Windows Vista From XP to Vista - one user's experience


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floppybootstomp

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What follows is my experience of changing from Win XP SP2 to Windows Vista Home Premium.

It is written, hopefully, without bias or attitude and it is not a Linux vs Microsoft diatribe.

The political debates and the shortcomings, shortfalls and advantages of various operating systems are, to me, the subject for another thread or six.

I changed more out of curiosity than anything and I figured all Windows users will probably eventually switch to Vista, it’s been around about a year, so I’ll try it. And I quite fancied seeing what games look like using DX10.

So, I purchased an OEM version of Vista from Scan, a UK online supplier, for £65.00. That’s odd in itself because the cheapest I can find a version of Win XP for at time of writing is £90.00. Is this telling us something?

And on to the installation.

My system specs are in my signature but briefly they are:

Intel Core Duo 6600 2.4Ghz, standard speed, not overclocked.
Asus P5B Deluxe Motherboard (non Wi-Fi) Latest Bios
2Gb (2 x 1Gb) Corsair XMS2 C4 PC6400 800Mhz memory
BFG Nvidia 8800GTS 768Mb Video card
Creative X-Fi Xtreme Audio Sound Card
2 x Western Digital Raptor drives in a RAID 0 config

The Raptor/RAID thing is mentioned as they do make a significant contribution to the speed of the operating system.

I checked with the Vista checker thingie that my hardware was compatible and the only problem it threw up was my Epson 4490 Photo Scanner, Vista didn’t supply support for it.

But Epson did supply both drivers and software for this scanner within Vista. Are not Microsoft and Epson talking to each other? Odd, as Epson is a major manufacturer/seller of computer peripherals.

I then downloaded all the drivers I could think of prior to the install: Motherboard Chipset; LAN; RAID Controller; Sound Card; Graphics; Scanner; HP Photo 7960 printer; Brother HL2030 Laser mono printer; Logi cordless Joypad; Logi Joystick; Logi G15 Keyboard and Logi G7 Mouse. I also upgraded to the latest motherboard Bios.

It was comforting to see that Vista drivers were available for every single piece of hardware I had.

XP was already installed on my machine but, even if I’d wanted to, I couldn’t choose to upgrade, Windows told me that the Home Premium Edition didn’t allow that. So I settled for a fresh installation. Vista installed and proceeded to, without giving me any choice, backup my entire XP installation to a file on my hard disk. All 97.4Gb of it to a file named ‘Windows.old’.

So straight off the starting line I’m cheesed off. Deduct 97.4Gb of saved old system from a total of 150Gb hard disk space and it doesn’t really leave much hard disk space does it? If I install this OS in future remind me to format the destination disk first.

After uninstalling Windows.old, which took a good five minutes and was punctuated with prompts asking me if I was sure I wanted to delete such and such a read only file, I got down to installing stuff.

First I installed all the hardware drivers, which presented me with just the one quirk.

Creative supply both sound card drivers and a sound console for Vista. The console really is quite useful because without it the sound is fairly average.

And here’s the quirk: Whenever I play music audio files, no matter in which format, there is no bass. To enable bass I have to go into the Creative console and switch between 5.1 sound and 7.1 sound and back again. Only then do I get bass with my music.

It does, however, sound great. Bass works ok with software applications and movies, no need to tweak. Hopefully Creative or Microsoft will come up with a solution for this.

Here’s a list of all software except for games I have installed and running with no problems whatsoever:

Microsoft Office 2003 with Service Pack 3
(Word; Excel; Publisher; Access; Front Page; Outlook; Powerpoint; Office Project; Visio; One Note; Infopath; Office Tools)
Nero 8 OEM Essentials
Adobe Photoshop 7
Irfanview
Foxit PDF Reader
BOINC
Antivir
Spybot Search and Destroy
Crap Cleaner
Grabbit V2.0 (An old screen grab facility)
Db Poweramp
WS_FTP
Nikon Picture Project
Riva Tuner
Real Alternative player
RS Electronic Catalogue
Winamp

Plus of course the mass of stuff that comes within Vista.

My version of Mailwasher Pro (V4.0) wouldn’t work within Vista only version 6 and up will work within Vista so for now I’m relying on Outlook’s spam filter, which really isn’t very good.

These are the games installed and working fine (with one exception that I’ll detail later):

Bioshock
Call Of Duty
Civilisation 4 & Warlords expansion pack
Call Of Duty 4
Crysis
Dreamfall – The Longest Journey
Far Cry
The Orange Box (Half Life 2 plus several other games)
Halo 2
Flight Simulator X
Need For Speed Most Wanted
Need For Speed Underground 2
Oblivion: Elder Scrolls 4 & 2 expansion packs
Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 & 2 expansion packs
STALKER Shadow Of Chernobyl
The Longest Journey
Timeshift

I would have installed more but I’ve run out of hard disk space, now running with just 20Gb of headroom on hard disk.

Now for two big disappointments.

I have a quirk within the Crysis menu. I can start the game once and play it fine but when I exit and open the game again, my mouse cursor is offset by about a quarter screen, meaning I can’t operate some of the menu buttons with the mouse.

To play Crysis again I have to reboot. I have applied the patch, made no difference.

And now the biggest bummer: Call Of Duty 2 multiplayer doesn’t work. It just won’t hack it. Single player works fine and looks very good indeed but multiplayer is a no no. If it wasn’t for the fact I have a decent second machine running XP Pro SP2 I think this one reason would have been enough for me not to install Vista on the machine I consider to be my main machine.

That’s the hardware and software anomalies covered, here’s some observations:

This OS nannies you. It forever gives you prompts before you want to do anything, constantly asking, more or less ‘Are you sure’ Now I know they’ve tightened up security but I feel like I’m being handled with kid gloves and that Vista considers me to have the IQ of an amoeba.

Apparently this is named UAC and I can disable it but I haven’t as yet, I’ve kinda got used to it, it’s not as annoying as it was initially.

It looks better than XP. It does, it looks gorgeous. Not much else to say there really, it just does. Sounds better too (when I get that bass working).

Cyberpower DVD player wouldn’t work within Vista and I had a helluva job uninstalling it, I had to edit the registry. So I tried this Media Centre.

I am impressed. I know this software’s been about several years but I’d never seen it or tried it before. It is absolutely great, my movies look and sound so much better and for the first time I have true 5.1 surround sound. I can’t get over how great this Media Centre is for movies, it’s brilliant. Auto bookmarks as well.

Recently watched Hairspray and Die Hard 4 on it and they looked and sounded superb.

Vista is running just as fast as XP SP2 on my machine.

I’ve run it with pre-fetching enabled and disabled and it makes not a blind bit of difference to the speed.

The only slight thing I’ve noticed is that some applications take a little bit longer to load, like Photoshop, but only a few seconds or so at most.

I had a problem setting up the Network. I’ve named my Network ‘Cyrius’ and for some reason 2 of my other machines (I have 4 in total) had renamed their Network title to Mshome. Once I changed them, Vista saw all machines and shows the router as well, XP didn’t show the router.

Vista has a folder named ‘shared’ which seems to be the only folder I can access from any other machine, despite my enabling sharing on both hard disks and Documents.

To access the Vista machine on the network I have to type in a user name and password. Again, different to XP.

Vista has renamed lots of stuff and laid it out all differently. Initially I found this confusing but I’ve come to like it now.

Vista has a games folder where most games are stored, but not all, it’s a quirk of the game itself whether it gets stored in there or not. I’ve put shortcuts to all my games and my more commonly used apps in the quick launch, which pops up from the task bar when you click on it. The only desktop icon I have is the recycle bin and I’ve removed the text from that as well.

As for DX10. I only have 3 games that take advantage of this: Crysis, Call Of Juarez & Bioshock. Crysis doesn’t look any different whatsoever and there’s nowhere that I’ve found yet where I can see some confirmation that DX10 is actually running. Disappointing.

Bioshock looks a little better but no great shakes compared to it running in XP.

Call Of Juarez, however, looks fabulous. The game publishers issued a huge patch that basically rewrites the game to DX10 compatibility and it really does look very very good indeed, the texture of the waving grass has to be seen to be believed.

If this is how future DX10-enabled games are going to look then I’m eager for them to be released. There are at this moment only a handful of games that support DX10 but several are being released in this first quarter.

Vista appears to be auto-updating as every time I check for updates, it’s up to date. I’ll have to figure out how to stop that, I prefer to update when I want to, not when Microsoft wants me to.

BOINC won’t start at boot, MS Defender blocks it but there is a small app you can download to get around that. Or you can start it manually, no biggie.

If you press Win + R you can see all the stuff within Vista that is running by default, there’s loads of it. But, as I said, Vista is running just as fast as XP did on this machine, mostly.

I think I’ve thought of everything worth mentioning but probably haven’t but to sum up I like Vista, it looks good, handles well, I’m comfortable with it and I’ll be keeping it.

It does have it’s drawbacks and it’s not perfect and as mentioned earlier if it wasn’t for the fact I have another good specced machine that I can play some slightly older games on, I wouldn’t have changed (you will note, dear reader, that I haven’t once used the term ‘upgrade’ for this transition).

There are lots of little things in Vista, too numerous to mention, that I like. It really is, to me, a pleasure to use.

So there you go, an honest appraisal from me, all those who haven’t tried it yet or favour alternative operating systems, please don’t sneer or whack me round the head with a dead halibut, I’ve just told it how I see it.

To Vista or not to Vista? Your choice but hopefully my demented ramblings here may have helped you make a decision as all of this, like I said, was hopefully written without bias.
 
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Ian

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Excellent, excellent writeup there Flops - I really enjoy reading your posts :)

Your path through installing Vista sounds similar to my own experience (minus the sound problems), where I was a little unsure at first but the more I used it the more I have grown to like it. For each niggle I have found, there seems to be a little "plus" to counterbalance it.

I really like the new search that is included on the start menu - very quick, especially when I forget where something has been downloaded to. :thumb:

floppybootstomp said:
Recently watched Hairspray and Die Hard 4

Talk about contrast :lol:
 
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An excellent read Flops:nod: I am moving the goal post from one end of the field to the other back and forth >>>>>><<<<<<<:lol: Hasta la Vista.....;)
 

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Great blog erm review erm thingy you wrote there flops most illuminating and informative .Its making me think about having a go .

happywave.gif
 

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Your article really does put the "review" into PC Review Flops, very helpful and a good read, even for those of us who lack your level of ability :nod: :D
 

floppybootstomp

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Thanks, all, for the comments :thumb:

A few pix, if anybody's interested:

Desktop:

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Games panel:

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Launch bar:

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Device Manager:

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floppybootstomp

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Control Panel Standard:

attachment.php


Control Panel Classic View:

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:D Installed Vista home premium today :nod: As you have said Flops:thumb: I like what I see at the moment:nod: will install all peripherals later tomorrow and the only drivers I can`t get are Benq scanner and they dont do them:( ....as for BOINC It ain`t running properly on XP:( I have to reinstall/repair every time I need to exit/update or whatever. I have two HDD one with XP the other Vista I will have to sort out dual boot do you know of a program+free that will do this apart from the boot menu? no big deal f12 on boot and away I go. as you have said installed no problem with drivers all within Vista:D
 

floppybootstomp

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itsme:

Good to see it's (mostly) going ok so far.

As for booting I haven't tried a dual boot system with Vista/XP but with XP/98 I had a choice on boot that I selected with the keyboard up/down arrows. If I didn't select one or the other XP would boot by default.

I don't know of any third party software, free or otherwise, that isn't downright complicated or not very good at all. Usually that's something Windows is actually quite good at.

_______________________________________________________________________

And now for some news.

If you've read my first post you may have noted that the biggest thing to cheese me off about Vista was that Call Of Duty 2 wouldn't run in multiplayer.

On a whim I installed it again and now it does :eek:

I don't know why, beats me, properties are set to 'Run as Admin' & 'Run in Win XP SP2 mode' but they were set by default, not by me.

I did get a warning window on installation warning me there were incompatibility problems but hell - it works :)

I've just spent an hour happily fragging away.

And it looks and acts absolutely superb :thumb:

Odd thing though - CoD2 shows up in Vista's Games panel whereas CoD4 does not :confused:

I think that's something that needs working on as not all my games show in that panel and the age of the game seems to have nothing to do with it.

This just leaves two problems now for me within Vista:

1) Sound card no bass unless messing about with settings.

2) Cursor in menu problem with Crysis game.

And by way of mentioning, Vista is way slower on my Network than XP. This is the only significant area where it's slower.
 

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floppybootstomp said:
And by way of mentioning, Vista is way slower on my Network than XP. This is the only significant area where it's slower.

I found this exact same problem at first, but one of the MS Update patches sorted it out for me. I'm guessing you're fully patched though, so SP1 will hopefully bring some improvements :)
 

Adywebb

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itsme said:
:D Installed Vista home premium today............as for BOINC It ain`t running properly on XP:( I have to reinstall/repair every time I need to exit/update or whatever...
I believe theres a few things you have to do to get Boinc running properly on Vista, unfortunately I don't have Vista so can't help - perhaps Mucks can give you the advice you need :thumb:
 
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muckshifter

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Adywebb said:
I believe there's a few things you have to do to get Boinc running properly on Vista, unfortunately I don't have Vista so can't help - perhaps Mucks can give you the advice you need :thumb:
Not wanting to hijack Floppy's thread, I suggest opening one of his own.

If my memory serves me correctly, Viv has had a few problems with Boinc & XP.

We have covered Vista (reboot) & Boinc loading 'problems' already ... sorry, Boinc is Vista aware, but NOT Vista certified. :rolleyes:


:user:
 

floppybootstomp

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After installing CoD4 the Bar showing space used on drive C in 'Computer' showed red. It normally shows blue.

I very cleverly deducted that this was because I only had 13Gb of space left on drive C out of a possible 148Gb.

So I removed Far Cry and it's back to Blue with 16Gb of free space.

Had a minor problem removing Far Cry, although it showed in the Programs menu it would not uninstall from there. Neither was there an uninstall option in the game's menu. So I just deleted the folder. Also checked the registry but couldn't find anything related using the searches 'Ubisoft' 'Far Cry' & 'Crytek' (except Crysis when I searched for Crytek).

But it be gone and I don't appear to be suffering any problems through my rather clumsy uninstall method.

I've played Far Cry three times already anyway, I mostly installed it just to see what it looks like. And it looked good :)

Really enjoying Timeshift and CoD4 Single Player at the moment. Playing CoD4 on a higher difficulty level than the first time and am now apreciating just how good this game is in single player mode :thumb:
 

floppybootstomp

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A tiny update.

Some issues with my Epson 4490 scanner. On the front of the scanner there's several buttons, one of which initiates an instant print of any document within the scanner. This button worked with XP, it does not with Vista.

Vista also told me I should connect the scanner through a 'high speed usb port' to make it work better. Well excuse me Mr Microsoft but it was connected to such a port. The only USB-1 ports I have are on my G15 keyboard and I don't use those.

I have 4 at the rear of the computer and 2 at the front. After I received this message, the scanner wouldn't work. So I powered it down for a minute or so and changed the usb port and it's now working again.

Scanner operation is also a little flakey with Epson's own software, it much prefers to be used within Photoshop 7.

Still, MS did warn there was a problem with this scanner even though when Vista was first released, this scanner had only been on the market about 6 months. Not good, really.

Now I've been using this OS several weeks and my hard drive has had some time to get nice and cluttered up I'm afraid I'm going to have to report that, contrary to my earlier assertion, Vista is running slower than XP on this machine.

Initially it was like a 100 metre sprinter straight off the starting blocks but it's now resembling a middle aged jogger who's had too much Yorkshire Pud.

That is, no slouch but definitely not emulating a F1 racing car :)

Things are taking longer to open, that little blue spinning circle icon seems to be around more and it's just generally, well - slower.

I do get a good perspective on this as I'm using XP on other similarly specced machines.

I'm thinking defrag might be the answer and I will try that free one Mucks recommends.

If that doesn't work then I may turn off UAC and auto update.

And the final thing to report about Vista at this stage is that one of my daughters at Bristol Uni informs me Theme Hospital works fine on her Vista loaded Toshiba laptop :)
 

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Vista SP1 should improve performance somewhat (primarily network transfers), so be sure to update to that once it is released :thumb:
 

floppybootstomp

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Ian Cunningham said:
Vista SP1 should improve performance somewhat (primarily network transfers), so be sure to update to that once it is realeased :thumb:

When Das Microsoften deem it ok to let the hoi polloi get their mitts on it, yes, I will ;)
 
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floppybootstomp

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Just a small notelet.

I originally had Oblivion: Elder Scrolls 4 and the first expansion 'Knights Of The Nine'

Before changing to Vista I backed up all my saved games.

I saw Oblivion GOTY going for £20.00 at local Game store, this included original game, patches and both expansions, Knights Of The Nine & Shivering Isles.

As Shivering isles was still selling for £20.00 I thought this was a good deal and gave my original Oblivion and one expansion pack to a mate of mine.

When I installed the game to Vista and then added my saved games I got an error message saying elements of Knights of The Nine had not been loaded and that therefore some aspects of my saved game could not be played. Or words to that effect.

I wondered if all content had been included in my new 2 x DVD pack and so I went to Bethesda's official website where I found this message:

ATTENTION VISTA & XP 64 USERS: The secured installers for downloadable Oblivion content (currently ALL add-ons) are not compatible with 64-bit editions of Microsoft Windows or any version of Windows Vista. When attempting to install the content, an error will appear, and the installer will close. The installer will only function on 32-bit versions of Microsoft Windows, excluding Windows Vista. If you have purchased this content and play on a computer running a 64-bit version of Windows, please do not delete your installer.

Bummer :(

Oh well, at least the main game is running smoothly within Vista. In fact it's running better than within XP tbh, more kind of, um 'fluid' for want of a better expression.

Now where's that Glow Dust?
 
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Everything fine with Vista sorted a lot of the Ummmm..Well have a read:)



Here
 

floppybootstomp

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Update (slight return)

I have mentioned the problem I have with my X-Fi Audio sound card within Vista in this thread and another lengthy Vista thread I started.

Where to enable bass I have to switch between 5.1 to 7.1 and back to 5.1 again within the console.

Ian had linked to a possible solution in that other thread which I've just tried and it didn't work :(

Basically I disconnected the 3 speaker jacks, uninstalled all things Creative, deleted the Creative Folder within program files and removed the sound card in Device Manager.

I then reinstalled the drivers; the console and a Creative program named Alchemy which enables EAX sound in games amongst othern things.

I had disconnected my speakers during all that but got no prompts to insert speaker jacks so I just plugged the three jacks in after all was installed.

To get a decent sound I had to enable the Crystalliser and dabble in the advanced bass controls.

To get a really crap sound I could enable EAX effects for music playback ;)

And I set the EQ manually, custom setting, it has a slight effect.

It sounds pretty good but still no solution to my problem.

And there are no new drivers from Creative since Oct 07.

A new sound card may be in the offing, dunno, does anybody know a decent Sound Card that definitely works within Vista?

As I understand it, if I want to keep EAX effects in Games, it has to be a Creative, or a Creative-based, card. But really not too bothered about losing EAX effects if it means a good all round sound that works with Vista.

Speaking of games, there's no problem there, it's just playing music where I have to do the console tweak to enable bass.

I don't want to go back to onboard sound as this card, cheap as it is, definitely gives a much better sound.

Ho hum. Colour me disappointed :(
 
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floppybootstomp

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Ongoing...

The X-Fi audio problem has cheesed me off so badly I took the card out of the machine today, I just can't live with a compromise.

Hoping against hope I tried a spare Creative Audigy 2 soundcard in there, complete with latest Vista drivers and it sounded Rubbish, all tinny with no console software available to tweak things.

So right now I'm back with onboard sound, downloaded latest drivers from Asus' site and it's working ok. Sounds a whole lot better than the Audigy but nowhere near as good as the X-Fi Audio sounded after I tweaked it each time.

Played parts of a few movies, inc Pirates Of The caribbean 3 and the onboard sound was just about bearable.

Anyways, I've had it with Creative, I haven't been fond of them for some time becuase of their overbearing marketing strategy but most of all because they just can't cut the mustard when it comes to working with Vista.

(Although I have to confess their Zen mp3 players are a bit nifty :thumb: )

Quite whose fault this is I'm not entirely sure - Creative's or Microsoft's.

I've read arguments from both camps and I've heard excuses and accusations but the fact remains - I'm keeping Vista but I do have a choice of Soundcards.

And EAX ain't the be all and end all of everything so I'm not bothered that I won't have that function in my online gaming anymore.

I shall put the X-Fi Audio into my media machine, although the output is into a Hi Fi stereo system, not 5.1, but it's going to be better than the onboard sound I should imagine.

Right then, I'm off to do some research into Sound Cards - Creative and Creative chipset cards are a no no, I think my first stop will be to look at what Razer have to offer.
 
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