Neville Hobson

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.

Itâ€s a bit dry – this is not an all-action video by any means – but you might find it helpful or useful if youâ€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 Dalbyâ€s video interview with Microsoftâ€s Steve Lamb who demoâ€d the beta last Friday at the Social Media Cafe in London.)

Iâ€ve spent just a little bit of time so far with Windows 7 beta. Itâ€s installed clean into a new partition on my PCâ€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:

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 Iâ€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, thereâ€s a lot of online comment about it.

No doubt this will be addressed by Microsoftâ€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.

Itâ€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: Iâ€m twittering a lot about Windows 7!

Related post:

Get Windows 7 beta while you can

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