In Valid Logic

Endlessly expanding technology

Two Vista Tips

On Friday, I decided to do a fresh install of Vista RC2 and actually give it a good attempt.  Encountered two things that others might want to be aware of...

Tip 1: Make sure you hard drives are the first boot device other than floppies/cdrom.

I had previously done a fresh install of Vista RC1 and it worked just fine, but this time around, it kept saying "Windows is unable to find a system volume that meets its criteria for installation".  What the heck?  I was doing all kinds of stuff... fresh install of XP, fixmbr, fixboot, full scandisk, everything.  Finally, a little blurb on Google pointed out the tip to make sure it is the first boot device.  Well, mine surely was... I had no other hard drives or anything else.

Then, for the heck of it, I decided to go into the BIOS and noticed I had USB Mass Storage device first.  Later, it clicked.  My USB printer was plugged in, and it has a card reader built into it that Windows sees.  So it must have thought the card reader was of higher priority, even though it didn't show in the installer anywhere, or have any media.  Moving up the hard drives fixed the problem.

Tip 2: When you change hardware, be sure to have Vista re-evaluate your system for performance.

When I first installed Vista, my video card was my way old Nvidia Quadra NVS280 with 64mb ram.  It supported Aero at 1600x1200 on one display, but not on two.  I had a new video card on order and it arrived later in the day.  I figured going from 64mb to a Geforce 7600GT 256mb, it surely would support 1600x1200 on dual monitors.

Got the new video card, popped it in, but still no go.  1600x1200 on one display worked, but not two, then found 1280x1024 on both displays worked, and then 1600x1200 on one and 1280x1024 on the 2nd worked, but not 1600x1200 on both.

Finally, I went to view my Windows Experience Index with the new card.  Previously, I only had a 2.0 due to the video card.  On the screen, it said it had detected new hardware and should rerun.

After re-running the performance test, it occurred to me that Vista might base its features off of the tests.  Sure enough, it does.  After re-running the test, I was able to update to a flawless 1600x1200 on dual displays with full Aero support.  So when you upgrade your hardware, be sure to re-run the tests, as Vista may base its settings off of your old statistics.

Monday, October 16, 2006

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