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Zugg Software :: View Entry - Living with Vista and Delphi 2007
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 2:22 pm   
 
Bah...for some reason my CleanXP partition ended up on a Logical partition instead of a Boot partition. Now I can't boot again with just that disk...it still needs the old disk. Back to the Recovery Console on the XP disk. Man, *nothing* is going right.

Also, when I try to access the image restore of the Apps drive, it fails with an error. So somehow Acronis didn't do the image restore properly. That's a bad sign. I'll probably have to take the slower approach of formatting the partition and then doing a file restore instead of an image restore. The image restore might have the bad/different low-level format from the old SATA controller.
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Guinn
Wizard


Joined: 03 Mar 2001
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Location: London

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 2:27 pm   
 
I do go through full installs of the programs I use. Generally Office, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, VMWare are the only things that take any length of time. The little apps (=well written) like Firefox, WinRAR, VLC, FileZilla, Daemon Tools, PuTTY, TrueCrypt etc I just keep the install files nearby (or they download in a minute) and they only take a moment to install so I fly through those lot in no time.
I use Eclipse if I'm doing any programming and it doesn't actually require an install - you just drop the folder in place and run the .exe. All the plugins are within the eclipse folder so you can just pick up the entire thing and drop it onto a new machine without worrying about the config. If only all programs worked like that, would make life so much easier.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 2:52 pm   
 
I ended up back in my old/dirty XP partition. Just so I can edit the BOOT.INI file so that I can get back to my CleanXP partition. But while I'm in the "dirty" partition, I'm going to try installing SP2 using the direct download link that Vijilante gave. The download just finished (thank goodness for fast network speeds this morning), so now it's starting the install. It will be interesting to see if Windows Update starts working after this.

Edited: Hmm...after taking a while to install, the SP2 update comes back with the simple error box "Access denied". Yeah, that's really helpful Microsoft, thanks.

Edited again: Microsoft knowledge base didn't help at all with this. But then I found this link: http://blogs.blogosphere.ca/brock/archive/2004/09/19/3230.aspx which has a procedure to download SubInACL tool from Microsoft and then create a script that essentially goes through the registry and ensures that Administrators have full control access to all registry keys and files in the Windows directory.

This procedure was a bit scary, and it took a while to run. But after running it I was able to successfully install SP2. And now I can run Windows Update again!
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Zugg
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Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:29 pm   
 
OK, I have run Windows Update on the old disk and have installed all patches and .NET. I am no longer getting errors in the Event log, and I can run Microsoft Office successfully, and I can run Delphi 7 with CMUD 2.18 successfully! So it looks like I finally got the XP system back to how I wanted it!

I think I'm going to donate to that Brock guy in the link that I gave in the previous post. His solution saved the day here...at least for XP.

Now it's back to trying to get a clean Vista partition so I can start reinstalling my apps.
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Fang Xianfu
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Joined: 26 Jan 2004
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Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:17 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:
Wow, sounds like February is just a bad month for computers.

This is the February of Death. My new computer has kerploded too - all the back panel sockets on the mobo have died. It still boots into windows fine, I just can't type in my password to log in :(

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Zugg
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Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:27 pm   
 
Eewww!!! That is just evil. I didn't know the computer gremlins could travel via the forums. I can't imagine what could happen to kill the back panel sockets and yet still let windows boot. Seems like Windows would complain about a bunch of device drivers not working. Can you use your keyboard to get into your BIOS? Tried another keyboard already I assume? Does your mobo have an ethernet port on the back? If so, does it still have a link light? That would tell you if the connectors were getting power. Also, maybe a USB keyboard would work?

Meanwhile, I've finally moved the CleanXP partition to the primary/active partition for the disk and added the Boot stuff. So now I can boot into CleanXP with just this single disk. I am now formatting a clean partition for Vista. Should be another hour before I'll know if it works or not.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:22 pm   
 
Woohoo...I have a clean Vista installation now! No crashes during installation this time. I still need to install the network driver and then activate it and run Windows Update for Vista, but this is good progress.
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 7:14 pm   
 
USB, PS/2, Ethernet, audio, all dead. I'm just getting a refund.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 7:28 pm   
 
Yeah, definitely...you just got that really recently. What brand was it?

Just finished with the NVidia display drivers. Windows Vista "Experience Score" is now 5.4 (was 3.2 on the old computer. And actually all of the numbers are 5.8-5.9 except the CPU which is 5.4. Max rating is 6.0). Using EasyBCD I have edited the boot menu so that I can boot 1) Vista, 2) Original XP with all apps installed, and 3) Clean XP partition. I'm going to install Acronis True Image now so that I can save an image of this "Clean Vista" install. Then I'll save another image after I have installed more apps.

But it's just about time to shut this down and finish with the cable routing in the case so I can close the case and take the new computer up to the office where I will start installing apps on Monday.
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Rorso
Wizard


Joined: 14 Oct 2000
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 8:20 pm   
 
Fang Xianfu wrote:
USB, PS/2, Ethernet, audio, all dead. I'm just getting a refund.

I hope you haven't opened the case. Last time I bought a new graphics card I inserted it myself(there is no way I'll pay someone $20 to insert a card and having to wait days to get computer back). Some time later the mobo fried and brought the harddrive with it or maybe it was the other way around. I don't know, however when I got to the shop they declared the warranty void because I had inserted the graphics card myself.
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Taz
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Joined: 28 Sep 2000
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Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:58 am   
 
We use Ghost for our cloning rather than TrueImage but nonetheless I believe that it is expedient to run Sysprep especially with the prepare mass storage section, I can't see a reason why they will have removed this from Sysprep for Vista but you never know. The mass storage section adds loads of drivers for different hard drives and controllers and helps significantly when dumping images onto new hardware. One thing to watch out for are significant HAL changes as this will cause blue screens no matter what you have done to prepare an image. I do believe that MS has improved Sysprep over the years so it may be a lot better than the last time I used it. Zugg I know you're a bit pissed at MS at the moment but it really is one tool of theirs that I would recommend looking into.

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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:56 am   
 
Zugg wrote:
Yeah, definitely...you just got that really recently. What brand was it?

Gigabyte. I'm not all that miffed though, since the two times things will go wrong are immediately after buying it and a good few years after buying it. I guess it was just a timebomb when I got it.

Rorso wrote:
I hope you haven't opened the case.

I built it myself, so it doesn't matter. I'll be sending the motherboard itself back for a refund - its warranty should cover the rear panel not working a week after I put it together.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:45 pm   
 
Quote:
I believe that it is expedient to run Sysprep

Too bad that is so obscure that I didn't even know about it. Although honestly, someone with a hardware crash/problem isn't going to normally be able to run this before installing a new system upgrade.
Quote:
Gigabyte.

Wow, that's annoying. I guess it's possible to have trouble with any brand, although I'm going to cross my fingers that my Gigabyte doesn't have any timebombs in it. Don't know where you bought it, but Newegg usually has a really good return policy for these kind of problems, which I why I always use them when I can.

My Vista Activation kicked in today. And yes, the online activation failed, as did the automated phone activation. I ended up talking to someone in India and answering their silly questions. I didn't have any trouble with that, so Vista is now activated properly. With XP the automated phone activation worked. I expect I'll have to call and talk to India again when I try to activate Office, since I've already had to do that in the past.

I am now using the new computer in the office this morning. Today I'll be installing various apps. I'm hoping that my estimate of "several weeks" was really a frustrated exaggeration on my part and that I can get everything installed in a couple of days. The hard part is all of my settings. For example, I spent many days getting Delphi 2007 customized to my liking, with all of the macros I use, etc.

Unlike nice programs like Firefox that keep their settings in disk files, Delphi 2007 extensively uses the system registry. I'm hoping that I can open the registry hive on the old disk and export my Delphi 2007 settings and then import it after I install it on the new computer to restore all of my settings.

Firefox was great...I just copied the directory tree in the LocalData area and got all of my extensions, preferences, bookmarks, etc without any work at all. Did the same thing with the Directory Opus software that I had customized a couple of weeks ago. So that saved time. Hopefully I'll be able to do something similar with a lot of the software that I had installed.

This morning went really smoothly...I brought the new system up and plugged in my dual monitors and G15 keyboard. The USB G15 keyboard worked fine in the BIOS. When Vista first started, the keyboard and mouse didn't work initially. But I noticed the LEDs flashing and just waiting a few minutes and then the keyboard and mouse started working automatically. So I just needed to wait for Vista to load the drivers for the newly detected hardware.

When I ran the NVidia video control panel and told it to set up my two monitors, it was able to automatically detect their resolution and configured them correctly. I just had to drag desktop #2 over to the left of my primary since it defaulted to the right. So all of that was very smooth and easy.

The system is really quiet. Even with three 120mm fans. I monitored the CPU temp and fan speed during the past two days when I left the system on at the Vista desktop. I wasn't using the CPU very much, I just wanted to see the idle temp. It stayed around 31 C, with a fan speed of 4000 RPM. So that's really nice. I'll see how much the temp increases as I start using the CPU more.

I'll let you know how reinstalling goes during the week and will announce as soon as I'm able to start working on CMUD again. Hopefully it will just be a couple of days.
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Taz
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Joined: 28 Sep 2000
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:42 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:
Quote:
I believe that it is expedient to run Sysprep

Too bad that is so obscure that I didn't even know about it. Although honestly, someone with a hardware crash/problem isn't going to normally be able to run this before installing a new system upgrade.

No indeed, but if you are in the habit of cloning your system as a means of backup then it is something you can investigate and perform once before relying on your clones especially with respect to moving to a replaced system.

I think this type of software should come with warnings or pointers to these particular issues especially as they are sold to the home market, enterprise users are likely to know of the issues already or experience them straight away due to the nature of usage. Having said that I believe the products are getting better and that there will be less issues in the future. Imagine merging your backup image into a newly built and live OS without it overwriting the required device drivers, I think this is the direction they are heading to get near 100% reliability.

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Guinn
Wizard


Joined: 03 Mar 2001
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Location: London

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:37 pm   
 
Taz wrote:
Imagine merging your backup image into a newly built and live OS without it overwriting the required device drivers, I think this is the direction they are heading to get near 100% reliability.

That's how they're heading with the Vista install process already - unlike XP where it did a normal install, Vista just dumps an image to the hard disk then it sorts out the drivers the first time you boot up, so it's not too far off already. Just need the tools that exist for corporate installs and 'IT professionals' to be tailored to the home user too.

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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
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Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:31 pm   
 
Well, I am actually making *excellent* progress today so far (I probably shouldn't say that ;)

My priority was getting Delphi 2007 working again. I had installed Delphi 2007 to my common C:\Apps directory. So I already had all of the files available. The trick was getting everything into the registry. Since Delphi 2007 uses the .NET SDK (for the IDE), I didn't dare try to reconstruct the registry myself, so I went ahead and did a clean install of Delphi 2007 and then installed the December update (update #3).

This update takes a longtime on Vista, but on this new computer it was *much* faster. Since I think the slowdown was related to updating stuff in the registry, having a clean registry probably also helped make it faster.

Once that was done, I installed all of my IDE addon tools (like ModelMaker Explorer, Castalia, Delphi Experts, AQTime, etc). Next, I installed the 3rd party components that actually have installers, such as DevExpress, TMS, Raize, AQDock, etc. This allowed them to properly install their help files into the D2007 help system.

Now, the trick was to get back to all of my previous preferences and to get Delphi to install all of my other 3rd party components in the correct order. As I mentioned before, Delphi stores *all* of it's various preferences into the Registry. So, I ran REGEDIT and first located my previous Vista installation's NTUSER.DAT file and did a Load Hive to load it into regedit. This allows me to examine the HKEY_CURRENT_USER settings that I had on my old computer.

I exported the entire Delphi registry tree and then loaded the *.REG file into an editor and did a Replace All to change the hive entry to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER entry. Then (after backing up my registry), I Imported this file into regedit. Then I ran Delphi 2007...

And what do you know...everything is set up perfectly! Well, almost. I had to do the same procedure for Castalia and for ModelMaker Explorer I had to copy over my previous settings from the previous disk folder (it didn't use the registry).

But I was able to successfully build CMUD! This was *much* faster than trying to get all of the 3rd party components reinstalled and to try and remember all of the preferences and settings that I had changed. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, but I'm glad I tried it.

I also installed some other software, including Microsoft Office, and got my Outlook email system set up again. Even though I use Outlook for some email, we use an Outlook plugin for our MDaemon mail server, so I am really using it more like an IMAP client. This takes a bit of time to configure, but I've done it enough on the other computers in the house (to get common access to the single IMAP server) that it didn't take too long. All of our Zuggsoft support email gets done via the HelpSpot system in a web browser, but I still use Outlook for personal email.

Interesting...the online Activation for Office worked just fine. Even though the last time I installed this same version of Outlook, the online version failed and I had to call. That was nice for a change.

All in all, I have about half of my software installed, which is much better than I expected. One more day should do it, and then I should be able to get back to programming.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:51 am   
 
OK, this was *really* interesting (and a bit irritating)

Tonight I was trying to install WoW on this new computer. Since I'm installing from the original disks, there were a *lot* of updates to download and install. I noticed that the download was very fast, but the "Blizzard Updater" patch tool was *very* slow. And every few seconds, my entire computer would just freeze for a bit. I couldn't do hardly anything while this thing was running. I got the Task Manager up and noticed that the Installer I/O would just stop and nothing else on the system seemed to be doing anything.

I disable the AVG antivirus in case that was causing a problem, but that didn't help. Finally, I got the smart idea to look in the system log. Every few seconds there was a system event:
Quote:
Reset to device, \Device\RaidPort0, was issued.

When I did some Google searching, I ran across one thread that suggested installing the KB938194 patch for Vista. But that didn't help. Then I finally found another thread that told me to go into the Device Manager and in the Storage Controllers, find the NVIDIA nForce Serial ATA Controller entry. Right click and select Properties, then go to the Port 0 tab. Then disable the "Enable Command Queuing" option. After rebooting, this fixed the problem!

Looks like this is a known problem with Vista and the NVIDIA nForce drivers. Not sure why this hasn't been fixed yet, but maybe I'll try it again after Vista SP1 is released. But now the WoW patcher runs very fast and my system is no longer hanging. Looks like it was just causing a reset problem when the controller was getting overloaded with too many I/O requests. Sure glad I found this fix...it was really bugging me!
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:18 am   
 
Interesting follow up. When I looked into this "command queuing" business a bit more, I found this:
Quote:
In addition to snubbing higher density platters, the Caviar SE16 also lacks support for Native Command Queuing (NCQ). Command queuing can improve drive efficiency and potentially performance by intelligently reordering I/O requests to reduce rotational latency, but Western Digital claims that adding NCQ to the SE16 would hurt sequential read and write performance.

I am using the WD Caviar SE16 250GB drive in this computer, so that explains the problem. I wonder why the disk controller enabled Command Queuing by default. You'd think that it would check to see if the disk drive supports it first?? I need to check this on my HTPC gaming system downstairs, which uses the exact same drives, to see if I have command queuing enabled in XP Media Center too, or if it was just a Vista issue.

Anyway, at least this means that I did the right thing to fix the problem.
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:12 am   
 
Don't download the patches, download the full installer- it's much less hassle. You can update to the latest major version (I believe it's 2.3 but I haven't played in a while) and then download the incremental patches separately - they're normally only a couple of megs.

Also, don't use the Blizzard Updater: it's very slow. Either it's slow because you haven't forwarded the ports properly, or it's slow because you've forwarded them and now it's filling your upstream bandwidth with data sent to people you don't care about. Just use Filefront instead.

That's interesting to know about the Caviar drives, too - I have two of them myself.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:37 am   
 
Actually, now that the Command Queuing problem is fixed, the Blizzard Updater is quite fast. And it actually only downloaded 2 patches: 1.12 -> 2.0, and then 2.0 -> 2.3. That was it. So it turned out just fine.

A few more performance tweaks tonight:

1) Ran Windows Update to install a few remaining optional Vista updates for "performance and stability"

2) Installed updated NVIDIA nForce drivers for SATA Controller and Network controller. Ensured that Command Queuing remained off. The Network driver improved network download performance by a lot.

3) Continuing to improve network performance, I did the "netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled" command. Interesting that Comcast worked fine before I set this even though it failed on my previous computer. Also turned off the QOS service for the network card.

4) Since I have 4GB of RAM and Vista normally splits Kernel/User 2GB/2GB I ran the command: "BCDEDIT /Set IncreaseUserVa 3072" which changes the memory split to 1GB/3GB giving more RAM to user apps. Vista kernel really doesn't need more than 1GB and this prevents the Vista memory caching "features" from filling up RAM with useless stuff.

5) When I was playing around with AVG disabled, I noticed a lot of performance improvements. So I have uninstalled AVG and have installed an evaluation version of Avast (http://www.avast.com/) to see if it performs better. It gets a lot of high recommendations across the net and the consensus is that AVG works well but is slow.

6) Installed updated drivers for the G15 keyboard and LCD display. The new version works better with iTunes and allows the media keys to work even when iTunes is minimized.

That should be about it for tonight. I've already noticed some nice performance boosts. I can now use the mouse-wheel to scroll in Delphi 2007 without any "lag" in the screen scrolling (it was really bad on my previous computer). So this is getting better and better.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:43 am   
 
Bah...got WoW updated and then it complained that I don't have Burning Crusade downloaded. I know that I never installed the Burning Crusade update on this computer before, but I would have thought that the WoW updater would be smart enough to download that since you have to log in when getting updates.

After all, EQ2 properly detects which expansions are owned by the account and automatically downloads the proper updates. With all of the money that Blizzard makes, you'd think they could improve the "smarts" of their updater.

So now I'm downloading the BurningCrusade update (seemed easier than installing from the original disks and then repatching everything again). Sigh.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:38 am   
 
Btw, speaking of Vista performance tweaks, I have run across an *excellent* article: 99 Windows Vista Performance Tips and Tweaks. This article has been recently updated and contains all of the performance tweaks that I have found in other places, all with good explanations. I'll be going through this and tweaking a bit more tomorrow.
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Guinn
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Joined: 03 Mar 2001
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Location: London

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:55 am   
 
First way to avoid some of the bloat is to use vLite on the install CD - reduced the installation DVD from 3.5GB to 1.4GB. Not removing anything important, just the support for Tablet PCs, extra languages, Natural Language search, the sample movies that come bundled etc. Halves the install time straight away.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:35 pm   
 
Yeah, but I'd be careful with vLite. Here is a quote from their site:
Quote:
It came to my attention that some of you expected to install Service Pack on the lite Vista, without some components.
Unfortunatelly that is not possible, nor it was ever expected to be because Service Pack is meant to update the whole installation, if it detects that something is missing it aborts.

So it sounds like if you run vLite on Vista and then try to install the SP1 service pack, the service pack will fail. That's the kind of problems that I don't want to have.
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Rainchild
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Joined: 10 Oct 2000
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:19 pm   
 
I don't know about WoW, but with EQ2 you can just copy the entire "C:\Program Files\Sony\" directory from the old drive to the new and create a new shortcut and you're ready to run.

LOTRO will also transplant if you copy the entire "C:\Program Files\Turbine\" directory and create a new shortcut. For LOTRO you also need to run a program called "TurbineRegisterGDF.exe" to get some DLL's registered as required. I think I had to run it twice, because the first time it spat up some error.

Just remember that with Vista, the "Program Files" directory is locked, so you need to manually change the permissions on the "Sony" / "Turbine" directory + sub directories to add your limited user account full access to the directory (or the patcher won't patch, the logfiles won't log, and the screenshots won't screenshot).

Turns 5 gigs of patching into no hassle! Plus I use this tip to update my fiance's PC whenever a large expansion comes out, to save downloading the same stuff twice.
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