So, I'm currently investigating Windows 7 purely out of interest. I've a spare computer kicking about, based on an ASUS motherboard with something like a 2GHz AMD processor and a gig of RAM.
I downloaded the Windows 7 Release Candidate and installed it without any major problems (I decided to stick the 32 bit version on). However, my onboard network card refused to work, at all.. just nothing! I spent ages working at it, trying to install different drivers, play with the connection settings but nothing. There was no network lights on at the other end of the cable, so it appeared that the card wasn't even switched on. Windows 7 kept telling me that it was an 'Unidentified Network', whatever that meant. A bit of probing also made the network dialogue crash!
So, I got a Belkin USB wifi dongle. I figured this could be handy with other machines or laptops, so for £19.99 it wasn't that bad. The model number is F5D7050 and I think that the chipset is important so it's identification (FCC?) number is K7SF5D7050E. The box said that it's Vista compatible (32 & 64 bit), if that's important? I just stuck the CD in, and ran the installer, then connected the dongle. Everything seemed to install correctly, Windows 7 even listed my wifi network. I entered my WPA password into the dialogue box but Windows 7 told me that there was a 'problem'. The network connection was listed as 'Limited Connectivity'.
I restarted the computer.
When we got back into Windows a box popped up having identified the network that I selected before the reboot. It asked me if it was a Home, Work or Public network then went and did some setting up. It asked me about sharing (Files, Printers, etc etc)... I switched all these things off. Then it gave me a 'passcode' to share with my 'homegroup'.. whatever that is!
After this the network displayed as 'Connected', but with 'No Internet Access'. My network does have internet access, as my Macbook is connected at this time....
I went to the Network and Sharing center and clicked on a bit red X that sat between 'Multiple Networks' and 'Internet' on some form of network type diagram. It kinda whirred around for a bit, then the red X went away! So I cancelled the current dialogue and went over to IE, which connected to the web (I had to switch off Detect Proxy Settings, cause that was quite annoying).
So it's finally online.. I think. I'm currently trying to run Windows update.. but it's been going about 10 mins so far and nothing on the screen has changed!
My thoughts: Well, the interface etc is quite nice.. but all this just to connect to a bloomin network? It still doesn't beat the simplicity of my Mac.. I just click the Airport menu, select my network and enter my password. hmm. Let's see how it goes!