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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Windows 7 Beta Install on VMWare - 64-bit

Just because I now own a Mac, it does not mean that I still enjoy "toying" with Windows based computers. With the recent announcement of the open Windows 7 Beta and the rumors that Microsoft has stopped focusing on Vista and now has a laser focus on Windows 7 -- I thought it would be a prudent step to download and try it out.

I wanted to put it on my VMWare Server 2.0, so I hoped that after the 3.5GB download of the 64-bit (x64) version of the software there would not be any problems. I setup a new Virtual Machine, mapped the .ISO file to the CD Drive and I was ready to get started on the installation with 2 processors and 2GB RAM.

For any of those trying a similar thing, I choose the Windows 2008 64-bit option -- but assumed that the Vista 64-bit option would have been an equally good choice.

Here was the installation process and screen shots of a few of the screens.


1.  A standard and basic installation screen.  Looks very similar to what many of us are used to with Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. 

A standard and basic installation screen.  Looks very similar to what many of us are used to with Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
2.  Oddly, Windows 7 gives me the upgrade option here after loading from the ISO at boot.  I know that there is no Operating System on the VMWare Virtual Server, so I choose the custom option.

Oddly, Windows 7 gives me the upgrade option here after loading from the ISO at boot.  I know that there is no Operating System on the VMWare Virtual Server, so I choose the custom option.
3.  Nothing really special here with the disk selection.  Same menu and options that you would find with Windows Vista.

Nothing really special here with the disk selection.  Same menu and options that you would find with Windows Vista.
4.  Installation was surprisingly quick for those experienced with installations of Vista, XP, or 2008 Server.  This portion took less than 10 minutes!

Installation was surprisingly quick for those experienced with installations of Vista, XP, or 2008 Server.  This portion took less than 10 minutes!
5.  Welcome to Windows 7 Ultimate.  Sample machine and user names below.

Welcome to Windows 7 Ultimate.  Sample machine and user names below.
6.  Something new and interesting.  Rather than having to leverage the standard Microsoft Windows Sharing, a new concept called the "Homegroup" is available.  You can select items from your Pictures, Music, Video, Documents, and Music to be shared with a simple key that is auto-generated by Microsoft.  I would likely never use it, however it may be interesting for some!

Something new and interesting.  Rather than having to leverage the standard Microsoft Windows Sharing, a new concept called the Homegroup is available.  You can select items from your Pictures, Music, Video, Documents, and Music to be shared with a simple key that is auto-generated by Microsoft.  I would likely never use it, however it may be interesting for some!
7.  The first look at Windows Vista 7 64-bit desktop.  Nothing life changing here, some updated and simplified navigation panes are on the bottom taskbar -- similar to what many of us use the Quick Launch toolbars for.

The first look at Windows Vista 7 64-bit desktop.  Nothing life changing here, some updated and simplified navigation panes are on the bottom taskbar -- similar to what many of us use the Quick Launch toolbars for.
8.  And another great relief, the VMWare Tools installed with ease.  Better mouse and keyboard response as well as general performance and behavior.

And another great relief, the VMWare Tools installed with ease.  Better mouse and keyboard response as well as general performance and behavior.
Brief commentary. The Windows 7 update is nice, but not impressive or revolutionary by any means. While there are some new areas of improved navigation, you will find much of the same with Windows 7 that you experience in Windows Vista. There are some nice new menu touches (like the Display Resolution Slider), but other than that -- I do not see any major improvements that "change the game" in terms of the next generation of user interfaces. It frankly feels like more of a server machine than an end user from an experience point of view.

However, there was one improvement that I consider to be huge. Despite the large size of the installation at 3.5GB, the 64-bit installation just took a total of 18 minutes on a virtual machine until I was using the new. By far the fastest installation I have ever seen with a Microsoft Operating System, let alone on a virtual machine. Full reboots only took a total of ~90 seconds, pretty good performance overall.

In short, I will not spend much time on the current version of the beta which I have not encountered any glitches with. I will most likely look for additional version in the future to see if Microsoft can improve the user interface.

2 comments:

sun365 said...

Thanks for your report.
I had installed Win7 64 on a WMWare 6, but I chose "Other" for OS. It installed nicely, same as your sit. But I was not able to install VM Tools. Someone suggested that I change it to Win 2008 64, as I see you did, and this allowed me to install Tools, but it gives me an error about not finding a suitable svga driver. So I have been searching about this on the web which is how I found your site. Anyway, do you have any ideas?

TomasV said...

I am having the same issue - everything is fine with the 64bit version except the svga driver will not install

Any tips?