File: etc/win7 - item number: 0
Your Windows 7 migration problems solved By Woody Leonhard The Windows 7 rollout has gone extraordinarily well, with millions of machines upgraded in just a few weeks. But some Win7 upgraders have encountered problems ranging from installation headaches to missing games to confusing — boy howdy, really confusing — licensing questions. Why does the Windows 7 installer freeze? "I downloaded and ran the Windows 7 upgrade. I keep getting an error message saying, 'We are unable to create or save new files in the folder in which this application was downloaded.' I have all sorts of room on that hard drive. What's happening?" This is the most common installation error I've seen. If you downloaded your Windows 7 upgrade from Digital River, you have my sympathies. Digital River provided order fulfillment for Microsoft's Windows 7 Academic Store. I don't know why, but Digital River decided to offer the download in.box files instead of the more-common.iso format. There was no end of problems with the.box files. Microsoft has a voluminous post on the problems — including resolutions — in its Answers forum. Ultimately, Digital River started offering.iso files. Go back to the Digital River site and download the Win7 upgrade again. Problem solved — after much wailing and gnashing of teeth. "I tried to run an in-place upgrade from Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium, but the installer gets stuck at 62%. I turn off the computer, turn it back on again, and Vista rolls itself back fine. But when I run the Win7 install again, it gets stuck at 62%. Again. Why?" I mentioned in my Nov. 12 Top Story that running a Windows 7 in-place upgrade over Vista is like building a new house on an old landfill — there are reasons why I always recommend custom/clean installs, folks! That said, it seems that 62 is Windows 7's unlucky number. Lots and lots of in-place upgrade attempts stall at 62%, and there seem to be several causes for the problem. Fortunately, the solution is easy — if you know where to find it. Microsoft provides an automated Fix-it button in Knowledge Base article 975253. This service reaches into your Vista machine and adds an "environment variable" called: MIG_UPGRADE_IGNORE_PLUGINS This variable instructs the upgrade installer to ignore a program called IphlpsvcMigPlugin.dll. (Remember Superman and Mr. Mxyzptlk? Must be related.) That does the trick. "I'm trying an in-place upgrade from Vista to Windows 7, and the installer goes into endless reboots. I get an 'installation failed' message and the PC reboots, only to go back to the installation again, a failure, and another boot. Haaaaalp!" There are myriad reasons why this is happening, but one in particular seems to come up fairly frequently. Jerry Ham was able to reproduce the error, as he explains in a blog post on the MS Answers forum. The glitch appears to be caused by a misdirected Documents folder. Thankfully, Jerry's post also provides a solution. Instead of redirecting the Documents folder to a subfolder of Documents also named Documents, Jerry points it to the primary Documents folder. After this change, the upgrade proceeds without a hitch. Hey, where did Windows 7 put my games? "I encountered problems with XP, so I decided to upgrade to Windows 7. I had it installed by a professional. Now when I click Start, Games, I can't see any games! I am a FreeCell addict. Looking on the Web for an answer only made me more frustrated. Who stole my games?" Several people have asked me the same question. I have no idea why your games disappeared, but I do know how to bring them back. Click Start, Control Panel, Programs (in Category view), Programs and Features. Select Turn Windows features on or off in the left pane, make sure the box next to Games is checked, and click OK. The games will then appear on the Start menu, right where they belong. How many upgrades am I allowed per install disc? "I recently upgraded my desktop PC from Vista to Windows 7 and it works beautifully! I also have a laptop running Vista. My question is, can I use the same software to upgrade my laptop as well? Some people have said yes, and some absolutely not — could you help me out here?" Technically, it's possible to use the same DVD to upgrade any number of PCs. But when the time comes to enter the validation key, the second (or third or fourth) machine won't pass muster. Microsoft makes its money by selling those keys, so you'll have to buy one for each system you upgrade. The exception is the Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade Family Pack, which lists for US $150, but you can get it cheaper. The Family Pack lets you use a single key to upgrade three different PCs. Microsoft's Family Pack page provides more information about this multiple-PC upgrade option. "The Windows 7 upgrade box I bought has two DVDs in it — one for the 32-bit version and one for the 64-bit version. Does that mean I can install it on two PCs?" Nope. You can install Windows 7 on as many systems as you like, but the key in the box will activate only one of them. The same key will activate either the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version, but not both. Can I use the OEM version of Windows 7? "I am about to buy a copy of Win7 Pro. I can get it from any number of places, but one in particular [name withheld to protect the guilty] offers it at a very reduced price. I was wondering if you have any info on the legitimacy of this site." A quick search brought up several warnings about the site and company you mentioned. In general, I recommend that people avoid buying OEM system-builder versions of Windows. They aren't supported by Microsoft, and many online stores selling OEM versions are, ahem, less than trustworthy. In spite of what you may have heard — indeed, in spite of what you may have read on the Microsoft site years ago — the OEM license allows you to install an OEM version only on PCs that you or your company sell and support. Confusing? You bet. On Nov. 15, ZDNet blogger Ed Bott posted a very thorough analysis of the situation. Even though many reputable retailers are openly selling the OEM package to end users, the license stipulates that the OEM version may not be installed on a PC that you've built for your own use. Bott recommends in the conclusion to his post that you go ahead and do it anyway. With the price of Win7 Home Premium upgrades running in the fire-sale range, why sweat it? Get an upgrade and don't muck around in the OEM shenanigans. (I'll go into more detail about the Windows 7 system-builder option in a future article.) Why can't I change Starter Edition's wallpaper? "Yes, I know you told me that I shouldn't bother with Windows 7 Starter Edition, but I found a fantastic deal on a netbook with Starter Edition installed. I don't want to pay for Win7 Home Premium. Why can't I change the wallpaper (er, background) on my netbook?" In my July 16 Top Story, I explained why I recommend that netbook users choose Windows 7 Home Premium over Starter Edition. I also discussed in my June 4 Top Story the restrictions Microsoft places on hardware vendors who want to preinstall Win7 Starter Edition. The inability to change wallpaper amounts to little more than a marketing gimmick. It's one of the features that differentiate Starter Edition from the other Windows 7 editions. It also represents one of the carrots Microsoft dangles in front of you to coerce you into paying another hundred smackers or so for a real version of Win7. In fact, changing Starter Edition's wallpaper is easy — if you know the trick. Simply download and install the free MyColors utility from the Stardock Design download page. You'll have to change the entire Win7 theme, because MyColors lets you change only the theme, not the specific wallpaper. MyColors lets you choose a built-in Win7 theme or any of several free themes that are bundled with MyColors. Alternatively, you can buy a theme from Stardock. Can I upgrade 32-bit Win7 to the 64-bit version? "I bought a PC with 32-bit Win7 Home Premium preinstalled. Can I do an in-place upgrade to 64-bit Home Premium?" Nope. The Windows Anytime Upgrade is the collection of products that allow you to upgrade from one version of Windows 7 to another. Unfortunately, Anytime Upgrades don't support a move from 32-bit to 64-bit. You can upgrade, say, Win7 Home Premium 32-bit to Win7 Pro 32-bit — but not to 64-bit. You can't cross the bit divide via an in-place upgrade. Similarly, the regular upgrade versions of Windows 7 don't allow you to move between 32-bit and 64-bit. Your only option is to buy a Win7 Home Premium upgrade package and perform a custom (clean) install. That wipes out your programs and settings, but if you have CDs for all of your applications and you use Windows Easy Transfer (which is on the upgrade DVD), you shouldn't have any problems. It's an expensive solution to a dubious problem, because right now very few people need 64-bit. I went into more detail on the question of 32-bit vs. 64-bit in my Nov. 12 Top Story. And in his Best Software column today (paid content), Ian "Gizmo" Richards provides an in-depth examination of the state of 64-bit desktop computing. Windows 7 has taken the world by storm — rightfully so, in my opinion — but a certain percentage of new Win7 users will have problems no matter what. In upcoming articles, I'll have more answers to your pressing Windows 7 questions. Woody Leonhard 's latest books — Windows 7 All-In-One For Dummies and Green Home Computing For Dummies — deliver the straight story — hold the sugar coating — in a way that won't put you to sleep.
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