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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 1:32 am   

Vista Experience - Take Two!
 
OK, here it is...the blow by blow blog (say that ten times fast) of my Windows Vista development system installation experience.

Using Acronis Disk Directory (the same company that makes the excellent Acronis True Image backup system), I created a 20GB partition for Vista on my 100GB SATA RAID array. This worked easily. I know you can also use Symantec PartitionMagic, and there is a free linux tool you can copy an ISO image to a CD to make a bootable CD that will also repartition the drive.

Edited: DO NOT USE Acronis DiskDirector 5.0. It does not properly format partitions for Vista!!! I wish I had known this before I started.

This drive now looks like this:
C: Apps (70MB)
F: WinXP (12MB)
V: Vista (20MB)

I purchased the Vista Business Upgrade edition, and it was time to install. That is, once I figured out how to open their new-fangled box. That's Microsoft for you...always trying to do something different. The box has hinges, so it looks like it would open like a book. But no. And CompUSA had placed an additional plastic seal to stop it from opening. Removing the seal was going to rip off the authenticity label, so I had to cut along the seam of the case with a knife, and then open it. I've never had so much trouble with a software case in my life. Why didn't they just use a standard DVD case? Who knows. Hope it isn't a bad omen.

Inserted the DVD into the drive while WinXP was running, and selected the options to install a fresh copy on the new V: partition. It was easy because the existing F: system partition wasn't big enough so the evil "upgrade" option was actually disabled.

About 30 minutes later, Vista is up and running with no problem at all. Haven't installed any apps yet, but the network is up and running just fine. The only hardware it seems to have trouble with is the sound card. It's a SB Live! so you'd think it could handle that out of the box. The Vista Compatibility wizard didn't even complain about it. But that's minor and I should be able to solve that later.

Unlike on Chiara's laptop, I find Vista to be significantly faster than XP so far. Maybe Dell is doing something wierd, or maybe it's the difference between doing a clean install vs an upgrade. So far, I'd definitely recommend doing a clean install like everyone else has said.

When I reboot the computer, I automatically get the boot manager prompting me to select which version of Windows I want to run. So the dual-boot happened automatically. I then rebooted and selected the "Previous Windows version" (WinXP). WinXP starts checking the V: Vista partition for consistency and then started reporting a bunch of "Recovering Orphaned Files". Hmm...what is it doing with that? WinXP doesn't like the Vista partition somehow?? Just when I thought it was going to go really smoothly :(

OK, it displayed the "Recovering Orphaned File" message a *lot*. It did this for about 10 minutes! Then WinXP started up. Then I got an error saying "This version of Windows could not be installed. Your previous version of Windows has been restored". Huh?? Something wierd left over from running the installation from within XP to start with? Maybe I should have just booted the DVD?

Anyway, WinXP seems fine. No other errors. Delphi 7 still works. Firefox works, etc. Really wierd.

So, let's try to reboot WinXP again and see if it's really ok. This time it doesn't check the Vista disk and it starts XP just fine.

OK, now let's try to boot into Vista. No problem with that. Vista starts up just fine. No errors.

OK, one last try for WinXP. Let's see if WinXP can boot right after Vista. This time it works fine. No Orphaned files, and no error message in XP. So I guess it just had some stuff left over from installing the upgrade from within WinXP and then not expecting to finish installing in a different partition.

Could have been slightly smoother, but honestly, this is better than I remember my first WinXP installation being.

Edited: Yeah right...I was just being fooled. Keep reading to find out what a nightmare of an installation this really turned out to be.

*Ding* Round 1 is over...and I'm still standing!


Last edited by Zugg on Sun Mar 18, 2007 5:41 am; edited 2 times in total
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 1:36 am   
 
Hmm...the next time I started Vista, it started doing a consistency check of the WINXP partition. Something isn't right here. Somehow the two operating systems are still interacting, or they don't like what is happening on the different partition disks. I haven't read about anything like this...it's very inconsistent and wierd. Wonder if it's something related to the RAID array.

Uh oh...Vista just stopped at the 19% point of the disk consistency check. This could be bad.

Reset the computer. It checked consistency again, but didn't stop at 19% and Vista started up just fine. Time for some Google searching.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 2:35 am   
 
OK, I might have found part of the problem. Vista sees the RAID array as two separate disks instead of a single mirror. So it has two drive letters for each partition. Back to WinXP to do some RAID driver searching. Went to the web site for my MSI motherboard. Found the VIA SATA RAID driver. It doesn't say anything about Vista support. Hmm...

I downloaded it anyway and then reran the Vista installation. It had an option when I selected the disk partition to load a driver from disk. Now I just need to find a floppy to put the driver on. You know, Microsoft Media Center Edition had this same issue a few months ago when I installed it on my game system. Why can't Microsoft start properly supporting SATA RAID??? It's been around for years now. No excuse for that, unless it's the VIA guys who aren't writing drivers.

And I'm really annoyed at all vendors who used to distribute their software on floppies but removed the write-protect tab so that we can't reuse the floppies. Sigh. I finally find a floppy I can re-use, format it, and then copy the RAID drivers to it.

Then I restart the Vista installer. Enter my activation key (again) and tell it to use the driver floppy disk. It sees the SATA RAID driver. Starts loading files...

**Please wait ** Please wait **
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:20 am   
 
Hmm, that was wierd. When it rebooted, I didn't notice that there were now 3 boot choices (Previous version of Windows, Windows Setup, Windows Vista). It selected Windows Vista, and the previous Vista booted up. Really strange. When I rebooted again, I selected the Windows Setup option and then it continued with the setup.

OK, 40 minutes later, Vista is installed again. Checking drives...WOOHOO! Only shows one copy of each drive.

Now to try booting XP again...Yeah! No errors! Existing apps work.

Now back to Vista...Yeah! It works too. No errors, and no checking drive consistency. Looks like it worked.

So: LESSION ONE: If you use SATA RAID arrays, make sure you have a floppy drive and a driver disk. Vista might work with the built-in drivers, but seems to have trouble on some VIA systems.

OK, now it's time to figure out how to move the Program Files and Documents folders over to the larger Apps disk.

*Ding* Round 2 is over...and I'm still standing (although a bit shaky)
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:31 am   
 
I can understand why you'd want to move Documents over (for UI shortcuts and because lots of programs install stuff there, including CMUD, and sometimes they don't even let you configure the directory they use), but why move Program Files? I just tell programs to install somewhere else - D:\CMUD for CMUD, D:\Steam for Steam, D:\Westwood for all my Command and Conquer games. The only thing XP ever did with Program Files that I saw was bug you about editing it until you told it not to - does Vista do something else special with the folder that warrants actually keeping your programs in it?
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:45 am   
 
Sigh...I'm getting a lot of wierd errors in Vista. It can't run MMC.EXE for example. When I installed the second time, it copied the old files into Windows.Old. I cannot delete that directory, nor can I even look in it. It tells me the file is corrupted. The Start/All Programs doesn't even show the Accessories directory. Something didn't work right.

Now when I boot WinXP again, it is doing another consistency check on the Vista partition. It is finding a lot of errors again. Same orphaned files problem. Is this RAID driver not working in Vista? Or was it because I didn't clear out the old partition first?

I'm going to try this one more time. I'm going to clear out the Vista partition and try it again with the RAID floppy. But this mess is not making me happy. I can't seem to find a VIA 8237 SATA RAID driver for Vista, and I just can't believe that there isn't one. This computer is only two years old.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:46 am   
 
Oh, and Fang, the reason is because of the new security in Vista...it really wants you to install stuff into the Program Files directory. That's the Vista way of doing things, and I want to set up my system as standard as I can. I was able to move Program Files in WinXP to the Apps drive, so I should be able to do it in Vista too.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:53 am   
 
I wonder if I should just break the RAID array and have it as two SATA disks with no mirroring. After all, with the daily running of TrueImage, I can more easily recover from hard disk problems these days. And I actually wonder how easy it will ever be to deal with a disk failure even with the RAID mirroring since I'd need to find another identical disk to rebuilt the mirror with. I've heard horror stories of actually rebuilding a RAID 1 array without having an identical disk to put in. Maybe the RAID isn't worth all of this trouble?
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Arminas
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 4:18 am   
 
A year and a half ago I had a horror story of my own with raid mirroring. Nowadays most arrays let you use a bigger disk than the one that died but they lock the new larger disk down to the size of the old remaining good disk. Still... We use a tape backup for our Novell servers because the mirror only really protects us from catastrophic failures. For windows though we make DVD compressed images of our workstations and keep an image on one of the Novell servers. Norton Ghost is pretty good for the DVD backup and there are other softwares out there. Here is a site with loads of them! http://www.thefreecountry.com/utilities/backupandimage.shtml

With so many computers in our district roughly 700, and only two people who administer them. We use imaging heavily. If a machine goes down we can often just re-image the same hard drive that failed and set it back to work. Normally we can get a machine back up and running in around 40 minutes. Note that we keep valuable information that changes frequently like student grades on the Novell servers that have the mirrors and the tape backups.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 4:35 am   
 
Yeah, that's what I meant when I mentioned TrueImage above. I use Acronis TrueImage instead of Norton Ghost. TrueImage does a really nice job with disk images, in my opinion. It's very fast and has good compression. Also, they index the image so that in addition to just restoring the image, you can also restore individual files/folders. So it works as both a drive image tool *and* a regular backup tool. With my current backup schedule, I've always got a daily current image of my entire disk, along with a separate monthly image (and a few extras just in case).

I feel a lot safer with the images. Makes me feel safer than having RAID 1. But if this 3rd install attempt doesn't work, then I'm a bit nervous about breaking up the mirror. I don't want to mess up the WinXP system. At least it's a RAID 1 mirror, which *should* be easy to break. If this was a RAID 2 stripping, then I'd really be stuck I think.

Well, another 10 minutes or so and I should know if the third attempt worked or not.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:04 am   
 
OK, the 3rd installation attempt is complete. Vista only sees one copy of each drive, as it should. The Accessories folder is in the All Programs area, and I can run MMC.EXE as normal. Moved Documents to the Apps drive again.

Now rebooting back into WinXP...all looks good. Programs work.

Booting back into Vista...Looks good. So far no errors. I'll play with this a bit more and then run WinXP again and see if it's stable now.

LESSION 2: When using the RAID Driver disk, be sure you do a CLEAN installation. In other words, Format your Vista partition first (unless you just created the partition) so that there isn't anything from a previous installation attempt.
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Arminas
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:12 am   
 
Yeah, heh our vendor told us to install Novell THEN install the raid drivers. *Joyfully imagines throttling his boss's friend for that one* Two weeks later... I got the four servers up and working and the mirrored drives WEREN'T destroying each-other every time the server rebooted. If you can reboot and reload each operating system twice, one after the other without the orphaned files, I would say you will probably be alright.
Well, good luck. I'm off to bed.

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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:27 am   
 
Looks like I can't quite do what I had hoped with the applications.

Here was my thought: On WinXP I run Firefox 2.0. On Vista I want to run Firefox 2.0. Firefox 2.0 is already installed into the App C:\Program Files\Firefox directory. So if I could point the Program Files in Vista to the same location and then install Firefox over itself in Vista (to create the registry entries, etc), then I'd have the same application running in both Vista and WinXP and only taking up a single location on the disk.

But sadly, it doesn't look like you can redirect Program Files on Vista. Especially since there are already subfolders created within Program Files that have the same names (like Common...how stupid was that) as in WinXP. So there would be conflicts.

The problem is that I don't want to make the Vista partition large. I was really hoping that they had made the folders more flexible to allow you to more easily separate local machine data from the OS data. I HATE systems that force you to put the installed applications on the same disk as the operating system. I could do this in WinXP and they took that away!

Sure...every time I install an application I can change the path from V:\Program Files to C:\Program Files (the shared Apps drive). But will that make Program Files work like it should? Seems like if I'm trying to go with a clean installation so that I can reproduce what happens with other users, then I will probably need to just put *everything* on a single disk like Windows wants it.

If I'm going to need to duplicate all of my applications, this little 20GB partition I created isn't going to cut it. And with this RAID array, there isn't much room to really make a duplicate of the Apps volume for Vista.

It seems like the proper solution at this point would be to break the RAID array so that I have two 100GB disks, and then just dedicate one of the 100GB disks to Vista (OS, apps, user data, everything) and leave the other disk as the WinXP and Apps disk like I have now.

Can I possibly bear to install Vista a FOURTH time?? Stay tuned.
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Fang Xianfu
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:44 am   
 
Oh dear god, there'd better not be some stupid security thing keeping me from installing programs outside Program Files. There HAS to be a way to move it; there's no way they couldn't have thought of this problem you're having. Also, I have programs spread across three partitions on two physical disks (one for the OS and one on each drive for other stuff). I don't really want to make both into one volume; Vista had better be able to cope with programs outside Program Files.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:51 am   
 
OK, that was scary.

Delete RAID array..."Are you sure? Data on disks will be destroyed?"

Umm, no thanks. Let's go find the manual. The VIA RAID manual says:
Quote:
Deleting a disk array will destroy all the data on the disk array except RAID 1 arrays.
When a RAID 1 is deleted, the data on these two hard disk drives will be reserved
and become two normal disk drives.

OK, so deleting a RAID 1 array is OK? Let's try it then....deep breath...ok, let's see if we can boot. Booting WinXP.

Well, we get some orphaned file errors again. But maybe that's normal. WinXP boots fine after that. Looking ath the file explorer: Yep, we have duplicates of the disks now, just like we expected.

Just to make sure we get a clean installation, let's clear out the VISTA partition, and also clear out one entire disk and put a new VISTA partition on it that will take up the entire disk.

And, of course, even though we are just using RAID 0 now, that still probably requires the proper RAID driver. So just in case, I'm going to follow my lessons above and properly insert the floppy drive with the RAID driver when installing Vista again, just to be on the safe side.

And away we go (again again again)...please wait...ok, going to bed while it's installing this time. See you in the morning.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:56 am   
 
Fang: Vista *does* have a new symbolic link command. So it might be possible to make Program Files into a link to another disk. That's how they are handing the My Documents stuff, and they let you just simply Move those folders easily to another disk. They don't let you move Program Files, so maybe it doesn't work with links.

But in my specific case, I can't make a link to the Program Files on my Apps directory, because as I said, there are some WinXP applications and Vista applications that have the same filenames in the same folders within Program Files, but the files are different between the two systems. So I can't really share Program Files across both systems. So while it might be possible to move Vista Program Files to another partition, if it's not going to be the same as the Apps, then I might as well just keep it all together in one 100GB partition.

And yes, you can still install software in any directory you want. But I need to keep my stuff in Program Files, since a) that's the recommended default and I need to match what normal users might do, and b) I think all of the user access mess only happens in Program Files where normal users don't have write access anymore. Which is why CMUD stores user files in My Documents instead.

Edited: Basically, the deeper I got into this, the more I realized that I was getting in over my head and was going to end up with a "wierd" installation that wasn't the same as what most users would have. So that's why I just gave in and put Vista on it's own disk...just like everyone over in the other blog thread was recommending in the first place! It's a bit sad that I had to get rid of my RAID mirror so that I'd have enough disk space. Maybe someday I'll upgrade this computer with a better motherboard that has more than 2 SATA ports.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 6:06 am   
 
In a way, I guess this makes sense. Applications might be different between the two operating systems. And applications store a bunch of stuff in the system registry. So it makes some sense to store the Program Files along with the Operating System and to back them up together. As long as the *user data* can be separated and shared, then it might be ok. After all, I can still point Dreamweaver to my web site files on the APPS drive from both systems. I can point Delphi 7 to my CMUD files on both systems (although I don't plan to install Delphi 7 into Vista if I can avoid it). But you get the idea.

Looking back on it, I'm not sure what I was really thinking when I thought that I could share the application disk. What I should be focusing on is having a single Vista disk with everything on it. As I get everything working and moved to Vista, then in a year or so when I'm not using the WinXP partition anymore (and just running WinXP in VMware for testing), then I can eventually wipe the WinXP disk and put it back into a RAID 1 with the Vista disk.

But I should be focusing on making a clean Vista install.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 6:47 am   
 
OK, got Firefox running in Vista now. So now I think I can finally go to sleep. Much more to install tomorrow.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 6:58 am   
 
Damn...I new I should have just gone to bed. I rebooted Vista one more time (it installed some updates) and when it rebooted I got all of those orphaned files again. All I can think of is that one of the updates is screwing with the RAID driver or something. This is REALLY GETTING ANNOYING!

Why do I always seem to have the hardware that Microsoft doesn't support?

CHKDSK also gave an error at the end before it started Vista, about not having enough disk space or something? How could it not have enough disk space on a 100GB partition??

Vista still seems to work. Although who knows what CHKDSK did. I'm booting back into WinXP for now...I don't want to leave Vista open all night...who knows what it would do to my computer if left unattended.

OK, now WinXP is giving errors on bootup about stuff in "\System Volume Information" and "V:\System Volume Information" being corrupt and unreadable. Is there where Restore Points are stored by any chance? Is this the infamous conflict between XP and Vista rearing it's head. Guess I'll investigate more tomorrow.

Actually, I think I just should power down this computer. If I leave WinXP running tonight then it will make new image backups, and I don't want it to touch the image backup from last night.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:14 pm   
 
This morning I booted into WinXP and turned off the System Restore feature, then booted into Vista and turned off System Restore there. I noticed that the Acronis Disk Director that I installed into Vista last night is no longer there. All of the files are just gone.

So, it looks like these disk problems with System Volume Information are definitely related to the System Restore conflicts between XP and Vista. There is a link about how Microsoft doesn't plan to fix this that talks about a couple of workarounds. He doesn't mention the workaround that I favor the most: Turn Off System Restore!

I went back over to Vista and installed Office 2003. At least that went smoothly. Then I went back over to WinXP to do some stuff to see if the Office installation would "stick". Now when I go back to Vista, all seems well. So I think this confirms that System Restore was the culprit of this particular problem. I'm not sure why the reports of this are not more widespread, but:

LESSON 3: If you have a Dual Boot system, be very about System Restore and how it might cause files to be removed from the different operating systems.

At least now it all looks stable enough to continue installing more applications.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 7:21 pm   
 
I played around with System Restore a bit more. I think that rather than disabling it entirely, it works to just carefully control which disks are being monitored by with operating system. When I created my Vista partition (the V: drive), WinXP added it automatically to it's list of drives to monitor for System Restore. Just right-clicking on My Computer, selecting Properties and going to the System Restore tab allows you to control which disks are monitored. Click on the Vista disk, then click Settings and disable System Restore for WinXP on that disk.

Then, when you are in Vista, right-click Computer, select Properties and then select the Advanced properties in the list on the left. Go to the System Recovery tab and make sure the WinXP disk is not being monitored. In my case, Vista was properly just monitoring it's own drive, so no change was needed here.

Seems like this would be a problem for anyone who creates the Vista partition within WinXP and then installs Vista from WinXP. As long as WinXP is monitoring the Vista drive with System Restore, it's going to screw up your Vista system.

I also found that Vista was quite unhappy with the software that I had installed that WinXP then deleted. Even though the files were gone on the disk, it still had registry entries. And I could not uninstall it from the Control Panel. Seems we have regressed to the point where an error during Uninstalling doesn't provide any option to force the removal from the Installed software list. Trying to reinstall the software failed, because the installer seems to be checking the previous installation and just gives an error. I was forced to go into REGEDIT and delete all occurrences of the software in the registry. Then it let me reinstall. So it doesn't look like Vista has made any improvements in this area.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 7:30 pm   
 
The Acronis Disk Directory product apparently installs something into the startup. When Vista starts up, the new Windows Defender gives a warning about some software trying to run that isn't allowed. It says to click on the message to see the details. But clicking on the message doesn't do anything. And running Windows Defender manually doesn't tell me anything about any software that it tried to stop. But this causes Disk Directory to not run properly. So now I'm going to need to try and figure out how to stop Windows Defender from being so annoying.

It's just one thing after another...as expected.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 7:52 pm   
 
Well, I finally figured out Windows Defender.

First, just clicking on the warning message at startup just doesn't seem to do anything. So go into the Control Panel and find Windows Defender and run it. The default screen that it shows is worthless. Click the Tools button on the toolbar. Then select the most useful Software Explorer option. Select Startup Programs in the Category dropdown and it will show the startup items.

In this case, there was an item from Acronis that looked like a followup EXE that runs once after the install to check to make sure the install worked correctly. This had a classification of "Not nyet classified". Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to tell Windows to Allow this item. What a mess (again).

So, I just ran the EXE manually (remember to Run as Administrator) and that seemed to work. OK, so now this doesn't need to be started again in the future, so how do I remove it? Well, Windows Defender has buttons for Remove, Disable, Enable, but these buttons are grayed out! What the heck!

After some more Google searching, I found the solution. You need to click the "Show for All Users" button at the bottom. Then when you click on the item, the Remove and Disable buttons will be active, and you can remove it from the Startup list.

I think Microsoft must have hired some people whose specific job was to try and make stuff as obscure and as difficult as possible.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 7:53 pm   
 
Annoyance #14356: The new Windows File Explorer seems incapable of remembering the size that I last used it. I keep having to resize it to make the window larger, and then everytime I run it it is back to it's default size. Come on Microsoft...remembering the last size/location of a window is software development 101. They should be ashamed of themselves for this kind of stuff.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:29 pm   
 
Started messing with the sound card. I have an old SoundBlaster Live! which was a very popular card (especially with OEMs). Apparently Vista doesn't have a driver for this (even though WinXP did) and apparently Creative Labs is not planning to make one. Yet another reason why I stopped buying Creative Labs products a long time ago. They don't care about supporting their stuff...they always want you to buy a new sound card with a bunch of stuff you don't need (remember, this is a business system, not a game system. My game system has a very nice sound card).

Anyway, after doing some searching I came across a very nice site: KxProject where they have written Vista drivers for some legacy sound cards. Installed and followed the instructions and now I have sound again! Excellent!

Now when I boot Vista, I'm getting an error when it tries to start the Windows Defender at startup time saying the file is corrupted. Which is weird because I can run it just fine manually after the startup is done. Not sure what is causing this new problem yet.
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