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Friday, April 11, 2008

Goodbye Vista

If I had to make a list of the worst decisions I've made computing, installing Vista would be near the top. At the time, it made sense. I was in IT and Vista had been out early to us. I was using it on my machine at work, as were my co-workers. No one had really come across any issues. The future looked bright.

Since I was putting new dives in my machine anyway, I figured I'd go ahead and make the jump. It seemed like everything was headed that was, so I could do it now with a clean install that I was going to make anyway or wait a while and do it later. I've never had any luck going the upgrade route with Microsoft, so it seemed logical to do it then rather than wipe and do the whole bit at that time.

Well, that was a few months before Vista hit the streets. For a while, everything was fine. Then the crashes started. And the performance dragged. And dragged. And dragged.

To be fair, I have an older machine. But everything I'd checked with, including Microsoft's own upgrade adviser, led me to believe I would be able to run Vista fine on my machine. Yeah, I could use a new video card, but still, the specs were above the minimum and comfortably in the recommended area.

What went wrong? I really don't know. I leave my machine on all the time and with XP it was never a problem. Vista would crash at least once a week, usually more, with absolutely no reason why. The closest I ever came to an answer was a nebulous driver issue. Rigorous checking and double checking of drivers, pulling hardware, etc., never uncovered the culprit.

Additionally, I had to remove all the graphical candy and run what looked like a stripped down XP anyway to make little things like opening folders or switching between applications less of a "start process and go make a cup of coffee" affair.

I waited out for SP1 and found it to be no better. No help. Nothing changed. If anything, I was crashing more and moving slower.

So, that's it. I'm done with Vista. As painful as starting over on XP has been (three days later and I'm only now to the point where I can start installing software,) I'm up. It's working. It starts up fast. I can switch between programs and not have time to read War and Peace while waiting.

However, there were some causalities along the way. Somehow my older Western Digital My Book got hosed. I mean, it's completely toast. As it was just my redundant backup, I'm not too worried about that, but I am a little irritated that I lost a drive that was less than two years old and old used for backups. If you can't trust the backup drive, what can you trust?

Also, I'm irritated that I had to buy floppy discs. Really irritated. All because this SATA card drivers came on CDROM and, for some reason, I couldn't ever coax the XP installer to read the disc. Once I got the floppy, all was well. However, I now have nine other floppy discs I bet I'll never use (to say nothing of the fact that I'd just thrown out a dozen of the damned thing in the last couple of months.)

The upside to the floppy situation is what I found along the way. See, my clever wife suggested I hit the Goodwill for some floppy loving. Clever and sensible, though they turned out not to have any. I did find an original copy of the infamous Sensational Dan & Dale Batman album which is actually Sun Ra and the Blues Image in disguise. Yeah, it's a bit beat, but it had the original inner sleeve and I now have a copy and you don't so there!

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