Scott Hanselman

I'm totally Vista'ed now - Upgrading The Family to Vista

February 01, 2007 Comment on this post [19] Posted in Musings | Tools
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It's official. I'm totally Vista'ed. My main machine at home was running Vista RTM the nanosecond it released, but the Wife and the TabletPC were running RC2 until yesterday.

Here's some tips to make your Vista upgrade suck less, especially if you're upgrading the Whole Family.

  • Back stuff up. Don't skip this step.
  • Buy New Hard Drives: Upgrading to Vista is also a great opportunity to get a new Hard Drive. Go one, treat yourself. I got a 10,000RPM Raptor X and let me tell you, in the words of Atwood, the difference is not subtle. Move your C: to D: and start fresh.
  • ReadyBoost: Buy one Apacer Handy Steno HT203 for each computer. Get the 2gig. You can find them for under $50. There's literally NO reason for you to not pop this USB stick into the back of your machine, configure it for ReadyBoost and forget about it. It makes my wife's 512megs of RAM actually tolerable.
  • Plan what Vista SKUs you need. I got Ultimate for my main machine, Home Basic for the Wife's machine, and Business for my Tablet. You can always do an "Anywhere Upgrade" if you really made the wrong choice.
    • If you aren't ready to pay, you can install Vista without a Product Key and use it for 120 days by extending the grace period before ponying up.
  • Get your Drivers Ready. Everyone's releasing drivers this week. Do the work ahead of time and download the drivers you need to the USB sticks (before you use them for ReadyBoost). ATI just released their drivers today.
  • Get PowerShell for Vista. It's out, and it's using the new Vista Installer technology - basically "Windows Update Local." This is an OS add-on, not an "extra app" and its fully supported.
  • Think seriously about OneCare. Early betas I tested were poo, it's true, but Windows OneCare has come a long way, and you can't beat $49 total for 3 PCs. All our home PCs are running it now. If you can get a Beta User's key/link, it's $19 for 3 PCs for the next week or so. It's a shame OneCare isn't built into Vista.
  • Get your Home Network ready for Home Server. It's going to rock.

Are you upgrading or waiting?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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February 01, 2007 15:55
Where do you notice the difference with a 10k drive? Does SQL Server work any faster?

Is it worth buying a USB flash drive for a machine with plenty of RAM? I tried ReadyBoost on a 2G machine and it made no apparent difference, but this was pre-RC1.
February 01, 2007 19:30

Did you know about the VistaDrivers website?

Don't know how expansive the list is, but might be helpful for Vista adopters to keep bookmarked....I haven't had the courage to upgrade just yet....

February 01, 2007 20:07
If you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket Symantec is offering Norton Internet Security for $69.99 and it can be used on 3 pcs also.
February 01, 2007 20:22
I am waiting to upgrade. I won't upgrade to Vista until the first service pack is released. I refuse to be a guinea pig for Microsoft.
February 01, 2007 20:35

What is your opinion of the new Media Center stuff in Vista? Is it worth the upgrade costs?

February 01, 2007 20:54
I had to upgrade. My XP box was sluggish. I've noticed a tremendous improvement in general responsiveness and stability with Vista. I won't upgrade my wife's computer though (well, that's cause it's a mac).

I'll leave my Shuttle running XP for now because it can't really handle Vista properly. Also, the Sonicare VPN client doesn't work on Vista.
February 01, 2007 22:29
Any comment on using ReadyBoost with a Bridge Media Slot vs. USB stick? Speed differences? Comparison between SD Card, Memory Stick Pro, MultiMediaCard?
February 01, 2007 22:36

I would install Vista on a fresh drive instead of upgrading XP to Vista and then reinstall EVERYTHING. This way you don't get the baggage of duplicate files, unused files, bloated registry, disabled settings and all the crap that kept piling up and filling your hard drives over the years. Copy the data files from XP to Vista. This way you get a fast lean new OS.

Use Vista for a few months and keep XP as a stand by and when you're comfortable that Vista works fine with everything, only then trash XP. Or just leave it alone. Hard drives are cheap.
February 01, 2007 22:40

Scott, your timestamp is off by 5 hours.
February 01, 2007 22:59
+1 to OneCare. I've been using it since the Betas. -1 to bundling with Vista. It would be great for customers, but unfortunately anti-trust law is not always about that :(.
February 02, 2007 0:17
Ok, so I upgraded. my laptop is a pentium M 1.6GHz, 768mb RAM with only 35GB on the HDD.

BOY AM I IMPRESSED WITH VISTA. For starters it's faster! MS has done a good job at making the experience better fitting...props to them for that.

the subtle differences on things so simple as how you save a downloaded file are great! I'm glad I upgraded.

I've never been one to buy into an OS from day 1, but this time I did and I went all out and got the ultimate edition. I'm very happy and glad that I upgraded.
February 02, 2007 1:21
"Also, the Sonicare VPN client doesn't work on Vista"

Your toothbrush has a VPN client? ;)
February 02, 2007 2:05
ReadyBoost devices have to be on the USB2.0 bus and meet certain stringent performance requirements. Devices are tested on first insertion, and you have to request a retest if they fail. As far as I know if they pass, you're in business. I haven't done any tests to see how one USB stick does versus another, but some folks have, and everyone agrees that the Steno is the fastest available external USB stick.
February 02, 2007 5:10
For those of you playing the home game, who aren't Microsoft regional directors or have access to MSDN, Scott's 3 SKU's would cost around $797 retail for full versions, $557 for all upgrade versions. Not including the $150 for 3 readyboost drives. ;)

That's in US dollars.

(fanboy mode on)The OS X tiger 5-client family pack runs around $199.(fanboy mode off)

I am curious if anyone has any hard (or soft) numbers about the performance of a machine with 512MB-1GB of RAM with a 2GB ReadyBoost drive plugged in vs. a machine with 2-3GB of physical RAM and no readyboost? Because I'm a USB drive pack rat, but I've only got so many RAM slots in my laptop.
February 02, 2007 8:44
I've been running Vista for a little while now, but haven't really dug too deep into all of the features. Overall, I'm really enjoying the OS, but was a bit bummed that the ATI Radeon 9250 didn't support Aero. Oh well...

In regards to the ReadyBoost, I encourage you to test it out with VS2005. It might have just been a poor performing stick, but I noticed a significant slowdown in VS2005 when I was readyboosting with a 1gig stick (2gig memory internal). Not sure how it prioritizes the internal vs readyboost, but it was a visible slowdown.

I'm more excited about XDFs, as I am not a huge fan of Acrobat =) It will take some time, but coupled with WPF, I think we may have a real winner!

Vista definitely is a "pretty" OS. I look forward to digging more into it, but currently just using it for every day tasks.
February 02, 2007 20:33
Yeah, I'll be upgrading to Vista when I receive it pre-installed on my next computer. The new one will be my sandbox, but I'm keeping XP around.

I'm a consultant by trade, and as a guy who basically builds/designs/supports business database apps for a living, I can't really see any point to Vista right now. In fact, I just finished a long-term consulting gig on-site, and my (client-provided) dev box wasn't Vista-capable. None of their (30+) dev boxes were. The users running my software were running even slower computers.

I mean, from an Enterprise perspective, it's just a crapshoot. If everything's deployed internally via web apps or citrix (as it is), then what's the difference? Maybe there's a better management interface for PCs running Vista Enterprise, but what's the ROI on that? (new PCs and new Vista install and training vs. saving one guy 30 min/day)

Don't get me wrong, I won't mind my new PC being a sandbox, but I'm not going to see this on client computers for 2-3 years. In fact, the company I just finished working with was an MS Gold Certified partner, and they did not have a single box running Vista (and we've had access since November).

No doubt that all of this stuff is great fun, but my XP boxes will be running for at least two more years, b/c I can't justify the ROI on an upgrade to any of my clients.

Can anybody else?
February 03, 2007 3:29
> For those of you playing the home game, who aren't Microsoft regional directors or have access to MSDN, Scott's 3 SKU's would cost around $797 retail for full versions, $557 for all upgrade versions. Not including the $150 for 3 readyboost drives. ;)

A retail copy of Ultimate allows you to buy two Home Premiums for $49 under the "Family Pack" deal from MS.

Total is $250 + $50 + $50, $350 to upgrade 3 PCs to fairly nice versions of Vista.

The 5-pack for $199 is a good deal, though, but come talk to us after Apple's next OS is released and we'll see if that number stays the same or not.
February 03, 2007 6:23
Help me understand the greatness of the Windows OneCare service. From what I've read it has some nice features, but nothing that you can't get from other vendors for less cost. Please understand, I do enjoy a centralized bundled software, but what is the advantage?

Malware - Defender
Spyware - Avg
Firewall - Built in
Updates - Built in
Backups - Built in

Again, I haven't tried the trial, so simply curious to those that enjoy the packages the benefits they have found over piece mealing it together?
February 05, 2007 18:44


Well, don't move to the UK.

£240 (~$470) for Vista Ultimate (Upgrade).

£150 (~$290) for Vista Home Premium (Upgrade).

No mention of "Family Pack" deals.

I make that $470 + $290 + $290 = $1050 <choke>.

OK, so Amazon aren't perhaps cheapest for software but they're certainly not THAT bad.

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.