Kicked Vista off my system - what a sense of relief that gave me....

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Mark Vergeer
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Vista totally drove me - just raving.....

....and I finally did the honorable thing, I kicked Vista off my triple-boot system. Didn't want to give in at first but ended up freeing valuable hard-drive space in the end.

Here's a good way to get rid of Vista and its boot menu if you are dual booting:
1. Boot your computer in to Windows XP.
2. Ensure you have the Vista DVD in the DVD drive.
3. Go to “Start” and “Run”. Type in “d:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt52 ALL /force” (without quotes, plus replace d: with the drive letter of your Vista DVD).
4. Restart the computer, and you will notice the boot selection menu is gone.
5. Format the partition/drive where you had Vista installed.
6. Remove two files (Boot.BAK & Bootsect.BAK) on your XP root folder (C:)..

Or
* Make double sure you have backed up as your partition could be damanged by this process
* Boot of your XP CD
* Boot into recovery console by pressing "R" at the following installation screen.
* Type command "FIXBOOT C:" (No quotes)
* Next type "FIXMBR", read serious warning messages and press "Y" to continue
* Exit and reboot.
* If neccesary edit Boot.ini and delete line with "Longhorn" or "Vista" on it and delete the folder Vista resides in.

Aaaaah I feel sooo much better now!

Running Windows XP Pro and OSX, I was intrigued by Vista's Aero interface so I got an OEM version a little while ago and installed it next to my other OS'es. The main reason why I installed it was because of the media center functionality that is lacking in my XP Professional setup. I was pleased by the way Vista looked but found it to be ridden with all sorts of dialogs and wizards that make accessing your files harder where they intend to do the opposite. But as you get used to Vista's interface it is actually quite pleasing. It boots a little faster and you do get a sense of security on that system.
But this bliss quickly evaporated as I found out that quite a lot of my hardware had no good Vista drivers (Nvidia 6600 GT, Audigy SE, printer/scanner) and when the drivers finally showed up the devices performed very much slower than they do under WindowsXP Pro/Home. My burning software would not install correctly under Vista so I had to get a new version of Nero that would work with Vista. Tried lots of software, did benchmarking. Compared Steam and Gametap on the Vista and on the XP end and I sadly came to the conclusion that my P4 3.4Ghz SSE3, Asus P4P800Deluxe, 2Gb ram, Nvidia 6600 GT 128Mb, Audigy SE system was absolutely NOT fit for gaming in Vista - despite it's pretty good 4.7 score. Mind you I tried to recreate the same type of software installation on Vista as I have on XP so that I had about the same amount of programs installed and running, but the same Steam/Gametap-games on Windows XP would run darn well. The speed on Vista was between 95% to 30% of Windows XP performance. Now that is just plain wrong and to me this proves Vista in its current form is 'bloatware'.

It's like the Windows95 story all over again, yeah sure you could install it on a 386 with 8Mb or ram, but you were in for a hard time staring at the hourglass. Compare that with a reasonable P4 HT single core running at 3.4Ghz and Vista Home Premium performs on it like Windows95 on that 386 with 8Mb of Ram. On the 386 I held on to 3.11 for quite some time, when I got my 486SX-25 within a week upgraded to DX2-66 I changed to Windows95. On my P4 I will stick to XP for now.

Microsoft claims it is all an unoptimized third-party-driver issue. I would advice anybody buying a new pc to check if it is possible to still get it with Windows XP (MCE). I am actually going to install Windows MCE 2005 instead of my XP Pro.

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Mark Vergeer
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Device driver updates can cause Vista to deactivate!

Wow, this whole Vista story gets more and more interesting - device driver updates can actually cause Vista to revert to a deactivated state causing all sorts of problems for users.
Australian James Bannan has had such an experience when he took out his old directX9 Graphics card and wanted to replace it with a directX10 capable one so that he could play some newer games. His installation borked into a deactivated state because of that.
He contacted Microsoft on the matter and this is what he writes: "After weeks of gruelling troubleshooting, I've finally had it confirmed by Microsoft Australia and USA -- something as small as swapping the video card or updating a device driver can trigger a total Vista deactivation."

Wow, better have that 'new' drive image creating software ready to create a good backup as soon as you have a more or less installed and activated system. And be sure to use a Vista compatible one. It seems that when you want to backup the Vista NTFS partition you need to use software that is compliant with Vista. I know that WindowsXP can throw something like that in your face - actually my version of XP did when I changed from an Ati Graphics card to an Nvidia one - but you would think that with Vista such things were resolved....ehrrr NOT!

Users are now being hindered from upgrading their systems - because in the past users have lost Microsoft valuable income by illegally installing the Windows OS on their systems. We have shot ourselves in the foot and are suffering now.

My advice: whenever you want to run Windows Vista, get a ready built system and don't dare swap any hardware for something better if you don't want to be on some Microsoft helpline trying to explain why your Vista copy has deactivated itself for the third time this month ;)

Do read James article in which he explains how the activation system works - basically the activation system is unchanged from XP



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Mark Vergeer
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iDefrag

Matt have you ever done any maintenance on your HFS partition? It is possible and necessary to defragment that just like NTFS partitions need to. There's a great tool that allows you to make a bootable cd and run idefrag from there (http://www.coriolis-systems.com/iDefrag.php)
It can speed up things enormously by streamlining and compacting. Worth a try if OSX is grinding for you ;)



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Matt Barton
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XP and Mac OS

As long as we're ranting about the sorry state of OSs, I must mention Mac OS X. I swear, this OS drives me absolutely biting-dog mad. I have to wait for everything to open, including things I use everyday (such as Firefox, which runs miserably slowly). It seems that I'm staring at that colorful rotating wheel about 60% of the time I'm using this OS! And that's despite a 2 ghz Intel Core Duo and 2 GB of RAM. On the other hand, when I'm bootcamped with XP, the thing flies like a dream. Vista is prone to slowdowns, but at least it doesn't happen every single time I try to open Firefox, Word, or any of the other programs I use on a daily basis. Where I notice the most slow down is when unzipping or copying files (inexcusable, simply inexcusable), playing slideshows, and playing movie clips.

It *is* possible to cripple Vista's "flashy" stuff and come out with a very sleek OS. However, many feel that doing so defeats the purpose. However, let's remind ourselves that we had to do the same thing with XP. XP only runs well if you take the time to customize it, turning off all the memory and processor wasting crap that slows down the system. I remember that Shane R. Monroe had some sort of guide for stripping down XP that worked very well.

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Mark Vergeer
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Vista and WindowsME - deja vu is that feeling you sometimes get.

Right now Vista to me pretty much is what WindowsME was a while back:
- not compatible with current software - Windows98 games and software wouldn't all run
- memory hog - WindowsME had a memory hole that made the system hog up more and more memory untill it dropped dead. Vista is a memory hog, doesn't crash though just keeps chugging on at incredibly low speeds despite 2Gb memory
- slower than previous version - WindowsME was in some ways also slower than Windows98, Vista is just plain slow on single core machines. Single core machines do not seem to be suitable for Vista at all. My pentiumM and my Pentium4 HT SSE3 won't work as well as with WindowsXP

In the end nobody wanted WindowsME on their systems, people reverted to Windows98, and used Windows2000 when it came out.
Perhaps Vista will share a similar faith and the 'real' new Windows - Windows7 - will be running on our upgraded hardware in a couple of years time.



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forcefield58
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Vista to XP

Thanks for the detailed instructions Mark. I do have a spare hard drive I bought that we'll use for XP only. The laptop does allow F12 at boot, so that shouldn't be a problem. The only thing I have to find is a Windows bootable XP disk. I'm thinking my Windows XP disk will work for this. Cheers


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Mark Vergeer
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Newer versions of OSX always were a little faster....

In contrast, each newer version of OSX was faster than its predecessor.
Tiger (10.4) is faster on my G4 than Panther (10.3) was, there's people who've tried out the developers releases of Leopard (10.5) stating that it runs faster than Tiger did. I am betting the PPC final release might function a little faster on my G4 as well as it is fitted with enough memory and a relatively powerful graphicscard that is able to be utilized for the new GUI effects. Leopard is able to be installed on a G3 (with a little hacking) but it will probably not be any faster - and perhaps significanly slower - than Panther/Tiger is on a G3.

Somehow Microsoft has always done the exact opposite, every new version of Windows was more bloated and needed more system-resources than their predecessors making an 'upgrade' in almost every case not ' the sensible thing to do'.

Come to think of it, the extra strain on hardware, slower performance etc will eventually cost humanity a more money, more pollution etc. As Microsoft doesn't intend to support XP for much longer, many companies will be 'forced' to upgrade. And by doing so computer that were perfectly fine running XP are reduced to ancient machines in worst cases only functioning at 30% of their XP-operating speeds. This will drive hardware turnover and thus creating more toxic waste. Not to mention the loss in revenues businesses will have by working with slower computer-systems. :(



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Mark Vergeer
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@Matt - patches won't speed up Vista that much though

Patches and new drivers will not speed up Vista sufficiently on my system in order to make it work as good as XP does on my system. I am pretty sure of that. It'll only get a little smoother, but the varying performance of 30%-95% XP speed I encountered on my system is too large a drop to be put on 'third party drivers'.

On the newest dual-core systems perhaps the performance differences will not be as much, but my HT SSE3 Single core Pentium4 @ 3.4Ghz just doesn't like Vista. Like I said, it is like runnings Windows95 on a 386 with 8Mb of RAM, it will function but is not really that usable for games.



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Mark Vergeer
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retrofitting XP is hard - but possible... ;)

@Force
'Reverting to XP' is not something that is supported by Vista. The Vista Bootloader only supports dual booting to XP when you opt to install Vista on its own partition next to XP.

WITHOUT ADDITIONAL SOFTWARE:
But it still is possible to install XP next to vista by doing a little trick in your bios when you change the booting sequence of your harddrives. The thing is that you need to change the bios setting every time you want to boot into XP. Some motherboard have an option to select the partition you want to boot from by pressing the F12 function key at boot. When your motherboard supports this installing XP on a system that already has Vista is possible.

Things you need:
2 harddrives: one holding Vista and a new one that is going to hold XP.
A computerbios that easily lets you choose the partition/drive to boot from by pressing F12 at boot.
A Windows XP bootable installation disk.

1) TEMPORARILY SWAP VISTA DRIVE FOR THE NEW EMPTY ONE
Open up your computer system and take a look at how the drives are connected.
Often the 1st IDE connector has a harddrive and a (DV)CDROM attached to it or the 1st IDE connecter has a harddrive on it and the 2nd has an optiocal drive attached to it.
Disconnect the drive holding Vista - don't worry you'll be attachting the drive right after you installed XP
Connect the new drive in place of the one holding Vista.
Install XP onto the new drive just as you would normally.
When the installation has finished you can take out the drive and put the Vista drive back in.
2) PUTTING THE VISTA DRIVE BACK IN AND ALSO ATTACH THE NEW DRIVE
The easiest option is to have both the vista and the Xp drive share the same IDE connection, make sure the Vista is the Master drive and is at the end of the IDE cable. Also connect the XP drive, make sure it is set to slave and connect it to the IDE connector halfway the IDE cable.
The optical dive is best connected to the 2nd IDE port.
3) BOOTING THE SYSTEM to VISTA DEFAULT
If you turn on the system, make sure the bios recognizes both drives, the Vista being the default boot device and master and the XP drive being the slave.
Your computer should boot to Vista by default, the 2nd drive will be recognized as another harddrive which you can read and write on. Make sure all the drive letters are correct and that your optical drive hasn't changed a letter - you can change that around so that all programs correctly recognize your optical drive.
4) BOOTING THE SYSTEM to XP
By pressing F12 and selecting the XP drive to boot from or changing the boot-order in your bios settings you will be able to boot XP. The drive you boot from will have the default C-drive letter and the Vista drive will have another letter. This will be the other way around when you boot to Vista.

When you know what you are doing and if you know how your computer responds to changing the boot drive (which will become drive letter C under DOS, Windows/OS2 operating systems). But this 'hardcore way' can make less technically oriented people a little anxious.

WITH THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE
It is possible to retrofit XP when you install a Vista-compatible boot manager/OS Selector that enables you to install another operating system next to Vista by reducing its partition or by adding a new drive. There's numereous solutions out there that work great. Sometimes Linux Bootloaders also allow this. But again you need to know what you are doing.

WHATEVER YOU DO....
Make sure you have a good backup of your data, serial numbers etc before you attempt something like this. It wouldn't be the first time that a person looses valuable data by making a simple mistake or pressing the wrong key.



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Matt Barton
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Vista

I know that Vista still has some kinks to work out, but I wouldn't dream of ditching it for XP now. Only a few games really gave me fits, and chances are, they'd give me fits with XP, too. Besides, we all know that Vista will only get better as more patches and service packs are released.

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