Musings of a PC

Thoughts about Windows, TV and technology in general

Vista Beta 2 diary: installation

Following yesterday’s abortive attempt to try Office Beta 2, you might be forgiven for thinking that I must be mad to now try something that is perhaps even more destructive and unreliable – Vista Beta 2. Not so fast …
For a start, I’m initially going to try it on a spare laptop, a Dell Latitude D800. Next, even if that experiment is successful, I’m also going to be trying out the beta of the Application Compatibility Toolkit to see what it makes of the software installed on my D820 before I go ahead and put Vista on that computer. Even then, I’m not going to blow XP away. I’ve got enough disc space to create a dual-boot laptop and I’m currently thinking of taking that approach unless some better idea occurs to me.
So here is my installation diary …
Booted off the disc supplied at Tech-Ed. Booted without problems. Selected the primary partition on the two-partition harddisc and selected the format option. Once the format was complete, continued with the installation.
The installer has copied the files and is now expanding them. Both of these steps are taking quite a long time but I forgot to make a note of when I started this, so I don’t know how long. Subjectively, it feels quite long …
I hadn’t noticed before but there is a rather nice green/yellow progress bar at the bottom of the screen. It has suddenly jumped rather a long way across, suggesting that Vista might almost be installed! Hmmm … curious, it just wanted to reboot and the progress bar hadn’t reached the far end.
Oooh … just caught a glimpse of an OS boot menu but it vanished too quickly for me to read it all clearly. I remember from one of the Tech-Ed sessions that Vista doesn’t use BOOT.INI any more but has a different boot handling system now.
I’m now looking at a screen a bit similar to the one you get in XP when you are doing a pre-boot task like disc checking, etc. The main difference is that it is mainly black, white & grey – XP’s is blue. Now the installation screen has returned and we’re on the last step – completing installation. The progress bar is back!
I wonder what would happen if I click on the red X icon in the top right-hand corner of the installation window … ? Nope – I’m not brave enough to try. I want this installation to work!
Ah – the screen has just gone blank and flickered a bit before coming back – installation of the graphics driver? The display doesn’t look quite the same. There used to be a bevelled edge around the progress bar but that has gone. It isn’t clear if that is a programming glitch or a graphics redraw issue.
The screen has gone black again. There is a lot of harddisc activity, so I’m not worried just yet. Ah, the computer has rebooted again. It looks like installation is possibly finished as the system has restored booting from CD as the first option. I’ve interrupted the boot menu this time. I don’t know why it is offering to boot an old version of Windows since it has just wiped that out. Another bug?
Advanced boot options for Vista are: safe mode, safe mode with networking, safe mode with command prompt, enable boot logging, enable low-resolution video (640×480), last known good configuration, directory services restore mode, debugging mode, disable automatic restart on system failure and disable driver signature enforcement.
Vista has now booted and is asking for regional information. There is a curious blue icon in the bottom left-hand part of this window but no help is given if I hover over it. Next comes the creation of the first user account. This is more friendly than I remember it in XP. Choosing a desktop background causes the image to appear behind the picker straight away so you get a slightly better feel for what it looks like than from the thumbnail alone.
Having just gone through a couple of windows where I’ve had to enter some text and click on Next, I’m now facing the security settings window. It is not intuitive that you have to pick one of the shields as an option. I might report that as a bug.
One more reboot and we’re done!

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