From my days at BITS, when did a fresh install of the OS almost every month, to the post BITS era, where a fresh install was almost unheard of, it has been some transition. From someone who would install Linux (pre-Ubuntu days) and then hunt for drivers, to someone who would not trust himself with a Windows install.
However, I still like trying new stuff, and I did end up installing a beta of the Windows 7 SP1. Big mistake! It changed my Windows copy to a RC and started giving me weird messages about only a few days remaining for me to upgrade. So when the SP1 was formally released, I tried to upgrade. But the stupid system wouldn’t let me. Big FAIL, Microsoft. Anyway, after some Googling around, I discovered that I had to reinstall the OS. And there begins the story.
ISB had provided us a licensed copy of Windows 7 Professional but as a nrg image. And almost all tools needed me to either have a DVD or a iso file.
Step 1: Install Daemon tools. It allows you to mount the image files (nrg, iso, etc). Also, it will allow you to convert them into ISO files 🙂
Step 2: Download and install Windows 7 USB/DVD tool. This will help you create a bootable USB drive from the ISO.
Step 3: If you need any special drivers, download them and keep them handy. Also, I downloaded the Windows 7 SP1 RC. Unfortunately, unlike nLite, the tool for slipstreaming Windows 7 just sucks! So you can’t build a custom install.
Step 4: Boot up from the USB and there you go!
Step 5: License key and activation. Now for some reason Windows 7 wouldn’t accept the key we got from ISB and kept calling it invalid. After some searching on the ISB alum mails (GMail search rocks! Thanks for using it for the alum mail ISB), I saw that it needed to be activated by phone. So I followed the instructions and for the first time ever I activated my copy of Windows over a phone. Also the first time I actually own a licensed copy of the OS 😛
Step 6: Customize it. Now to get Windows 7 back to the state it was in with all the apps and settings I wanted. Step in Ninite. This super tool lets you install most free softwares in one click. Select online the apps you want and download the (really small) Ninite installer. Run it, leave you laptop connected to the internet for an hour or so (depending on your connection and the tools you want) and Ninite will install everything by itself. Bingo! Here is a list of all the apps I selected.
- Google Chrome – the best browser there is, period. Also, the sync function allowed me to get all the extensions, plugins, passwords from my office laptop in a jiffy! Such joy!!
- Firefox – the version 4 is out, and need it to download House 😛
- Windows Live – just for fun.
- Google Talk
- K-Lite Codecs
- Picasa – the tonnes of snaps I have on my laptop. Wow!
- Foxit Reader
- MS Security Essentials – the best antivirus there is today.
- uTorrent – obvious!
- Dropbox – another must have.
- Notepad ++
Other than these I installed the SP1 for Windows 7, IE9, Office 2007, and all updates needed. Also installed (and used till way past midnight) was the hugely addictive Angry Birds.
A number of extensions for Chrome were also installed – GMail checker, URL Shortener, Cricinfo, Reader, Adblock, Google Translate, ToDo Camp, Tweetdeck, and some more.
All in all, a day well spent. My laptop now works faster, is cleaner, more updated, and less prone to crashing, though frankly speaking Windows 7 has crashed only a few times over the past year and it has surely become my favorite Windows OS of all times over taking Win XP.