For those of you looking past Vista already you will have taken one step closer this week to realizing that dream with the release of the Windows 7 Beta to the public. Though it doesn't look all that different from Vista there is quite a bit of improvement and some new features that should hopefully convert the Vista haters back to the Microsoft fold. Before we begin lets start with the requirements needed to run Windows 7 Beta:
- Processor: 1Ghz 32-bit or 64-bit
- Memory: 1GB of System Memory
- Hard Drive: 16GB of available disk space
- Video Card: Support of DirectX 9 (Aero compatibility requires 128MB)
- Drive: DVD-R/W
- Internet: Required for updates
Pretty light requirements so this should run well on most systems. I am seeing reports on Twitter that while running it is taking much less memory than Vista did, though I haven't been able to take benchmarks yet myself. Now that you know you have the right amount of hardware you need to go ahead and download the Windows 7 Beta software. You can download the version you want from the link below:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/beta-download.aspx (Note: You will need to sign in with a Windows Live account)
Once you choose the version you want and fill out their contact form you will also receive a serial number, make sure you note that down for later. After you download the Windows 7 ISO if you aren't going to be testing using a virtual machine you will need to burn it to a DVD. I wont go into to how to burn an ISO, because frankly if you don't know how you probably shouldn't be messing around with this beta.
This is a BETA you should not be installing this on a production machine or any other machine you care about the data. Even if you do get it up and running as your primary machine remember this version expires on AUGUST 9th 2009 and you WILL NOT be able to upgrade to the RTM version from the beta so the machine will require a clean install when it is released. Whatever you choose to do BACKUP everything and dont cry to me if you lose data... really... I won't be able to help you...
Note: If you are reinstalling because of a lost password you can use my article on Windows 7 Password Reset to recover your password.
Installing Windows 7 Beta
1) Go ahead and boot from your ISO and after a few seconds you should see the following screen:
Choose your settings from the drop down menu and click on Next to move forward.
2) Much like the Windows Vista & Server 2008 install at this point you have the big option of Install Now which you should click now to start the install.
3) You will see setup start then you will be presented with the licensing agreement you will need to accept by placing a check next to I accept the license terms
4) On the next screen you get the following options:
Upgrade: Upgrade to a newer version of Windows and keep your files, settings, and programs
Custom(advanced): Install a new copy of Windows
For this demo I am going to do a clean install so I am going to choose Custom, because per my warning above you shouldn't be installing this on your primary machine.
5) Now we come to the disk options, as you can see I have an unformatted 16GB hard drive available for use. In this screen shot I have already clicked the Disk(advanced) button so that is why you see options that you might not see right away. I am not going to do anything here but use the 16GB, but if you wanted you could create a system and data drive or if you had multiple drives choose where you want to install the Windows 7 OS. Again I am not going to go into this in too much depth because if you are going to play with this Beta you should now how to manage your disk drives. Choose the drive you want to use and select Next.
6) At this point your install will start and you can monitor its progress
As you can see after it finished it does a restart, when it comes back up it will finish the install
7) Once it completes the installation you will be asked for the following:
Name: I am going to use Dave but feel free to use your own
Computer Name: Again, feel free to use something different from mine
Once you enter your value click on Next
8) Next comes to the security portion of the install. You will be asked for the following:
Password: Like I would tell you guys!
Retype your password: Good try but I'm not giving it up!
Password Hint: Put in a hint that will point you to your password
After you input your information click Next
9) Hopefully you saved your license key from when you downloaded the beta software because now is the time to use it! Go ahead and place your key where provided, then choose if you want it to activate when you are online next.
When you are done click on Next.
10) The next thing you need to configure is how you want to deal with updates. There are several options:
Use recommended settings: Handle everything the Microsoft way and send info home when things go bad
Install important updates only: Only install security updates and other important updates
Ask me later: Go it alone in the cold cruel world... leave you open to possible exploits as you won't get security patches as vulnerabilities are discovered
For this demo I am going to choose Use recommended settings, go ahead and choose yours
11) Ok, on to setting the time and time zone. Choose your time zone from the drop down menu, then set the correct time and click Next.
12) The next option is to set the type of network you are connected to. Since I am working off my home network, I am going to choose Home Network. The options you have are:
Home Network: You can participate in a homegroup and see other computers on the network
Work Network: You can not participate in a homegroup, but you can see other computers on the network
Public Network: You can not participate in a homegroup or access other computers on the network. This is a setting you would use at your public Wifi spot at the coffee shop to keep the local hackers out of your computer.
Select your network type to continue.
13) Since I selected Home Network I am now being given an option to start a homegroup. In this case I do not need that so I am going to select Skip. (Never fear, if you need homegroup info I will be covering that in an upcoming article.)
14) You will now see Windows 7 finalizing your installation
That's it! Congratulations and enjoy your Windows 7 Beta experience!