Friday, January 23, 2009

The Great Vista Debacle

I recently bought a new desktop (Dell Inspiron 530, Dual Core, 2 Gig Ram, 250 Gig HD) for my home office primarily for my wife's email and as a back up computer. The old one died unceremoniously before Christmas...Hello, Santa.

I confess that most of my wounds, as far as computers are concerned, are self-inflicted and this past Sunday I decided, in a momentary but serious lack of judgment, to use the disk that came with the computer to upgrade to Vista (Business). I really prefer Vista's layout and even some of the security functions (not the accursed UAC!) and, after all, Dell had included it with the machine so it must be OK! NOT!

After a relatively long (60+ minutes) to install Vista without any error messages, I rebooted the machine and was presented with the friendly log in screen. As soon as I logged on the machine gave me a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) and an error message I had never seen before. It was all downhill after that, nothing would work, not even Safe Mode with Networking (allows you to connect to the Internet while in Safe Mode.) DESPAIR!

I spent the rest of the next three days trying to Google the answer with little result, emailing Tom Diroff and Ed Rudel, our two tech experts from our computer show and spending over an hour on the phone with my own personal help desk, i.e. Ed, all to no avail. After sleeping on the couch a couple of nights (Ginny was not happy with my tinkering) I decided to simply do a complete clean install of Vista and then restore her data which I had saved on an external drive. Even that proved to be full of grief because the new Vista was pretty much without most of the key drivers needed because it was supposed to be an upgrade installation over Win XP. So I had to manually restore many of the drivers from the disks that Dell supplied with the machine, e.g. the drivers for the DVD player so that I could install the other programs like my printer software.

The moral of the story? If it ain't broke, don't fix it! I do have to say that I much prefer the new Vista system, even with its problems and Ginny doesn't seem to notice the difference since she only uses Outlook 2007 which looks exactly the same.

At least I'm off the couch...for the time being.

1 comment:

RyanMeray said...

I feel your pain, and not to rub salt in the wound, but I would suggest something that may reduce the pain of future tinkering: Acronis Trueimage (or another full-drive imaging software).

The beauty of TI is that you can quickly create a full disk image of a system. When I say 'quickly,' I mean, if you're dealing with less than 100 gigs on the system partition, you could have an image done in 30 minutes.

So if you run one of these puppies before tinkering, and you end up with BSODs that can't be dealt with, instead of a full installation, you can re-image the drive in another 30 minutes and be back up and running like nothing ever happened.

You've already got the external backup drive, so you're almost there. All you need is TI, which is all of $40 or less.

I can't tell you how many times it has saved my butt on a client's system when I'm working on it and something goes haywire.

Glad you got it sorted out, but it's such a darn shame you had to reinstall everything and go through that driver nightmare!