I finally got the additional 8 GB of DDR2-800 RAM I ordered for my primary production system —a QX9650-based Quad Core system built around a Gigabyte X38-DQ6 mobo with an Intel X25M 80GB SSD and nVidia 275 GTX graphics card. That means that I’m going to snapshot the current 32-bit version of that system into a VM, make an image and standard backup, then blow everything away and finally rebuild that system around 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate, to replace an aging and sometimes wonky 32-bit version of the same OS on that system. This build goes all the way back to the initial release of the production version of Windows 7 to MSDN on August 6, 2009. I’ve patched and updated this puppy to keep up with Windows Update ever since and it’s gotten to the point where, as so often happens with heavily used and abused Windows installations, things get flaky from time to time. What does this mean? Today’s System Reliability graph tells the story pretty well:
“Occasional application weirdness” is the best way to experience the issues that I’ve been handling on this machine for the past couple of months: no sooner does reliability hit the max value of 10.0 than I start getting wobbles with tools that include Corel PaintShop Pro, Nitro PDF Reader, or even the InstallShield installer. Various Windows components, including IE 9 and Explorer, have also gone strange on me once or twice as well. Though it’s tempting to blame gremlins or even the phases of the moon, I’m pretty sure I’m dealing with accreted detritus from a well-used and heavily encrusted long-term Windows installation. Thus, it’s probably best to understand what I’m about to do with this system as an extreme example of what Jeff Duntemann calls “de-gunking Windows” (he also contributed to a very fine book of the same name that I’d love to see updated for Windows 7).
As I go through this exercise, I’ll tweet my way through that process (check me out at @edtittel), just as I did a couple of weekends back when I did the Windows 7 Anytime Upgrade on the cheapo but decent Acer 5552 laptop I bought for my family on Rick Broida’s Cheapskate recommendation. At least for this adventure, I’ll be able to use the slipstreamed SP1 version of Windows 7 Ultimate, instead of having to start from the SP0 initial release version of Win 7, applying the upgrade, and then performing the “dance of the 96 updates and SP1 plus” that followed. Stay tuned. If I’m lucky, I’ll do this over the coming weekend before Boss and boy return from their seven-week trip to her family in Germany.