Friday, April 13, 2007

A Windows Vista Nightmare

I always want to have the latest and greatest when it comes to high technology. This was no different with Windows Vista. It seems like forever that Microsoft has been developing this new operating system. Wasn’t it almost a decade ago when they called it by the codename, “Longhorn.”?

My ten year computer was wearing out, and it was frustratingly slow, but I was determined to wait for this next generation operating system. Microsoft kept delaying its release of Vista, so finally I broke down and decided to buy a Dell computer when they offered to give me a free upgrade to Vista when it finally arrived. Not a bad deal - right? – wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Dell came. It was a nice computer 250 gigabytes of space on the hard disc, and it was fast – That is a lot of space, (of course, I remember when 40 megabytes was considered to be a lot of space). I loaded all my programs, 50 hours of video, my photographs, and I had only used a quarter of the space on the computer. For the next few months, I was a happy camper playing with my new toy.

Then my Windows Vista upgrade came. My first thought was, “should I do an upgrade?” or should I do a clean install? A clean install means wiping the computer clean and starting from scratch – all files and programs are lost. I had just recently read an article from the Tech Blog of Dwight Silverman http://blogs.chron.com/techblog/archives/2007/01/upgrade_or_clean_install_evolved_thinking.html where he states, “A conversation I had last week with some Microsoft product managers has changed my mind somewhat on the issue of whether to do a clean install versus an upgrade install of Vista.” I breathed a sigh of relief. I mean after all, it is quite a hassle to back everything up, and then reinstall your operating system. And then in the same blog, the author writes, “Previous versions of Windows were installed file by file. But with Vista, it's done as an image -- a snapshot of the OS is dropped onto the hard drive, then configured to match your hardware.” Well, what could be easier? This guy not only spoke with Microsoft Product Managers, but Vista takes a snapshot and doesn’t do it file by file. The only difference was a clean install would take maybe 20 minutes while an upgrade would take several hours. Not a problem! So I thought.

Time to upgrade. Now, I do have to admit that in every section of the instructions, it said Backup your files!!!! But why? After all, I just read how easy it was to upgrade. Besides, I am a man, and men don’t follow instructions – it’s that simple. We buy our children bicycles for Christmas, and we never read the instructions. We may have a few parts left over, but the bicycle still works. I just figured instructions were part of the packing material. I mean – come on, we don’t even read maps when driving? I instead quickly opened the upgrade package, left the instructions in the box, and put in the disks and followed the instructions on the upgrade when it appeared on the screen.

Once again, it said to backup my files. Now my Dell computer had 250 gigabytes of space and I had 50 hours of video on it. I didn’t have anything with which to backup my files anyway, so again, I ignored the instructions. I mean I felt so confident in Dwight’s Tech Blog, that I did not feel the need to backup.

I finally reached the place where it said, “begin upgrade” or something like that, so I clicked on it, and went to watch television. Three hours later, I looked and it was still doing the upgrade. It was about midnight, so I decided to go to bed, and when I woke up, I looked and it still said it was doing the upgrade. Now, I knew it took hours but this was ridiculous. I called Dell’s tech support, and he said, “Sounds like the upgrade didn’t work. “Did you do a backup?” My only reply, “oops!”

Tech support proceeded to tell me I needed to do a clean install. I was overcome with fear. I could only think of all the files I was going to lose. He said he would walk me through it. I said I would call back. After I hung up, I figured out how to get to the dos prompt, and then a light went on inside my head.

If I dug back into the recesses of my mind, I bet I could remember my dos commands. COPY [/Y-Y] [/A][/B] [d:][path]filename [/A][/B] [d:][path][filename] [/V or COPY [/Y-Y][/A][/B] [d:][path]filename+[d:][path]filename[...][d:][path][filename] [/V] and others. I figured out how to copy from my C drive to another drive using these antiquated commands which we now take for granted.

I rushed down to Circuit City and I bought a 250 Gigabyte external drive. I couldn’t believe how far the prices had fallen. My last backup was with the Iomega zip drive (remember that company whose stock went through the stratosphere during the dot-com mania at then lost about 90% of its value almost overnight), and it only held 100 megabytes of data. That cost 100 bucks back then, but this new external drive cost 125 dollars. And thus I began my trek into the world of dos prompts using copy, cd, dir, etc. and voilà, I had backed up my system, and I was now ready to do a clean Install.

Once again, I was on the phone with Dell Tech and they walked me through it. When I was done, my dell printer didn’t work, and even when I downloaded the latest driver, I was not able to scan into a PDF format or use the OCR feature. The individual with whom I spoke told me I had to buy additional software for this privilege, and there was nothing else he could do. I don’t think so…

I proceeded to threatened him that if he didn’t provide me with what I needed. I would sell my dell stock, call Morningstar (analysts of stocks), and blog my experience on the Internet. Somehow, my ramblings seem to get their attention. The individual has more power in this day of the Internet. I was told a specialist would be calling me the following day. I was called the following day, and I was given a temporary workaround, and the new driver would be ready by the end of April, so I am in wait mode for that. Dell has had trouble with customer service in the past, and according to Morningstar, improving customer service is one of their priorities.

My camera also didn’t work. Before, I was able to use the S-1 port but it no longer worked. Dell said I had to call Sony. I understood that – it was not a Dell product. Sony told me I needed a firewire. Another trip to circuit city, I purchased a firewire – it didn’t work. Found out, it was the firewire I went to circuit city again, purchased another one, and now it works.

My Spanish Dictionary from Spain, “La Academia Real de España” www.rae.es didn’t work, so I sent off an e-mail to Spain, and a few days later, I received a reply saying I would receive a copy as soon as they updated their software.

Vista has spy ware incorporated in their software. I wonder why they didn’t incorporate a virus checker too. I am glad they have at least the spyware. The virus checkers I used with AOL and SBC do not have upgrades for Vista yet. So, you either have to use Microsoft’s live one care for 49.95 a year (cheaper at Amazon.com) or some other third party such as McAfee.

Now – my opinion of Vista after all is well and done. I like the spyware protection it offers. The firewall and protection and security are much better. The new Aero technology is quite cool. Its hard to understand this Aero technology without looking at it. Microsoft describes the new Aero technology as follows:

Windows Aero is the premium visual experience of Windows Vista. It features a transparent glass design with subtle window animations and new window colors. Part of the Windows Aero experience is Windows Flip 3D, which is a way to arrange your open windows in a three-dimensional stack that you can quickly flip through without having to click the taskbar. Aero also includes taskbar previews for your open windows. When you point to a taskbar button, you'll see a thumbnail-sized preview of the window, whether the content of the window is a document, a photo, or even a running video.

I like the gadgets you can put on the side of your screen. For example, I have a currency converter, continuous news, a calendar, a clock. The photo and video gallery is much improved from the XP edition. It still hangs up on occasion – I have come to expect that from Microsoft. I wonder what the reaction would have been with Henry Ford if his cars just stopped as you were driving to some out of the way place, and then you just had to restart (reboot) the vehicle again to continue to your destination. Oh, I can't forget, backing up to external media is a breeze with Microsoft Vista. I wouldn't go back.

I can now say I have kept up with the latest and greatest, and now I am the first on the block to have Microsoft Vista even though it was a harrowing experience getting there. I would recommend waiting for six months before purchasing it however. Companies are scrambling to release their upgraded drivers, etc, and I would presume by then most of the bugs will be worked out. Your internet provider will most likely have virus software by then too.

To avoid all of this hassle the following is the article I should have read -
http://pcworld.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://blogs.pcworld.com/staffblog/archives/003020.html

1 comment:

Tomas said...

Still using XP. No worries!

I warned you about Vista. Its just a way for Gates to make a few $$ Billion.

p.s. Who's Mike?

Tomas

 
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