Windows Vista to the Rescue

Well, I finally did it. I managed to crash my trusty Windows XP Home partition on my laptop. I brought the laptop with me to my in-laws’ house and I was playing around with some enhancements that were supposed to make Windows XP look like Mac OS X. I won’t open up the Operating System wars but you’ve got to admit, Apple Computer knows how to design a UI (User Interface). In any case, I rebooted to find that a vital kernel file (I don’t recall the exact name) was missing.

I had plenty of tools with me, but not the right tools. I had a Windows XP Professional disk, a Windows Vista 64-bit RC1 DVD, and a Kubuntu Linux Edgy CD.  I’ve been playing around with dual booting Windows XP and Linux for several months, but I haven’t been successful at resizing partitions. Last time I tried it, I corrupted my Linux partition and lost hours worth of work. After debating with myself for an hour, I figured I would install Vista which would give me wireless connectivity and the ability to transfer my vital files off this laptop when I get home later on. I can then take it to work and start fresh. I have thought about starting fresh with Linux, but we’ll see. I may just restore the OEM edition of XP Home and go from there. By the way, I got this laptop for Christmas of 2005, so I have been running that XP installation for more than 13 months, which is a new record. I’ve never gotten more than 6 months out of a Windows installation, and that was only after XP came out.

I’m still working on the question that I asked several months ago on this blog. What is the point to 64-bit software? I’ve tried XP Pro 64, Vista Ultimate 64, and SuSE and Kubuntu Linux 64. In each case, I had tons of problems finding drivers, getting drivers to work, and in the case of Linux I had to compile a new kernel and still could not get flash and Java working under 64-bit. The 32-bit versions were much easier. I am starting to wonder if the 64-bit processor, at least in consumer grade computers, wasn’t some standard that Microsoft defined, forced on the industry, only to later realize that the real power lies in multiple cores. I’ve run both the 32 and 64-bit versions of Vista, and the 32-bit seems to be faster. Go figure.

I’m halfway tempted to try the Debian Linux .exe installer that I talked about earlier. I like the Debian based distributions, such as Kubuntu.

Anyway, if nothing else, Windows Vista Release Candidate will work fine as a "lifeboat" in the event that you corrupt your XP installation like I did and can’t wait a few hours to get home to fix it. This installation is convincing me more than ever to either wait for the first service pack or just start switching over to Linux. I found it interesting that in the Apple world, a site exists called "OS9 Forever". I thought about starting a "Windows XP Forever" movement, but I actually do enjoy change even if it requires a step back once in a while. But the way, the OS9 Forever site is mostly for an archive as the person formerly running it has long since switched to OS X.

One last thing: as of today, Feb 4, 2007, does anybody know what the "Vista Ultimate Extras" are? The whole time of the beta period I would occasionally install Vista to play with and then give up on, and wonder what these extras are. Several days after the actual consumer release of Windows Vista, there still aren’t any extras. Maybe this was like the WinFS project which fell by the wayside.

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