Another Vista post (Good bye XP)


 I never thought I would be posting so much about Vista (as opposed to Exchange posts).


Recently, I migrated my personal laptop over to Vista Ultimate.  It was a big step for me, as it was the last of my PC's that had XP on it. Not only did I leap over to Vista, and leave XP in the rear view mirror, I loaded 64-bit Vista, on a laptop that's pretty old (bit still 64-bit capable).


Would I find all the drivers I would need?


Would my apps still work (primarily games)?


Would my old laptop be a dog under Vista?


The laptop in question is an HP NX6125, with the low-end AMD Turon processor ( the 6125 family had been offered with three different Turons, all with differing clock speeds and varying, increasing levels of L2 cache. The one I bought was the cheapest one). It had served me well with the 1GB of RAM I had been running it on for the last few years. And XP had served me well, but it was time to rebuild the laptop, if for no other reason then as a reorganisation.


My plan initially was to simply load Vista Ultimate, and bump the RAM to 2GB. First I had to find RAM, as the 6125 uses DDR2 PC2100. I went to the local Tiger Direct outlet, and they didn't have it.  I picked up some PC3200 thinking the PC would recognize it and just use it at the lower clock speed.


 No dice. It only recognized half the banks on the PC3200. Back to Tiger Direct, exchange the RAM, and order the proper stuff.


 Problem #2 was also self-inflicted. After backing up the XP installation, and installing a new 120GB HDD, I began loading 32-bit Vista. In fact, I had it loaded and was applying updates. It was at that point I had the idea to load 64-bit. What if I didn't like it?  What if it performed worse then 32-bit? What if I couldn't find the drivers? I would have to repeat the 32-bit installation again, and feel like an idiot on top of losing a few hours doing the installation.


The install went fine. 


I was able to find all the 64-bit drivers, and most of the HP programs too. I was concerned about the HP Protect Tools Security manager, which I used as a password manager.  Turned out it didn't work very well on the 64-bit platform, but no big loss, I am not very keen on password managers.


I ended up running with only 1GB of RAM for a week, with acceptable performance.  I dropped the extra gig in, and haven't looked back since.


 I have noticed that 64-bit IE tends to not like Flash, and also seems to be impervious to a lot of crap that regular 32-bit IE isn't.


In any case, I can honestly say I really don't miss XP that much. I remember first running across XP, as a factory load on a new ThinkPad while I was a network admin/it director/master of all I surveyed IT-wise at a previous job.


I hated it. I hated the UI. I hated that everything had been rearranged. Sound familiar? 


All my users were on Win2K, with its familiar Windows 9x interface, and I didn't have the time to retrain everyone on the new one. But I knew that eventually, I would have to roll it out. I started to load it on some test boxes, and tinker around with it. At the same time, I started looking at group policy and XP.  I discovered how to turn off that awful XP theme, and make it look like 9x/2000. My users wouldn't have to bother me or the helpdesk. After all, I wouldn't want to do a company-wide OS upgrade and disrupt the users with a differnet theme. I knew that if I deployed XP with the XP theme, with its different colors, I'd be swamped with calls.


After all, change is bad. People hate change. Users hate change. This doesn't look like my old computer...


Well, to compress 4 or 5 years, and spare you all the morbid details, the point I am trying to make is that after some teething problems, my IT team, my former employer, and my former company all got on well with XP. I forecd the Classic theme on everyone, and we did a rolling upgrade. XP served us well, and did what it needed to do.


 And as things would have it, my first laptop at Microsoft had the then trusty and stalwart XP...and then Vista RTM'd


I knew I had to upgrade.


I knew I had to bite the bullet, and make my primary work machine a new OS. In fact, MS IT told me so (as did the Windows team, and just about everyone else).As a field engineer, normally I could load up some test boxes with it. But I was busy, being in the field, doing field engineer thingsThere would be no testing for me. No ramp up period, no time to familiarize. It'd be jump off the high-dive, eyes open.


I was eventually able to steal away from the field for a day, and on a February 2007 day run into the Downers Grove office and RIS my Toshiba-san with Vista. I knew that the next week, I would be out of town, on the road, OOF, and if something went wrong, I'd be SOL.


And of course, the first thing I did was force the Classic theme.


After about 3 days or so, I started to have second thoughts about Classic theme. Maybe I should give Aero a try. And I did. And I haven't looked back since.

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