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I recently acquired a 120GB hardrive for free. Needing something to do with it and the fact that I installed Windows Vista on a separate partition but same drive as my documents, I had reason enough to start my Windows installation over.
I would only need 20GB or so for Vista yet I have 120GB available. Because of this I decided to triple boot vista, xp, and linux all on the same machine. A PCI Express machine.
Windows XP And the PCI.sys 0x0000007E Error
I used GParted to segment up my hardrive and that worked beautifully. The first problem I ran into was that I could not install Windows XP on my PCI Express computer. It simply won't work. So I naturally switched the drive out into my non-express computer.
Next I tried installing Vista on that computer only to find out, that Vista refused to install on it because it failed to meet the system requirements. Darn. So I had a problem on my hands.
After scouring forums I found that I need to slipstream Service Pack 2 (SP2) on to my Windows XP installation. I did this unsuccessfully until I found a great program called Auto Streamer. This was the only method I found where It successfully slipstreamed it. The program combines a downloaded version of SP2 with your Windows XP installation CD and outputs it as a bootable ISO file. You can then use IMGBurn to burn a bootable ISO file.
After that I successfully installed Vista on a 50GB partition and installed Kunbuntu on a 12GB partition. Once that happens the computer boots using the GRUB boot loader and then you can choose Vista and then select either XP or Vista.
To Triple Boot XP, Vista and Kubuntu On A PCI Express Machine
- Slipstream XP with SP2 using autostreamer
- Burn bootable XP/SP2 disk
- Install XP/SP2
- Install Vista
- Install Kubuntu
Chris Retlich recently encouraged me to download VirtualBox which allows you to run a separate OS simultaneously with your default OS. I then decided to install Windows 7 beta which I had downloaded a few weeks earlier but did nothing with.
I already have Windows Vista and despite all the rumblings about it I haven't minded Vista all that much. I think it's more public perception than actual quality of Vista that is the problem. I wasn't expecting Windows 7 to be much of an improvement due to the fact that it's being released so quickly after Vista was released. The installation of Windows 7 went very quick and required very little input from me. When the OS booted the first thing I noticed was, "gee the taskbar looks different". One of the major changed Microsoft has made is the way the taskbar works. It now acts like a mix of the old versions of Windows and Mac OSX (or more like a glorified version of Nextstep which is what OSX is.) What this means is there is no longer a quick launch toolbar. What we have now is icons such as IE8 sitting in the taskbar automatically and when clicked, are the icon that you use to switch back to IE8.
Another useful thing in Windows 7 is the way you can interact with windowed programs. You can now drags windows to the top, left, or right of the screen and they will automatically resize in different ways. If you drag the window to the top of the screen it will automatically maximize. If you drag it to the left of the screen it will automatically consume the left half of the screen.
Another change is gadgets can now be undocked and moved around the screen freely rather than be stuck on the side. This was one of my biggest complaints about them in Vista and has been fixed. There also appears to be a whole slew of things in Windows 7 related to multi-touch which gives users with the proper hardward the ability to use their fingers/hands to manipulate Windows without a mouse.
Finally, Windows 7 has a better manager for UAC and also a better manager for all those annoying balloon tips that popup in the taskbar area.
Another feature I just recently discovered, is if you right click on a file, you're given the option to "recover previous version" which appears to be a version control feature that uses Windows Backup. It will be interesting to see how well this feature works.
Also another extremely needed feature in Windows is a screen shot generating tool. Windows 7 FINALLY has a tool that allows you to grab various regions of the screen and to save as an image file. Lets hope this will mean I won't have to waste my time at work generating screen shots for co-workers anymore.
So what sucks about Windows 7? My only complaint is that since they got rid of the quick launch toolbar, there is no longer an easy way to "show the desktop". They did create a really small button in the bottom left of the screen near the clock to accomplish this, but since I have such a large monitor it's too much mouse moving to quickly access it. I also am very displeased with Internet Explorer 8's rendering capabilities as it appears it is creating new rendering bugs that don't exist in IE6 or IE7 and also IE8's failure to emulate the rendering of IE7 and IE6 in capability mode. If IE8 is officially released as it is now, it will a worse browser than IE6 is.
I give Windows 7 a 9/10.