Saturday, March 1, 2008

joys of patching Vista

I decided to go ahead and dual boot a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate on my computer. First thing that I noticed was the distinct lack of options. You have... format and install. Thats pretty much it. so I installed it on a partition I had already made with windows XP. It more or less installed okay, and there were no serious problems.

So I start to download and install security patches for it. They seem to install okay, but when I restart Vista, it goes something like this:

configuring update 1 of 3... (wait 10 minutes) updates are configured incorrectly, reverting changes. Will attempt again at startup... (wait 10 minutes for changes to revert)... BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH!!! Restart computer manually... cmos errors out... no keyboard present... reboot again... error out again... unplug power supply and wait a few minutes, reconnect and power up... cmos is reset... reconfigure cmos correctly and restart... configuring updates 1 of 3 (wait 10 minutes) updates are configured incorrectly, reverting changes... shutting down... pops into login screen (without shutting down)

So I log in and check the updates. It says they are all installed, so I try to install another round of updates. Programs that require the updates that are "installed" refuse to run, claiming that the updates are not present. Yet the software manager in vista claims they are in the registry.

I spent the next 2 hours trying to get the security updates to pull through and install correctly, but failed every attempt.


I do a google for the problem, and find that this is not an isolated incident, but many other people seem to be having trouble getting updates for vista, and it is linked to 2 problems.

1) Vista not running the patch with administrator privileges
2) double byte characters (such as kanji or other foreign languages).

I am going to reinstall Vista Ultimate in case the memory dump during patching corrupted the OS, and try again. I will also try to get some screen shots of it.

Overall, my opinion of the OS is very very low. Out of the ~6 hours I spent with it, 2.5 hours was spent failing to patch, 1 hour was spent recovering from lock ups and crashes, 1 hour was spent digging through drivers and programs to find compatible software (MSN only the latest version of MSN Live Messenger will run on Vista, it isn't pre-loaded, and it crashes on startup so you have to manually restart it), and another 1 hour was spent trying to find fixes for everything that doesn't work. The 1.5 hours I spent trying to learn the OS left me with a bittersweet taste. I feel that most of the changes were unnecessary, and only make the OS more confusing.

I'm assuming that most people will disable the program warning feature, and run as administrator as they do in WinXP, completely defeating the purpose of Vista's only true security improvement over XP.


After reinstalling vista, and adding one driver at a time, I was able to keep the OS stable. The problems have been minimal so far, but I have noticed that downloading and installing updates takes far longer on vista than it does on xp.

1 comment:

k said...

Vista! When my mother needed a new laptop, the only advice I could give her was "add RAM." I had no experience of Vista but I kept reading that it needed lots of RAM and that the laptops they sell with it, even if it's only Basic, never come shipped with enough for a .. less painful experience. I use the laptop every now and then, and I can't say I'm very impressed either (glad I advised her to add more RAM to it, it wouldn't be usable otherwise). Though there haven't been any trouble due to updates, I've also noticed that it downloads and installs them slower than on XP. Sometimes it makes the next couple of starts slower aswell.. And the program warning feature is still enabled and driving me crazy, but it's not my computer so I'll wait until my mother dear explodes. =] Her first impression was "XP with crayons!?!" and I think that's pretty much what I think about the whole thing.. though the game where you can make cakes and stuff is pretty amusing. My level when it comes to games.

And to reply to your comment which is why I got here; I've never worked with anything IT related - don't have to, you can be the center of attention anyways. Sometimes annoying, because you more or less get questioned.. =]

Sorry about the essay, and thanks for the comment.