For awhile, my XP computer had started feeling a bit sluggish. I thought I’d try to clean it up … go manualize some startup programs and do a good registry cleaning. But I got a bit too aggressive and the computer wouldn’t boot up. There was some sort of driver error that it would hit before getting into Windows that would cause it to restart. It was the same when trying to use the last good configuration and same when trying to get into Safe mode. I did have access to the recovery console so I tried copying the “repair” registry over as described in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545 (a procedure I used successfully a couple of years ago), but that led to a prompt asking me for the computer Administrator’s password. I had no such password on my machine, and couldn’t find a way around this.
So only after about 5 hours of fix attempts, I decided it’s better to just go out and get a new 64-bit Vista computer. I was expecting my XP machine to last another year or so, but this is as good a time as any to upgrade. Hooking up my old drive to my new machine, I was easily able to transfer all my data (including all my Behold development). I did have a two-week old backup just in case, but I didn’t need it.
This morning, I’ve been setting up my software again, getting my email going, customizing things to my liking, etc. It will be a day or two before I’m all up and running, but that’s not bad. I will need to upgrade the graphics card (the weakest part of this machine, an HP m9402f) not because of its performance - I’m no gamer - but because the NVidia 6150 only handles 1 monitor. I also had to buy a new printer/scanner because my old ones are not Vista compatible - and that is the primary reason for my delay in going Vista. I hate replacing things when they still work well - I like to run them to the ground.
But there’s many advantages to this move. I was going to do it eventually anyway. Now I can ensure that Behold puts things in the right place for Vista users and that it doesn’t have any security issues with it. The 64-bit processor and 7 GB RAM will be able to run virtual machines, and I’ll be able to (eventually - not a priority now) test Behold on various Windows and Unix 64 and 32 bit Operating Systems within those VMs. I’ll also be able to upgrade to the 64-bit Delphi when it comes out next year and produce both 32 and 64 bit versions of Behold, allowing potentially even more than millions of people to be handled at once.
The biggest improvements for me are speed and usability. Everything is faster: opening windows, accessing the Internet, compiling Behold. And even though the public opinion is of the contrary, Vista is actually easier to use than XP. Microsoft did do a lot of usability testing for it. It’s unfortunate that the initial difficulty in getting drivers and the security enhancements (seen as annoyances) gave it a bad rap.
I had a lot of big and little programs I used to run on XP to add functionality for me that I no longer need under Vista. Windows Live Search might replace X1. The gadgets provide the CPU and memory checks I had under XP. I might even stop using Adobe Photoshop Elements (whose user interface really bugs me) and use the built-in Vista photo organizing tools instead.
The disadvantage of the move is that I do have to reinstall and setup the software I use again. But that really doesn’t take too long, and I only have to reinstall the software I actually will be using. So this is a tremendous opportunity for the overall cleanup and reorganization that I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
Change happens. Sometimes it is forced on you, but you’ve got to make the best of it when the opportunity arises.