A week of Windows 7

I’ve been playing with Windows 7 Beta for just under a week now. Initially I thought I’d install it in a virtual machine, but I never seemed to have enough space on my laptop. I also had an issue with my Vista install – a lockup that forced me to do a hard reset also broke a file or two that were integral to the functioning of Windows Update. Imagine my surprise when I figured I hadn’t had any updates in over a month. I tried various voodoo-esque methods to fix things, but as each of them failed to provide results, I began to consider using a beta version more and more.

The installer seemed nice for starters, almost on par with modern Linux installers. 😉 However, one thing that caused hours of frustration was that since I had PowerShell installed, the upgrade refused to run. And Vista refused to show me any way to uninstall PowerShell. After some searching I found a registry setting which fooled the installer to thinking I didn’t have PS, and things began to work.

Well, by “work” I mean the installer agreed to run. It took hours to “gather” my files (why it needed to know that, I have no idea – every file I care about is in the exact same spot it was in before the upgrade). In the morning I peeked at the progress. It told me “21%” and “Windows needs to reboot”, but gave me no way to agree to the reboot. A forced restart later, the installer booted up, only to fail at resuming. I figured this was due to the forced restart, booted back into Vista (luckily the installer left Vista untouched at that point) and fired the installer again. This time at 21% I got a reboot prompt, after which things have gone smoothly.

I had to futz with the settings a little to make sleep-on-lid-close work again, which was a bit annoying, but the bigger problem is WMP 12, which downright refuses to work after I wake the laptop up by opening the lid. The application launches, but then it presents me with this:

Windows Media Player 12 frozen right after launch

and a busy cursor. And there it remains. In fact, it refuses to die by any conventional means: the close button doesn’t work, the close command in the Jump List menu doesn’t work, taskkill doesn’t have any effect, and neither does ending the process via Task Manager. The only thing that does work is restarting the computer. At least once I’ve had even that fail to kill the WMP process, so the shutdown process shut down, and the OS kept on running. A hard reset and a disk check later, things work fine again – until the next time I close the lid.

I posted a summary about the problem on the Windows 7 Beta TechNet forum. Here’s hoping someone has a solution. 🙂

Overall, I like Windows 7. It does a good job at bringing the Windows GUI closer to modern standards. The window manager has even learned a couple of useful tricks. I can’t wait for the day when alternate Window Managers for Windows begin to appear.

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