Thursday, May 21, 2009

Windows 7 Adventures Part 1: Converting My Home Network to Windows 7

I've been casually playing with Windows 7. So far I've been taking the safe road: just loading it on test laptops at work. ;-) My initial opinion from those tests has left me highly impressed with Windows 7. But being the perennially cautious guy (I'm know at work for a quote: "If you didn't test it, it DOESN'T work!") I decided it's high time to test Windows 7 in a live environment on computers I depend on. I decided the first test would be my home network.

What does my home network consist of? 3 Thinkpad laptops, 1 Dell Workstation, 1 SNOM IP P phone handset and a Linksys WRT54G wireless router. Also there is a OfficeJet J6480 WIFI printer. Everything was Windows XP Pro except one Vista Ultimate laptop. My list of applications to be installed: Office 2009 Enterprise, Adobe Reader 9, PDFCreator, Live Mesh (web network drive), iTunes* and PowerBible (a Bible research program I use). Oh, I do use AVG too. Since Landis Computer manages networks I'm pretty defined in what I install so that is pretty much the list.

So far I have "clean installed" Windows 7 the 2 most used Thinkpads. How did the upgrade go? I keep shaking my head in amazement. The initial install is brainless and quick.

I did need to manually load the ATI video drivers on the one Thinkpad to get full resolution and Aero to work. I'm not sure why because the other Thinkpad is the same model and I didn't need to. But a small blip there.

After I got AVG and all Windows updates going I decided it was time to install my Wifi connected network HP Office Jet J6480. I took a deep sigh because I figured THIS is where we will get stuck. I tried the original HP install disc first: It said the OS was not supported. Ok, that's understandable. I went to my old ways: Google. A couple posts noted that J6480 doesn't work on Win7 and complaints. Then I thot: Why not use Win7 Add Printer Wizard? My mind was saying it probably won't work but I tried the Win7 Add Printer Wizard and 6 clicks later the OfficeJet was installed! Wow!

What were the steps?
Start > Devices & Printers > Add Printers > Add Network Printer...
Next Windows 7 will check the network (including WIFI) and show you a list of printers. You just click on it and it's installed.

From Windows 7 Stuff
I continue to amazed by Windows 7 in spite of my skepticism. ;-)

Windows 7 Adventure Parts to follow: How did my Applications work? Could I easily connect my HP Mobile phone?

* I won an iPod at the SMBNation conference a year or two ago and sold it to stay loyal to my Microsoft roots. ;-) But then this spring I found an iPod Nano complete with headsets lying in my front yard! After making sure it was not any of my neighbors I began playing with it and am now hooked!

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