Elimloth (elimloth) wrote,
Elimloth
elimloth

Vista RC1, sigh!

I have no idea why I decided to upgrade my laptop to VIsta RC1 let alone do it to Selene's laptop too, at the same time, on labor day weekend. Both of us are now sleep deprived having had to restore her laptop and mine. I was forced to do penance having disrupted her candidacy essay schedule. I tried going the upgrade path, which for any OS seems fraught with many problems. I recall my OS 9 and OS X upgrade installs never went that well and this Vista RC1 upgrade from Windows XP did not fare better - it was actually far worse. The big problem is that the directory structure for Vista has been changed significantly. The old layout was streamlined to help improve state separation and to facilitate a common structure across all applications (that's MIcrosoft market-speak, sorry). Anyway, the installer has to rename a bunch of folders and copy many files around to shape up the XP layout into something Vista compatible. In my case, after running for about 3 hours and getting to the very last step, the install failed with one of the damnable "an error ocurred during install, reverting back to your original OS" messages. It then spent another 15 minutes undoing what it did. I was back to XP but missing a lot of free space. A look through the hard drive revealed many backup files and folders were left strewn about. I had to manually delete them to clean up the system back to its pre Vista installer moment.

Selene's machine fared much worse. The installer got to about the same point and then it just stopped. The system was running but no updating was evident. When I tried to cancel the install, I got another damnable and downright rude "cannot cancel the install at this point. The system may not start up" messages. After letting it 'run' for another 12 $(#)(# hours, it was clear the install was going nowhere. I powered off the machine. After restarting it, the system attempted a rollback. It failed. I then spent several more hours picking up the pieces. Selene hadn't backed up all her files, and thank the bright stars the firewire drive was accessible. I ran the recovery console and manually copied the important files off. At this point the only two choices left were to perform either a clean installation of XP or a clean installation of Vista. Since everything was now safely stashed onto the firewire drive, we opted for the clean Vista installation. That took another 2 hours and it eventually did boot albeit slowly.

The system is pretty but the translucent glass effect would not work with the 64MB dedicated RAM video chipset. Frak! that used to be the requirement but now Vista needs 128MB of dedicated RAM (or a video chipset with shared memory). Ah well, I set up Selene's account and we started to play around with it. Vista takes up a lot more memory than XP and it is slower, not that different in scale  than OS X's slowness as compared to OS 9. Still, it was quite usable - much better than the beta releases. Unfortunately, Norton antivirus is not supported and Norton seems to be behind on a Vista ready version. Much worse was the lack of a WACOM graphire driver for Vista. Selene absolutely needs it so that ended that attempt. Massively worse was the crash when switching users and the complete hang when waking up from sleep. This makes Vista nonviable on laptops. I have many bugs to write up when I return to the office Tuesday.

Sigh! I mind-wiped the machine and reinstalled Windows XP. The mind-wipe is necessary because of the differing directory structures, so I had to install every app again. We moved all her data back from the firewire drive and her system is working again, two days later.
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