Running through a Windows Vista RC1 Installation

Today’s Saturday, somewhat of a lazy day, so I decided to accompany an installation of the new Microsoft Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 RC1 installation.

Yes, Vista RC1 can still be downloaded from Microsoft, complete with a genuine serial, from here.

Windows Vista RC1 Desktop after installationThe Vista Desktop after installation and changing the wallpaper

The installation took very long, all of 3 and a half hours! The Vista DVD refused to boot, so the installer was started out of Windows XP. The startup window scheme was of a light blue melting into a light green, see below, a bit of a tired color scheme. The whole installation was in this scheme. But: It’s over after installation, and the real Vista looks a lot better.

But beware of Vista’s ego: It deleted (er “upgraded”) my XP to Vista, no XP left to choose from at the OS-boot menu. The OS-boot menu itself, together with my Linux installation were gone as well. Wow, that’s machismo! Vista RC1 without activation is useless after 15 days and with activation ends in July 2007. So it is doing some pretty permanent changes for being something so temporary!

Check out here for instructions to dual boot vista and XP and here and here on how to get rid of the beast. Partioning your harddrive is mandatory and this is the crucial step I missed out. DAMN!

Windows Vista Installation Initial SCreen

The color sceheme of the first screen of the installation disc runs through the installation process but thankfully not beyond

I was expecting something sexier. It didn’t take many dialogs to get the installation process going, simple enough. A range of Vista flavors could be installed, and ULTIMATE was chosen (what the heck!). The machine was a 1.7G Celeron with 1Gig of RAM. The installation steps were
- copying files
- gathering files (stuck for a l-o-n-g time at 32%, but jumped from 80-100% instantaneously)
- expanding files
- installing features and updates (quick)
- completing update (this too extraordinarily long, I’d guess more than an hour. since there is no progress indicator except three dots appearing in sequence, I thought the box was stuck). There was a reboot only to land smack dab in this step again

Before all of this happens, the installer runs a compatibility check and flagged a SCSI driver and Alcohol as incompatible with Vista. The installer aborted and I had to remove these componets manually in XP before restarting the installer.

Once installed, time zone, keyboard layout and language need to be entered, after which the login screen appears. Vista inherited the login users from the XP installation. The available SIS display driver crashed so it was running Vista’s generic VGA display driver. It did not recognize by built-in AC97 sound system.

The displayed desktop was nice and polished, and it IS possible to switch the theme back to Windows Classic (well, when is that one going to die?). But the default there is much nicer than XP’s (which really was garish. I HAD reverted to Classic in XP :-) ).

All in all:

- nice desktop look and feel (the setups have become more intuitive)
- installtion time WAY too long
- some compatibility issues with existing soft and hardware (yet again…)
- my multi-OS boot menu was gone, as was XP and the Linux installation previously on the machine.
So, not really worth the effort, Vista will be removed from the machine again as soon as it’s clear exactly how that’s to be done. Will prefer to wait for the actual first release. Hasta la Vista!

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