One More Time with Vista

Discussion in 'Installation & Compatibility' started by nsteblay, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. nsteblay

    nsteblay

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    I tried Vista a year ago when it first came out. I had to take the software off my computer because of instability and lack of support for the software I run. I am back at it hoping that time has corrected some of the bugs and incompatibilities. I am going to journal my experiences in this thread.

    I have a Dell 510 dual core with 4 Gb of memory and a 512Mb NVidia video card and mirrored hard drives.

    I created a second partition on my hard drive and successfully loaded Vista. All went well except theinitial install didn't recognize my ATI TV Wonder 650 Pro TV card. I loaded the Vista compatible software from ATI which includes card drivers and the Catalyst Media Center, a shell ontop of Microsoft's Media Center for accessing the television. When I start Catalyst Media Center the application crashed. I downloaded the latest drivers for the 650 Pro from the ATI web site and installed them. It asked me to reboot after driver installation. When I rebooted Vista blue screened (I haven't seen that for years with XP). After the core dump the system rebooted and as far as I can tell the new drivers are installed. Catalyst Media Center still crashes when I attempt to run it.

    When I reboot back to XP everything works fine so it isn't a hardware issue.

    Needless to say I am underwhelmed. After a year Vista is still having problems with mainstream hardware drivers. This is bringing back the painful memories of the last time I tried Vista.

    I am not going to give up. My next post will hopefully have some resolution to this problem.

    I just bought my wife a Dell Vostro with Vista installed. Out of the box the battery alerts aren't working. Instead of warning us the battery is low and gracefully shutting down it just shuts off hard. The system needs to recover when rebooted. The forums and blogs are filled with people having similar experiences with Vista on laptops. I haven't found a solution yet. One reason I am venturing into Vista again is so I can better support my wife's laptop.

    Just so I don't appear biased I just helped my father (70+ years old) buy a new top of the line iMac with Leopard installed. It required a firmware upgrade immediately to resolve some nasty video problems. We are currently troubleshooting a problem where some process starts dumping log files and fills up the harddrive (all 500Gb). Hasn't exactly been the hassle free experience advertised on TV.

    I did personally buy a Mac mini over this past year and just completed an upgrade to Leopard. OS X, and Leopard in particular,is one impressive operating system. For Unix aficiandos OS X will feel like home. The GUI and software capabilities out of the boxare quite impressive. I obviously can't run all my Windows software on it, so I still spend most of my time in XP.

    When and if I can get Vista installed correctly I intend to compare the two head-to-head. I have always been a Microsoft fan, love their development tools, and have been very happy with my XP computers.
     
    nsteblay, Dec 4, 2007
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  2. nsteblay

    kingofnexus

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    The funny thing is the thing that separates windows from macs is both its triumph and its downfall. With windows, you can install it on any computer you like, using any hardware you like, where the customer is completely in control on what he/she wants in their computer and how much he/she wants to pay for their hardware. This feature comes at a price. Microsoft and all the hardware companies has the near impossible task of trying to make everything work nicely together, and make sure everything works fine. With each iteration of windows the task gets harder, and more problems arise with older hardware due to companies not spending enough time making sure their older products still work. Macs on the other hand, you have no choice what so ever on what you want in your computer. You get what apple gives you (apple is the real monopolist company not microsoft). This limited chioce of computers makes the task of designing an OS and drivers for it relively easy. And the user base is small enough for them to not even bother too much trying to support legacy hardware/software that is over 5 years old. This is why macsare generallymore stable systems (however I was surpised the amount of times my sisters mac goes wrong, butthis could just be that particular mac). If the whole world were to switch to macs, thousands of hardware companies would seice to exist.AMD would be out of buisness, and all processors will beIntel whether you like it or not.Rate of technological improvements would stagnate as compitition for faster computers would have almost reached a standstill.Linux is the middleman, you can install it on any computer you like, but drivers can be flakey (not many companies support it unfortunately),and it doesn't havethe problem microsoft has got at trying to please everyone.

    Put simply, vista can be a nightmare if you have hardware with bad driver support from the company which made it. Just be thankfull that Windows dominates the Macs and hope that one day everyone will use linux.
     
    kingofnexus, Dec 5, 2007
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  3. nsteblay

    Tinman

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    am actually not having any problems with vista.......keeping my fingers crossed till service pack comes out....
     
    Tinman, Dec 5, 2007
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  4. nsteblay

    nsteblay

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    Yes, having incompatible hardware is not any fun. I cannot get the ATI TV Wonder 650 PCIe to work in Vista. This is a brand new card and the install CD comes with Vista drivers but they don't work. I have found similar experiences to mine in forums - so it doesn't appear to be specific to my hardware / software configuration - which is so mainstream.

    The thing I am finding disturbing are the Vista blue screens. When I try to uninstall the TV card's drivers using their provided uninstall program Vista blue screens. The drivers don't show up in the Devices list under Computer Management. I am not sure how to get them off at this point. Looks just like the old NT blue screen - must be the same code. Microsoft should have at least picked a different color. The "red screen of horror" or "pink screen of embarrasement" or something like that.

    I am going to keep it on the PC this time around, though I can't seriously use it for important tasks until it becomes more stable. I understand a Service Pack is coming out soon. I still can't recommend it to family and friends that don't have the skill set or patience.

    My estimates are another year before its truly ready for prime time. That would be about 2 years from release - should be plenty of time for home users to debug before businesses seriously start to consider upgrading from XP. My prediction - 2010 before it is mainstream in businesses. Risk for Microsoft - some companies may actually switch to Linux by then as it becomes more viable.

    I do like the Vista GUI better than XP, though everything seems a tad bit slower. First impressions in comparing the OS X and Vista:OS X wins hands down. OS X Leopard has far cooler graphical effects and the menuing system is far more intuitive. There are quite a few things that irritate me about OS X but I'll save those for later comparisons.

    I am going to keep alog of my experienceswhile moving my software to Vista.

    Software Installed: Vista Ultimate (successful), Macafee (successful), ATI TV Card Drivers and Program (failed), Netbeans 6.0 (successful)

    Blue Screen Incidents: 3

    Complete Loss of Video (screen blank though mouse pointer was there): 1

    Microsoft Has Encountered a Problem Dialog: 15 (estimate only)

    Notes: The problems encountered so far are related to my efforts to install the ATI TV Card. It should be noted that ATI is notorious for releasing bad drivers.
     
    nsteblay, Dec 6, 2007
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  5. nsteblay

    kingofnexus

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    System restore to a time before you installed the drivers for the TV card and that should get rid of the blue screens. It unfortunately means that you cant then use your tv card.

    It will be at least a year before companies release good driver support for vista. Drivers aren't microsofts problem, you can thank ATI (which i'm dissapointed at because they've always have been good to me) for the bsod's and video problems.
     
    kingofnexus, Dec 6, 2007
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  6. nsteblay

    Jason

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    SP1 should fix most of the problem to date. Like said, in reality the fault is not at Microsoft but the video card manufacturers inability to keep up w/ drivers that actually work for the latest OS. Don't blame MS blame ATI.
     
    Jason, Dec 6, 2007
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  7. nsteblay

    nsteblay

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    Well I did get the ATI 650 PCIe drivers to work on Vista. I disabled automatic driver installation, deleted the existing drivers, and sequentially installed the latest drivers and software in an appropriate order. I had to use the Windows interface to install the drivers. ATI's install program kept blue screening. After the installation ... Wallah! Success (sort of). I can now watch HD TV in Media Center. The problem is the picture and sound are terrible. If I boot back to XP, no change to antenna, etc., the TV card works great. Yes, I think these ATI drivers need some work. The Visiontek forums do show that people are wanting to use Vista with the ATI TV cards, so maybe ATI will spend some time fixing the drivers soon. Maybe Vista SP1 will help too.

    Anyway, enough time spent on the TV card.On to my next task. I need to burn DVDs from ISO files so I can install other needed software. I had all sorts of interesting problems when I tried to get DVD burning software a year ago. Hopefully things work better this time.
     
    nsteblay, Dec 8, 2007
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  8. nsteblay

    nsteblay

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    There is an awesome free CD burner program called Ultimate CD/DVD burner I found when Googling. Installed great and works great. I had all kinds of problems with Roxio on Vista last year. I am able to burn off my ISO files no problem. I am going to install all the Microsoft tools now - Office 2007, Visual Studio 2008, MS Project, and Map Point. I am sure this will go smoothly. :D
     
    nsteblay, Dec 8, 2007
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  9. nsteblay

    nsteblay

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    Well I installed Visual Studio 2008, Office 2007, my HP printer drivers, Netbeans and Eclipse with no problems.

    I am actually pleased that many of the system configuration dialogs are the same or similar to XP, so it has been easy to navigate. I wish they had improved some,example the mechanism for adding/editing environmental variables.

    I do like the Glass interface - in many ways it is more aesthetically pleasing than OS X Leopard. Iwill move any comparisons between OS X and Vista to a different part of this forum, so I'll stick with installation issues here.

    At this point my assessment is this: a year after release the Vista environment seems far more stable and has better support. It is still rough around the edges, many 3rd party vendors haven't provided full support yet. If you assess your hardware and software before joining the Vista club to make sure there is support you should be OK, but be prepared for some struggles. For the computer challenged I would still wait a year or at least until SP1 is out for Vista.
     
    nsteblay, Dec 10, 2007
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  10. nsteblay

    nsteblay

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    I have been using Vista regularly for the past several weeks. I like the UI much better than XP. It is a very buggy system though. My wife's laptop (new Dell Vostro) has several issues. The low battery warnings don't work, the laptop just shuts down. I have a networked Hp printer. On both my desktop and the laptop the printer occasionally disappears ... poof ... just like magic. The printer then needs to be reinstalled. Working with Office 2007 in Word has been extremely frustrating. Fonts will change on the screen for no reason. Printed documents will sometimes come out corrupted. Anoterh negative experience - some applications won't shut down - the GUI goes away, but the application's process continues to run. I find it way more buggy than XP was when it first came out. Hopefully SP1 for Vista fixes alot of this instablity.
     
    nsteblay, Dec 18, 2007
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