Windows Vista

Last night (Friday, Nov 17), I upgraded my PC to Windows Vista. I'm fortunate to have access to the full version through MSDN, so figured that I'd give it a shot.

One thing I would recommend doing is downloading and installing the Windows Upgrade Advisor if you're going to do this. It has a pretty cool feature that scans your PC and lets you know what you may have issue with after upgrade, and what to do about it. You can print it out and have it on hand, meaning that you don't have to remember it all.

So before I did this, I did the natural thing... backups. I have my hard drive partitioned into three logical drives. One for the OS, one for general data, and one for virtual PC images. First I backed up my Outlook email, contacts and rules, Firefox settings, to my data drive, and I then burned a DVD of all my data. I always do a full install when upgrading my OS, so there was no way I was going to trust that my logical partitions wouldn't be wiped out.

Now, the install was actually kind of interesting. I read somewhere that the install was supposed to go pretty fast. I will say that it wasn't blazing, but it was definitely faster than XP. I've done more XP installs than I can remember, and it always seems to take me over an hour to go through the bare install. After that comes the inevitable customizing, which usually costs me about a day. Vista was way faster than that for sure. Within an hour, I was up and running, the only unnerving part of the install being that the screen tends to go black several times for more than 5 seconds at a time. It's not in my nature to be patient, so it was hard to ride some of those out. 😉

One of the things that surprised me about the installation was that I didn't see a way to reformat the existing partition on the drive to start truly fresh. It identified that there was another windows version there, and moved all that info into a "windows.old" folder and left it on the drive. In addition, I had a couple of other directories there that it kept, all of which I was expecting (and would have preferred) to be gone. A few deletes there, though, and all was good.

As with all OS upgrades, it will take a little getting used to. I like the "gadgets" part, which lets me put a CPU clock, weather report, clock and pictures right on my desktop. Its a little weird to work around it at first, and may end up being a fad, but it's some kind of cool "bling" for now. 🙂

One thing we can't forget is that this may be the "Release To Manufacturer" version, but it is exactly that. Many drivers still have not yet been written. I can't install my Photosmart P1000 printer, for example. My video card is also not supported, so I can't get the 1440*900 display I'm used to on my widescreen laptop, and I'm stuck at 1280*1024. It also isn't working quite right for the gaming aspects because of that. One cool thing though, is that Vista does keep track of the drivers that have issue, and you can easily see it. The issues for my system are shown below (you may need to view it in a new window to read it):

Now I just have to hope that Microsoft and the hardware vendors do something about the issues quickly. 🙂

As far as software goes, I've actually had some pretty good luck installing things. I was a little worried that I wasn't going to be able to install some of my favourite programs, but haven't had too much problems. I managed to install Firefox 2.0, as well as Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Instant Messenger, SnagIt 8.0 and the Gmail desktop notifier. Oh, and of course Office 2007, but that one should hardly be a surprise now, should it?

The one program that did gag on me was Symantec's Corporate Antivirus. What really irritates me about that is that one their site, they say that you can get a Vista Trial. Apparently just log in to their download centre, and you should download version 10.2.x. So no problem, I head on in there, and can download 10.0.2. That is the ONLY option. I'm thinking... okay, so maybe someone made a mistake. I download the package and then check my folder only to find that I already had a copy of 10.1.x there! So the only package on Symantec's site that I can get to now is OLDER than the copy I downloaded months ago. What is up with that? And do you think that you can find an email address to contact there? Lord no. I spent longer trying to find contact information on their site than it took me to install Vista! Talk about an irritation. 🙁

At any rate, I'm still trying to get used to it right now, but it seems like a pretty smooth upgrade path to begin with.

2 thoughts on “Windows Vista

  1. Just an addendum to this.

    This evening I reinstalled Vista for fun. Okay, no seriously, I had an issue with a file I couldn't access and I thought I'd screwed something up. So I went back to do a fresh clean install.

    To set the record straight, you CAN do a format on the disk and install a clean copy of Vista. In the setup process, when you are choosing the disk to install Vista on, there is an "advanced" or "options" button. (I can't remember which, but you get the idea.) Apparently, formatting the drive is an advanced task that most users don't need to see when they are upgrading their OS? Personally, I think that's crazy. If you can be trusted to install your OS, why the heck should you not see the format button?

    At any rate, I was back up and running in 40 minutes with both a full install of Vista Ultimate and Office 2007. Not too shabby at all. Another 45 minutes and I had the rest of my applications installed and configured.

    Considering that it used to take an hour or more to install just Windows XP, (let alone the applications), I think that's pretty good! 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Ken Puls Blog » Blog Archive » Canning Vista

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