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One man's anguish installing Vista

By Paul McNamara on Fri, 03/02/07 - 10:46am.

Switching your organization over to Microsoft Vista? Just thinking about it?

Well, Tim Weber, business editor for the BBC News Web site, tells a harrowing tale of installing Vista on his 4-year-old Dell PC. Now, he's admittedly not an IT guy, but he seems relatively savvy ... and yet he suffers mightily.

It's a 1,500-word epic, extremely well written, but in case you don't have the time here are a few highlights.

On the initial installation process, which Microsoft promised would take 20 minutes:

After three-and-a-half hours of churning, at long last the Vista logo filled my screen.

It was the beginning of a day of anguish.

He has plenty of nice things to say about Vista's features and functionality, and he goes into some detail about those benefits.

But soon the problems began to mount:

Where was the internet? I could see my router, but nothing beyond - even after a full day of tinkering with various network wizards. My BBC laptop proved that this was not a problem with my router or ISP.

Why did my Philips webcam refuse to work? The Upgrade Advisor had explicitly said it would.

What hardware was responsible for the three driver errors flagged up by Vista? One seemed to be the sound card - oh yes, why did I have no sound? But which mysterious "PCI input device" was lacking a driver? And what was the "unknown device" flagged up by Vista?

Why did I get a "disk is full" error message every time I tried to install my keyboard's new Intellitype software? Why did Vista refuse to uninstall the XP-version of Intellitype?

I knew that Apple had failed to make iTunes Vista-ready, so I didn't even try.

But why did Microsoft's successor of Activesync, called Windows Mobile Device Center, refuse to hook up Outlook to my trusty old Pocket PC?

Fiddling around with Vista's settings, I soon found myself deep below its slick interface.

Weber takes his readers step-by-step through his travails in addressing these and other issues. Then he mulls the wisdom of his initial decision:

So would I do it again?

The answer is no. Do what I originally had planned to do. Wait for half a year until the driver issues are settled and then buy a new PC.

Many of you don't have that option or have chosen not to take it. Microsoft recently issued a raft of free tools for assessing, planning, testing and deploying Vista. You can read about them in this story by my Network World colleague John Fontana.

And you can access all of our ongoing Vista coverage here.

Good luck.