This is a running commentary for how I installed Windows 7 onto a new hard drive.  I’m using a different computer for the blog entry, so I can track my progress more easily.

The hardware is pro, my Linux computer.  It has a quad-core CPU and 8G of memory.  I purchased a new hard drive for this effort, and have my Linux drive physically powered off.  I want Windows to think he has the whole machine.  I’m not giving up on Linux, but want to give Windows the best shot possible.

The software is Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit, picked up during a Microsoft event in Cleveland.  Yes, the 32-bit-ness means I’m wasting 4G of memory.  They didn’t have the 64-bit available then, and I would rather have a copy in my hand than turn it in and trust MS to send me another one.

Setup was extraordinarily easy.  Drop in the DVD, boot the PC (set up in BIOS to boot from DVD first), answer a few questions, and I was going.  I chose not to have MS automatically install every update it wanted to – I’m trying MS out again, but not jumping into the pool just yet.

The first thing I did (after my celebratory blog entry) was to get the new updates from MS.  I don’t know what security patches may be needed.  I’d rather play it safe and wait a bit than run out and play, and get hurt in the process.  There were 7 critical updates, plus I grabbed 40 optional updates.  Most were language packs.  I do like my web pages to render properly, and I never could quite catch the difference between Slovenian and Slovakian.  I tossed them all in.  I also added Silverlight, something I haven’t tried before.  Microsoft has a frustrating habit of trying to take over existing standards.  They have a real bad case of NIH – they don’t want to use something if it was Not Invented Here.

Almost 2G of updates and a couple machine bounces later, I’m on to the next steps: Decrapifying and CCleaning.  Decrapifier found nothing (nor surprising, since I had installed an operating system straight from MS), and CCleaner only found 23M of stuff.  Gone now.

Next up: Antivirus.  I’m going with Microsoft’s Security Essentials.  It gets good reviews from Jerry Pournelle and I am trying to keep an open mind about MS.  If it had gotten bad reviews, I would be looking at AVG or Avast.  So far, so good.

I think instead of Firefox, I’m going to try going with Chrome as the browser of choice.  Drops in real quick and easy, and I install the Google Pack – well, Google Talk, their desktop, Picasa, Google Apps, and Google Earth.  I avoid Real Player, Adobe Reader, various browser toolbars, and the suggested antivirus software.  I did download the beta of Chrome so I could get extensions.  Namely: AdThwart, XMarks, FlashBlock, Google Mail Checker, IETab, and Select to Get Maps.

Finally, some basic software (IrfanView, PageDefrag, Open Office), and I’m done for the day.  Tomorrow will be a day for setting up the VPN to work, and updating my BIOS, trying to quiet the fans, seeing if I can script downloading the free song of the day from Magnatune, and trying to read the external hard drive that’s formatted in ext3.