Windows 7 Upgrade…. DONE!

win7I posted a summary of my Windows 7 upgrade experience on my tech blog. I spent most of yesterday and today doing the upgrade, installing the OS, application files, etc. I’m now up in full product mode, writing blog entries, coding new apps, and checking email once again.

Now, I did decide to make the switch from a 32-bit OS to 64-bit, so along with that came some problems. Mainly, with device drivers for my TV Tuner card, scanner, and printer. Ultimately, I replace the tuner card and scanner with models that supported the 64-bit OS, and I bought a new printer-to-USB cable for my ancient HP Laser Printer. So I solved my driver incompatibility issues by going with new hardware.

For a TV Tuner card, I purchased a Hauppauge WinTV-1850 MCE which is designed to work with Windows 7 Media Center. This card was priced at $120 US from Fry’s Electronics, and comes with a special remote control. It does have a IR emitter to control a cable or satellite set-top box (for changing channels), however, it doesn’t work with the Windows Media Center application. As such, I continued to use the special Media Center USB receiver-remote control that I was using for the last several months with my old Vista system. As with my old WinTV-150 tuner card, the 1850 model also comes with a hardware MPEG encoder which handles the video compression (and not relying on the desktop PC’s processor).

The one surprise I encountered, is that Windows 7 Media Center no longer saves recorded TV shows in DVR-MS format. Instead, they use a new WTV format, which most utilities cannot edit. So it isn’t very easy to scan a WTV file for commercials and cut them out, or convert the WTV file to WMV format for my Zune HD. To get around this, I used a converter program called “wtvconverter.exe” (supplied with Windows 7) to convert the WTV file back to DVR-MS format. Now, I can use my standard method (DVRMSToolBox) to automatically convert my recorded TV shows to WMV format for my Zune HD. All I did was add in one more step in  my DVTMSToolBox profile to do the WTV-to-DVR-MS conversion.

Speaking of Zune, I was able to download and install the 64-bit version of the Zune Software without a hitch. My Zune HD easily synced with my 64-bit Win 7 desktop PC, transferring my videos and music files with no problems. Whew!

So am I glad I did the upgrade? I’m sort of indifferent about it. I probably could have stayed with Vista 32-bit and continued using it for another year or so, but constantly reading about how great Windows 7 is would ultimately wear me down enough to do the upgrade.

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