Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Taking the vista plunge...

I've just taken the plunge and installed Vista Business on my PC. I do most of my work through VMware virtual machines, so that would reduce the risk of sticking a new operating system on and then not being able to do any work.

After doing triple checks that I'd backed up all my "must have" data, I popped in the install disk that I'd burnt and followed through the install. All in all it was a much painless process than installing XP from fresh (but maybe I'm being blinded by the swish new graphics in the install), and I think it was a little quicker.

The first part that confused me was when I was asked what version I wanted to install. I get a license of Business version through the university so that's what I needed to select. However there was a "BusinessN" version in the list - unsure what it was I avoided it. Reading up on it this morning it sounds like the only difference is the N version ships without Windows Media Player installed - a knock on of the EU legal battle with Microsoft recently I think.

After I had created myself a user account I logged in I was presented with a "Welcome to Vista" screen. The system details listed the system as being a 32-bit intall of Vista, I'd read that there was no separate install disks between 32 and 64 bit version for Vista. My PC's got a AMD 64 X2 4200+, so was hoping that it would have detected it and installed the 64 bit version. I was never asked in the install setup whether I wanted 32 or 64, so maybe my CPU isn't compatable (or marked as compatible in the BIOS)? Something I'm going to look into over the next couple of days.

Had some work to do to get my machine online too. My PC is using a NetGear WG111 54G wireless dongle which has no supported Vista drivers (and as far as I know no plans for Netgear to write any). At the moment I've borrowed my flatmate's WG111v2 and I'm using the Vista Beta driver from Netgear. That dropped in fine after doing a "Have Disk.." driver install through device manager. I've had to put in IPs and DNS server IPs manually, didn't seem to pick them up automatically from the wireless router. Ah well, I can live with that ... it works!

My collegues who had installed Vista had warned that it blocks unsigned drivers from being installed - not something that I've found on my install. Maybe because I'm using Business edition, and I've been doing "Have Disk..." installs for drivers.

My Wacom tablet still needs a bit of work to get it running, looks like Vista ships with drivers for pen tablets which are conflicting with the Wacom drivers. Haven't found a way to set up absolute referencing with the windows ones (where the tablet space maps directly to the screen), so might need to do some turning off and use the Wacome ones exclusively.

That's about it for now - more to come later with my trials and tribulations with Vista (and developing it in)


Dai Clyant said...

Nice one Pete, look forward to the follow on comments. Also found a good url defining the difference between vista versions. Its at


Dave said...

Sure you know this by now .. but the Vista install disks are separate for 32 bit and 64 bit, and the blocker for unsigned drivers is only in the 64-bit version (along with locking out various virus checkers, and other crap that installs itself in the kernel).

I got quickly fed up with the problems in Vista, so much stuff didn't work (I can't watch TV anymore, as my beloved TV card will NEVER be supported by Vista .. swines! no more watching neighbours, loose women, [insert other shite daytime TV show here] all day), so alas I've gone back to XP :-(

Oh, and it only took 2 full days to fix the boot record and regain access to my XP partition that Vista screwed!