I recently downloaded a copy of Windows 7 Milestone 3 (M3). Curiosity had gotten the best of me. This is the same copy of Windows 7 that Microsoft has just passed out at its recent Professional Developers Conference, PDC. At this conference Microsoft demoed the newest update to their UI (or UX as they like to say now) but unfortunately those new features aren’t in this build as they weren’t stable enough to pass out to the public.
So after I downloaded Win7 M3 I wanted to get it installed to play around with it. I had two options.
- Microsoft Virtual PC
- My old PC I built in 2000/2001.
I figured that since I don’t use my old PC for anything any more I’d see how it would fair. The following are my notes.
Windows 7 M3 Notes – Oct 31 2008
1GHz AMD Athlon
512MB of PC133 RAM
Motherboard ABIT KT7A
Turn on PC 5:40PM
Win7 DVD Boot Splash Screen, Pressed “Install Now” – 5:42PM
Create 40GB Partition – 5:44PM
away (Halloween Stuff)
Create Password Screen 6:11PM
-Windows Update Settings
-Date & Time
Preparing Desktop 6:13PM
Usable Desktop 6:14PM
Total install time: 34 min’s
So, yes it installed just fine on my 7 year old PC. However, there were problems that I encountered after the install that I couldn’t resolve.
The biggest problem of all was the lack of driver support for old hardware. I couldn’t find drivers for either of my two old 10MB/s NICs, my Linksys Wireless B NIC, nor my ATI Radeon 8500. So I was unable to get any network connection or use my graphics card in any real capacity. However, after having those problems I was still able to use Windows 7, obviously I didn’t have Aero enabled and the initial indexing was taking a toll on the HDD but it was a fairly usable experience for a 7 year old PC running a beta of the latest Microsoft Windows. I was impressed, it ran comparably to Windows XP with generic graphic drivers, usable but a fair amount of ‘clipping.’
Here is a pic from the System Info page.
Here is the breakdown of my Windows hardware score (the reason for the 1.0 is due to the fact that I can only install the default SVGA drivers and not any specific ATI drivers). Also I believe that the HDD is 3-4 years old, which is probably why it scored higher.
So that basically ended that experiment. On the bright side I now know for sure that my old PC needs to be junked… even if it still runs, there isn’t much use for it for me. So sad.
I just finished reinstalling Win7 on Virtual PC so I can play around with it a bit more. A quick note. I used the new Ribbonized version of MSPaint and was pleasantly surprised that, by default, it saves files in the PNG format. While it supports PNG in Vista the default is JPG.
I played around with it a little bit more this morning. I still couldn’t find any Vista Drivers for my Radeon 8500, however I decided to try and install the XP drivers. I was able to install them through the Device Manager but not through the ATI Catalyst install manager. Also every time I shut down or reboot with the XP drivers I get a BSOD. The desktop performance improved slightly but I wouldn’t put it comparable to WinXP with the proper drivers. I was able to increase the Graphics score.
After seeing my Radeon 8500 get a Graphic score of 1.9 I can see why neither ATI or Microsoft would want to support 7 year old hardware… If I still had my 3dfx 3500 I’d be curious to see how Win7 and Vista score it.
You can see from msinfo32 that the final BIOS update was from 2002.