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I'm back from one vacation and preparing to head south to Mexico for another but, with a little downtime available, I thought it was as good a time as any to upgrade to Vista and Office System 2007.  So, I write this while waiting of various software packages to install (with UAC OFF :)

First, I work primarily from a laptop which goes with me wherever I go.  To help me in moving around I do have a couple docking stations at various offices I'm at frequently (one at SSE and the other at Reuters).  At home I don't use a docking station but just boot up the laptop wherever I happen to be.  My current laptop is a Dell XPS M170 with the nice 17" widescreen, a 100g HD, a 256meg gForce 7800 video card, built in wireless, and a DVD burner.  I've had it for a few years now and LOVE the laptop and my only real complaint is it's sheer size and weight.   With the laptop, my optical mouse, the power adapter and my 100g USB HD I pack around, the weight of my laptop bag comes in at around 15lbs.  Late last year I found myself lugging this thing around Bangkok for a week and silently wishing I had something a little more travel ready.

Anyway, on to Vista....

I'm not new to Vista (or Office 2K7) and have a desktop at work with Vista Business on it.  I only use this desktop for email and web browsing though (and the occasional game of chess).  I've reloaded it a few times as Vista progressed through Beta's and into production so I never put too much software on it.  Upgrading my laptop would be my first real "I NEED IT TO WORK RIGHT" experience with Vista.

My laptop came with XP Pro and in the few years I've had it I've taken full advantage of it's speed and power.  My installed programs list filled my 17" screen.  I'm also a pretty hardcore developer so I had TON's of add-ins, components, productivity tools, etc, etc loaded.  Some of them I could live without and some of them I couldn't.  So in an effort to do a little housecleaning, I decided that my move to Vista would start with a reformat of my HD and a clean start putting on only what I needed.  Thus my first step was to use Norton's Ghost 12 to get a clean image of my old HD onto an external drive.  Next:  "Format C:".  (Actually I just formatted during the install process but I just wanted to type "Format C:" :)  Ghost 12 worked great and has some very nice features, I highly recommend!

Next, I installed Vista Ultimate (which I chose for the Media Center capabilities in addition to everything else).  The overall install went very smoothly.  Next, I installed Office System 2007 and patched everything up with Windows Update.  I fortunately had no real driver compatibility issues and everything ran great.  I restored all my documents from my Ghost image into my documents folder, joined my work domain, and got ready for the hard part....loading all my necessary software.

I'm pretty good at keeping around all the installation packages and serial number information for all my tools and other software packages.  In working with large teams of developers it's a science keeping everyone up-to-date and on the right versions so I make it a point to be somewhat careful about having everything handy.

I started with the big stuff (VS.NET, MSDN, SQL 2K5 Developer) and worked my way down to the smaller stuff (widgets, addins, small utilities, etc).   I finally even put the only game I'm currently playing on there (Neverwinter Nights 2).

I tried to get as far as I could leaving UAC on but, ultimately, I just turned it off and everything seemed to move quicker.  Vista was very cool about notifying me of potential software incompatibilities and was usually right.  A few tools didn't load at all and after checking with the vender, it was due to known issues they had with their packages.  Unfortunately I ran out of HD space sooner than I should have and had to do some digging through files to clear out unnecessary usage of space.  Vista puts a bunch of sample files and other bloat here and there that I purged.  A few packages even forced me to contact their vendor for new license files which are tied to my OS.

As I near completion I'm very happy with how smooth it has gone (for the most part).  I've almost got a very complex development environment rebuilt in a bit under 3 working days of time.  I can't say it would have been any quicker if I would have had to rebuild my box with XP in that time-frame.  Once I'm pseudo complete I'll get another Ghost image of the new OS and then start coding.  Then we'll really see how compatible Vista is with what I do from day-to-day :)

For now...I think I need another vacation :)

Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2007 3:15 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: My XP to Vista transition experience...

# re: My XP to Vista transition experience...
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Chess? What about backgammon!

Don't forget to mention the HOUR-long shutdown for your laptop after you were done for the day as Vista did some final installation. :(
Left by Your coworker on Jul 20, 2007 8:27 AM

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