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Project Windows 7 – The Prep Work

Good evening,

If you read my last post, you know that I am going to wipe my home laptop clean and install Windows 7 Release Candidate (W7).

Window 7 is the latest version of the Microsoft Windows Operating System, and a much anticipated replacement for Vista. I tried Vista once for three months, and finally wiped my laptop clean and went back to Windows XP. Vista was slllloooooooooowwwwwww. And every 30 seconds (or so it seemed) an annoying box popped up asking me permission to do something. If I wanted to deal with questions every 30 seconds, I would have had kids.

Windows 7 has not officially been released, and will not be until August or September, but the Release Candidate is out for anyone to download, load and test. It has an expiration date of June 2010, so you have plenty of time to figure out if you like it and then buy a copy when it is officially released, or go back to XP. However, unless you are technically inclined, don’t tackle this type of project.

So, tonight I am doing the prep work on my laptop in order to load W7. The most important piece of prep work before upgrading the software on your laptop is to make sure you have a full and complete backup of your data. If you have not read any of my posts on backups, or talked to me about it, I am adamant about backing up your data.

Creating a backup of your data is not rocket science, but it does take a little bit of effort to set it up. I make it simple. I create one directory on my computer where my data gets stored, no matter what the program is. My directory is called “Marys Stuff”. When I install a program that contains data, I make sure during the install that I specify the directory I want data stored in. Any program you install will ask you for the desired data directory during the install, or there are Preferences in the program where you can choose your data directory.

When I backup my data, I use an external hard drive, and I simply copy and paste the “Marys Stuff” directory from my C: drive to the external hard drive.

If you want a worry free, hands-free backup then check out Carbonite. www.carbonite.com. Once you have it set up, it backs up files as you use them, to your account on the Carbonite website.

So, with that said, a few other details you might not think about when doing your backup:

1. If you have not done this, save your bookmarks from Mozilla (or your favorites from Internet Explorer, if you have not yet moved over to Mozilla Firefox). From Mozilla, go into Bookmarks, Organize Bookmarks, and then Backup. Back the bookmarks up to your specified data directory. From IE, go to File, Import and Export, and then follow the wizard to export.

I have wiped out dozens, hundreds of computers over the years, and I have been careful to back up all the music, data, and precious photos of beloved family members, yada yada yada. However, on the rare occasion when I have not made a point to backup the Bookmarks or Favorites, you would think the earth had stopped turning. This is the number 1 most important piece of data to 99% of the worlds population.

2. If you use Quicken or Microsoft Money, or any other piece of very important software that contains financial data, make a backup copy of the backup. After I backed up my Bookmarks tonight, I opened my Quicken software and backed up my data to a secondary file. It is a bit of an overkill, but if I were without that data, my business would go under. I absolutely need to know at all times who owes me money! It just takes a moment to do, and is well worth the time.

3. If you use RoboForm (c’mon, one of the best programs on the face of the planet. . . www.roboform.com), back it up. Also be cautious and print out the listing of passcards.

Surprisingly, I did not have a lot of data to backup. I only had 24 GB. That includes all my iPod music and photos.

The backup took less than an hour, and I am now ready to start installing W7. Wheeee!

Stay tuned.

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