Hi, I'm Tony Mangefeste, Program Manager in the Optical Platform Group. With the upcoming Beta 2 release of Windows Vista, I took the opportunity to self-host it on my primary development system. At Microsoft, we’re encouraged to self-host the OS and other applications as they are developed. I take a great deal of pride in having the opportunity to run our software through the paces before our customers. The self-host process allows employees to put the software through its paces, and supports the development process. Up until now, I hesitated to install Windows Vista on my main system. My system is a dual-core processor system with four raptor hard disks connected to a RAID controller. I took the opportunity to install the operating system, and loaded the RAID drivers through the 3rd party load driver option during Windows Vista setup. The primary difference from Windows XP was that I am now able to install the drivers from a USB storage key. After I successfully installed the RAID driver and setup completed, you’ll notice that on the Windows Vista 64-bit installation has Drive Integrity checks on by default.
I am not a RAID expert, but between now and Windows Vista RTMs, RAID driver developers will be boot-signing their drivers. Until then, you will need to turn off Drive Integrity checking by using a bcedit parameter. By using the command bcdedit –set nointegritychecks ON from an elevated command window, then you can disable the boot checking of RAID drivers that are not boot signed. I spoke with the team responsible for the 64-bit driver integrity checking, and there will be resources online during WinHEC 2006 for driver developers and end-users. And after all this, why am I happy that Beta 2 is working so well? As a serious gamer, I’m interested in maximizing the performance of my hard drives as much as possible. I’m very happy with the performance, and I recommend exploring Windows ReadyBoost in addition to getting your RAID array operational. To try ReadyBoost, try plugging in a USB key. Windows Vista will present you with the option to improve system performance. I recommend using ReadyBoost to improve system performance. And where should you look to read more about these cool features? There’s a few places. You can visit this site to learn more about 64-bit kernel mode signing, and visit the Windows Vista Performance site and read up on Windows SuperFetch and Windows ReadyBoost. Make sure and visit the Storage talks at WinHEC for more information about the future of hybrid drives.
As I find more tips for gamers to squeeze the most out of hard drive performance, I’ll be sure and pass that information along. In the meantime, try out Beta 2, report issues and help us make Windows Vista a great gaming platform.