Friday, 16 January 2009

Windows 7 Woes

windows_7 Microsoft recently made the new edition of Windows available on there website as a Public Beta.  Windows 7 is available for download as both 32bit and 64bit versions.

I am currently using the Public Beta of Windows 7 32bit on my Acer Aspire One netbook, and thus far have experienced no major, and very few minor issues, however after installing it on my gaming PC I did notice one major problem, and it seems that I may be the only one to experience the issue.

After running Windows 7, 64bit edition on my gaming PC for a few days with no problems whatsoever, I had to burn an .iso file to a CD containing an nLite’d version of Windows XP that I was experimenting with on another Acer Aspire One.  It was my intention to write up an article on how to create a custom Windows XP installation specifically for using with the Aspire One netbook.  However, Nero, nor any other of my CD burning apps would see my DVDRW drive.

I had not needed to use the drive since installing Windows 7, so had not noticed that it was not available under “Computer”, especially since most applications and games I have on CD are stored on my hard disk as .iso files which I run by mounting the .iso with PowerISO software in a virtual DVD drive.

After a little investigation I noted that under Device Manager the drive was displayed alongside a yellow triangle icon display an exclamation mark [!], and after calling up the properties Windows announced that the driver could not be loaded since it was unsigned.

I played around with various settings, looked for a signed driver, tried to load a Windows own driver and several other troubleshooting attempts, but could not resolve the issue.

I figured that maybe the drive itself had become faulty, son removed it from my PC and installed it in another PC running Windows XP to test this theory to no avail.  Windows XP found the drive, installed the correct driver and burned a CD using Nero 7 without issue.

At this point I thought that maybe, just maybe the SATA cable that connected to the drive and my motherboard had become damaged, so installed it back into my PC, checking the SATA cable was securely in the sockets at both the motherboard and drive ends and tested again.  Nothing.  So I replaced the cable with the one from my Windows XP PC, which was obviously fine since the drive operated properly in that PC.  Still the same result was seen in Device Manager, while no drive was seen under Computer or Computer Management.

In desperation I extracted the driver from a Windows XP CD and attempted to load that one in place of the Windows 7 driver, but it refused to accept it, stating that the best driver for the drive was already loaded.

In the end I resolved to reinstall Vista 64bit, which ran without issue, and sure enough the drive was correctly displayed and the driver loaded.

Not wanting to be defeated by Windows 7’s refusal to accept my DVDRW, I decided that the install had failed at some point to correctly load the driver database, so reinstalled Windows 7 once again, hoping that would resolve the issues, however it did not.  I once again reinstalled Vista and am now running that again with no problems whatsoever.

How can Microsoft have got this so wrong?  SATA DVDRW’s have been around for long enough not to have problems under XP or Vista, so why the issue with 7?  Obviously 7 is still in Beta stage, however this is a fundamental issue, and should not be occurring in my view.  I shall try again with a new download of the Windows 7 .iso in a few days, or weeks, but for now Windows 7 is not finished enough for my main PC.

On the flip-side, my Aspire one seems to love Windows 7, it performs faster than when running Vista, and seems to be on par with XP.

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