Windows 7 RC looked good until..
.. the realization that installation of 7 RC overwrites manufacturer MBR’s making it more difficult to access recovery partitions than just pressing CTRL + F11 or whatever key combo does the trick. One has to use any Vista DVD and intercept the installation in order to get to a command prompt and finally the recovery partition. Fortunately, Vista images are laid very quickly indeed, and that is a good thing because the time taken to install updates thereafter takes forever.
All of this is way beyond the average end user who was not supplied with a DVD in the first place and who never realized the importance of creating one.
Once on track..
.. the first round of updates saw ninety seven on the list. Then a few more, yet more, and still no sign of SP1. In the end, I manually downloaded and installed both service packs. Two days later, Vista Home Premium and Office 2007 have finally quit asking for more.
The owner of the Dell laptop now has a computer which is not going to shut down in the next few days and continue to behave like that until Windows 7 RC is replaced. There wasn’t enough free cash to upgrade to Windows 7 RTM presently, but the laptop is working well running Vista Home Premium. It is not underpowered as it has 2gb RAM, unlike many computers which were sold underspecified in a bid to keep the price down. Realistically, the only difference that the owner will notice is the appearance.
The future is not looking too good though..
Generally for a machine like the above, I would suggest waiting for Windows 8 if funds available to upgrade in the foreseeable future are out of reach. The problem with this is that support for Vista home versions will mostly likely end before the public release of Windows 8. I know that Windows Vista did little for the reputation of Microsoft, but more than a few people still bought into it, and they deserve better support than they are going to get.