Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Made the Move to Vista 64

I recently upgraded our home computer from Windows XP to Vista 64 Home Premium. I had been waiting for about 2 years, I suppose, to make the switch. A few years ago when I bought our computer, I chose an Athlon, hoping that someday I would actually get a 64-bit OS. Recently, I decided with all the buzz about Windows 7 it was time to get going on it. So I went out on eBay and got an OEM copy of Vista for $100. The OEM version will not do an upgrade of an existing Windows installation. I thought that the install would perhaps format the drive, but actually it just layed the bits down on what was already there. I had a spare drive that I used for the OS, and I removed the original XP drive for safe-keeping, just in case something went terribly wrong. Before the switch I exported all of our Live Mail and contacts to a NAS drive, then imported them later. I had no problems whatsoever, except that I forgot about all of my Message Rules. I have to say that I am very happy with the OS so far. We have had Vista 32 on a laptop for a couple of years now and it is awful - just too darned slow. But for all of the negative press Vista has gotten about being slow, the 64-bit OS is noticeably faster than 32-bit XP on this same hardware. I did not even consider installing the Win7 RC because there is no official upgrade path from the RC to the RTM. Microsoft really scr*wed people with the .NET 1.0 Framework RC when it went RTM back in 2002. The only officially supported upgrade to the RTM was to reformat the harddrive. Didn't want that with Win7! There were two problems that I have been dealing with, one of which I've resolved, the other not yet. After I upgraded, I had used the DVD drive to install MS Office. That was about a week ago. The night before last I went to rip a CD and I noticed that Vista wasn't showing my LiteOn DVD or CDROM drives. I hadn't used them since then, so I don't know when the problem first happened. I went into Device Mgr. and there were yellow warning triangles for these devices. I uninstalled the two drives and reinstalled them, but they did not repair. After googling the problem, I found that iTunes and some DVD burning software may install some drivers that break Vista. I was happy to find that upgraded GEAR Drivers fixed my problem. The install works for both 32 and 64-bit versions of XP and Vista. My second problem is that our Brother MFC-6800 printer has no Vista printer driver. It absolutely will not print from Vista, and if I try, not only will it not print, but no other print jobs from our other computers will print either until we turn the printer off and back on again. Other than this last glitch the upgrade has been great. Last night I installed Vista SP2. The upgrade went without problem, though it took about 45 min. to run.

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