Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Upgrading to Windows Vista

I want to buy a MacBook or MacBook Pro. If you own one, let me know how you like it. I have an iMac, and absolutely love it. It's such a delight to lug it anywhere in the house, sit down and watch an episode or two of a TV show I missed. Programmers are getting so good with Internet video.

Windows Vista has been sitting on my desk for two weeks. It's been over five years since I did a major OS change and today was the day I chose to see if I could clean up my main PC.

At first, I was going to migrate everything over to another PC here in the house, but that seemed like a lot of work. I may end up doing that anyway, simply to start over.

Remember how we had to do that every few months with Windows 95? Get out a notepad and write down the programs and files you wanted to keep, then format that baby.

Times have changed.

So, I have been installing Vista all day.

But I couldn't use the DVD on my PC, because it doesn't have a DVD drive. However, I knew that there was some way to get an ISO to run from your hard drive as if it were a drive. A few visits to a few forums, and I was downloading some tiny program from Microsoft that creates a virtual drive, and allows you to "mount" the ISO on that drive. I had confirmed that someone was successful installing Vista this way. You can download the Vista Beta at Microsoft.

First, I thought it was hung at "Upgrading Windows..." (which is a misnomer because this OS is not really an upgrade in the true sense of the word - it's a completely different puppy)... "Completing upgrade..."

I looked down at the hard drive light underneath the desk. Only an occasional blip. Okay, we're toast. Hard reboot.

And, before I knew it, a DOS screen comes up with three choices - the default being, we're gonna put everything back where we found it, because your PC has some sort of problem we can't identify.

Poof! as my friend Flavio would say. It rebooted and told me - don't touch anything!! We're putting all your old files back. We'll be done in, say -- half an hour.


So, I fired up CNN Pipeline on the laptop here, and watched the reporting on the small aircraft accident in Manhattan, while my PC hard drive was whirring away.

About 45 minutes later, there it was - Windows XP, just like before.

But, you know me by now - I already blocked out today for doing this; the compatibility gizmo said my PC was in great shape, so, let me at it again - and this time, if it freezes, I'll know to switch the DOS choice to "I'm so sorry I did a hard reboot - pretty please, keep installing", when it comes up.

I can't believe it, but after four hours hung on "Completing upgrade...", it "finally" installed and gave me the "Welcome" screen. I thought, whoa... I must have had a lot on there that needed fixing! Yes, the hard drive was doing something. I was impatient. I did read that many people simply let it "compile" overnight to wake to the "Welcome... I'm done" screen in the morning.

So, now it's time to tinker with it and say goodbye to Windows XP. And, where is that MacBook? I'm tired of waiting...

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