My Vista 64 bit OS has been acting a little flaky for a long time. The latest symptom was my DHCP client not working. When Dell did the free motherboard swap upgrade, I was supposed to re-install the OS then. But I procrastinated and just waited till the pain got bad.
My XPS 700720 came with Windows XP Media Center Edition. When the upgrade came out, I purchased it from Best Buy. I sent in the $19 and received the Vista 64 bit version DVD in the mail. For months I’ve been using the Vista 64 bit version.
My plan was to do the following:
- Using vlite I slipstreamed a copy of Vista SP1 onto my upgrade. That was time consuming but worked.
- Backup all my data onto my WD Mybook. I’m going to regret saying this but 1 TB is HUGE and my data fit with no problems.
- Wipe out my existing drive. My registry was foobar so that was a good idea. I did not want to upgrade from one mess to another.
- Clean install off the Upgrade DVD. Worked last time, all you have to do is remember to not install the product key.
- Upgrade the clean install. Redundant, but my version is an upgrade. If I did not do this then my Vista would not activate.
That was the plan. Except the DVD would not install software, no way no how.
The bootable DVD my 4 GB of high performance RAM. I kept getting the BSOD before I could install anything. Now Vista running has no problem with my RAM upgrade. But the installer on the upgrade DVD refused to do anything except BSOD. Lucky I kept the old slow speed 2 GB or RAM so I was able to get past that problem.
The upgraded DVD did not like my drives. It’s not exactly a clean install that it does. The target drive has to be formatted and a WINDOWS directory, or something in the WINDOWS directory, needs to exist. If it’s not then the installer will refuse to copy files onto your disk.
I had to insert step 3.5 into my plan. I was able to get around this by booting off of my Windows XP install DVD that came with my PC and began to install the old version onto my system. I did not have to complete the install. Once files started to be copied I rebooted with my Vista SP1 upgrade. Then I was able to proceed as planned.
The one piece of unexpected good news is that the fresh upgrade install activated online successfully. I was sure I’d have to do the 1-800-NOT-EXTORTION-EXACTLY call to Microsoft just to activate my software.
This is just crazy
Microsoft might be good with apps (debatable) but their OS’s always requires a rebuild after a period of time. It’s just how it is since the registry just collects garbage from adding and removing hardware and software.
If my PC came with Vista then in theory I should have had an easier time of it. Just pop in the vendor supplied rebuild DVD and off you go. In the past that’s always what I did. With this Vista upgrade, I should be able to install cleanly without the tricks.
The fact that I have to install an upgrade on top of a clean install that I just did is bizarre. It shows that either the clean install was a mistake on their part or they put it in because they knew this scenario would exist.
They should include and support this for their upgrade too. A little online documentation would have been helpful.