgrade to Windows 7 the ability to
run older Windows XP applications on their new system.
To run Windows XP Mode, Windows 7 uses virtualized technology
to run a virtual XP operating system to allow the organization to
use the older applications.
HomeGroup: Networking Windows 7 networking has been made
easier with the improvement of HomeGroups. HomeGroups are
an easy way to set up a network using Windows 7. Windows 7
searches for your home network, and if one is found, it connects
after you enter the HomeGroup password.
If a home network is not found, a networking wizard automatically
creates a password for the HomeGroup. This password lets you
connect all your other computers to the same network. The password
can be changed any time after you install Windows 7.
Device Stage: Device Stage is new to the Windows operating
systems family. Device Stage enables you to connect a compatible
device to your PC and a picture of the device appears. Device Stage
allows you to easily share files between devices and computers.
Before Windows 7 Device Stage, when you connected a device to
the PC, you might have seen multiple devices appear. For example,
when you added a multifunction printer (printer, scanner, and
copier), the device might have been added as three separate devices.
Device Stage helps resolve this issue.
Another feature of Device Stage is that the device vendors can customize
the icons for Device Stage, so that the same multifunction
printer can have the ability to order ink from Device Stage.
View Available Networks (VAN): If you have used a laptop, you
have used this feature. When you use a wireless network adapter
and you right-click the icon in the system tray, you can choose the
wireless network that you want to connect to. You connect to a
wireless network through the wireless network adapter. Now that
same functionality is built into the Windows 7 operating system.
Windows Internet Explorer 8: Windows 7 includes the newest version
of Internet Explorer (IE8). IE8, as shown in Figure 1.2, allows
a user to work faster and more efficiently on the Internet due to new
search features, address bars, and favorites.
Figure 1.2: Internet Explorer 8 lets you work
faster and more efficiently.
Some of the new features of IE8 include:
Instant Search: This feature lets you quickly access search
requests without typing the entire search criteria. As you
start typing in the search request, you’ll see suggestions for
The advantage to Instant Search is that it will also use your
browsing history to narrow down the suggestions. After you
see what you’re looking for, you can make your selection
without having to finish the query.
Accelerators: This new feature allows you to accelerate
actions on Internet services and applications. For example,
if you are looking for a street address and you click the blue
Accelerator icon, a map will appear right there on the screen.
Microsoft Accelerators can be used for email, searching, and
so forth. Also, other websites like eBay and Facebook offer
Accelerators for their services.
Web Slices: Web Slices are instances on a website that you
want to access without accessing the site. For example, say
you want to get stock quotes, sports scores, or auction items
without visiting the sites; this is the advantage of using Web
Slices. As the information that you are watching changes, the
updates will show immediately.
Understand Windows 7 Architecture
Windows 7 is built on the Windows Vista core, but Windows 7 has
limited the files that load at startup to help with the core performance
of the operating system. They have also removed many of the fluff items
that Windows Vista used, thus allowing for better performance.
When Microsoft first released Windows 7 as a beta, there was a
64-bit version but no 32-bit version. This did not go over well with the
Internet bloggers. I even saw a petition online to have a 32-bit version
The funny thing is that I also saw a petition asking Microsoft not
to release a 32-bit version. The logic behind this was it would force
users and manufacturers to upgrade everything to 64-bit. In response,
Microsoft has released Windows 7 as both a 32-bit and a 64-bit version.
Microsoft could not just release a 64-bit version of Windows 7. This
would alienate many users with 32-bit computer systems, and it would
cost Microsoft a large share of the client-side software market. Users
already have to deal with the PC versus Mac commercials! So Windows 7
users have a choice of either 32-bit or 64-bit.
32-bit vs. 64-bit
When you hear the terms 32-bit and 64-bit, this is referring to
the CPU, or processor. The number represents how the data is
processed. It is processed either as 2^32 or as 2^64. The larger
the number, the larger the amount of data that can be processed
at any one time.
Think of a large highway that has 32 lanes. Vehicles can travel
on those 32 lanes only. When traffic gets backed up, they can
only use these lanes, and this can cause traffic delays. But now
think of a 64-lane highway and how many more vehicles can
travel on that highway. This is an easy way of thinking of how
32-bit and 64-bit processors operate.
The problem here is that if you have a 32-lane highway, you
can’t just set up 64 vehicles on this highway and let them go.
You need to have the infrastructure to allow for 64 vehicles
by having 64 lanes. This is the same with computers. Your
computer has to be configured to allow you to run a 64-bit
So what does all of this mean to the common user or administrator?
Well, it’s all about RAM. A 32-bit operating system can
handle up to 4 GB of RAM and a 64-bit processor can handle up
to 16 exabytes of RAM. The problem here is that Windows and
most motherboards can’t handle this much RAM.
None of this is new—64-bit is just starting to become accepted
with Windows, but other operating systems, like Apple, have
been using 64-bit processors for many years.
So should you switch all of your users to 64 bit? The answer is
no. Most users do not need to have large amounts of RAM, and
the real problem here is that many manufacturers do not have
64 bit–compliant components.
For example, I am writing this book on a 64-bit computer, but if
I open Internet Explorer and go to any website that uses Adobe
Flash Player, it will not work. Currently, Adobe does not have a
64-bit Flash Player.
NOTE: Computer processors are typically rated by speed. The
speed of the processor, or CPU, is rated by the number of clock
cycles that can be performed in one second. This measurement
is typically expressed in gigahertz (GHz). One GHz is one billion
cycles per second. Keep in mind that processor architecture must
also be taken into account when considering processor speed. A
processor with a more efficient pipeline will be faster than a processor
with a less efficient pipeline at the same CPU speed.
Prepare to Install Windows 7
Installing Windows 7 is simple, thanks to the installation wizard.
The wizard walks you through the entire installation of the operating
The hardest part of installing Windows 7 is preparing and planning
for the installation. One saying that I teach to IT professionals is “An
hour of planning will save you days of work.” Planning a Windows 7
rollout is one of the most important tasks that you will perform when
you install Windows 7.
You must make many decisions before you insert the Windows 7 media
into your machine. The first decision is which edition of Windows 7 you
want to install.
The user’s job function or requirements may determine which edition
of Windows 7 you should use. Do they need their computer for home
use or just work? These are some of the factors that you’ll take into
account when deciding which edition of Windows 7 to install. Let’s take
a look at the various editions of Windows 7.
Windows 7 Editions
Microsoft offers six editions of the Windows 7 operating system. This
allows an administrator to custom-fit a user’s hardware and job function
to the appropriate edition:
- Windows 7 Starter
- Windows 7 Home Basic
- Windows 7 Home Premium
- Windows 7 Professional
- Windows 7 Enterprise
- Windows 7 Ultimate
Many times Microsoft releases multiple editions of the operating system
contained within the same Windows 7 media disk. You can choose to
unlock the one that you want based on the product key that you have.
Table 1.1 compares all the Windows 7 editions and lists what they
include. We compiled this information from Microsoft’s website and
TechNet. This table is only a partial representation of all the features
and applications that are included.
Table 1.1: Windows 7 Edition Comparison
|4 GB||4 GB||4 GB||4 GB||4 GB|
|8 GB||8 GB||16 GB||192 GB||192 GB|
|Internet Explorer 8||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Media Player 12||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
let’s take a look at the hardware requirements needed to install
Before you can insert the Windows 7 DVD and install the operating system,
you first must make sure that the machine’s hardware can handle
the Windows 7 operating system.
To install Windows 7 successfully, your system must meet or exceed
certain hardware requirements. Table 1.2 lists the requirements for a
Windows 7–compatible PC.
|CPU (processor)||1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor|
|Memory (RAM)||1 GB of system memory|
|Hard disk||16 GB of available disk space|
|Video adapter|| |
Support for DirectX 9 graphics with 128 MB
|Optional drive||DVD-R/W drive|
NOTE: The hardware requirements listed in Table 1.2 were
those specified as of this writing. Always check Microsoft’s
website at www.microsoft.com/windows7 for the most current
The Windows 7–compatible PC must meet or exceed the basic
requirements to deliver the core functionality of the Windows 7 operating
system. These requirements assume that you’re installing only the
operating system without any premium functionality. For example,
you may be able to get by with the minimum requirements if you’re
installing the operating system just to learn the basics of the software.
Remember, the better the hardware, the better the performance.
Besides the basic hardware requirements that are needed to install
Windows 7, the requirements for the graphic card depend on the resolution
at which you want to run. The required amount of memory is as
64 MB: is required for a single monitor at a resolution of 1,310,720
pixels or less, which is equivalent to a 1280×1024 resolution.
128 MB: is required for a single monitor at a resolution of
2,304,000 pixels or less, which is equivalent to a 1920×1200
256 MB: is required for a single monitor at a resolution larger than
In addition, the graphics memory bandwidth must be at least 1,600
MB per second, as assessed by the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.
Setting the hardware requirements for Windows 7 on your machine
can sometime be a difficult task. You may ask yourself, “Does the hardware
you currently have support Windows 7?” Microsoft understands
this concern and has a tool called the Hardware Compatibility List to
help you figure out whether your machines will work with Windows 7.
The Hardware Compatibility List
Along with meeting the minimum requirements, your hardware should
appear on the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). The HCL (also
referred to as the Windows Logo’d Products List) is an extensive list
of computers and peripheral hardware that have been tested with the
Windows 7 operating system.
The Windows 7 operating system requires control of the hardware
for stability, efficiency, and security. The hardware and supported drivers
on the HCL have been put through rigorous tests to ensure their
compatibility with Windows 7. Microsoft guarantees that the items
on the list meet the requirements for Windows 7 and do not have any
incompatibilities that could affect the stability of the operating system.
If you call Microsoft for support, the first thing a Microsoft support
engineer will ask about is your configuration. If you have any hardware
that is not on the HCL, you may not be able to get support from
To determine if your computer and peripherals are on the HCL,
check the most up-to-date list at http://winqual.microsoft.com/HCL/
The HCL will let you know if your hardware is compatible with
Windows 7. Besides the basic RAM, video, hard drive, and CPU
requirements, there are some other areas of the computer that you
should examine for compatibility.
Before you install Windows 7, verify that your computer has the
most current BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). This is especially
important if your current BIOS doesn’t include support for Advanced
Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) functionality. ACPI functionality
is required for Windows 7 to function properly. Check the computer’s
vendor for the latest BIOS version information.
To successfully install Windows 7, you must have the critical device
drivers for your computer, such as the hard drive device driver. The
Windows 7 media comes with an extensive list of drivers. If your computer’s
device drivers are not on the Windows 7 installation media,
check the device manufacturer’s website. If you can’t find the device
driver on the manufacturer’s website and no other compatible driver
exists, you are out of luck. Windows 7 won’t recognize devices that
don’t have Windows 7 drivers.
If your hardware does not have drivers for Windows 7, be sure to
check the hardware manufacturers’ websites often because new drivers
for Windows 7 are released frequently.
After you have made sure that the hardware for your machine is
compatible for Windows 7, the next decision to make is how you’re
going to install the operating system.
New Install or Upgrade?
When installing Windows 7, you have two choices: you can install a
fresh copy of Windows 7 or you can upgrade from Windows Vista.
An upgrade allows you to retain your existing operating system’s
applications, settings, and files. If you currently have a computer with
Windows Vista, you are eligible to use an upgrade copy of Windows 7.
However, the bad news is you must always perform a clean install
with Windows XP or earlier editions of Windows. You can, however,
use the Windows Easy Transfer utility to migrate files and settings from
Windows XP to Windows 7 on the same computer.
Another possibility is to upgrade your Windows XP machine to
Windows Vista and then upgrade the new Vista operating system to
You can perform an upgrade to Windows 7 if the following conditions
- You are running Windows Vista.
- You want to keep your existing applications and preferences.
- You want to preserve any local users and groups you’ve created.
You must perform a clean install of Windows 7 if any of the following
conditions are true:
- There is no operating system currently installed.
- You have an operating system installed that does not support
an in-place upgrade to Windows 7 (such as DOS, Windows 9x,
Windows NT, Windows Me, Windows 2000 Professional, or
- You want to start from scratch, without keeping any existing
- You want to be able to dual-boot between Windows 7 and your
previous operating system.
Table 1.3: shows the Vista operating systems that can be upgraded
and to which edition of Windows 7 each should be updated to.
Table 1.3: Windows Vista Upgrade Options
|Windows Vista Edition||Windows 7 Edition|
|Home Basic Edition||Home Basic Edition|
|Home Premium Edition||Home Premium Edition|
|Business Edition||Professional Edition|
|Ultimate Edition||Ultimate Edition|
Before you decide if you should upgrade or install a clean Windows 7
operating system, let’s take a look at some of the things you need to consider
Almost all Windows Vista applications should run with the Windows 7
operating system. However, there are a few possible exceptions to this
- Applications that use file system filters, such as antivirus software,
may not be compatible.
- Custom power-management tools may not be supported.
Before you upgrade to Windows 7, be sure to stop any antivirus scanners,
network services, or other client software. These software packages
may see the Windows 7 install as a virus and cause installation
If you’re performing a clean install to the same partition as an
existing edition of Windows, the contents of the existing Users (or
Documents and Settings), Program Files, and Windows directories will
be placed in a directory named Windows.old, and the old operating system
will no longer be available.
Hardware Compatibility Issues
Ensure that you have Windows 7 device drivers for your hardware.
If you have a video driver without a Windows 7–compatible driver,
the Windows 7 upgrade will install the Standard VGA driver, which
will display the video with an 800×600 resolution. After you get the
Windows 7 driver for your video, you can install it and adjust video
Application Compatibility Issues
Not all applications that were written for earlier editions of Windows
will work with Windows 7. After the upgrade, if you have application
problems, you can address the problems as follows:
- If the application is compatible with Windows 7, reinstall the
application after the upgrade is complete.
- If the application uses dynamic link libraries (DLLs) and there are
migration DLLs for the application, apply the migration DLLs.
- Use the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) to
determine the compatibility of your current applications with
Windows 7. ACT will determine which applications are installed,
- identify any applications that may be affected by Windows
updates, and identify any potential compatibility problems with
User Account Control (UAC) and Internet Explorer. Reports can
be exported for detailed analysis.
- If applications were written for earlier editions NN of Windows but
are incompatible with Windows 7, use the Windows 7 Program
Compatibility Wizard. From Control Panel click the Programs
icon and then click the Run Programs From Previous Versions link
to start the Program Compatibility Wizard.
- If the application is not compatible with Windows 7, upgrade your
application to a Windows 7–compliant version.
Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor
To assist you in the upgrade process, the Windows 7 Setup program can
check the compatibility of your system, devices, and installed applications
and then provide the results to you. You can then analyze these
results to determine whether your hardware or software applications
will port properly from the Windows Vista edition to Windows 7.
You can download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor from
Microsoft’s website at www.microsoft.com/downloads. The Windows 7
Upgrade Advisor is compatible with Windows 7, Windows Vista, and
Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or higher.
When you’re running the Upgrade Advisor on a machine running
Windows XP, if you do not have .NET Framework 2.0, you are asked
to download and install it. After the .NET Framework is installed, you
can restart the Upgrade Advisor installation.
After your computer is scanned, the Upgrade Advisor determines
whether any incompatibilities exist between your computer and
Windows 7. It also tells you which edition of Windows 7 seems to
be best for your computer. However, you are by no means limited
to upgrading to the recommended edition. The Upgrade Advisor
Compatibility reports are broken up into the following three categories:
System Requirements The System Requirements report alerts you
to any shortcomings your system might have when running certain
editions of Windows Vista. For example, our lab computer should
have no problems accessing all the features of Windows Vista
Business, but it won’t be able to access all the features of Windows
Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate because it doesn’t
have a TV tuner card.
Devices: The Devices report alerts you to any potential Windows
Vista driver issues. Each device in your system will be listed in this
section either as a device to be reviewed or as a device that should
automatically work after Windows 7 is installed. You will need a
driver for the network card after Windows 7 is installed.
Programs: The Programs report alerts you to any potential application
You can also save or print a task list that tells you the most compatible
Windows 7 edition, your current system configuration, and the steps
you need to take before and after you install Windows 7.
Perform the following steps to download and run the Windows 7
1. Go to www.microsoft.com/downloads and download the Windows 7
2. After the download is complete, run the .msi installation.
3. The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor Setup Wizard starts, as shown
in Figure 1.3. Click the Next button.
Figure 1.3: Upgrade Advisor Setup Wizard
4. Accept the licensing terms and click Next.
5. At the Select Installation Folder screen, accept the defaults
or choose a directory location where you want this program
installed, as shown in Figure 1.4. Click Install.
6. At the Installation Complete screen, click the Close button.
7. On the desktop, double-click the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor icon.
8. When the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor starts, click the Start
Check button to start the scan of the machine.
9. After the system scan is complete, the Upgrade Advisor gives you
the results. You can print or save these results. Close the Upgrade
An Upgrade Checklist
After you make the decision to upgrade, you should develop a plan
of attack. The following upgrade checklist (valid for upgrading from
Windows Vista) will help you plan and implement a successful upgrade
Verify that your computer meets the minimum NN hardware requirements
for Windows 7.
- Be sure that your hardware is on the HCL.
- Make sure you have the Windows 7 drivers for the hardware. You
can verify this with the hardware manufacturer.
- Run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor tool from the Microsoft
website, which also includes documentation on using the utility,to audit the current configuration and status of your computer. It
will generate a report of any known hardware or software compatibility
issues based on your configuration. You should resolve
any reported issues before you upgrade to Windows 7.
- Make sure that your BIOS is current. Windows 7 requires that
your computer has the most current BIOS. If it does not, the computer
may not be able to use advanced power-management features
or device-configuration features. In addition, your computer
may cease to function during or after the upgrade. Use caution
when performing BIOS updates, as installing the incorrect BIOS
can cause your computer to fail to boot.
- Take an inventory of your current configuration. This inventory
should include documentation of your current network configuration,
the applications that are installed, the hardware items and
their configuration, the services that are running, and any profile
and policy settings.
- Back up your data and configuration files. Before you make any
major changes to your computer’s configuration, you should back
up your data and configuration files and then verify that you can
successfully restore your backup. Chances are if you have a valid
backup, you won’t have any problems.
- Delete any unnecessary files or applications, and clean up any program
groups or program items you don’t use. Theoretically, you
want to delete all the junk on your computer before you upgrade.
Think of this as the spring-cleaning step.
- Verify that there are no existing problems with your drive prior to
the upgrade. Perform a disk scan, a current virus scan, and defragmentation.
These, too, are spring-cleaning chores. This step just
prepares your drive for the upgrade.
- Perform the upgrade.
- Verify your configuration. After Windows 7 has been installed,
use the inventory to compare and test each element that was previously
inventoried prior to the upgrade to verify that the upgrade
When you install Windows 7, you must decide how you want to partition
the disk drive that the Windows 7 operating system will reside on.
Prepare to Install Windows 7
Disk Space Partitioning
Disk partitioning is the act of taking the physical hard drive and creating
logical partitions. A logical drive is how space is allocated to the drive’s
primary and logical partitions. For example, if you have a 500 GB hard
drive, you might partition it into three logical drives: a C drive, which
might be 200 GB; a D drive, which might be 150 GB; and an E drive,
which might be 150 GB.
Some of the major considerations for disk partitioning are as follows:
- The amount of space required
- The location of the system and boot partition
- Any special disk configurations you will use
- The utility you will use to set up the partitions
Partition Size: One important consideration in your disk-partitioning
scheme is determining the partition size. You need to consider
the amount of space taken up by your operating system, the applications
that will be installed, and the amount of stored data. It is also
important to consider the amount of space required in the future.
Microsoft recommends that you allocate at least 16 GB of disk
space for Windows 7. This allows room for the operating system
files and for future growth in terms of upgrades and installation
files that are placed with the operating system files.
System and Boot Partitions: When you install Windows 7, files will
be stored in two locations: the system partition and the boot partition.
The system partition and the boot partition can be the same
The system partition contains the files needed to boot the Windows 7
operating system. The system partition contains the Master Boot
Record (MBR) and boot sector of the active drive partition. It is often
the first physical hard drive in the computer and normally contains
the necessary files to boot the computer. The files stored on the system
partition do not take any significant disk space. The active partition is
the system partition that is used to start your computer. The C drive is
usually the active partition.
The boot partition contains the Windows 7 operating system files.
By default, the Windows operating system files are located in a
folder named Windows.
Special Disk Configurations: Windows 7 supports several disk configurations.
Options include simple, spanned, and striped volumes.
Disk Partition Configuration Utilities: If you are partitioning your
disk prior to installation, you can use several utilities, such as the
DOS or Windows Fdisk program or a third-party utility such as
Norton’s Partition Magic. You can also configure the disks during
the installation of the Windows 7 operating system.
You might want to create only the first partition where Windows 7
will be installed. You can then use the Disk Management utility in
Windows 7 to create any other partitions you need.
Another configuration option that you must set when you install
Windows 7 is where the computer system files will reside after the
install is complete.
Install Windows 7
You can install Windows 7 either from the bootable DVD or through
a network installation using files that have been copied to a network
share point. You can also launch the setup.exe file from within the
Windows Vista operating system to upgrade your operating system.
The Windows 7 DVD is bootable. To start the installation, simply
restart your computer and boot to the DVD. The installation process
begins automatically. I will walk you through the steps of installing
Windows 7 later in this chapter.
If you are installing Windows 7 from the network, you need a distribution
server and a computer with a network connection. A distribution
server is a server that has the Windows 7 distribution files copied to a
Perform the following steps to install Windows 7 over the network:
1. Boot the target computer.
2. Attach to the distribution server and access the share that has the
files copied to it.
3. Launch setup.exe.
4. Complete the Windows 7 installation using either the clean install
method or the upgrade method.
These methods are discussed in detail in the following sections.
Performing a Clean Install of Windows 7
On any installation of Windows 7, there are three phases to the installation.
First you have the Collecting Information phase, then the
Installing Windows phase, and finally the Setting Up Windows phase.
Collecting Information During the collection phase of the installation,
Windows 7 gathers the information necessary to complete
the installation. This is where Windows 7 gathers your local time,
location, keyboard, license agreement, installation type, and installation
disk partition information.
Installing Windows This section of the installation is where your
Windows 7 files are copied to the hard disk and the installation is
completed. This phase takes the longest as the files are installed.
Setting Up Windows This phase of the setup is where you set up
a username, computer name, and password; enter the product key
and security settings; and review your date and time settings. After
this is finished, your installation will be complete.
You can run the installation from the optical media or over a network.
The only difference in the installation procedure is your starting
point: from your optical drive or from a network share. The steps in the
following sections assume you are using the Windows 7 DVD to install
When you boot to the Windows 7 installation media, the Setup program
automatically starts the Windows 7 installation.
Before you begin any of the procedures, verify that you have access
to Windows 7 Ultimate; other editions might vary slightly. You can also
download an evaluation edition of Windows 7 from Microsoft’s website
Perform the following steps for a clean install of Windows 7:
1. Insert the Windows 7 DVD into the machine and start the
2. If you are asked to Hit Any Key to start the DVD, press Enter.
3. The first screen asks you to select your language, local time, and
keyboard. After filling in these fields, click Next, as shown in
Figure 1.5 : Windows 7 Installation screen
4. At the next screen, click the Install Now button, as shown in
Figure 1.6 : Windows 7 Install Now screen
5. A message shows you that Setup is starting. The licensing screen will
be first. Read and accept the license agreement and then click Next.
6. A screen asking you “Which type of installation do you want?” is
next, as shown in Figure 1.7. Click Custom (Advanced).
Figure 1.7: Choosing the Windows 7 installation type
7. The next screen asks you where you want to install Windows 7, as
shown in Figure 1.8. Choose an unformatted free space or a partition
(the partition will be erased) with at least 16 GB available.
You can also click the Drive Options (Advanced) link to create
your own partition. After you choose your partition, click Next.
8. After your partition is set, the installation starts. You see the progress
of the installation during the entire process. After the installation
is complete, the machine reboots.
9. After the installation is complete, the username and computer
name screen appears, as shown in Figure 1.9. Type in your
username and computer name and click Next.
Figure 1.8 : Specify a location for installing Windows 7.
Figure 1.9 : Adding a username and computer name
10. Next, set your password and password hint, as shown in
Figure 1.10. Enter your password twice and enter your hint.
Figure 1.10 : Password screen
11. The next screen asks you to enter your 25-digit product key. Enter
your product key and make sure the check box to automatically
register your machine when you’re online is selected. Click Next.
12. Settings related to Windows Update and security appear, as
shown in Figure 1.11. You can select Use Recommended Settings
or Install Important Updates For Windows Only, or have the
computer ask you later. If you select the option to use the recommended
settings, the following settings are configured:
- Windows Update will be enabled and updates NN will automatically
- Windows Defender will be installed and any collected information
will be sent to Microsoft.
- Errors will automatically be sent to Microsoft.
- The latest drivers for your hardware will automatically be
downloaded from Windows Update.
Figure 1.11: Specify settings related to Windows Update and security.
13. You are now able to verify your time and date settings. Configure
your time, time zone, and date. Click Next.
14. You then set your computer’s current location. You have the
ability to choose from a home, work, or public location. Choose
where your computer is located, as shown in Figure 1.12.
Figure 1.12 : Choosing a network location
15. Windows will finalize your setup and the installation will be
As you can see, installing Windows 7 is an easy process on a new
computer system. But what if the system already has Windows Vista?
Let’s take a look at how to perform an installation of Windows 7 onto a
machine with Windows Vista.
Performing an Upgrade to Windows 7
If your machine has Windows Vista already installed, you have the ability
to upgrade the machine to Windows 7.
Similar to a clean install, you can run the installation from the installation
DVD or over a network. The only difference in the installation procedure
is your starting point: from your optical drive or from a network
share. The following steps assume that you are using the Windows 7 DVD
to install the Windows 7 operating system.
NOTE: You can’t upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7 directly.
I will discuss the tools used to install a Windows 7 operating
system on a Windows XP machine later in this chapter.
Perform the following steps to go through the process of installing
Windows 7 by upgrading Windows Vista:
1. Insert the Windows 7 DVD.
2. If Autorun does not start, go to the DVD drive and click setup.
exe. After the setup starts (by the setup.exe or Autorun), click
Install Windows 7.
3. You are prompted to update your current operating system. If
you choose not to update, the installation might fail. You can also
choose to send information to Microsoft during this process.
4. The Microsoft Windows 7 license terms will appear. The installation
does not allow you to click Next until you have accepted the
5. You are prompted to select the type of installation you want to
perform. Choose the Upgrade link.
6. You will see a compatibility report that alerts you of any applications
or drivers that are not supported in Windows 7. Click Next.
During the Installing Windows Upgrade phase, all the files required
by the Setup program are copied to the hard drive. During the process,
the computer automatically reboots. This process takes several minutes
and proceeds automatically without user intervention. The following
process information messages appear on the screen along with a completion
percentage for each:
1. Copying Windows files
2. Gathering files, settings, and programs
3. Expanding Windows files
4. Installing features and updates
5. Transferring files, settings, and programs
After your computer finishes copying files and reboots, you will be in
the Setting Up Windows phase of the installation. Perform the following
steps to complete the upgrade:
1. The first screen asks for your Windows product key. Type your
25-digit product key and click Next.
2. Settings related to Windows Update and security appear next. You
can use the recommended settings, install important updates only,
or have the computer ask you later.
3. On the next screen, you review your time and date settings. Set up
your local time and date and choose if you want daylight savings
time. Click Next.
4. The installation completes.
When you install Windows 7, you might run into setup problems or
errors. Let’s take a look at the troubleshooting process involved with
Windows 7 installations.
Troubleshooting Installation Problems
The Windows 7 installation process is designed to be as simple as possible.
The chances for installation errors are greatly minimized through the use
of wizards and the step-by-step process. However, errors may occur.
Identifying Common Installation Problems
As most of you are aware, installations seldom go off without a hitch.
Some of the possible installation errors that you might encounter are
listed in Table 1.4.
Table 1.4: Troubleshooting Common Installation Problems
|Media Errors|| |
Media errors are caused by defective or damaged DVDs. To
|Insufficient Disk Space|| |
Windows 7 needs at least 16 GB of free space for the installation
|Not Enough Memory|| |
Make sure that your computer has the minimum amount of
Not Enough Processing
Make sure that your computer has the minimum processing
Hardware That Is Not on
If your hardware is not listed on the HCL, Windows 7 might
Hardware with No Driver
Windows 7 will not recognize hardware without driver
Hardware That Is Not
If your hardware is Plug and Play–compatible, Windows 7
|Incorrect Product Key|| |
Without a valid product key, the installation will not go past
Failure to Access TCP/IP
If you install Windows 7 with typical settings, the computer
If your computer is using a hard disk that does not have a
Troubleshooting with Installation Log Files
When you install Windows 7, the Setup program creates several log
files. You can view these logs files to check for any problems during the
installation process. The following two log files are particularly useful
setupact.log The action log includes all the actions that were performed
during the setup process and a description of each action.
These actions are listed in chronological order. The action log is
stored as \Windows\setupact.log.
setuperr.log The error log includes any errors that occurred
during the installation. For each error, there is a description and
an indication of the severity of the error. This error log is stored as
In the following steps you will view the Windows 7 setup logs to
determine whether there were any problems with your Windows 7
Follow these steps to troubleshoot failed installations with setup logs:
1. Select Start ➢ Computer.
2. Double-click Local Disk (C:).
3. Double-click Windows.
4. In the Windows folder, double-click the setupact.log file to view
your action log in Notepad. When you finish viewing this file,
5. Double-click the setuperr.log file to view your error file in
Notepad. If no errors occurred during installation, this file will be
empty. When you finish viewing this file, close Notepad.
6. Close the directory window.
After you install Windows 7 and look at the setup logs, it might
be necessary to transfer user’s data from one system to another or
migrate data from the same computer. Let’s take a look at the migration
Migrating Files and Settings
Rather than perform an in-place upgrade, you can choose to migrate
your files and settings from an existing installation. In this case, you
can use the User State Migration Tool (USMT) or Windows Easy
User State Migration Tool
You can download a utility called the User State Migration Tool
(USMT) that administrators use to migrate large numbers of users over
automated deployments. The USMT for Windows 7 is now part of
Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK). The USMT is
similar to Windows Easy Transfer with the following differences:
- The USMT is more configurable and can NN use XML files to specify
which files and settings are transferred.
- he USMT is scriptable and uses command-line utilities to save
and restore user files and settings.
The USMT consists of two executable files, ScanState.exe and
LoadState.exe, and three migration rule information files, Migapp.xml,
Migsys.xml, and Miguser.xml. You can create a Config.xml file that specifies
what should and should not be migrated. The purposes of these files are
ScanState.exe collects user data and settings information based on
the configuration of the Migapp.xml, Migsys.xml, and Miguser.xml files
and stores it as an image file.
LoadState.exe deposits the information that is collected to a computer
running a fresh copy of Windows 7.
The information that is migrated includes the following:
From each user:
- Desktop files
- Start Menu
- Quick Launch toolbar
- Internet Explorer Favorites
From the All Users profile:
- Shared Documents
- Shared Video
- Shared Music
- Shared Desktop files
- Shared Pictures
- Shared Start Menu
- Shared Internet Explorer Favorites
- Files with certain file types, including .doc, .docx, .dot, .rtf, .txt,
.wps, .wri, .xls, .csv, .wks, .ppt, .pps, .pot, .pst, and more
- Access control lists (ACLs)
The USMT will not migrate hardware settings, drivers, passwords,
application binaries, synchronization files, DLL files, or other
Using the USMT
The USMT is downloadable software from Microsoft’s website. In its
simplest form, you use the USMT in the following manner:
1. Run ScanState.exe on the source computer. ScanState.exe will
copy the user state data to an intermediate store. The intermediate
store (for example, a CD-RW) must be large enough to accommodate
the data that will be transferred. Scanstate.exe would
commonly be executed as a shortcut sent to users that they would
deploy in the evening or through a scheduled script.
2. Install a fresh copy of Windows 7 on the target computer.
3. Run LoadState.exe on the target computer. LoadState.exe will
access the intermediate store to restore the user settings.
When you use the USMT, you can create a script that can be run
manually or can be used as an automated process at a scheduled time.
Table 1.5 defines the options for the Scanstate.exe and Loadstate.exe
Table 1.5: Options for scanstate.exe and loadstate.exe
|/config||Specifies the config.xml file that should be used|
|/encrypt||Encrypts the store (scanstate.exe only)|
|/decrypt||Decrypts the store (loadstate.exe only)|
|/nocompress||Disables data compression|
|/genconfig||Generates a config.xml file but does not create a store|
|/targetxp||Optimizes ScanState for use with Windows XP|
|/all||Migrates all users|
|/ue||User exclude: excludes the specified user|
|/ui||User include: includes the specified user|
|/uel||Excludes user based on last login time|
Used to identify what verbosity level will be associated with the
Windows Easy Transfer
Windows 7 ships with a utility called Windows Easy Transfer that is
used to transfer files and settings from one computer to another. You
can transfer some or all of the following files and settings from a computer
running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista:
- User accounts
- Folders and files
- Program settings
- Internet settings
- Email messages, contacts, and settings
You can transfer the migrated files and settings using the following
- Easy Transfer Cable, which is a USB cable that connects to the
source and destination computers
- CD or DVD
- Removable media, such as a USB flash drive or a removable hard
- Network share
- Direct network connection
You can password-protect the migrated files and settings if you use
CDs, DVDs, removable media, or a network share. Now let’s take a
look at how to upgrade a Windows XP machine to Windows 7.
Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7
Because the upgrade option from Windows XP to Windows 7 is not
available, you can use Windows Easy Transfer to integrate settings from
Windows XP to Windows 7 on the same computer.
The first step in this migration process is to copy your files to a
removable media such as an external hard drive or thumb drive or to a
network share. After the installation of the Windows 7 operating system,
you can then migrate these files onto the Windows 7 system.
Perform the following steps to migrate from Windows XP to
1. Insert the Windows 7 DVD while running Windows XP. If the
Windows 7 installation window opens automatically, close it.
2. Open Windows Explorer by right-clicking the Start menu and
then clicking Explore.
3. Browse to the DVD drive on your computer and click migsetup.
exe in the Support\Migwiz directory.
4. When the Windows Easy Transfer window opens, click Next.
5. Select an external hard disk or USB flash drive.
6. Click This Is My Old Computer. Windows Easy Transfer scans the
7. Click Next. You can also determine which files should be
migrated by selecting only the user profiles you want to transfer or
by clicking Customize.
8. Enter a password to protect your Easy Transfer file, or leave the
box blank, and then click Save.
9. Browse to the external location on the network or to the removable
media where you want to save your Easy Transfer file and
then click Save.
10. Click Next. Windows Easy Transfer displays the filename and
location of the Easy Transfer file you just created.
Perform the following steps to use the Windows 7 DVD to install the
1. Start Windows 7 Setup by browsing to the root folder of the DVD
in Windows Explorer and then double-clicking setup.exe.
2. Click Go Online To Get The Latest Updates (Recommended)
to retrieve any important updates for Windows 7. This step is
optional. If you choose not to check for updates during Setup,
click Do Not Get The Latest Updates.
3. Read and accept the Microsoft Software License Terms and then
click Next. If you decline, Windows 7 Setup will exit.
4. Click Custom to perform an upgrade to your existing Windows
5. Select the partition where you would like to install Windows.
To move your existing Windows installation into a Windows.old
folder and replace the operating system with Windows 7, select the
partition where your current Windows installation is located.
6. Click Next and then click OK.
7. Windows 7 Setup will proceed without further interaction.
Now, perform the following steps to migrate files to the destination
1. If you saved your files and settings in an Easy Transfer file on a
removable media such as a universal flash device (UFD) rather
than on a network share, insert the removable media into the
2. Select Start ➢ All Programs ➢ Accessories ➢ System Tools ➢
Windows Easy Transfer.
3. When the Windows Easy Transfer window opens, click Next.
4. Click An External Hard Disk Or USB Flash Drive.
5. Click This Is My New Computer.
6. Click Yes, Open The File.
7. Browse to the location where the Easy Transfer file was saved.
Click the filename, and then click Open.
8. Click Transfer to transfer all files and settings. You can also determine
which files should be migrated by selecting only the user profiles
you want to transfer, or by clicking Customize.
9. Click Close after Windows Easy Transfer has completed moving
Once the migration process is complete, you should regain the disk
space used by the Windows XP system by using the Disk Cleanup tool
to delete the Windows.old directory.
Perform the following steps to use the Disk Cleanup tool:
1. Open Disk Cleanup by selecting Start ➢ All Programs ➢
Accessories ➢ System Tools ➢ Disk Cleanup.
2. Click Clean Up System Files.
3. Previous installations of Windows are scanned. After they are
scanned, select Previous Windows Installation(s) and any other
categories of files you want to delete.
4. Click OK and then click Delete Files.
An important decision that you should consider is whether to upgrade
your Windows XP clients to Windows Vista first and then upgrade the
machine to Windows 7.
As you have seen, you can migrate your users’ data, but let’s say
you have software installed and you can’t locate the CD/DVD for that
software package. It might be beneficial to a user or organization to
upgrade the Windows XP machine to Windows Vista. After that installation
is complete, upgrade the Vista machine to Windows 7.
This is just another option that is available to you when you migrate
your users to the Windows 7 operating system.
Another option you may choose is to run two different operating systems
on the same computer system. Called dual-booting, this approach
gives you the choice of which operating system you want to boot into
when the system starts. Installing multiple operating systems onto the
same computer is called dual-booting or multibooting.
Supporting Multiboot Options
You might want to install Windows 7 but still be able to run other operating
systems. Dual-booting or multibooting allows your computer to
boot multiple operating systems. Your computer will be automatically
configured for dual- or multibooting if there was a supported operating
system on your computer prior to the Windows 7 installation, you
didn’t upgrade from that operating system, and you installed Windows
7 into a different partition.
One reason for multibooting is to test various systems. If you have a
limited number of computers in your test lab and you want to be able
to test multiple configurations, you should multiboot. For example,
you might configure one computer to multiboot with Windows XP
Professional, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.
Here are some keys to successful multiboot configurations:
- Make sure you have NN plenty of disk space.
- Windows 7 must be installed on a separate partition in order to
dual- or multiboot with other operating systems.
- If you want to support dual- or multibooting with Windows XP
and Windows 7, Windows XP must be installed first. If you install
Windows 7 first, you cannot install Windows XP without ruining
your Windows 7 configuration. This requirement also applies to
Windows 9x, Windows 2000, and Windows Vista.
- Never, ever upgrade to Windows 7 dynamic disks. Dynamic
disks are seen only by Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional,
Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, and
- are not recognized by any other operating system, including
Windows NT and Windows XP Home Edition.
- Only Windows NT 4.0 (with Service Pack 4), Windows 2000,
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003,
and Windows Server 2008 can recognize NTFS file systems.
Other Windows operating systems use FAT16 or FAT32 and cannot
recognize NTFS. All Windows-based operating systems can
recognize FAT partitions.
- If you will dual- or multiboot with Windows 9x, you must turn off
disk compression or Windows 7 will not be able to read the drive
- Do not install Windows 7 on a compressed volume unless the volume
was compressed using NTFS compression.
- Files that are encrypted with Windows 7 will not be available to
Windows NT 4.
After you install each operating system, you can choose the operating
system that you will boot to during the boot process. You will see
a boot selection screen that asks you to choose which operating system
you want to boot.
The Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store contains boot information
parameters that were previously found in boot.ini in older versions of
Windows. To edit the boot options in the BCD store, use the bcdedit
utility, which can be launched only from a command prompt.
Perform the following steps to open a command prompt window:
1. Launch \Windows\system32\cmd.exe.
2. Open the Run command by pressing Windows key+R.
3. Type cmd.exe in the Search Programs And Files box and press
After the command prompt window is open, type bcdedit to launch
the bcdedit utility. You can also type bcdedit/? to see all the various
After the Windows 7 installation is complete, it’s time to do some
general housekeeping. The first thing you need to do is activate the
Windows 7 operating system.
Using Windows Activation
Windows Activation is Microsoft’s way of reducing software piracy.
Unless you have a corporate license for Windows 7, you will need to
perform post installation activation. You can do this online or by phoning
Microsoft. Windows 7 will attempt automatic activation three days
after you log on to Windows 7 for the first time. There is a grace period
when you will be able to use the operating system without activation.
After the grace period expires, you will not be able to create new files
or save changes to existing files until Windows 7 is activated. When the
grace period runs out, the Windows Activation Wizard automatically
starts; it walks you through the activation process.
Using Windows Update
Windows Update, as shown in Figure 1.13, is a utility that connects to
Microsoft’s website and checks to ensure that you have the most up-to date
version of Microsoft products.
Figure 1.13 : Windows Update
Here are some of the common update categories associated with
- Critical updates
- Service packs
Perform the following steps to configure Windows Update:
1. Select Start ➢ Control Panel.
- From Windows Icons View, select Windows Update.
- From Windows Category View, select System And Security,
2. Configure the options you want to use for Windows Update, and
You can access the following options from Windows Update:
Check For Updates When you click Check For Updates, Windows
Update retrieves a list of available updates from the Internet. You
can then click View Available Updates to see what updates are
available. Updates are marked as Important, Recommended, or
Optional. Figure 1.14 shows a sample list of updates.
Figure 1.14 : Checking for updates
Change Settings Clicking Change Settings allows you to customize
how Windows can install updates.
You can configure the following options:
- Install Updates Automatically (Recommended)
- Download Updates But Let Me Choose To Install Them
- Download Updates But Let Me Choose Whether To
Download And Install Them
- Never Check For Updates (Not Recommended)
Figure 1.15 shows the settings that you can configure for Windows
View Update History View Update History, as shown in
Figure 1.16, is used to view a list of all the installations that have
been performed on the computer.
You can see the following information for each installation:
- Update Name
- Status (Successful, Unsuccessful, Or Canceled)
- Importance (Important, Recommended, Or Optional)
- Date Installed
Figure 1.16 : Windows Update: View Update History
Restore Hidden Updates: With Restore Hidden Updates, you can list
any updates that you have hidden from the list of available updates.
You might hide updates that you don’t want users to install.
Sometimes it is important for you to test and verify the updates
before your users can install the updates. This area allows you to
see hidden updates so that they can be tested before deployment.
Updates: Frequently Asked Questions The Updates: Frequently
Asked Questions link will bring up a help screen about updates.
Common questions and answers are listed in this window.
Installed Updates Installed Updates allows you to see the updates
that are installed and to uninstall or change them if necessary. The
Installed Updates feature is a part of the Programs and Features
applet in Control Panel, which allows you to uninstall, change, and
Updates are important to keep your Windows 7 operating system
current, but when Microsoft has many updates or security patches,
they release service packs.
Installing Windows Service Packs
Service packs are updates to the Windows 7 operating system that
include bug fixes and product enhancements. Some of the options that
might be included in service packs are security fixes or updated versions
of software, such as Internet Explorer.
Perform the following steps prior to installing a service pack:
1. Back up your computer.
2. Check your computer to ensure that it is not running any malware
or other unwanted software.
3. Check with your computer manufacturer to see whether there are
any special instructions for your computer prior to installing the
You can download service packs from Microsoft’s website, receive service
packs via Windows Update, or pay for a copy of the service pack to be
mailed to you on disk. Before you install a service pack, read the Release
Note that is provided for each service pack on Microsoft’s website.
In the next post, (Automating a Windows 7 Installation) you will learn to:
- USE THE MICROSOFT DEPLOYMENT TOOLKIT
- PERFORM UNATENDED INSTALLATIONS
- DEPLOY UNATENDED INSTALATIONS
- USE THE MICROSOFT ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING TOOLKIT
- WORK WITH WINDOWS PE
- Solve Boot Issues
- Windows 7 Tips And Tricks 3
- Windows 7 Tips And Tricks 2
- Windows 7 Tips And Tricks
- Security In Windows
- Maintaining Windows
- Windows XP Interface
- Computer Acronyms Explained
- Restoring Windows XP to a Previous State
- How to Repair Windows
- Protecting Yourself, Your Hardware, and Your Software
- Google Search Secrets
- How To Test Your Anti- Virus Scanner
- Installing a DVD/CD Optical Drive
- 10 reasons why PCs crash, you must Know
- Windows Updates
- 100 Keyboard Shortcuts For Windows
- computer maintenance