I really hate to admit this…

For several years now, I have used XP Pro for my work computers and Ubuntu linux for my play computers. The work computers run everything I need to run with nary a hiccup and my play computers provide the cutting edge entertainment that I seem to need. I break them; I fix them; I learn; I turn stupid. It goes on and on. Not that I don’t use my main linux machine for work; it’s on the LAN and it’s running a LAMP testing server for my Dreamweaver experimenting.

So what the hell is the point here? Am I stalling about admitting something? Did something really embarrassing just happen?

Oh jesus….

“!vista_t.jpg!”:http://www.elburro.net/vista.jpg

Wait! Wait! There’s mitigation. Seriously. No, I didn’t go out and fork over $300+ for Windows ME with a new name. It was FREE, dammit. Directly from Microsoft. Yes, legal. I had to uh, do a couple a small things in return…..but we don’t need to go there right now.

Last week I opened up the mailer from Microsoft and discovered that I had two dvds in there, one was Vista Ultimate 32 bit, the other was 64 bit. The “Not To Be Sold!!!” imprinted onto each dvd kinda dissipated any eBay fantasies I might have had. So I figured, hell, they make nice coasters, no?

No, you want long embarrassing story cut short? Okay, I installed the bastard.

After a little research, I found that my “next to, but not quite” current copies of Photoshop and Dreamweaver could possibly have some problems with a 64 bit os, so I went for the 32 bit.

I backed up the stuff in my $HOME as usual and was about to backup all my emails and settings, but I noticed a huge link at the beginning of the Vista install that said Easy Transfer. Hmmmm, I thought, not like the last time I tried this in XP and had to search for the fabled Transfer Wizard. Oh well, let’s do Easy Transfer. The “Easy Transfer” took several hours for some reason, so I went to bed and tackled the bastard the next day.

Well, the next day, sure enough, my stuff was on my external hard drive in a single file. Hmmmmm…. Anyway, let’s install Vista, yup. I installed vista from within XP Pro and it was uneventful, a quicker install than XP, but slower than ubuntu. Install my main apps, uneventful, Photoshop CS, DW8, Microsoft Office Pro 2007, Peachtree Accounting 2008. Then it’s time for Easy Transfer my email and Stuff. It should be called Slow Transfer. I call it a day and tackle the bastard again the next day.

This section should be called The Bad:

The next day, I open up the new Windows Mail to find my several years worth of email that’s important enough to save. Uh, nothing there. Hmmm. Okay, import the messages. Click, browse….., browse….there’s the folder, click, Import. Nope. Vista says there’s nothing there. (But I know there is, dammit). Several hours later, researching vista forums, google, etc., and I’m finding I need to change the file permissions of the email, among a bunch of other suggestions…Hours go by, and some of those emails are important, dammit, why didn’t I back it up the old way! Dang, Dang! Long story short, in one of the forums, someone had a solution. Now normally, in a Windows computer, when you want to say, import your saved bookmarks, you click on Browse, you find the bookmarks.html on your hard drive, click Select, and Import and it’s there. Unfortunately, not on Windows Vista, at least with email imports. After you find the folder containing them and click Select, in the little box it shows up in you have to type:
C:\path\to\yer\messages before the folder name. We all congratulate ourselves for finding yet another Vista bug, and I have my email back. So much for Easy Transfer.

That was the only major trauma. The rest of it should really fall under Vista Annoyances. There is a much easier backup program than in XP, but it wants to back up everything, and I don’t friggin’ *want* everything. Just my crap. Still working on that one. Windows Explorer. Needs a little getting used to but not all that different. If I think of any more annoyances, I’ll stick them in, but for now we’ll go down to….

The Good:

Stable & snappy. 3 gigs of RAM, 3.2 GZ dual core processor, no problem. Seems quicker than XP, but I don’t have much crap on there yet. Update. I installed some more crap, mainly the Service Pack 1 for Vista, which was supposed to break my Creative Audigy SE sound card. Well, the sound card still works, and shockingly, on my 32bit version of Vista, it’s showing all 4 gigs of installed RAM. That’s supposed to be impossible on a 32bit system, but SP1 just did it. P’shop will be happy to hear that. (Oops! According to the googles, it shows the full 4 gigs, but only uses 3325 megs.)

The Windows Firewall. Basically, I’ve got a *hardware firewall*, securely setup machines, and we don’t need no stinkin’ Windows Firewalls. They’re LAN killers and all our machines have it turned off. Except, when I installed Peachtree Complete Accounting 2008, it specifically wants you to turn on any windows firewalls. It’s fairly important not to screw up, because like all my business apps, P’tree Accounting runs off a central server and all the workstations keep the data on the server. Anyway, I follow instructions and install it leaving the firewall *on*. I enable the firewall on the server too, just to make sure no glitsches. Amazingly, there were no glitsches. Peachtree works fine through the firewall, so does Access, Word and Publisher. In fact I left the firewall on just to see how long before it broke my LAN. A week later, it still hasn’t broken it.

Networking. On this aspect, I have to give mini-thumbs up to Vista. It’s internal networking seems a much more solid architecture than in XP. For one, all the workgroup shares show up immediately, without all of the “discovering” you have to do sometimes in XP. And in XP, some of my larger apps that run off the server (like P’tree Accounting and Access), when left on all day (or even for an hour or two) tend to lose the network connection. So when a customer calls and wants you to look up something on their invoice from six months ago, you click on Peachtree and the program crashes because the LAN disconnected. “Uh, sorry, let me run over to another computer and see if it crashed there too, heh heh.” In Vista, I can leave the accounting and database apps open all day on this workstation, because somehow the networking keeps it connected. Maybe when the lease times out, it reconnects behind the scenes. I dunno, but it makes me happy. I also have all my Photoshop and Dreamweaver files stored on the server, and even after I converted to gigabit LAN, it’s still a little show to pull up, especially my huge company website. In Vista, for whatever reason, it’s quicker and snappier hauling stuff up over the LAN.

Windows Search. For the first week or so after the vista install, your hard drive runs a lot, indexing everything causing consternation. Then it stops. After all that, searches are so instant that you don’t really need to go looking for anything. No more “where in the hell did I store that show application?” Just type a little search string and it’s there.

Defrag. It’s automatically set to run by itself once a week, unless you change the schedule. And it takes hours longer than the defrag in XP, and supposedly, it’s better and more thorough. We’ll see. So far I like it.

Anyway, I hate to admit it, but it seems a little better than XP, at least for my business apps. More later, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly. I’m a little nervous about my email, should I have to go back to XP, but heh heh.