Upgrading to Vista 64 bit

I took the plunge and upgraded my laptop to Vista Business x64 from Vista Business x86. I didn’t have any major problems with device drivers and even my Samsung SCX 4100 printer has Vista x64 drivers. I’ve had my issues with Vista performance and there is a growing view that this is an issue with Vista. From my personal experience, from using it constantly, since the Beta days I think there is issues. Starting Vista from from a cold boot-up to a point where you login and the OS is ready to use seems like forever and that is not including starting Outlook 2007 and the folders to be updated. One of the performance issues seems to be the Indexer which starts up on boot-up, so can be heavy on disk use. The Vista standard gadgets use quite a bit of CPU, so I just turn those off. There are other apps that slow things down outside of Microsoft such as Anti-virus but you can’t really not have that installed. My laptop is an AMD 64 Tutrion x2 with 2GB RAM and Aero capable ATI Video Driver but even after having upgraded to Vista x64, it still doesn’t feel that I’m really using a powerful machine. I like Vista and wouldn’t go back to anything else but I just hope that with the Vista SP1 release Microsoft will be seriously concentrating on the performance issues. Vista performance improves over time which sounds a bit strange but the indexer gets to a point where it’s done the work so sits in a fairly quiescent state after some time. Also, I use the Sleep mode which allows me to logon much faster and be up and working quite quickly. Vista is a complex operating system but I think the generic problem with Software development is that developers are not optimising their applications as much as they could. It takes a lot of skill to understand the architecture of the hardware and then again to know how to use the compiler to the optimum point.

A couple of strange things on the Vista x64 installation is that it wouldn’t allow me to install the Sharepoint Services 3.0 SDK saying it wasn’t supported on this version of the OS and I couldn’t install Windows Live Writer!!  

Selling Vista

At WWPC, I was on a focus group for discussing selling Vista in Small Businesses and it was a moderated discussion by an independent third party, Market Decisions. The concensus was that Vista was being held back because of Application Compatibility and key business applications not running or being supported on Vista. No matter how hard Microsoft try to convince us that this isn’t an issue, we know the reality.

At the end of the session Jacqueline Boyle (who worked at Microsoft UK for 6 years), Marketing Manager for Vista, outlined the case for selling the premium SKU for Vista which are :-

  • Security (healthcare, financial, legal, etc)
  • Dual Use (owner mangers who take their laptops home and want to use it for home entertainment)
  • Multilingual Support

In terms of the Marketing approach she asked the group whether the messaging should be “Towards pleasure, or away from pain”. I think we all voted for “towards pleasure”!

Vista hotfix for file copying issue

I had to copy a rather large file from the network to my Vista laptop and it just stuck at saying “calculating time remaining”. I then recalled that this had been mentioned on a couple of blogs and that there was a hotfix for it. So, I obtained the hotfix for KB931770 which has resolved the issue. The hotfix is available for free by phoning Microsoft.

Vista Performance

I was worried today about the performance of my Vista laptop, I even emailed Dave Overton and he kindly replied probably thinking that I was just being stupid. What I learnt that I have to understand Vista better because it’s doing things which I don’t fully understand. It’s not entirely my fault as it is a completely new operating system with a lot of clever stuff in it. What I did find regarding the performance of Vista on my laptop is that Trend’s PC Cillin seemed to be a resource hog and surprisingly the standard Vista sidebar gadgets are as well. The sidebar was peaking up to 50% cpu utilisation over short periods of time. I’ve just exited the sidebar and uninstalled PC Cillin.

Vista has a number of things which can make your machine seem like it’s treading treacle sometimes. The VSS feature takes snapshots of files, the search indexing is running and the prefetch is also in play. The other observation is that performance improves significantly over time after first switch on. The Reliability and Performance tool is great and gives some detailed information on CPU, Disk, Network and Memory. There are a load of services running which it is difficult to know which ones could be disabled without losing major functionality?

Vista doing rather well

The figures are out as reported by the BBC News website and it was a rather good quarter for Microsoft, with a 65% rise in fourth quarter profits! Does this mean bonuses all round at Microsoft! I think alot of the Vista sales were on deferred payments on new PCs.

Thirteen23 demo with Scoble at SxSW

Windows Vista focused labs. New and interesting ways to view Web 2.0 services via Thirteen23 toolkits.

Sharepoint Services v2, Office 2007 and SBS – it does work

Dave Overton has found a solution to making your Office 2007 system play nicely with Companyweb (Sharepoint Services v2) on SBS 2003 and I’ve tried the solution and it works a treat. This is great as no one seemed to know the answer to this and Dave has managed to find a way to do it which is fairly straightforward and which doesn’t involve upgrading to Sharepoint Services v3. Dave is working like crazy at the moment to resolve issues and answer questions, so it really is appreciated that he’s putting so much effort in to this. It’ll certainly make a difference to me and remove one of the key issues for me in recommending Vista in a SBS 2003 environment.

Which Partners are using Vista?

Steve Clayton recently asked this question as the partners he’d talked to weren’t running Vista. Now, if he’d asked the Small Business Specialists he would’ve got a totally different reply. Many of us are running Vista and Office 2007 and at the recent Microsoft Small Business Symposia it was apparent that many people were “on board”. Were using it and actively selling it, so it’s time for Microsoft to recognise this. I’m not talking about the Microsoft Small Business Team, they know what we’re doing and have supported and encouraged us. I’m talking about recognition in the wider Microsoft Ecosystem. We’ve run partner events up and down the country with the Small Business Team and the PTS guys. I just saw James Cash is running an executive briefing on Vista and Office 2007, so Microsoft where do you want to put your resources? So at this moment in time if you want Vista and Office 2007 support, where would you go? The correct answer is a Microsoft Small Business Specialist! Nice to be at the cutting edge!

That strange woman in the bed next to you, is it Vista?

You see some strange stuff on the web and whilst we know Vista was going to inspire the usual Linux vs Microsoft debates, I didn’t think it would inspire someone to compare it to a waking up to a strange woman in bed next you – in a good way I hasten to add! I saw this on Slashdot (where else, of course!) but if you go to the original article it’s quite funny and the comments from the Slashdoters…well, all I can is if you’re easily offended then don’t read!

The Register on Vista Upgrade Process – but is it legal?

I was surprised to read this article and to be honest a bit shocked. The article was outlining how you could install Vista Upgrade on any PC because Vista will accept an un-activated copy of Vista as validation for the install! The article links to the process which is outlined by a Microsoft MVP! Surely this is a MAJOR oversight by Microsoft??!! I don’t even know if the EULA prohibits this or not? 

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