been using Windows XP Pro as the operating system on my primary
desktop computer for a long time but I want to move to Windows 7 when
it arrives. Microsoft says that it will not have an upgrade from XP
to Windows 7; a clean install will be required. So I mulled this
over a little and decided to move to Windows Vista so I would have an
upgrade bridge to Windows 7. I rationalized that the furor over
Vista had died down a little as Microsoft whittled away at the
problems. Also, the 64 bit version of Vista seems to be working okay
for a lot of developers (my peers).
I would migrate to Vista Ultimate x64 and therefore be ready for
Windows 7. Let's pause and check compatibility. Microsoft provides
a nice little tool that scans your hardware and your software and
gives you the good and bad news. Hardware wise, only my rather old
Visioneer 7300 USB scanner didn't pass muster.
After making a
backup of the current system, I started the install of Windows Vista
Ultimate x64 SP1. First issue – the upgrade option was disabled;
only a clean install was allowed. Web research found that there is
no upgrade path from XP 32 bit to Vista 64 bit. I should have
stopped right here. After all, the primary reason to upgrade was for
a smooth transition to Windows 7; if I continued, I would still have
the pain of a clean install and myriad software installations. But I
had new system fever! I wanted to use more memory than the 3+ GB
limit in 32 bit XP. I wanted some change in my environment.
Besides, my office needed a good cleaning and I could clean while my
PC was busy with the various installations. Actually, I could
probably clean most of the neighborhood while waiting for
installations to complete.
bumped my PC up to 9 GB of RAM. I wanted to run multiple virtual
machines and the extra memory would be useful (I thought). Back to the Vista
installation. Except for answering the normal questions about
keyboard and time zone, it was pretty much a hands-off experience. I
now had 64 bit Windows Vista Ultimate running on my PC. After a
little visual customizing, I attacked the hardware drivers. Most of
the necessary Vista 64 bit drivers were on a CD and they all
installed without complaint. Everything was working okay. Once the
NIC driver was installed, I was able to connect to the LAN and also
the internet. Downloading and installing the latest NVIDIA drivers
allowed me to turn on Aero. My Vista experience test rated my system
at 5.9. What the heck does that mean? I know that it is a good
value but 5.9 is kind of an odd number – perhaps a bit overly
some gadgets to the sidebar – more on Vista gadgets later. Then I
got started on my long list of software to install. Here is my list
and the compatibility issues I encountered. The draft of this blog
entry included a list of all the software that I installed, the
majority of which installed with not anomalies. Since most of that
was superfluous information, I have reduced the list to just those
programs that had some sort of exception (not necessarily bad).
Always my first
install on a clean system. I'm using an older version, 9 and it
installed and works fine on Vista x64. No issues. I did decide to
upgrade to version 12 Pro, even though I had to purchase it anew.
With “32” as
part of the name of my anti-virus software, I thought I might be in
for some shopping. However, a quick check of the NOD32 website
showed that they have a Vista x64 version. I downloaded and
installed it. My existing registration info worked and the PC was
protected from evil-doers. Version 4 of NOD32 has a completely new
interface so I'll have to figure out later if I have an optimum
setup. For now, the basics seem to be in place.
Email client is Outlook Express. In Vista, OE has been replaced by
Windows Mail, a slightly improved version. I imported my old Emails
and Address Book from the backup I made before the Vista Install and
setup my Email accounts manually. This was relatively painless and
only took a few minutes. What I wasn't able to retrieve were the
numerous Message Rules that I had created in Outlook Express. The
rules are stored in the registry and are a pain to migrate, so I
started over. They needed a good house cleaning, anyway. Windows
Mail includes a Junk Email filter which, so far, is reasonably
effective at screening Spam. I was using Cloudmark for Anti-Spam
filtering but may not need it any longer.
Using Windows Mail
was short-lived due to Palm issues documented below.
This is a
replacement for Windows Explorer and is very important for my work
style. A check of the GP Software website revealed a version for 64
bit Vista. I downloaded and installed it. The existing registration
info worked and it was up and running. I am, however, having to
re-customize it. This probably could have been avoided with a little
preplanning, but, c'est la vie!
really an install, just some configuration work. I use RDT to
control and monitor six different servers and the first thing I
noticed was that, under Vista, my remote connections startup much,
much faster. This is the most positive difference that I have seen
with Vista; though, by itself, doesn't justify this amount of work.
Had to download
new drivers for both network attached printers. However, when I got
around to testing the printers, they were very, very slow. Again, on
the web, I found a very easy fix. I installed the printers by
specifying a local port (even though they are on the network) and the
local port points to the UNC name of the printer. This totally fixed
the problem with printing speed.
I have been using
the Palm Desktop software for many years as my calendar and contacts.
I've tried using MS Outlook but didn't like it much. However, Palm
Desktop doesn't have a 64 bit USB driver so I can't sync my Z22 PDA.
A little Google work found that I should be able to sync using the
Z22 infrared port. For about $20, Amazon is sending me a USB-IRDA
dongle. Hope it works.
received the USB to IRDA dongle. Installation was simple; plug it
in and Vista found a driver on the internet and installed it. That
was the good news. The bad news is that I can't get the Z22 to
recognize the IRDA and the PC. Also, the new Palm Desktop version 6
does not import my calendar and contact categories when it imports
the rest of the data. I think my solution will be to share the Palm
Desktop data with my laptop and sync the Z22 with the laptop. Since
I don't have to sync very often, this should be an acceptable bypass.
I am very disappointed in Palm – they have steadily deteriorated
over the years and I think if the new Pre isn't a super hit, they are
not long for the world.
particular issue turned out to have huge ramifications. See my
future article on “How Vista Changed My Life”.
Visual Studio 6 SP6
okay but got a compatibility error warning about C++. Since I was
only installing VB6 to support some legacy apps, I ignored the
warning. Seems to run okay. SP6 went on okay, as well.
Follow-up: Uninstalled VB6 and moved it to the Legacy Virtual Machine.
Visual Studio 2003
(slowly) but got compatibility warning for entire product. There is
a long list of issues that I can maybe live with; however, this might
be a good candidate for running in a Virtual Machine. I'll decide
later as it is also for supporting legacy apps. Maybe I should put
all tools for legacy support in a single VM running XP.
is a little later and I have removed VS 2003 from the Vista system,
installed Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 with a copy of Windows XP Pro
(32-bit). I installed VS 2003 on the Virtual Machine and worked out
a scheme to backup development changes to a network drive. This VM
will be my legacy development system (more on MS Virtual PC later).
About here I
noticed that System Restore was not working. When I tried to restore
a checkpoint, it got an error near the end and then, all of my
checkpoints disappeared. During the process of investigating this
annoyance, I found that my non-defragable system space was scattered
all over my C drive. I guessed this was because I installed Vista on
top of XP which already had some restore space. Again, a long quest
for a solution, but the only real fix was to start over and begin by
formatting the C: drive. I did this and reinstalled everything up to
this point; so from here back, I did everything twice, except for the
single format and two previous legacy installs. This time around, I
cloned an XP virtual machine and installed VB6, VS2003, and Access 97
to use just for maintaining legacy applications.
Had a little
trouble here. After installing and updating to version 1.1, I fired
it up and did not have any sound after the first cut scene. Poking
around on the internet, I found a suggestion to enable XP
compatibility mode in the Bioshock shortcut and Viola!, it
fixed the sound and the game is working great. Also, my first
experience with DirectX 10 (don't notice anything different, though).
8.2 along with the required QuickTime. This was the first iTunes
installation that went perfectly smoothly. Before I installed
iTunes, I relocated the “Music” folder by editing the properties
and changing the location field. It used to be necessary to use
TweakUI (or hack the registry) to make this change. This is an
improvement. After installation, iTunes actually found my music
correctly; I was quite surprised. iTunes will become a big player in
“How Vista Changed My Life”.
but location of company data has moved so I had to adjust my backups.
By the way, QuickBooks 2006 would not install at all; the setup
program immediately exits after Vista gives an incompatibility
this point, a couple of weeks later, the Vista system is running
smoothly. With the few exceptions above, all necessary software
installed with no problem. I disabled UAC fairly early on as it is a
big annoyance. My PC is pretty well protected otherwise so I don't
think UAC helps me at all.
Though Vista has
some changes to the look and feel, my day-to-day usage is about the
same as before. Putting my legacy development software into a
virtual machine has worked quite well. My memory utilization has
improved with the 64-bit system so the swap file is not as active.
The extra memory in this computer is really only useful for running
virtual machines as it looks like Vista never uses more than about 3