There has been a lot written about Vista over the last year, including a number of kermodian* rants. I've even had friends who I've helped with Vista convert back to XP. Myself, I will confess that I didn't switch right way. A number of reasons, most predominantly due to the driver status for my HP. I did some research when the product came out internally, I even helped a colleague with the same model as me convert. The driver situation didn’t concern him as he wasn’t using those features the drivers effected.

The drivers for the HP Compaq NC8430 are now available, so the next blocking factor was, believe it or not, the emoticons for Messenger, followed by the Credential manager from HP. I wanted to do a clean install, XP on my machine was becoming a little stressed, IE would crash on me regularly, I had regular service failures on start up and it was starting to run slow. I’m never had to worry about Credential Manager before; the migration looked straightforward as the product has a backup/restore option for just this sort of eventuality. Messenger however was a different case, I’d not found a way previously to move the many emoticons I’d collected. Anyway, cutting to the chase, I decided to bite the bullet and do the switch. I did the research, actually found a free utility to backup my emoticons, did my full backup and made a simple folder copy of all the documents and sub folders – I didn’t want to use the File Transfer wizard, I wanted more control over what I copied over.

The whole process took the best part of a weekend. I left the full backup and verify running over 1 day, along with the folder copy. Day two was about 5 hours, this started with the wipe and install using the Microsoft corporate image took about 45 minutes to an hour to fully install. This was Vista Enterprise with SP1 and Office 2007. The rest of the day was installing products and drivers, most notably Visual Studio 2008 with MSDN library – I migrated to that product from 2005 too - and Expression Studio 2. The HP site was very good on the driver front, I’ve liked the way they’ve layout their driver listing for some time now and locating all but the actual Credential Manager software was easy. I had to search the site to find the forum article with the actual link in. So the Credential Manager software installed fine, and the credential restore worked a treat. So did the Emoticon utility. I was left with a Vista system working better than I had hoped for.

This was all a week ago, since then I’ve run 8 days and have yet to shut the computer down or restart it. At the end of each day I close the lid and hibernate the system before leaving work, then come home open up press power to resume and carry on. I never turn my wireless on or off like I used to with XP, the User Account Control doesn’t get in the way as it’s claimed, it just works really well.

The bottom line for me was moving from XP to Vista took a lot more thought than the move from Windows 2000 Professional to XP. 2000 to XP was a no brainer really. The two were so obviously different. With Vista it took a little more planning, I’d gotten so embedded with XP and the features on this laptop that I really didn’t want to loose the sense of “ease of use” I’d built up.

Am I glad I switch? Totally!

Should I have switched early? YES absolutely.

I did try to switch about 6 months ago, but never found the time.

If you are thinking of switching, take the time to plan it out. Obviously check the devices on your system and check there are drivers, but also think about those other applications. like messenger, that you take for granted and check any customisation can be migrated easily.

It took me time to plan and implement, but I’m glad I did and I am a Vista convert. Next up, I’m going to migrate my mother’s laptop to Vista.

 

*Kermodian: To rant about a particular topic continously for 7 or 8 minutes without cause for breath. Named after Radio 5 live film critic Mark Kermode.