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Seven Tips and Tricks for Windows 7

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Are you thinking about upgrading to Windows 7 or have you done so already? If so, review these seven tips and tricks. Eric Geier shows you how Windows 7 can save you time and how you can get the very best from your upgrade.
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Are you thinking about upgrading to Windows 7, or have you done so already? If so, review these seven tips and tricks. This article shows you how Windows 7 can save you time and how you can get the very best from your upgrade.

#1: Pick a Different Windows 7 Edition During Install

As with Vista, the Windows 7 install disc has the power to install any edition, from Starter to Ultimate. However, unlike Vista, the Win 7 install disc doesn't by default let you choose the edition during setup.

Setup reads which edition to install from a small configuration file named ei.cfg, that's preloaded on the disc for the particular edition that was bought.

As with Vista, it's possible to install a different edition from what you bought, or different from the install disc you're using.

You have 30 days from installation to activate Windows with a valid license key—and even more if you manually extend it. At the end of the grace period, you can activate it or reinstall the same or different edition.

The trick to changing the installing edition is to edit the ei.cfg file on the disc, which varies depending upon whether you have an actual DVD or a disc image (ISO) file:

  1. If you have an actual DVD, you first need to rip the data off of it.
  2. Download a CD/DVD utility, like the free InfraRecorder, which does disc ripping and burning. In other words, create an ISO image of the disc and save it to the computer. If you already have an ISO image of the Windows 7 install disc, that's great.
  3. Now download a disc image utility, such as the free WinImage, which can open and edit the ISO image. You can simply delete the ei.cfg file in the sources directory to have Windows 7 Setup prompt you for the desired edition (see Figure 1).
  4. Alternatively, you can edit the configuration file to change which edition Windows 7 Setup will automatically install. To do this, change the EditionID to one of the following:
    • Ultimate
    • Professional
    • HomePremium
    • HomeBasic
    • Starter
  5. Once you're done making the changes to the ISO image, you can use InfraRecorder to burn it onto a blank DVD or possibility mount it to a virtualization program such as Microsoft Virtual PC or VirtualBox.
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