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Friday, January 30, 2009

A Year Of Vista Related Pain

Finally, after a year of pain, I have given up on Windows Vista.

My old PC (aka mail client and powerpoint repository) bit the dust in late November 2008. It being almost the season of impulse driven consumerism I went out and purchased a relatively high power replacement from Mesh (2.4 GHz Quad Core, 3GB RAM, 2X500GB hard drives etc...).

In a mad moment of misplaced optimism I specified Vista as the OS. This turned out to be a terrible mistake.

Long story short the sequence of events was roughly as follows:

  • I plug everything together, attach network cable and sanity test via surfing. All OK so far.
  • After pausing for dinner I return upstairs to be faced with blue screen of death in the form of 'unrecoverable hardware errror'
  • After reboot all works fine for 15mins, after which machine crashes instantly and completely (as if all power had gone from the motherboard)
  • The above keeps occuring at increasing frequent intervals. Once crashed reboot button has no effect, only a complete power down/up restarts the OS, and even then only one time in five
  • After much to and fro with Mesh an engineer is sent out who replaces and upgrades the motherboard. He leaves with everything running OK
  • Reboot the machine myself and take it out of safe mode. Vista complains about missing drivers for 'Mass Storage Contoller' - install the drivers it suggests
  • Use the machine for an hour before it blue screens again with 'unrecoverable hardware errror'. This time however it can be rebooted and keeps running.
  • Google the Hex number associated with the crash and discover it can be related to NVIDIA drivers. Update these and use for several days without issue.
  • The first time I pop in a DVD much wierdness occurs. The 'Media Center' program launches but has no visible representation on the desktop aside from the entry on the taskbar.
  • I know the OS believes a window is being rendered because it appears in minature within the 'switch between windows' utility and I can kill the program via ALT-F4
  • After much fruitless browsing try updating the display adater drivers and reboot. This allows me to see the Media Center window so I can complete its setup and play my movie.

Since then I've had blue screens on average twice a month, mainly on shutdown but not always. In my copious free time I've played with all the possible solutions offered on the web but no luck.

Turns out pre-Vista drivers arent available for my motherboard so this week I bit the bullet and converted over to Ubuntu.

Painless install and all OK so far. I think I'm a convert...

Posted by at 8:16 PM
Categories: Misc

New Year New Blog

Finally had time over Christmas to torch the old website and put up something marginally more respectable.

Thanks to thingamablog this now includes a weblog that will hopefully be updated more frequently.

Stay tuned...

Posted by at 7:56 PM