Mostly about my amusement

“James Bond never had to put up with this Vista sh&^”

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:

  1. Using vlite I slipstreamed a copy of Vista SP1 onto my upgrade.  That was time consuming but worked.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Clean install off the Upgrade DVD.  Worked last time, all you have to do is remember to not install the product key.
  5. 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 HATED 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.