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2012-08-27

A+: If your Win7 Install Goes Wrong

If the system won’t start, you can still view log files. However, this depends on the type of installation and how far the installation got. If it was a clean installation, you should boot to the Windows 7 DVD; select Repair your computer, then access the System Recovery Options menu, and select the Command Prompt. If it was an upgrade that didn’t get far, and if Windows Vista/XP/2000 was previously installed on an NTFS drive, you can boot to the System Recovery Options in Vista, or the Recovery Console from a Windows XP or 2000 CD and view the log files from there.

 If you cannot start the clean installation or upgrade, check the following:
 
• Processor speed and memory size: Verify that your computer meets the minimum requirements for Windows 7.  Make sure you are installing the correct type (32-bit or 64-bit) and version of Windows 7.
 
• Windows type and version: Make sure you are installing the correct type (32-bit or 64-bit) and version of Windows 7 (Starter, Home Premium, and so on...).
 
• Free disk space: You need 16 GB/20 GB free for Windows 7 (for 32-bit and 64-bit editions respectively); the more space available, the better.
 
• Hardware conflicts or hardware issues: Use the Device Manager to ensure that all hardware works correctly before you start an upgrade.
 
• Installation media: Make sure that your DVD-ROM media is not scratched or damaged in any way. Verify that it is genuine Microsoft software and that you have the right type of media for your installation, for example, Windows 7 Full Version License or Upgrade DVD.

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2012-08-26

A+: Did your Win7 install go OK? Use the logs to check

When you complete the clean installation or upgrade, verify that your installation has gone smoothly by testing it. For example, attempt to navigate through Windows, access administrative functions, connect to the Internet, and so on.

 If you have confirmed that Windows is working normally, update the system. Install the latest service pack and additional updates as necessary. It is possible that the service pack was included on your installation media, but if not, download it and install it before going any further. Then, download any other updates that are necessary utilizing the Windows Update feature.

Installations usually go smoothly, but not always. If an installation fails for any reason, or if the installation completed but Windows doesn’t seem to be behaving properly, consider reviewing the log files to find out more about the problem and why it occurred.


The following table refers to variable directory called %WINDIR%. By default, the name of this folder in Windows 7 will be “Windows.” %WINDIR% is the new name of the variable previously called %systemroot%. Also, $windows.~bt is a temporary boot folder created during setup. It remains if the installation was not successful, allowing you to analyze the log files, but should be automatically deleted when the installation completes properly.


Windows 7 and Vista, as well as Server 2008, include the capability to review Setup events within the Event Viewer, or by way of a script. See for details: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744583(WS.10).aspx.


Log File Location Description of Logfile
$windows.~bt\Sources\Panther Location before Setup can access the drive
$windows.~bt\Sources\Rollback If a fatal error happens, log location used if Setup does a roll back
%WINDIR%\Panther Setup actions after disc configured
%WINDIR%Panther\setuperr.log Info of errors diring install. A file size of 0 bytes means no install errors.
^START WITH THIS LOG FILE WHEN TROUBLESHOOTING^.
%WINDIR%Panther\setupact.log Shows setup actions during the install
%WINDIR%\Inf\Setupapi*.log Plug and Play devices installed
%WINDIR%Panther\Setup.etl Windows Setup performance evants
%WINDIR%\Memory.dmp Memory dump used for bug checks
%WINDIR%\Minidump\*.dmp Mini memory dumps used for bug checks
%WINDIR%\System32\Sysprep\Panther Logs made by Sysprep

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2012-08-25

A+: Win7 Clean Install

By far the most reliable Windows 7 OS is the one installed 'clean', not an update from a previous version of Windows. Differences between versions of Registry entries and DLLs can make an upgraded version less stable. You will lose your installed apps, but you can reinstall from the original source where you got the app, right?

Now that you have decided on the version of Win7 to use and have verified compatibility of hardware, it’s time to install. The Windows 7 installation is more simple than earlier versions of Windows. 

Here we cover the steps involved in a “clean” local installation of Win7. Keep in mind that this type of installation will remove any data currently stored on the computer’s hard drive. The following steps detail an installation of Windows 7 Ultimate.
 
Step 1. Begin the installation from the DVD-ROM. There are two methods to perform a clean install of Windows 7 from DVD:
 
• Install Windows 7 by running the Setup program from within the current version of Windows. (This is the recommended method.) Insert the Windows 7  DVD. The disc most likely autoruns and you see a setup screen. Otherwise, just go to the DVD drive in Windows Explorer and double-click the setup.exe file
to start the installation.
 
• Boot the computer from the Windows 7 DVD. This is necessary if no operating system exists on the computer. If you choose this option, do the following:
 
1. Make sure the DVD drive is configured as the first boot device in the system BIOS.
 
2. Insert the Windows 7 DVD into the system’s DVD drive. (If the drive won’t open while in the BIOS, insert the disc immediately after saving the BIOS during the next step.)
 
3. Save the BIOS and restart the system.
 
4. The DVD should boot automatically and start the installation, but if you are prompted to boot from the DVD, press any key. There is only a small window of time for this, approximately 5 seconds. This prompt is a protective measure; if you get the prompt, it means that there is data of some sort on the drive. 

Startup of the installation might take a minute or two; then you see a GUI-based window asking for information. (There is no text portion.) Setup will load Windows files for several minutes, and start the installation within the Windows GUI.
 
Step 2. Input the Language to install, Time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method. At this time there is also an option to learn more about the installation by clicking the What to know before installing windows link. After you input your settings for step 2, you must click Next, and then on the next screen click Install now. A few minutes or so will pass as files are copied and the installation is prepared.
 
Step 3. Accept the license terms.
 
Step 4. Select whether you are doing a custom install, which includes a clean installation or an upgrade. (Within these steps we are doing a clean installation.) If you install to a computer with no operating system, the Upgrade option will be disabled. For this exercise we are doing a clean installation so we will select Custom (advanced).
 
Step 5. Select where to install Windows 7. From here you can select the drive and administer partitions as you see fit. The proper disk preparation order when installing any operating system is to partition the drive, format the partition (or partitions), and start the installation (copy files).  

(The steps to create partitions during the install of Windows 7 are similar to Windows Vista). If necessary, you can also load third-party drivers for the media (hard drive) to be installed to by clicking on Load Driver.

These might be drivers for SATA or SCSI controllers, or other special hard disk controllers. These drivers can come from floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive. Microsoft recommends that before you install, you check if the devices you want to use are listed at the Windows Compatibility Center: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/ or at the Windows Logo’d Products List: http://winqual.microsoft.com/HCL. 

If you click on Load Driver and cannot supply a proper driver for Windows 7, or the computer cannot read the media in which the driver is stored, you need to exit the installation program. 

When you finish, click Next, and the system automatically copies files from the DVD, expands those files, installs features and updates, and completes the installation. The system might need to restart several times during this installation process (for example, after it installs updates and when it completes the installation), but you can let the Windows 7 installation work its magic until you get to the next step.
 
Step 6. Type a user name and a computer name.
 
Step 7. Type a password, confirm it, and type a password hint.
 
Step 8. Enter the Product key and decide whether to automatically activate Windows (can be delayed up to 30 days).
 
Step 9. Configure Windows Update to Use Recommended Settings, Install important Updates Only, or Ask Me Later. 
 
Step 10. Set the time zone, time, and date.
 
Step 11. Set the computer’s location: home, work, or public network. (This step may not be visible if the computer is not connected to a network.)

 Now it’s time to start Windows. Windows 7 checks the computer’s performance (which might take a while), prepares the desktop, and then logs you in.

Afterwards, you can continue with initial tasks such as connecting to the Internet or transferring files and settings.

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2012-08-24

A+: Updating to Windows 7

Do you need to install Win7 on a Vista PC? Then, you _can_ update, which in theory will preserve your installed appps; but, it's not guaranteed, and it's far better to do a clean install of WIn7 anyway, as clean installs result in more reliable PCs.

That being said, upgrades are done in essentially the same manner as clean installs. The difference is that all the settings, applications, and user files will ultimately be kept in place if the upgrade is successful. It is recommended that those files and settings are backed up previous to the upgrade. However, before starting the upgrade, you should first check to see if your computer (and operating system) is compatible and if it will survive the process. You can also use the following utilities and websites to do this:

• Windows Upgrade Advisor: This is a website that is accessed by clicking on the Check compatibility online button when you first insert the Windows 7 DVD. Of course, the computer that you want to upgrade needs to have Internet access. You can also download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor from Microsoft’s website.

• Windows Compatibility Center: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/

• Windows 7 Logo’d Products List: http://winqual.microsoft.com/HCL/Default.aspx?m=7

Only Windows Vista can be upgraded directly to Windows 7. To upgrade Windows Vista to Windows 7, make sure that service pack 1 or 2 is installed to Vista before the upgrade, insert the DVD, and select the Upgrade option. The steps to complete the upgrade are similar to the clean installation steps.

Windows Vista Home Basic and Home Premium versions can be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium. Windows Vista Business can be upgraded to Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate. Windows Vista Ultimate can only be upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate. Any other combinations of upgrades from Vista to Win7 require a Custom/advanced install, and would require the user to backup all data prior to the upgrade, and reinstall any applications after the upgrade is complete.

To upgrade XP or 2000 to Windows 7, a user would again have to back up all files, then start the install, select Custom/advanced, and later reinstall any applications necessary and restore data files. Microsoft recommends the program Windows Easy Transfer for the backup and restoration of files.

32-bit versions of Windows cannot be directly upgraded to 64-bit versions. 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 can be installed to a computer with a 64-bit processor. However, 32-bit processors will only accept 32-bit versions of Windows 7.

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2012-08-23

A+: Install methods for Win 7*

You can install Win7 from DVD-ROM, from a network, from a USB flash memory drive, from a recovery disc or partition or by restoring a clone image.

Local DVD-ROM: Load the Win7 DVD into your computer's optical drive, boot from it and answer the questions as presented. 

Network install: Install once connected to a network using Windows Deployment Services or Remote Installation Services. Unattend.xml allows unattended installs if you preprogram that XML file for your installation.

Disk image: Apply an entire disc image from external media using apps like Acronis True Image, Norton Ghost or other apps. C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep should be run after applying a clone to alter the Security Identifier (SID) so every PC on a network is unique; if DHCP is not used for automated IP assignment, also change the IP address manually before attaching the PC to your network.

Recovery disc or partition: These contain an image of Windows as if it was installed at the factory. Often the image is on a hidden partition on the PC's hard drive. If the data for your PC is on another partition or drive, e.g., 'D:', then you can recover without erasing your data, and that's a very good idea!

USB flash memory drive: For machines without a DVD-ROM, make a install USB drive by partitioning and formatting it, xcopy the install DVD's files to the USB drive, and set the PC to boot from USB.







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2012-08-22

A+: Versions of Win7 and requirements*

Windows 7 includes the Starter version (which limits how many apps can run at once) as well as Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise. Here's a partial reference to versions and features:

Features Starter Home Premium Professional Ultimate
 Win XP Mode no no Y Y
 Domain Join no no Y Y
 Backup to LAN no no Y Y
 Bitlocker Encryption no no no Y

* The formal minimum requirements for Windows 7 (which is never enough speed to keep any user happy)  are:

Component Requirement
Processor 1 GHz
Memory 1 GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
Disk space free 16GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
Video DirectX 9 w/ WDDM 1.0 or better driver
Optical drive DVD-ROM

The Windows Compatibility Center  allows you to check your Windows PC, as does the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, or running {Win-R} | msinfo32.exe . 

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