Adventures In Vista


Well, after reading about other foks having sucess with Vista on their main machines, and after running it for a while on my laptop, I decided to take the plunge. At this point we’ve been running Vista RC1 as an upgrade from XP SP2 for about two weeks. I have to admit, upgrading was a bit intimidating. Our XP box had been rock solid for more than a year, and we basically only rebooted when installing software.

Let me start by saying the upgrade took forever. Like five hours forever. That was really surprising since the fresh install on my Toshiba Tecra M4 laptop only took about 1:30 or so. Even more nerve wracking, there was a BSOD at one point in the upgrade process. Eventually, the upgrade completed, and I was staring at my shiny new OS.


  • The internal Creative Soundblaster Soundcard didn’t work. I downloaded Creative’s beta drivers for Vista and I had sound!
  • We can’t watch MPEGs in WMP 11. I haven’t figured out how to get it to see our MPEG decoder yet…the instructions I’ve found so far are for WinXP and I haven’t had the courage to try them.
  • My external soundcard, a Tascam US-122 was installed, but wasn’t usable as a device for audio input or output. I haven’t found a workaround for this yet…which is not so surprising to me as the Tascam Gigastudio app bluescreened my box when it was still running XP. That really sucks, as it means I can’t record using my condenser mics.
  • The new Aero glass special effects only worked with one user account. If I logged in first, and Sarah fast switched to her account, no glass. An install of the ATI Catalyst Beta Drivers for Vista solved that problem,¬ and also smoothed out some glitchiness in the visual effects.
  • My beloved Line 6 Guitarport didn’t work. I found a forum post on Line 6’s message boards that recommended the free upgrade to Gearbox and I was back in business…except for the metronome.
  • I can’t seem to shutdown…the machine gets to the shutdown screen, but never makes it all the way to off. This is my #1 problem at this point.

There are still a few rough patches, but all in all I’m enjoying the adventure. My favorite things so far?

  • I may never navigate three levels deep into the start menu again. I will also be seeing a lot less of Windows Explorer. Why? I hit the Windows key, type what I want, and 99% of the time I can just hit enter to run the program I want or to view the file I’m interested in. Even Device Manager! I think once people get used to that, it’s really going to be a huge boon for productivity.
  • Flip 3D, which is a 3-D replacement for ALT-TAB using Windows-Tab.
  • The glass effects really do make things feel futuristic.
  • The new Resource Monitor¬ rocks, especially the ability to see disk I/O and network traffic on a per app basis. It’s like Task Manager++.
  • The little thumbnails you get when you hove over the Taskbar buttons is a small, but very useful feature.
  • The fact that User Access Control¬ keeps¬ asking for permission¬ whenever you try to change something on the system can be frustrating at first…but it makes me feel like I have much more insight into, and control over, what my PC is doing. I can also see it saving my butt one day when I click the wrong button or try changing the wrong setting.


I’ve you’ve clicked on a few of those links, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of them point to Supersite for Windows, which is the site I turned to first after getting my Vista install up and running on the home PC. Definitely a great site to check out.

Expect more posts as I’ve had more time to play with it!


[Full Disclosure: I work for Microsoft, and I was¬ a Microsoft fanboy even before that. Feel free to take everything I say on Vista or any other Microsoft products with salt to taste!]