Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Windows Vista, a first impression

I'm back to posting

Instead of the direction that I was going with my prior posts, I think that I am going to switch to posting about technology instead. I figure that there is probably more interest in my views on technology then there is on where I went on vacation and how the kids did in sports over the summer. So, without further adieu, here is the first of what I hope will be many, many technology posts to come.

Windows Vista

Being a technology professional, I felt that it was important for me to get a jump onto the windows vista bandwagon in order to keep on top of things.

Since I was one of the users plagued with Windows Genuine Advantage problems, due to a disreputable PC vendor that is no longer in business, I decided that I would purchase a full copy of Windows Vista Ultimate and see if I could get away with upgrading from Windows XP. While it turned out that I was able to run the upgrade process, I was unable to get the upgraded system to boot.

On the very first boot into Windows vista after the upgrade process completed, I was presented with the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) showing that something was wrong with my USB drivers. After several attempts of re-booting and some swearing, I decided to call Microsoft support to see if they had any information on this problem and if they could help me to overcome it. It turned out that they did not have anything to offer that would help me get through the upgrade install. Instead the support representative suggested that I perform a clean install.

During the clean install, the Windows Vista installation process found that there was another version of windows already installed on the comouter and offered to make a backup copy of it before beginning. Just to be on the safe side, and after checking that I had enough space available, I selected the option to make the backup. After about 40 minutes and a few prompts for administrator userid's, passwords, time-zones, etc., the system was up and running, with all of my old files located in a Windows.old directory.

While I was not too happy that I was forced to have to do a clean install, because I knew that I would then have several hours of application re-installs to go through, I was very happy that Windows Vista was up and running with the full aero glass interface and all. Isn't it pretty =)

For anyone who is going to point out that I should have made a backup of my system before I began the upgrade, I would like to explain why I didn't bother. Other than the Windows Operating system and hardware drivers, the only other applications that I install onto my C: drive are utilities (winzip, Acrobat reader, etc.). All of my important data files (pictures, finance data, etc.) and applications are kept on other drives on the computer so that even if the C: drive was completely re-formatted by the installation, nothing of value to me would be lost.

I Have been using Windows Vista for about 3 weeks now and I like it much better than Windows XP. The main reason for this is all of the additional security prompts that appear when you try to run an programs that will make a change to the system configuration. I'll be honest, for the past 4 years, I have been using Suse Linux for almost everything except playing games and handling support calls from work because it already had such prompts. These kinds of prompts are very helpful in preventing malicious software from having it's way with your system. As tempting as it may be to turn these new prompts off in Windows Vista, I would strongly recommend against doing so. Don't worry, after a while you will get used to them and you won't notice them so much. Lastly, your system will be much more secure because of them.