This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO sMoRTy71.com -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
UPDATE: This blog has been retired as of August 2011. See this post for more information or connect with me on Twitter.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Upgraded to Vista
I finally got the free Vista Home Premium upgrade that came with the laptop I purchased back in October. Installation was about what I expected, having rebuilt a ton of Windows XP systems over the years. Here are a few interesting things that I learned:

1. You don't need to have a valid copy of Windows pre-installed to upgrade
My laptop has Media Center Edition 2005 installed; however, I wanted to do a clean build. So, I wiped the hard drive and reinstalled MCE 2005. I noticed that the "60 days left to activate" popup was visible as I inserted the Vista upgrade DVD.

Much to my surprise, I was able to upgrade to Vista without ever verifying that my copy of MCE 2005 was valid. I figured MSFT would check both versions (the original and the upgrade) for authenticity.

2. You need a ton of RAM
This shouldn't be much of a suprise; however, I was still disappointed to see how poorly Vista ran with 1GB of RAM. Overall performance was just sluggish. Programs would hang and end up "Not responding." Very frustrating.

I now have 2GB of PC5300 DDR RAM installed and system is running great. 30% memory usage versus 85% (yes, 85%) before.

3. ReadyBoost is pretty cool
While trying to figure out the RAM issue, I remembered that Vista supported ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost allows the system to use a USB thumb drive as memory. I had a 1GB drive that was empty, so I popped it in and turned on ReadyBoost.

The performance of my system improved to the point that I could easily run Aero Glass and Vista became much more responsive. Not quite perfect, but it was acceptable until I got more RAM (which came yesterday from Newegg).

4. iTunes and Vista hate each other
It took several attempts to get iTunes to install on Vista. On my final attempt, I decided to uncheck the "Make iTunes the default player for music files" box and, voila, iTunes installed. Hmm.

5. Aero Glass is nice, but not worth the trouble
If I wanted windows to morph and fade, I would get an Apple (and you know that will *never* happen). I prefer to have my RAM available for more important things like running apps.

6. The new security features are annoying
Maybe it is because I had to reinstall a lot of things all at once; however, the new security features that require you to authorize apps before they install is super annoying.

I've never had a virus. I've never had malware take over my machine. I don't want to be bothered every time I want to install something.

Overall, I think Vista is working OK. I definitely don't regret the upgrade. But it is too early to say whether it is as stable as SP2 of Windows XP. If things change for better or worse, I'll post an update.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.