Posted July 17, 2010 by Stephan Earl in Home Studio Setup

My Move from Vista to Windows 7

I recently took a leap of faith and switched the operating systems on both of my music production PC computers from Vista x64 and Vista x32 to Windows 7.  Changing operating systems on your music production computer typically goes against the adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t break it”; however I’m happy to report this change turned out to be much better than I anticipated.

Windows 7 is leaps and bounds over Vista in terms of speed and stability.  After installing Vista I usually had to spend a couple of hours or so cleansing and stripping it down of all the garbage that was pre-installed and slowing down my system.  None of that was needed with Windows 7.  It installed on both computers quickly and easily with only a graphics driver needing to be downloaded and installed after the upgrade.

Since I was upgrading from Vista, all of my existing software, settings and preferences carried over.  I read this before installation, but was most shocked when it actually worked.  I prepared myself for days of reinstalling software and this wasn’t needed at all.  I had Cubase up and running in no time.  Although upgrading to Windows 7 from Vista doesn’t wipe out your hard drive data, upgrading from Windows XP does.

Next up for me was to begin testing my plugins and Network and see how things work.  One by one I keyed up my arsenal of virtual instruments and audio processing software and everything worked perfectly.  There were a few plugins that required me to go to their websites for the most current installation download, but no hiccups other than that.

The one semi-casualty was FX Teleport.  This software allows the passing of audio and MIDI through a network from a slave computer to a host computer (see post here). FX Teleport actually worked fine, but the challenge was that the FX Teleport server could no longer find the host computer to add new instruments.  This means I would have been OK with the setup as it was, but if I ever purchased a new VST and desired to place it on the server computer I wouldn’t have been able to.  This could have been the result of a Windows 7 firewall issue, but in the end I decided to add 4 gigs of RAM to my primary Windows 7 x64 bit computer topping it at 8 gigs of RAM.  Thus I turned my two computer setup into a one computer setup.

So here’s where I learned that Windows 7 was in a whole different league than Vista.  Running Cubase on my Vista system caused frequent crashes and I had constant stability problems.  It’s what prompted me a few years ago to add my laptop into the mix and network my VSTs through FX Teleport.  This lightened the load and improved stability.

Now for the first time, I am running Cubase, Pro Tools, Ableton Live, all VST instruments, and processing plug-ins from one Windows 7 x64 bit 8 gig RAM system with better stability and speed than I’ve previously experienced on a PC.

So, if you’re thinking of making the switch from Vista to Windows 7, I say go for it… I think you’ll be pleased with its performance.

Stephan Earl

Composing, recording and producing music in the home studio environment for over 25 years, musician and author Stephan Earl now enjoys sharing his home studio setup experience with other home studio recording musicians via HomeMusicProduction.com.