Video: Installing Windows 7 beta

The public beta version of Windows 7 was released by Microsoft on January 9 to great enthusiasm by fans and anyone curious about what the next version of the Windows operating system would look like.

I tried to download the 2.4 gigabyte file, without success. Luckily a Microsoft Twitter buddy sent me the beta on DVD (thanks again, @Jas) and so I now have the 32-bit beta version installed on my Dell Dimension XPS 420 desktop computer as a dual-boot option alongside Windows Vista.

I will be getting to know Windows 7 beta during the coming weeks and will talk about my impressions of it over on Next, my tech blog. But for a starter, I recorded a sequence of videos when I installed the software on Saturday.

Part 1 – the sequence of what happened from the moment the computer booted the installer on the DVD up to the first reboot – is on YouTube.

Here is Part 2: just under 18 minutes of my thoughts and impressions on what I saw and experienced as a first run after the app was installed and went into its setup-completion routines.

It’s a bit dry – this is not an all-action video by any means – but you might find it helpful or useful if you’re thinking about trying the beta, either as a clean install, an upgrade or a dual-boot option.

(For a look at a range of apps running on Windows 7 beta – on a Macbook Air, incidentally – take a look at Chris Dalby’s video interview with Microsoft’s Steve Lamb who demo’d the beta last Friday at the Social Media Cafe in London.)

I’ve spent just a little bit of time so far with Windows 7 beta. It’s installed clean into a new partition on my PC’s drive C, so I have none of my favourite mainstream applications installed yet to try out with the beta.

The one app I have installed is a trial of the Norton 360 3.0 beta internet security product designed for Windows 7 that is one of the security products you see in the list of providers within Windows 7.

I have installed a few utilities and and run them with no issues, which is great. These all work in Windows 7 beta:

win7bsod17jan09 The only major issue I have encountered is a series of blue screens – what you see when a severe system error happens causing the computer to come to a sudden and complete halt – surrounding a device driver called tdx.sys.

Click on this image for a larger version where you can see the complete error texts.

From what I’ve been able to find out through online searching, this is something to do with either the anti-virus product, mapping a network drive, or both. Or maybe something else. Whatever it is, there’s a lot of online comment about it.

No doubt this will be addressed by Microsoft’s developers during the evolution of the beta programme. Meanwhile, I seem to have got rid of the blue screens by not mapping a network drive.

It’s something like this happening that brings home to you the inherent risks of playing with beta software. So I am glad that I have installed Windows 7 beta as a fresh install in a separate drive partition and not as the primary operating system for day-to-day use. Not yet.

More about Windows 7 beta on my tech blog in due course. Also see my Twitter stream: I’m twittering a lot about Windows 7!

Related post:

Get Windows 7 beta while you can

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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