Monday, October 19, 2009

Upgrading my Lenovo Thinkpad T61 from Vista to Windows 7

Well, you know when doing upgrades or changing Operating Systems, I am always on guard about what is going to Byte me. Two Wednesdays ago I received my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate and I have been chomping at the bit to install it on my laptop. This morning I got up real early to do this since it was the first opportunity I have had to have my laptop down. First, I wrestled with the idea of just doing an in-place upgrade since this would be the fastest way since I would not have to re-install all my programs. I decided against that because frankly I was not that happy with a lot of the stuff already on my laptop. Especially the Lenovo Thinkvantage software, which I think is sluggish. And I just wanted to see a clean install.

Instead of just wiping my drive, or doing dual boot, or virtualizing it or whatever, I just bought a new hard drive. Good excuse to get a little more room anyway.

So I took out my old and put in the new. I can go back to Vista if I want that way. Also, I got to say that before I even attempted it, I used DriverMax to back up all my Vista Drivers and stored them on a network drive. I also used System Information for Windows to print out a whole report of all software installed on my Vista, and along with Recover Key, I also printed out all my software keys that were installed. Next, I ran the Vista Easy Transfer utility which I downloaded from Microsoft and backed up all my user settings to a USB Hard drive.

OK. I popped the new hard drive, powered up and booted to the Windows 7 DVD. It was a very smooth process. It even detected my Wireless Network, asked me for my security key and noted that it saw another Windows 7 computer on the network and wanted my WorkPlace password. I don't have that setup, so I just skipped that part.

Once the installation was done, I ran the easy transfer utility that comes preloaded in Windows 7. Pointed it to my external Hard Drive. It fond the file that the Vista Easy transfer wizard had created, and put all my settings back. Nice reports too. It tells me all the programs I should put back and more.

Next: I usually right away go into device manager to see what hardware did not install. I saw three things. I then without doing too much research, I just pointed to them, told it to update drivers, and manually set it to point where DriverMax has put all the drivers. Leaving at the top folder, and telling it to search sub-folders, one by one it found the drivers. All except the Intel Turbo Boost, which it did find, but has a problem with it. Probably just incompatibility. I just disabled it since I was not that impressed with it when running in Vista. I will visit it again later.

The main one I was interested in was the fingerprint reader driver and software. While it did find the driver, I still went to UPEK's site and downloaded the software since Thinkpad uses their technology. Installed it and Voila. It all works. Added my Workgroup, set user name and password for my network, and I am working no problem.

While starting this around 6:45 A.M, I ate breakfast twice, drank a half pot of coffee, took a shower, watched the news, and worked on another PC next to me. It is not even 10 A.M - wow! Pretty cool. Now I will start loading the whole gamut of software which will probably take me three times, if not more, to install than the Operating System. I will keep this blog updated updated until I am done.



JJ said...

Hi Delco

Interesting, thanks for sharing. I am curious to know the rest of your story.

Now that you have been using W7 for a few days, would you strongly recommend it compared to XP ?

Milan, Italy

Delco said...

I would recommend it over XP, but like everything Techie, we need to plan for worst case scenario. So making sure your data is backed up. Running the Microsoft Windows 7 compatibility program if you are planning to upgrade/install 7 on the same machine. Use the Easy transfer wizard to make sure you have all your settings from your old machine, etc. Also reports are coming in on some problems: anti-virus issues, Windows Internet Explorer 8 issues.

If you are looking to buy "new", then by all means buy it with 7, but make sure your do not get all sorts of "bloatware" from OEM.


Anonymous said...

I ran into a similar experience, it took me 4 hours and a half, to reinstall vista on a t61, then it took 40 minutes to install ubuntu-linux on the same machine including disk resize of the previous installation