Surely Not? Linux User Moves to Windows 7?

Windows 7 to replace Xubuntu?

Whenever a new version of Windows comes out, I am normally one of the first to go grab a copy. Think into “grab” what you like, from the past, but with the arrival of Windows 7 I went for the RC which was on off for free to use until June 2010.

I thought, we’ll have a look, but I can’t see how they will have learnt any lessons after the resource hog they created with Vista. How wrong, install was under half an hour on my Shuttle SN41, boot up time from cold was under a minute to usable desktop, and ram usage was around 380mb, down by 200 mb on Vista, whilst CPU activity was next to nothing. No drag, no delays, no problems…. hang on, all I have done in the last three years is use linux, and found the need to move towards lighter and lighter systems to maintain speed and productivity. Yep, but W7 seems to be a real contender, until June 2010 comes round!

OK, its one thing to get the OS up and running, can I “do” everything I can do on Xubuntu 9.04, and access my linux server (that one won’t be changing!). This is a work in progress, but here we go so far:

  1. Remove the watermark about evaluation. easily found on the net
  2. ExtFsd – provides access to ext3 partitions on the HDD
  3. Ensure samba server up and running on the linux server (it is, for my kids and their windows PCs)
  4. Install Winrar – I know I will have to download some rar files to get up to speed
  5. Firefox – IE8 shoved politely to one side, all required extensions installed nicely
  6. Putty – now able to ssh into server
  7. UltraVNC – now able to vnc to server and other boxes
  8. Geany – helps to overcome linux text files, and mirrors usage on Xubuntu. No need for any other text editor.
  9. VLC – mplayer won’t do dvb on Windows yet, so VLC for viewing and recording dvb streams. Will have to spend some time writing batch files to ease planned recordings and viewings, but had to do this on Linux.
  10. Brother MFP drivers – original CD no good for W7, but Vista drivers on the Brother site did the job.
  11. Gwhere – yes there is a Windows version – for cataloging DVDs
  12. Skype – and the Eyetoy webcam experience is here at last πŸ™‚
  13. CDBurnerXP – on trial as I write. My trusty Nero OEM CD proved to be no good for W7

To come:

  • pdf access and creation
  • image editing (this will probably be photofiltre)
  • video encoding will get shunted off to the server for mencoder to deal with, don’t do video editing as a rule

Note: All mail is up on Google, so no need for a mail client, as with Calendar & To Do, and Google Docs will do if I do not install OO.Β  For work I have to use Windows, and need access to full Acrobat, Illustrator, IE6+ for Management
systems, and Sage for accounting. I try to emulate this at home, so do need Windows in some form.


  1. a. Several little crashes of programs, and on one occasion the vlc.exe file disappeared, requiring a reinstall
  2. Tried, but could not get NFS Services to work, so gave up and used samba instead
  3. vlc is a swine to use for dvb but I’ll get there
  4. mplayer / smplayer crashed and burned when trying to play video over smb shares and killed the Aero effect until I rebooted.
  5. WMP OK for occasional mp3 play, but never saves playlist automatically. Failed to play most of the videos I threw at it
  6. Windows Media Center just so unintuitive, and bring machine to its knees. such a shame, it looks great. Has been “dumbed down” so little chance to configure precisely
  7. Navigating the file system, and the layout of Windows Explorer is quite alien (might seek out something more simple!)
  8. Perhaps most worrying was the dirth of useful information on the net about how to get setup, in particular with regard to dvb and vlc.Β  (A new user coming from Linux would struggle!!! πŸ™‚
  9. Seems to grind to a halt after a while, needing a reboot to get back to normal

It scares me just how much I have forgotten about Windows and how it works, but for an underlying OS, it seems prettyΒ  stable and responsive, and very usable on my oldish hardware.

Watch this space for more adventures from a linux user on Windows πŸ™‚

5 thoughts on “Surely Not? Linux User Moves to Windows 7?

  1. Spoke too soon, not long after writing this post, I was greeted with a BSOD (admittedly the first one I had seen) after I tried to access an ext3 partition. I thought that maybe those days were gone πŸ™

  2. OK, some additional apps used:

    1. Photofiltre for image editing and management
    2. Komposer for html wysiwyg editing/authoring
    3. Winamp for mp3 playing
    4. Sync Toy for synchronising files and backup
    5. Adobe Reader 9
    6. CutePDF Writer – for pdf creation
    7. Copernic for desktop search
    8. IPDL – for iplayer downloads
    9. ReNamer – for renaming files
    10.Mp3 Tag Tools
    11.DriveSpacio – for visual assessment of file space
    12.JDirPrinter – output directory listings
    13.Projectx – java program for demuxing ts files

    All freeware, all helping to emulate the setup on Xubuntu

  3. Small update – in trying to get a triple booting (at least triple) I needed to shuffle stuff around. This killed W7 and access to my XP install, so I decided to wipe both and start again, especially as W7 was BSODing after exactly 31 minutes!?*

    Also stuck another 1GB of ram on board

    Learnt a few things along the way, if you use gparted to copy a partition, it retains the UUID of the original – so you can end up with two partitions with the same UUID? – Tricky when you want to use the UUID to boot from in grub?

    Anyway, installed XP first, followed by W7, testing bot sequences along the way, before using PartedMagic Live Cd to reset grub. Checked booting again and everything works.

    One big problem I believe I have solved was a problem with Audio playback in W7. Loading up a playlist either from local or networked files, in any program – WMP12/VLC/Winamp resulted in playback stopping randomly -v annoying. Tried all sorts but finally had a look in Audio Devices, to see that W7 had chosen my “Line In” as the default. I switched this to speakers and since then no problems πŸ™‚

    So now happily triple booting with all three systems and still fairly impressed with W7.

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