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Zugg Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 1:32 am
Vista Experience - Take Two!
Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:37 pm   
 
Damn...rebooting Vista and it came up with another CHKDSK and more errors. What the heck is going on with this flaky system!!
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 9:07 pm   
 
OK, I'm *really* getting to the end of my patience on this. I have tried to be understanding and patient...but this is getting ridiculous.

Now, suddenly, Firefox keeps acting as if I just installed it fresh (prompting me to set various plugin options) everytime I run it. Somehow it has lost it's settings and can't save them anymore.

OK, this is the LAST STRAW! Now Vista won't even boot anymore. Gives an error about a "snapman.sys" driver being missing or corrupted.

I haven't booted WinXP all morning...I've just been using Vista. So something in Vista is causing disk corruption. My guess is that it's still those RAID drivers.

Should I try this a FIFTH TIME and not use the RAID drivers? Now that it's in RAID 0 mode, maybe it doesn't need them? Either that or I'm about to call a halt to this entire experience!
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 9:36 pm   
 
I'm doing the FIFTH install of Vista. Maybe the fact that the System Restore in WinXP was enabled when I installed Vista the last time screwed up some part of the install. Or maybe it's the RAID driver. I don't know. Remember that the first time I installed (without the RAID driver), Vista saw duplicated of the RAID 1 mirror. But it saw the disks and could read/write them. So now that I'm using a RAID 0 configuration, maybe Vista doesn't need any special driver for it.

I reformatted the VISTA disk and made sure that it wasn't in the list of disks being monitored by the WinXP System Restore. Now installing Vista fresh AGAIN. Please wait the requisite 40 minutes to find out how it goes.

If this doesn't work, then I'm going to give up trying to install Vista on this computer and think about other options.

And remember, all of these problems are on a system that the Vista Compatibility Report said had NO PROBLEMS! So DO NOT TRUST THE COMPATIBILITY TOOL! And I'd definitely recommend that unless you MUST install Vista...wait a while...at least for a major service pack release. Just because I need to do this install to better support customers doesn't mean that you need to do this, unless you are just trying to share my pain.

What looked initially like a smooth and painless installation has become a nightmare. I take back everything good that I said at the beginning. This is much worse than any XP installation that I have done.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:10 pm   
 
OK, Fifth install is complete. Vista boots just fine. Installs updates. Installs AVG.

Running WinXP...performing a consistency check on the VISTA drive again. Lots and lots of orphaned files AGAIN! Sheeesh this is ridiculous. What the hell is going on with this system.

Why the hell is WinXP even performing a CHKDSK? When Vista boots, it doesn't perform a CHKDSK. So why does WinXP even care about this disk? Maybe I need to turn off System Restore entirely instead of just telling it not to monitor the Vista disk? Do I dare try this a SIXTH time? I'm going to have my Vista key memorized soon.

I HATE THIS!
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Vijilante
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:19 pm   
 
From what you have described it sounds like you have successfully disabled the RAID handling for your drives. This should leave them functioning as just SATA's. At least that is how they behaved in earlier IDE versions of the same manufacturers RAID systems. I would say that as long as Vista can see both drives in this condition do NOT install the RAID drivers. Even if the device manager lists the controller as just the default Mass Storage, as long as the drive checks out through a few reloads keep it that way.

Next I would say keep System Restore off in both versions. As long as you have a solid backup solution there is little sense in have Windows wasting both time and drive space maintaining the restore info. Also it is definitely causing a conflict, and likely is what trashed your first bunch of Vista installations.

Edit: Your XP installation is likely damaged as well at this point. You might be best restoring one of the backups before going any further.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:31 pm   
 
THe XP installation actually still looks fine. It never does any CHKDSK or anything on the WinXP drive, so nothing weird has happened with that drive at this point. It's possible that something obscure is messed up, but whenever I run XP I try a bunch of stuff and it seems to work for now. I do have an image to restore if something bad happens though.

I'm going to try a trick this time that the link I gave above mentioned about the System Restore issue. I've installed TweakUI on the WinXP system and I have disabled the VISTA drive within WinXP. So now WinXP doesn't even see the V: drive that Vista is installed on. The Vista installer still sees the partition, and it is now installing for the SIXTH time.

I agree that I don't think it's a RAID issue at this point. The disks seem to be working fine. It's a higher level OS issue that is screwing things up. While this is installing, I'm going to continue to Google search to see if there is something beyond the System Restore issue that I don't know about.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:40 pm   
 
Hmm, just learned that the TweakUI trick doesn't work. Looks like I really just need to disable System Restore entirely. I agree with Vijilante...with a good backup system, the System Restore isn't necessary. Stopping the 6th install and restarting with System Restore disabled.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:40 pm   
 
OK...I this time I'm not getting any CHKDSK when WinXP starts up. So this might be getting better. I installed the exact same set of updates and software into Vista as last time, and no errors. Going to try a couple of more boots.

Nope. Now I'm getting corrupt data popups in Vista as I install Firefox. And now I can't even shut it down because the loginui.exe is corrupted. This sounds much more like a disk problem to me. When I was looking through the compatibility list on the Internet, there is a similar MSI motherboard that talks about disabling the SATA driver in BIOS. My BIOS doesn't have any way to disable it, but my motherboard uses the same chipset.

Yep...booting WinXP is doing the CHKDSK mess with orphaned files.

I now think the problem is with this motherboard and the SATA controller. Vista just isn't able to write to the disk properly, so the disk keeps getting corrupted. At this point, I just don't see any hope on installing Vista on this computer. I can't believe that this particular motherboard, which is only 2 years old, isn't supported by Vista. Out of ALL the motherboards that I could have selected when I rebuilt my computer after that bad hard disk crash, I had to pick one that didn't work. That's the last time I buy an MSI motherboard for sure.

I don't want to completely rebuild this computer. Maybe I can find a socket 754 motherboard at NewEgg that would work with my same processor and memory and be cheap enough to try. I'm not sure how happy Windows XP might be with a motherboard swap though. Anyone have any experience with that? Does it auto-detect anything new and change the drivers, or does it require a reinstall of WinXP. If it requires a reinstall of XP, then it's not something I'm going to do.

I'd be keeping the same AMD processor, but I'd probably get a motherboard that did *not* have the VIA 8237 controller. Maybe an NVidia4 chipset. I'll do some research, but I'm interested in any opinions or suggestions.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:52 pm   
 
OK, so getting a socket 754 motherboard is not looking good. They are just too old, and I'd have too much of the same chance with problems. Most of the chipsets match what this board already has.

So, I might need to get a socket 939 motherboard and then a cheap Athlon 64 3400+ Venice processor for it. Now my question is what will have with this more major motherboard change with WinXP. Going to do more Google searching after dinner.
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Vijilante
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 12:59 am   
 
At this point I would say replacing the MB and processor is putting the cart before the horse. I would suggest considering the purchase of secondary SATA controller. At this time and from as much as I know so far you should be looking at a PCIexpress card. From what you have described so far it is likely that the mother board is young enough to have 1 such slot and nothing have mentioned should be using it. Currently PCI cards are being phased out in favor of the express. So again it is a longer term choice for continuing useability.

It may be optimal to move both drives to such a secondary controller. When I first installed Win2k on my system I was able to use motherboard drivers directly from a disk for installation. My board was an early ALImagic, based on the VIA chipset...with a Promise RAID controller onboard. Later, I finally decided to make the upgrade to XP because 1 of the drives in my RAID array died and I was forced to do a new installation. XP however was not entirely happy with a single drive attached to those particular onboard controller ports even though the was no RAID setup. The specific reality at that time, was that the setup would operate correctly and initial launch would work, but after the default drivers were loaded problems would begin to occur.

There are a few things operating against you on this, since it is likely that the same problem will still exist with Vista and some proprietary drive controllers.

First while it is still in a closer to the old style DOS mode it operates correctly. This is because the controller's BIOS is in direct control. That is why installation will work correctly, unless things have vastly changed for Vista the installation is still clean of most of Windows crap. So it installs, but after Windows loads it forgets just like Mr. Gates.

Next is the wonderful way in which Windows grabs and controls all CPU ports. They were more meant to be under BIOS control, but as Windows took more and more control the ports were grabbed. The brute forcing of these are actually what causes the default driver to mangle data once it is loaded.

So the addition of a new card that might be properly detected by Vista, and might conform to the finesse of Windows is likely your best choice.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 1:27 am   
 
Nope, this particular motherboard doesn't have PCIexpress, which is one of it's other problems. I has an AGP video slot, and 4 PCI slots. The onboard audio has never worked, which is why it has the SBLive. The onboard network is only 10/100, so I have a 10/100/1000 network card plugged into another PCI slot. It still uses the 184 pin DDR RAM (2x1GB installed).

Looks like I can get a 4-port SATA PCI card at NewEgg for about $50 or so. That might be a good solution since WinXP should probably autodetect the new controller card. In fact, I can probably just boot WinXP on the current controller and then install the drivers for the new controller, and then move the disks to the new controller.

Anyway, thanks for that suggestion. I hadn't thought about a new controller and that is certainly easier and cheaper than doing a motherboard replacement.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:35 am   
 
OK, I decided to give Vijilante's advice a quick test. Since I'm not doing RAID right now anyway, I ran over to CompUSA before they closed and got a cheap $30 2-port SATA PCI card. It basically makes the SATA disks look like IDE. I was only getting 150 MB/sec from my motherboard controller anyway, so performance should be the same. The controller was returnable if it doesn't work with Vista.

Even though it's a CompUSA "branded" card, when it gets installed into WinXP it is marked as a Silicon Image Sil 3512 SATAlink card. I went to their web site and they actually had a driver compatible with Vista, which I downloaded and put on a disk.

With both drives connected to the new controller and installed in WinXP, I formatted the Vista partition again, made sure System Restore was still disabled, and then started the Vista install. I selected the option for the disk driver just as before with the RAID controller, and this time gave it the floppy disk for the new Sil 3512 controller.

I'll let you know in another 40 minutes if it works or not.
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Tech
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:43 am   
 
Zugg, I'm sorry this has been such a nightmare. If it's any consolation I know you're pain. I've had more than a few things that should have been simple (or started out looking simple turn out to be nightmares.)

My friend has a dell laptop and on 2/19 I went to Windows Update installed some security updates and an "updated" driver. Since I was in a rush (had a flight to catch) I didn't vet the system before I returned it to her, but it shouldn't have been an issue. Well no because her wireless card stopped working. Suffice it to say 3 weeks, headaches with Dell's tech "support", a replacement and many, many, many attempts of installing the driver later it's still not working. I'll give Dell's guys one last shot but at this point I'm just about ready to buy her PCMCIA card (there's one for 20 bucks now) and call it a day.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 4:06 am   
 
I should be used to it. I'm pretty much cursed when it comes to computer stuff. Hardware failures, upgrades, etc. My first WinXP install was a nightmare that required a bunch of new hardware (although I was expecting that at the time). I've had lots of hard disks fail, power supplies fail. You name it. From all of my Google searching, I seem to be having one of the worst possible Vista update experiences possible.

As with XP when it first came out, people should really just wait until Vista comes preinstalled on new hardware. People should only upgrade to Vista when required, and then only do it with very recent hardware and understand it's probably still going to be a pain.

The Dell wireless card in Chiara's laptop has been a pain too. Fortunately, Vista seems to have built-in support for it, because the Dell driver is one of the things you uninstall when upgrading to Vista. I should have shelled out a bit more money for the better and faster non-Dell wireless card that I had a choice for when I built the system.

Anyway, at least I pretty much expected this to be a nightmare...which is why I was so surprised at the beginning of all of this when it seemed to be going smoothly. But I figured I'd be spending several days on this.

Moment of truth. Vista has installed. Updates installed. Rebooting into WinXP...

Works! No disk errors this time. OK cool. Now to install more software into Vista and see if I have any more long term disk issues like before. But so far, so good. Thanks for the suggestion Vijilante!
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 4:17 am   
 
DAMN! Nope, it's dying again. Same symptoms. As I start installing software, the system gets flakier and flakier and starts reporting disk problems and corrupted files. Now Vista doesn't even boot again.

What could possibly be wrong? I had the same problems when I was using a partition on the same disk as WinXP, so I don't think it's a real disk issue. But I'm at a complete loss now. I don't even know what to try next. This *should* have worked! The SATA to IDE driver is certified for Vista and is properly installed. Could it still be some sort of motherboard conflict? I'm totally stumped now and totally pissed off!!
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 4:29 am   
 
Hmm, here is an interesting quote:
Quote:
just an advice if you created the system partition for vista with Acronis
DiskDirector 10 - do not. Use WindowsXP to do so. Otherwise (that's what
happend to me on two computers now) windows vista will encouter lots of
corrupted files and finally destroy itself. I don't know why, but this his
what happend on two different systems now.

Well, I *did* use Acronis DiskDirectory 10 to create the partition. Hmm...do I really want to go through *another* one of these installs? Why didn't I find that link in my previous hundreds of Google searches?

Well, if that's the problem then at least I'll have two new SATA ports for more disks in the future. Staring the WinXP partition formatter now. This will take a while. I think I'm destined to be up late again tonight.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 4:48 am   
 
Another amusing quote from the same thread:
Quote:
Linux is for people who want to know why it works, and don't care.
Mac is for people who don't want to know why it works, it just works.
DOS is for people who want to know why it does not work.
Vista is for people who don't want to know why it does not work, they
just want to pay microsoft for keeping them in pain.

"Thank you sir, may I have another?" *wack* "Thank you sir, may I have another?" *wack*
(ahh, Kevin Bacon at his best).

So, should we start an online pool to predict how many times I'll end up installing Vista before it works? I have dibs on "infinity".
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:14 am   
 
OK, install is done again. Installed updates. Installed AVG. Now booting into WinXP...

WinXP still seems fine. Going back to Vista to install more software (again)...

Installed Firefox...ok...Installed Office 2003...ok. So far so good. A bad low-level format would certainly explain the problems I was having. Who knew that Vista used a slightly different NTFS format that 3rd party partition managers didn't support.

Microsoft gets an F- for all of this. Horrible, even for a first public release.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:28 am   
 
Installed even more stuff. Still ok in Vista.

Booted over to WinXP. No disk errors and no problems.

Back to Vista. All seems ok. So maybe that was the problem?

LESSION 5: Use the Windows XP Disk Manager to partition and format the drive that Vista will be installed on. From what I've read, you can also use the partition and format tool within the Vista installer itself if you are doing an installation of a non-upgrade version of Vista. Do not use Acronis DiskDirection 5.0. I have also read about some problems using PartitionMagic.

I'm going to try the sound card now.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 7:26 am   
 
The KxProject audio driver works initially, but then seems to stop working after a few minutes. So I'm not sure it's any good. After reading the Vista compatibility guide I found a reference to a modded SB Live driver called NGOCMD.EXE. Trying that now.

Cool...it works great! And everything is still running stable!

I suppose I could put the disks back onto the motherboard controller since it doesn't look like that was the problem. But I think I'll just use this PCI SATA card for now since it works and there really isn't any advantage to using it instead. I'll use the motherboard controller later in the future when I want to set up a RAID 1 array again.

Finally. So whoever guessed that I'd need 12 installs before it would finally work wins. Sorry, but I don't have any prize.

Going to bed now! Maybe tonight I'll actually be able to sleep.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:51 pm   
 
Yeah! It's the next morning and it all still works!

Fortunately, I remembered to change the automatic background Disk Defrag program in Vista so that it would only touch the Vista drive. By default, Vista will Defrag all available (local) disks, and I didn't want it to touch the WinXP or Apps disks. You can go into the Scheduled Tasks in Vista and in the Microsoft folder, find the Disk Defragmenting entry. It has a command like this:
Code:
defrag -c -i

change this to
Code:
defrag v: -i

where V: is the drive Vista is installed on. Not sure what the -i option does, but the -c option is the one that tells it to defrag all local disks.

I need to email Acronis about my other concern. During this Vista installation mess, I used Acronis DiskDirectory to also resize the Apps partition. I'm worried that if DiskDirector cannot properly format a stable disk for Vista, then when it made the Apps partition bigger, did it make the new space formatted improperly? In other words, there might be places on the Apps disk where Vista might have a flaky time reading/writing. This could cause a lot of wierd crashes and data loss down the line, so I need to find out now if it's going to be a problem.

I could use TrueImage to make an image of the Apps drive, and then let WinXP or Vista reformat it, and then restore the image. But I'm not sure if restoring the image would just end up restoring the bad formatting? I guess the image would only contains the used file space and not the unused space, so maybe this is a good idea. Anyway, I'm going to email Acronis to see what they recommend, but other ideas or suggestions are welcome.

Monday I'll be back to working on CMUD. Chiara is doing well and can get around on her own now. I'm still doing stuff like the laundry, but she is able to cook (with some assistance). So I think I can get my mind focused on CMUD again. The fact that Chiara did so well has removed a lot of my stress. And it looks like our health insurance is taking care of the bills properly, so that also relieves some stress. I'll post more in a new blog entry on Monday about my next plans for CMUD.

Thanks for listening to my rants in this thread. If anyone else installing Vista finds this blog, I hope the information is helpful. It was definitely a learning experience for me. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions along the way. It was a pretty bumpy ride. But that about does it for this blog entry. I'm sure I'll have plenty of other Vista topics to talk about in the future.
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Rainchild
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 11:11 pm   
 
Sounds like you had a fun time there Zugg. From my experience with windows I never ever ever ever ever install something over the top of anything - the entire partition gets deleted and I let the windows installer create itself a partition and format it to whatever specs it decides is necessary. Know that's not always practical to do, since people want to buy upgrade disks etc, but it saves headaches in the long run.

The only thing that might concern me is if Acronis Disk Director is a problem, will True Image also fail?
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 4:24 am   
 
True Image claims to support Vista. I had assumed Disk Director did too and was stupid not to check for sure.

But I was never installing Vista on top of anything else. I was just creating the partitions in Disk Director instead of Windows. Initially I did this because I was going to put Vista on the RAID array and needed to use Disk Directory to resize my Apps partition to make room for a Vista partition. If I had just broken the RAID array and gone to RAID 0 to begin with, then I probably would not have purchased Disk Director and would have just used Windows for the partition creation.
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Taz
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 1:04 pm   
 
Ah well that explains why my repartitioning worked when using PartitionMagic because when I did the Vista install I got the setup to delete the newly created second partition and then recreate it and format it. I guess it pays to be anal.
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Rainchild
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 10:08 am   
 
Well I've had mah own experience with Vista now... my new laptop came with it, but took me all off 3 weeks to blow it away and reinstall XP. My biggest beef was getting Visual Studio + SQL Server Developer Edition installed for my work. Visual Studio kept on saying it wouldn't install under Windows 98/ME, but I eventually coaxed it into installing. It was SQL Server that I had the biggest problem with, the Express Edition would install, but not the Developers Edition which is a bit of a pity because that's what I need to use for my job.

I also managed to blue-screen it somehow, I think I was copying a file over the wireless and plugged in the network cable, not too sure, explorer stopped responding then one thing lead to another, and poof!

McAfee seemed to really choke the system too, I was copying 70 megs of files to a USB key and when I disabled McAfee the ETA went from 15 minutes down to 30 seconds, so I dunno what's going on there, maybe Vista is indexing the files as they are copied which makes McAfee scan them once for the copy, once for the index, once for creating a thumbnail, etc. Not sure, but it was pretty chuggy.

But on the other hand, I really loved the eye candy theme and the new start menu with the built in search feature -- hitting the windows button on the keyboard and type 'cmud' push enter and bling! Worked great for a power user. Some of the 'friendly' features were nice too, like when trying to connect to a wireless network and failing, have a 'diagnose' option. When copying pictures it had a thumbnail of conflicting files and allowed you to 'overwrite', 'skip', or 'rename'.

Overall, the experience was positive, albeit frustrating that I couldn't use it due to the incompatibility, so now I'm just looking forward to Vista Service Pack 1 and hopefully the fixed compatibility so I can reinstall it and give it another drive.
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