How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Vista

Today I'd like to share the fearful tale about a Vista upgrade gone horribly wrong and of my fantastic recovery. Based on a true story...

It is a still moonless night when I decide to take the plunge and upgrade my home machine to Windows Vista Ultimate. I've been sweating about this procedure for weeks now; I could lose all my applications should anything go wrong. Worse, I have misplaced all the CDs and registration numbers for my applications. Reinstalling them all would use up energy already destined for other purposes.

The very first thing to do is run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. It gives me a preview of the what is to come later in the night. There is an audio driver and an application that it deems "iffy", but I decide to give Vista a whirl anyway... who needs updated drivers anyway?

So, I plop in the install DVD and click Upgrade. I think I hear thunder in the distance. After a few screens it's chugging away and I go read a book. I've read articles that the install takes a whopping 2 hours (which is of course way too long). But honestly, those are 2 unsupervised hours, and we're talking 5 years worth of programming to stuff on my poor machine.

After 2 hours, I discover my machine in a reboot loop. Something went wrong! Setup didn't complete! Think about the children! This is my worst fear come true.

Here's where things turn around. One of the boot menu options is "Restore previous version of Windows". I select this and pretty soon I am back in Windows XP. Whew! So my applications are safe. I'm not going to lose my data to the setup demons after all. (I'm all smiles now.)

Next, I uninstall the audio driver. It turns out this is tied to my video driver, so now I have unaccelerated video too. Plop goes the DVD and I go to bed. In the morning, Vista not only has installed itself, but it grabbed a new video and audio driver that supports glass. Woot! I win! I log in and all my data is there. My applications are there. My chat programs come up automatically. I get ZERO security prompts. World of Warcraft even works! And now I can blog from home!

Maybe the moon will grace my apartment tomorrow night. :-)

Lessons Learned:

  1. Run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor and keep track of any "iffy" drivers or programs. You may need to uninstall or upgrade them. In fact, you might do this first if you feel up to it.
  2. If an upgrade fails to start, you get the option to go back to XP.
  3. Once you're in Vista land, you feel good.