Be cautious reading “Be cautious upgrading to Windows 7” articles

I came across an article today, “Be cautious upgrading to Windows 7”, written by Troy Wolverton at the San Jose Mercury News,and distributed via wire service.  Although the author claims to have upgraded to Windows 7 twice, there are some serious inaccuracies in the article.  I actually did four installs (two “clean”, two upgrades), all in the name of science.

If you’re one of the millions of PC owners still running Windows XP, your computer may not be powerful enough to run the new software. Worse yet, you have a tedious and long upgrade process ahead of you, essentially requiring you to erase everything on your current hard drive and reinstall it.
If you are upgrading from XP, the process is even more time-consuming. Microsoft requires XP users to do a "clean" installation. That means the installation disc will wipe out everything on your hard drive, including not only the old operating system, but all of your programs and personal data, including documents, songs, photos and bookmarks.

This is absolutely wrong—you do not have to format your hard drive when upgrading from XP to Windows 7.  If you perform a Custom Install, the Windows 7 installer will put all your old Windows XP, program files and documents and settings in a folder named windows.old.  Windows 7 will install in c:\windows, just like XP was before.  Once this installation is done, you can then move your documents and settings from windows.old to wherever you want them in your new Users folder.  Your programs will not operate, they will need to be reinstalled under Windows 7.  Once you have your programs reinstalled and running, and your documents moved around, you can delete windows.old and free up some space.

This is like a “fresh install”, in that you get a completely fresh operating system, but without having to destroy your data.  It’s a pretty good option.

You can download a program called "Windows Easy Transfer" from Microsoft that will simplify the backup part of the process. The program collects your user data and allows you to transfer it to an external hard drive or USB drive or to another computer on your network.

Once you finish installing Windows 7, you can use "Easy Transfer," which is built into the new operating system, to move your personal files back to your computer and put them into their appropriate places.

Easy Transfer can be used to migrate settings for an in-place upgrade, but it’s really meant for moving stuff to a new computer.  Easy Transfer packages up all your Documents and Settings from your old PC into a single file, and then restores your settings on the new PC.  You’ll have your backgrounds, documents, cookies, favorites, email contacts and messages, etc. on the new PC, just like the old one.  Novice users may prefer this route, power users might like the windows.old method.

But there’s no simple way to reinstall all your programs. Indeed, if you’re like me, you may be at a loss trying to find all your old discs_or you may have software that you downloaded online that may be difficult to reinstall without repurchasing it first.

Ahh, but there is!  See my review of Laplink’s Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant.

Back up your stuff: It’s a good idea anytime you upgrade your OS; it’s mandatory if you’re running XP.

Even better, get an external hard drive and image your machine.  Get Easeus ToDo Backup, clone your current hard drive, then install Windows 7.  If the install fails for some reason, or you want to go back to your old OS, you can restore your PC from the clone, and you’re back in business just as before.

Installing IIS 7 on Windows 7 for .NET Development

We’ll set up the basic features for developing in ASP.NET.  Most websites should be up and running with no problems.

To start the installation, go to Start >> Control Panel >> Programs.  Under Programs and Features, click “Turn Windows features on or off”.


The Windows Features window will open, and you’ll see Internet Information Services listed.  For .NET Development, installation is not as simple as just checking the top level checkbox.


Expand Internet Information Services >> Web Management Tools.  We need a way to manage our server, and in Windows 7, we use the IIS Management Console.  After you expand Web Management Tools, choose IIS Management Console.


Now expand Application Development Features, and select .NET Extensibility and ASP.NETISAPI Extensions and ISAPI Filters will automatically be selected when you choose ASP.NET.


Looking down the list a little, we see Common HTTP Features has something selected.  Expanding this node shows Default Document is chosen—it’s automatically selected when you chose ASP.NET above.  If your site includes HTML pages or other static content, you should also choose Static Content.  Most sites have some form of static content, so it’s a good idea to check this option.


Expand Health and Diagnostics, there are a couple options we need—HTTP Logging and Tracing.  Some of the other features are nifty, but setting them up is beyond the scope of this post.


Finally, you’ll see Security also has an option chosen—Request Filtering is automatically selected when you chose ASP.NET above.  For our local development machines, you need to select Windows Authentication, it’s necessary for debugging.


That’s all we need for basic ASP.NET development.  Click OK, and Windows setup will install IIS and the features we selected.  They’re not kidding about “several minutes”.  Be patient.  When the installer is done, it just disappears.


You can test your installation by navigating to http://localhost/, and if you see the IIS 7 splash screen, you’re good to go.


You’ll find the IIS Management Console in the same place as before, under Computer Management.  If this is your first experience with the IIS 7 console, it’s going to be a little mind boggling.  Everything is different.  To learn more about IIS 7 in depth, check out  In addition to the tutorials, there are loads of modules to extend the functionality of IIS.

McHappy Day 2009 – Support Children in Need

November 20th will mark an important day for children around the world.  On that day, McDonald’s restaurants, joining more than 30,000 Golden Arches Locations around the world, is celebrating the 7th Annual McHappy Day fundraiser.  Since 2002, it has raised $150 million for RMHC and children’s charities around the world.  McDonald’s Restaurants across the country will donate $1.00 from the sale of every breakfast and beef sandwich Extra Value Meal to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Through much of the month, customers can also support RMHC through “Give a Hand” an in-restaurant program that exchanges a $l.00 donation to the charity for the opportunity to autograph and hang a paper hand in McDonalds.

On November 20th, won’t you do your part by stopping by your local McDonald’s neighborhood restaurant with your family and purchase either breakfast meals or a beef sandwich extra value meals to support the Ronald McDonald House Charities? Also, stop by during the month of November and give a dollar for “Give A Hand” and hang your child’s autograph in the restaurant.   What better way to help children in need by supporting the RMHC.

Misfits Pumpkin Lightshow

This is my buddy Matt’s Haloween creation:

My music synced pumpkin created on 10-23-09 at HackPittsburgh ( The animation was created using an Arduino microcontroller (, a candle led from a craft store led tea light. and a blinkm ( The music synchronization was done with custom software written in VB.Net.

Direct Link:

MSDN Roadshow and Nerd Dinner

The MSDN Roadshow has been rescheduled for 11/12/2009, sign up at

Silverlight Data Access and Windows 7 for Developers

Join Microsoft Evangelists Dani Diaz, G. Andrew Duthie, and David Isbitski as they tour the Mid Atlantic this Fall presenting an afternoon packed full of cutting edge tips and techniques for developers and architects.

With two longer sessions, we’ll dig deeper into data access in Silverlight, and check out the most important features in Windows 7 for Developers.

Free admission and a chance to score some surprise giveaways to boot!

Reservations are required, and seating is limited. Register today to reserve your seat.


Data Access and Network Options in Silverlight

Wondering about the most effective way of getting data into your Silverlight application? Trying to sort out the different options available? Then this session is for you. We’ll open up with an overview of the different networking and data access techniques available in Silverlight. Then, we’ll dive into examples of using each of these technologies, and along the way we’ll also examine the role these technologies play in other .NET applications. Finally, we’ll show you the Sample Data feature in Expression Blend 3, and the best method for transitioning from Sample Data to production data in your applications.

200 Level | 1 hour 45 mins

What’s new in Windows 7 for Developers

Windows 7 has many improvements in both performance and user interface features that you should be taking advantage of when developing your applications. In this session we’ll cover an overview of coding those features users will expect such as Libraries, the new Taskbar, and Jump Lists. Next up is taking advantage of several performance improvements like Trigger Start services and the new Windows Troubleshooter. Finally, we’ll show you how to add several of the new interface options you won’t want to miss including Multi-Touch and the Ribbon Menu.

200 Level | 1 hour 45 mins

This goodness to be followed by a nerd dinner, RSVP at

Installing Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 on Windows 7

To run SQL Server 2008 on Windows 7, you need to update it to SP1.  There are "known issues".  Also, SQL Server 2008 BIDS will not install on Windows 7 unless you have updated VS 2008 to SP1.

If you're doing a fresh install of VS 2008 and SQL 2008 on Windows 7, install in this order:

  1. VS 2008, WITHOUT SQL Server Express
  2. VS 2008 SP1
  3. MSDN Library for VS 2008 SP1 (if you're so inclined)
  4. SQL Server 2008
  5. SQL Server 2008 SP1

This will run you a couple hours.

Latest Refcardz – Agile Adoption: Improving Software Quality

Agile Adoption: Improving Software Quality

This Refcard is a quick introduction to Agile practices that can help you improve the quality of your software  by reducing defects, improving design, sharing the theory of the code and building less.  It includes an introduction of how to choose the practices for your organizational context.

Get a free download at

October PGHDOTNET Meeting – An Introduction to .NET RIA Services

Please note that our October PGHDOTNET meeting will NOT be on Tuesday, October 13th.  It will be on Thursday, October 22nd.

October PGHDOTNET Meeting – An Introduction to .NET RIA Services
 Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
 Microsoft Offices, 30 Isabella St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212
 Registration details:
This session is an introduction on how Microsoft is simplifying the traditional n-tier application pattern by bringing together ASP.NET and Silverlight.  Join Dani Diaz and learn about patterns for working with data, implementing reusable and independently testable application logic and application services that readily scale with growing requirements.
Danilo Diaz, aka Dani, is a Developer Evangelist for Microsoft's Mid-Atlantic State district. In this role, he helps developers understand Microsoft's product offerings and strategy. Prior to joining Microsoft, he worked at Perficient Philadelphia where he helped establish their Mobility Practice. Dani has over 8 years of experience in the IT industry. His ability to identify and utilize the right blend of technologies to solve business needs has been an asset on all projects he has worked on. Dani's first .NET project was a Web-based eLearning application which was built on ASP.NET 1.0 Beta 2. As a consultant he has served the roles of system architect, technical lead, developer and mentor on various large and small projects. He has worked on SOA-based applications, Web applications, Windows applications and mobile systems.

This event is sponsored by DiscountASP.NET, a global leader in ASP.NET Web Hosting Services.