Thursday, January 18, 2007


Vista, Microsoft's newest OS, sure is pretty. And it runs pretty fast. It's a pain to get set up though. I spent the better part of the day trying to install Vista on my desktop, a 2.6GHz Dual Core with 2 GB RAM. According to MS, my machine is a prime candidate for Vista, so I decided to take the plunge.

First off, I'm installing an MSDN version that comes with our subscription at work (this is my work machine). This is a January, 2007 release, so is probably what's going to be released to the public at the end of the month. I installed Vista on a machine that has been running XP Pro. The installation process gives you a choice of performing an upgrade on your machine and preserving programs and documents that are already installed. Of course it's a very good idea to keep a backup of everything just in case. The other option is to perform a full install of Windows Vista.

I started out by trying the upgrade. The process seemed to move along quite nicely for about 30 minutes, but after that it hung up. From this point, I tried to cancel the install but could not, everything was just locked up. So, from this point, I had no choice but to do a hard reboot of the machine. I restarted the install process and once again, got to about the same point and the install hung. At this point, I wanted to see if I could roll back the install to XP as that is an option given in the install. No luck, the machine would not boot into any OS.

At this point I figured I better just opt for the full install. This seemed to go well for about 30-45 minutes before hanging. I was getting frustrated at this point, to the point where I considered dropping back and just re-installing XP. I hadn't worked on it this long to just quit, so I tried again. This time was it! Finally, the install proceeded without a hitch. Very easy to set up once you get the OS installed. Setup wizards were very intuitive and should be easy for even the most non-tech-savvy type to handle! One thing that I have noticed is that I had problems with Vista locking occasionally for about 30 seconds. I was never able to nail down exactly what thread or process was causing this to happen as it has finally quit, but I think it had to do with my graphics card (NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS) and the drivers. After installing the drivers for Vista and working through some of the settings, I'm not getting that lock up anymore.

Overall, I like Vista. The graphics are pretty, the OS is fast. I don't think the search function is quite as hot as MS has touted, but it's improved. Organization is a little improved over XP and other previous Windows versions, but it might take you a while to get used to it. So far all of my applications are working without a hitch. I don't recommend non-techy people installing Vista right now though. If you're uncomfortable with having to work through install issues or wiping out your OS to install something fresh, I'd wait a bit. MS is sure to have an update out sooner rather than later.

I'll keep you updated on any new developments, if there are any.

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