Windows 7 returns fast thanks to cloud

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.

Recovery involved:

  • 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.

5 thoughts on “Windows 7 returns fast thanks to cloud

  1. Don’t forget you have a rather uncommon setup. Most people are still living in XP land and have files strewn here, there and everywhere on their computers. I have taken to making an image (or installing to another harddrive) because people just assume all their files will be there. Even if you specifically tell them to copy all of their files to a backup. They don’t listen, and then you have to tell them that photos are files and you can’t get all their images back.

    When I tell people to use Drive/Flickr to backup all their stuff, plus zipped/tarred second copies on somewhere like SkyDrive or DropBox they go ‘yep, yep’ in that way that you know they’re not gonna do a damn thing.

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    • Just to elaborate, the iso/alternative harddrive is so that you can retreive forgotten files. I’m a geek and I still forget about some game save in AppData or saved passwords or favourites/bookmarks… Having the original Windows for 6 months or so allows me to boot it up if I remember something I forgot. If I haven’t in that time I give it one more sweep to check and then delete it.

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      • Yes, I forgot to move my iTunes library files to the new system because there were stored in a program directory, not on my data drive. Fixing that took longer than installing Windows 7 and all my apps. ITunes is so disfunctional it acts to remind us why switching from Windows to Max OSX might not be the answer to technology frustrations.

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      • Every system has it’s frustrations. It’s finding one that the frustrations are things you can put up with. In the hardware sense I know I can’t use touchpads and therefore always have a mouse handy. In a software sense I know I love the commandline and always strive to use it first to solve problems.

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  2. Pingback: Downgrading from Window 8 to 7 is no answer | Bill Bennett

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