I'm working as a windows .net developer, software architect or whatever you wanna call it. My primary operating system is Windows Vista, but that could be easily changed in near future. I'm using HP EliteBook 8530p laptop with preinstalled Windows Vista. I have asked my superiors about installing Win XP on machine but I've got no for an answer because the company policy is to use as newer software as we can. I was asking for XP because I didn't liked Vista memory requirements. For a few days I was tweaking Vista services and stuff, uninstalling HP preinstalled utilities and so on. In the end I'm not happy with Vista yet, but it is more pleasant to use than before, maybe I'll blog about it too :)
Few days ago, I've got the incredible idea TM :) , I have asked if I can install Windows 7 on my work EliteBook, this time answer was yes. I am planning to use brand new Windows 7 RC as a first operating system, so the only way I could do that, I must be able to run all my work software on Windows 7. So it means, I need to run at least Microsoft Office 2007, Visual Studio 2005, Visual Studio 2008, Microsoft Sql Server 2005, Sql Server Reporting Services 2005...

First you have to download Windows 7 RC ISO image and product key from Microsoft web http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/default.aspx. You can use CDBurnerXP to burn image to DVD. The only thing we need to continue installation is partition for new Windows. I have 200+ GB hard drive in my laptop, it's already divided into three partitions (C: Vista, D: HP_TOOLS, F: HP_RECOVERY) by HP or some reseller. My first partition have enough free space to for Windows 7, so I must down size it, and create new partition from free space left. I have used free software EASEUS Partition Master Home Edition for partitioning operation to create new 30 GB partition. This operation needs exclusive disk lock, so it asks for restart after we click apply and restarts the system to do it's work. On my machine this process was about 15-20 minutes long because I have moved my new partition to the end of the disk so it took 4 operations to do this (resize C, move D, move E, Create F), in normal resize/create scenario it should be much quicker.

Now we're ready to do the stuff. Put your fresh burned DVD into your drive, restart and press any key to boot from DVD. If your machine doesn't boot DVD, just like mine didn't, just go to BIOS and find option to enable boot from DVD first. When you get to installation screen of Windows 7 choose your installation language and click next. On the next screen you choose installation type, be sure to pick Custom (advanced) and not the upgrade! Next we must pick our new partition and Windows 7 are installing (be careful with this,  if you choose wrong partition you could loose your data on that partition). Windows 7 installation is pretty straightforward process. After few restarts, without our interaction, new Windows 7 is up and running. You have noticed that you have two options on your boot screen, one for Windows 7 and other for Windows Vista. When Windows 7 starts for the first time, you get the usual stuff, create user and so on.

After some customization of Windows 7, I have installed few drivers for local devices, but most of them was working out of the box, even web cam on this EliteBook was recognized and installed correctly. I have installed few more utilities I'm used to have around, then I did Windows Update and machine was ready for other software installation.

One thing we should do before Installing Visual Studios is to install IIS web server because it is not in the default options for Windows 7 installation. We install it via Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows Features on or off. Windows features dialog appears and Internet Information Services tree node is the Windows Feature we need, so we check it and click Ok to install it. Don't be affraid to explore Internet Information Services tree node just to get to know what options IIS have. Please note that you don't need Windows installation DVD at this point anymore, you can install Windows Features without Windows 7 installation DVD too.
Now I'm after Visual Studio's... Installation of Visual Studio 2005 gives us message about knowing problems for this operating system, but installation goes without problems. When it comes to Sql Server Express installation, it show the same message about knowing problems, but ignore it, SP1 for Sql Server will handle this. When we're done with Visual Studio 2005 installation, we must install Service Pack 1 for it, and after that we must install Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Update for Windows Vista. Remember, we still got incompatible Sql Server 2005 Express. Just do the windows update procedure, and it takes care of the Sql Server. When we start Visual Studio 2005 it informs us that it needs administrative rights to work. Disable that message box and we're done with Visual studio 2005. It's working without problems now.
Installing Visual Studio 2008 is even more easier, we just run the installation and Service Pack after that and it's ready to use. I have installed ASP.NET MVC, and Silverlight Tools too, because I need them for work or for learning new stuff.

We're done with basic software installation, now I have only one custom step that I like to do. I have installed CCleaner to delete possible temporary files after software installation, and to check for registry issues that could possibly pop out after alot of software installations.

I'm working for a few days on Windows 7 for a primary operating system. So far it's faster than Windows Vista, it uses less memory for same set of programs that I'm running on Vista.

The only thing that bugs me now is that boot loader option, but we'll configure it in next blog post.