My Vista install experience.


G

Guest

I have installed Vista on two different computers with generally good
results, except a failed attempt to upgrade from Windows XP Home on one of
the PCs. I think that Microsoft has finally created an OS which will
considerably change the way you interact with your computer. I’m really
excited about the plethora of new and useful features, the new graphical
interface and the wonderful addition of parental controls.

The upgrade attempt was done on a Ice-Cube VG61 on which I had previously
installed a clean copy of Windows XP Home. All updates from Microsoft were
also added and all drivers had been updated with the latest versions for all
hardware components. No Spyware, Ad-ware or Viruses were present on the
machine prior to the beginning of the upgrade process.

The Specs
The PC has an Intel 845 Chipset Motherboard, equipped with a Pentium 4,
2.53Ghz 400MHz FSB, 512MB of DDR333 memory. The graphic card is an ATI Radeon
9800 Pro and the sound card a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz (ouch!). The Hard Disk
drive is a 250GB Maxtor, sharing the single IDE port with a DVD reader drive
configured as slave. A mix of free and pay-ware software was also installed
on the machine, to simulate an average user PC environment (Real Player,
QuickTime, Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office 2000 Standard, MS Flight Simulator
2004 with 9.1 patch, X-Plane 8.3).

To upgrade…
After booting up Windows XP, I inserted the DVD disc with the BETA 2
version of Vista and I was presented with the options to either upgrade or
do a clean install. An option to create a different partition for Vista is
also available. However I elected not to try it due to bad experiences in the
past, users reporting problems in MS Vista forums and the fact that
partitions are generally not a good thing from the performance point of view.
Usually Operating Systems tend to organize the most frequently accessed
files on the outer edge of the Hard Disk, were access times are fastest.
When you introduce a partition, the outer edge might not be available to the
OS anymore.

The installation process began promptly after selecting the Upgrade option.
From this point on, everything slew down to turtle speed. The copying of
files from DVD to Hard Disk took approximately one and a half hour, while
decompression passed the two hours mark. The all thing took an astonishing
time in excess of 4 hours to finish. Something must have interfered. At the
end of the upgrade, the only thing I was able to access was Vista in safe
mode. The upgrade only caused the PC to try and boot over and over with
automatic restart. I was never able to boot to the Desktop unless I used safe
mode. A quick look at the MS Vista forum revealed a compatibility issue
with the Santa Cruz soundcard drivers. Uninstalling the drivers while in
safe mode and physically removing the soundcard solved the problem. However
I now was faced with a new one. During the installation process, at the very
beginning where Vista wants the registration key, I left the checkmark on
where it asks you if you want to automatically activate Vista upon first
boot. Bad idea. I’m now finally able to boot the machine but as soon as Vista
comes to life, it’s asking for the registration key again. Numerous attempts
to enter the key only produced validation errors. I tried to copy and paste
the key, typing it manually, with dashes, no dashes etc, to no avail. Hmmm…if
this was a production machine I would have been in big trouble now.

…or not to upgrade?
DON’T. Especially if you have important data on your PC. The upgrade
process is not safe enough in this build of Vista. Of course there might have
been something in the configuration of this particular PC that caused the
failure. Probably other users had better results. But since I can’t confirm
it, I simply advise anybody against an upgrade. On the other end, the clean
install performed flawlessly and the installation took approximately an hour,
maybe less. I simply booted from DVD and then proceeded to delete and
recreate the partition with Vista install interface. I wanted to perform a
full format but apparently the user isn’t given a choice. Might have missed
something but when I chose to format the Hard Disk, it just went straight for
a quick format. This time I unchecked “Automatically activate Vista†when
prompted to enter the registration key.

At first reboot, all of the Hardware was properly recognized and installed,
even the onboard sound, which I elected to use instead of the Turtle Beach
Santa Cruz. It is however possible to use this soundcard, as long as you
install the latest drivers first (sc_4193.exe) and then have access to a
Windows XP partition with an earlier release of the drivers (sc_4161s )
properly installed. See here for more info
http://support.turtlebeach.com/site/kb_ftp/585218360.asp .
The beta drivers for the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro worked great (downloadable from
the manufacturer website). No chipset installation software is needed and
DirectX 10 is already included in the install. Vista also provided drivers
for peripherals connected at a later time: an HP psc1210 printer, a Creative
Webcam PD1120 and an USB mouse. The activation worked perfectly this time
around.

The Vista view
Vista on this machine performs a little sluggish at startup. After being
presented with the desktop, the Hard Disk activity led keeps flashing for
another 5 minutes. An additional stick of 512MB memory would make things work
better. I have a feeling that Vista with 512MB of memory will perform the
same as Windows XP loaded on a machine with 256MB. However, after the
initial loading, everything works with an acceptable speed, unless you
decide to multitask.
I love the elegance of the graphical side of the OS. Looks like Microsoft
has finally decided to dedicate the proper development time and money to it.
Not only is beautiful, it’s captivating. But this is not the only reason why
you would want to upgrade when the time comes. Another very valid reason is
the Parental Controls. I can now create users and decide which folders they
can have access to, which websites, which programs they can or cannot use,
what type of games they can install or play and you can even set a specified
amount of time a user can work (or play) at the PC. Additionally you can
enable an activity log function, which records everything a specific user
does. This is useful for Dads who want to keep track of where their
sons/daughters are going or doing on the net, for example. I’m still
experimenting with this operating system and I’ll try to make a full report
on Vista later on, if needed. In the meantime, I hope that my experience will
help anybody who decided to give Vista beta a try. Just keep one thing in
mind: DON’T USE A PRODUCTION MACHINE. If you have to, get a different Hard
Disk and completely disconnect the one where your Windows XP (or other OS)
resides.

Maurizio De Luca
 
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R

Ray

Just for information, I'm running a "normal" contingent of programs here,
mail, IE7 (half a dozen tabs) and a program running as a service. As per
task manager, Vista is using 1.63GB of the available 2GB installed. And I
thought that installing 2GB was way overkill, I just may have to go for the
full 4GB :0

Ray
 
C

Colin Barnhorst

Windows is designed to take advantage of as much memory as possible. Going
to 4GB is fine and you would see some increase in the amount of memory in
use, but be aware that if you only had 1GB Windows would just use the swap
file more. It would not make that much difference as to what you can run,
only how Windows handles it. Just because Windows is using 1.6GB+ does not
mean Windows requires that much memory. It is just glad to have it.
 
L

Lang Murphy

I've got 1GB RAM... Not sure what a "...'normal contingent of programs'..."
is but I've got IE with 6 tabs, Word Beta with the 60MB Vista Product Guide,
Excel (no file), Access (no file), Powerpoint (no file) and Visio (no file)
open and I've got 275K free physical memory.
 
G

Guest

Ypu! I checked the task manager on the second machine I have Vista installed
onto. It has 2GB of ram and the page file is 700MB with a peak of 800MB.
 
G

Guest

I have also just performed an upgrade to Vista on my PC, the results are far
below what I thought it would be.
I am running P4 2.8GHz processor with 60Gb HDD and 512MB Ram, and it still
runs slow and sluggish, I also had Office Professional 2000 loaded and guess
what nonoe of the programs have loaded correctly after the upgrade. When
downloading the Beta test to upgrade to Office 2007, it will not take, it
says it has an error.
At this stage I am attempting to dump all my files to a back up drive and re
install Win XP Pro, so if you are thinking about an upgrade right now -----
DONT!!!!, leave it for a while until the kinks are ironed out, also if you
are using an ATI Radeon 9200 card for the driver there is no upgrade for it
provided for Vista, another point nobody told me about.
 
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C

Colin Barnhorst

Why did you not install to a separate partition or hard drive as is so
strongly by MS and the users here? At 512MB ram you will see poor
performance at this stage of the code (lots of debugging code and not yet
optimized). I suspect build 5472 would have performed a little better. It
has on my test boxes.
 
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C

Colin Barnhorst

*strongly recommended by MS...

Colin Barnhorst said:
Why did you not install to a separate partition or hard drive as is so
strongly by MS and the users here? At 512MB ram you will see poor
performance at this stage of the code (lots of debugging code and not yet
optimized). I suspect build 5472 would have performed a little better.
It has on my test boxes.
 

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