Nothing better illustrates the value of personal cloud computing than moving from Windows 8 to Windows 7.
While there are benefits from Microsoft’s new operating system, I suspect my productivity is lower. Update: I checked this. It turns out Windows 8 is more productive.
Third-party tools can make Windows 8 look like Windows 7. I’ve used overlays before and found them not practical over the long-term. Sooner or later something comes along that breaks them.
However, memory of past Windows installations made me wary of jumping back to Windows 7 until I realised the job would be easier: cloud computing removes much pain.
In the past a fresh Windows install could take a day. That was when software and operating systems came on discs. Restoring my desktop PC to its pre Windows 8 state took around an hour. It could have been less with better planning.
- Formatting the system drive – a SSD,
- Installing Windows 7,
- Downloading and installing the latest updates,
- Fixing the links between the default libraries and the data drive – a conventional hard drive
- Reinstalling applications
There are a dozen or so must-have applications on my work machine. Of these nine are essentially cloud apps. Some, like Xero, need no installation. Others like Office 365 and Google Talk take a few clicks. What would have been an afternoon of swapping discs, entering product codes and continual reboots took 15 minutes.
The hardest part was finding overlooked drivers. If I planned ahead in that department the entire job would have been well under an hour.
Two other advances speed the reinstall. SSD means reboot take seconds. This saved 15 minutes.
I’ve installed Windows from a USB disc image since XP days, today the process is made easier thanks to Microsoft’s Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool.
Moving back to Windows 7 took an hour.