Trying Windows Vista

Over the weekend I decided to test Windows Vista on my old PC. The install and hardware support were better than I expected considering the several articles I’ve seen and the coworker who assured me that my nVidia nForce2 motherboard (Abit NF7S) chipset was totally unsupported under Vista.

The install was fairly straightforward. Since I have an MSDN subscription and this is my .NET development machine, I could legally download the Vista ISO from the MSDN download site. The install was straightforward, and while nVidia does not offer drivers that can be downloaded, the NIC was supported in the original install and most of the other hardware worked after a trip to Windows update. The raid controller and one other device were still listed as unknown in device manager, and the audio was labeled as unsupported but moved to the audio section. I don’t have any speakers connected, so I can’t say if it worked or not, but a PCI sound card could always be added if needed. At least the hard drives were running in UDMA mode. Overall the system ran pretty well, and I was able to use the Aero interface.

I installed a few apps. My antivirus program failed to install. Visual Studio 2003 is officially unsupported and this Microsoft KB article didn’t provide a lot of confidence. Office seemed ok. Synergy sort of works but was too annoying to actually use.

A while back I posted about my use of Synergy to share my keyboard and mouse between my iMac and PC. I’ve been very happy with the solution for the last few months with XP on the PC. You can configure Synergy to start at system startup or when you log in, and I use the system startup option so that I can use my Mac keyboard to log into the system. With Vista, Synergy is not able to configure itself to run at system startup. At first I thought this would be my worst annoyance, until I got my first of the famous “cancel or accept” prompts that the Apple commercial spoofs so well. Every time I got the prompt, synergy would quit working and I’d have to use the PC mouse to click accept. Then, after I got rid of the prompt, Synergy wait about five minutes before it would resume working.

After a days worth of exploring Vista, I reinstalled XP.

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