Stumbling through RC1
Microsoft's timing for Release Candidate 1 of Windows 7 was perfect. I had been living with Build 7000 on my home PC since January and its behavior had been increasingly wonky. It was almost like the build was breaking down and degrading.
Normally, an OS reinstall is a major pain. There's so many apps to reinstall, and in the case of Office, I have to activate it again. Migrating my browser is the hardest part because it while I can save my favorite links, all the accounts and passwords are lost, along with Firefox tweaks.
With RC1, I decided to make the move to 64-bit to begin shaking out my FrankenPC, a home-built monster I constructed from parts acquired at various Fry's Electronics stores around the Valley (yes, I have visited them all. Sunnyvale is my favorite.). The machine had 4GB, with another 4GB sitting in the closet ($32 for 4GB. No wonder memory makers are going broke).
Using 64-bit Windows 7 was my chance to use all of the memory. So, after backing up critical data, I shut down the computer, let it cool, installed the memory, and began the install process. One episode of "Modern Marvels" later, the install was done. Windows saw every piece of hardware, with one exception: my SoundBlaster X-Fi card. No worries, Creative Labs had a driver on its site, and I was all set.