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on January 30, 2007
I've just finished upgrading to Vista Business using the Upgrade DVD. During the upgrade from Windows XP pro, the upgrade failed. Because of the timing of the upgrade process, I was left with a non working machine. Every attempt I made to fix the broken upgrade failed as well. As I saw it, the only way to fix this was to install an clean version of the OS to get back to my data. Unfortunately I was wrong (I'll get to that later.) During the clean install, when I entered my product key I was informed that the key was only for upgrades, not clean installs. But, at this point, what could I do, the upgrade failed and my machine was dead. There was an option to not enter the product key at this point, and re-enter it after the OS was running. SO... I continued with the install. After that the install went quite smooth, Vista is up and running on my machine right now as I right this warning message. It looks cool, there are a few issues such as my bluetooth wireless drivers aren't available yet, but I knew about that in advance when I ran the upgrade adviser. BUT now for the BIG issue. When I attempted to use my valid product key to activate Windows Vista, I was informed that my KEY wasn't valid because I did a clean install. After spending 2 hours arguing with MS tech support, they basically told me this... I had to do a clean install of XP and then attempt to do the UPGRADE again!!! WTF!!! They expect me to spend another 8 hours (after I've already spend 5 hours to this point) putting XP back on just to ATTEMPT the upgrade again (which might fail again!??!!?) OR my other option is to spend $299 for the Full install version to avoid the 8 hours of wasted time. This is complete bull! I've been working with MS products for a very long time and every "upgrade" product in the past allowed you to do a clean install if you provided a valid key of a previous product during the clean install process. This product isn't ready for you! Please save yourself time and energy fixing issues that MS should have had worked out. DO NOT buy the UPGRADE DVD, because you are risking $200 on a possible upgrade failure, then will have to spend a lot more time OR another $300 to get another product key.
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on April 2, 2007
It's late at night and this will be a quick review based on my experience with VISTA business. I've only used the product for a week.

First, i'm at experienced PC user and like to always keep up to date with the latest hardware. I was reluctant to upgrade to VISTA at first because it didn't support my online postage provider's software (so I thought) as well as a game I play (that's now supported, but wasn't at first).

The one big thing that held me back from the upgrade is that Microsoft sure loves to confuse the customer. Until I ran the Upgrade Advisor I had no clue that the Vista Home Premium Upgrade couldn't be used to upgrade XP Pro without a clean install. In the end I had to go with this version. I normally refuse to upgrade an OS without doing a clean install first. That's for a very good reason! One last thing I don't like about Vista is that you can't do a VISTA clean install with the upgrade without first installing XP. Why is this?

So, I opened the box and put the disc in after removing several programs from startup such as my anti-virus program. The upgrade went perfectly fine and I ran into no problems at all. I was never once asked for a driver disc. Really.

At first I was surprised at how much background hard drive activity there was at first even when the system was not doing anything. I fixed that by disabling some things in Vista that run in the background. That seemed to help and I don't experience this as much anymore. Overall, programs seem to run just as fast as they did in XP. Maybe a little slower, but I haven't noticed much at all.

All my old programs ran fine. My online postage software, Internet Security software and even my Video Capture program. So far I haven't found anything that hasn't run properly, but that'll probably change soon.

I did however have one graphical glitch. There was a weird halo effect around my mouse pointer. It seemed to clear up a little bit when I installed some new Nvidia Beta drivers for my 7800GT. It still occurs, but rarely.

I also had some problems with the Windows Switcher randomly going to non-3d mode. I didn't realize at first it will not work in 3d mode without the Aero theme enabled. I don't understand why this is.

To be truly honest, i'm generally not a fan of Microsoft products. I'll use them and that's about it. I really thought i'd hate Vista, but I actually like it.. a lot actually. Sorry to sound like a commercial, but I really enjoy using it. I really have no clue why it's so expensive though! The price is way too high. The basic edition is priced ok, but I don't get why the other versions cost so much more.

I'm sure i'll come up with some bad things to say eventually. A few things have been annoying, but I can fix them with a little work. I'm quite annoyed that at default you can't delete or save to the root directory of C: without special permission. No big deal.

The backup feature is nice. I currently have my entire drive backed up every morning at 8am through the Windows Task Scheduler. There was no "easy" way to do this. I had to do some checking online for the settings to add this to the task scheduler.

I also found it strange that the other got I received an error message saying I couldn't edit video from an external drive without copying it to my main drive first! Hopefully I can figure out why this occured. Something I can fix quickly I hope.

Overall, I like it a lot. I definitely wouldn't bother installing it on a computer that's over a year old though. I imagine it would be pretty slow.

4-302-2007 UPDATE:

I've had way too many problems with VISTA. I've wiped my drive and reinstalled XP. Several programs would not run at all or crash for no reason. Even with the latest versions. I also found that several of my old programs ran incredibly slow. I have a fairly high end PC too with 2gb of ram. I kept everything updated and was never able to fix all my graphical glitches in VISTA at all. At first some of the "annoyances" didn't bother me, but after weeks of using this version of Windows i've just gotten sick and tired of them. I felt like I had no control over my system at all. I also did not feel safe using Vista. There's always something going on and using up CPU power without it showing up in the task manager. I understand this is how VISTA works, but it's annoying and I never tried turning off these features.

Just a note that if you want to reinstall Windows XP you'll most likely need to wipe the hard drive. I tried four times and couldn't reinstall XP with Vista still on the drive. It was pretty much hell and I gave up and wiped the drive. Back to XP. I now feel terrible for giving this OS a 4/4. I'd now give it a 3/5.
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VINE VOICEon September 14, 2007
I had read all the reviews and decided "What the heck". After all, i use a laptop and want bitlocker and the other security enhancements.

I ordered from Microsoft (I wish I had from amazon as I've a $25 certificate) and installed it according to their directions and recommendations.

Keep in mind I had a 3rd party antivirus security product installed.

When I started the upgrade process, I got a prompt asking if I wanted to get product updates online (recommended) - I said 'yes' to this. Maybe that was why my upgrade was successful.

Note, I own a Gateway MX8739 and it came with its own Anytime Upgrade disc.

The actual upgrade took almost 2 hours and was mostly automatic. Once it got back to the login screen, I entered my name and password as usual. My desktop reappeared normally. I started MS Word 2007 and it re-initialized and had to reboot. I said "no" to that prompt because Windows Update was downloading and installing 30 updates at the same time.

I did have to re-activate, but that went through without a hitch. Vista Ultimate is now the installed version, it's activated, antivirus program's definitions downloaded without fail, Office did its update and my settings remained unchanged, I am very happy.

I'm sorry some people had problems. I almost did not buy because of what has been said. However I did buy, and am glad I did. Hopefully my two cents will help address the balance.
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on December 4, 2007
I too was concerned about some of the reviews indicating serious problems with this upgrade, but I needed some of the Business options, so I ordered this upgrade, and obtained an Anytime Upgrade disc from Microsoft. The Amazon license key purchase was nearly instant, and I made sure that all applications were turned off/shut down (esp. the "quiet" ones in the toolbar), and I was NOT running antivirus, as those programs are known to interfere with system-level activities.
Also, I had a clean install of HomePremium that was only about a month old, so I suppose the system was still pretty "clean". I also allowed the installation program to search for updates before beginning, and it downloaded a large file, then started installation over again. These are NOT Windows Updates -- after it was all done, Windows Update installed 37 additional Recommended updates, and I chose another five or so of the Optional ones.
The only glitch I ran across was during the first restart - Windows was not able to shut down, and I couldn't shut it down from menus either. I finally powered the system off, and when I powered back on, it went back into Setup and continued the process. Subsequent restarts occurred without incident.
It does take a few hours, as advertised, and I did back up my personal folders and settings just in case. Ultimately (no pun intended), all my programs and settings were preserved, and I'm back up and running Vista Ultimate, which is the version I should have bought in the first place.
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on June 30, 2007
Recently I decided to upgrade my Windows XP Pro system (a Dell XPS 410, purchased last October) to Windows Vista; I had been holding off for awhile, but was curious to get going with tne new O/S. The reason I chose the "Ultimate" version was so that I could do the "in place" uprgade, which means that you can install Vista over your current O/S and programs; most verstions of Vista, including the "upgrade" packages, by default do a "clean" installation, which means it will delete your current O/S, all your data, and install a fresh copy of Windows.

Well, I found out, that I should have done what I wanted to avoid, and taken the time to do the "clean" install, and reinstall my programs. This is why almost everyone will have problems with some of their programs after the upgrade: Vista moves various system and data files from your \DOUCUMENTS AND SETTINGS\USER folders, including, your \My Documents and all sub folders, \Local Settings, which contain your \Application Data and \Temp folders, and many others. Thus when you restart after the upgrade, if the program you have installed had files there, and the Vista Setup script didn't know to move them to your new storage locations which is \USERS\USERNAME\DOCUMENTS or \USERS\USERNAME\APPDATA, that/those program(s) will have problems finding their files and settings (including older versions of Microsoft Outlook not being able to find its .pst files, LOL). This aggravated me because it took HOURS to figure out; Microsoft should provide printed doucmentation something to the effect of "To Advanced Users-the Vista In Place upgrade will move these files," etc and how to deal with it. This would save a HUGE amount of time. Less advanced users probably simply assume their system is broken and roll back the upgrade.

Once the O/S is installed and troubleshooting is done, I think it's excellent. After about 15 years, it's actually more document centric than program centric, e.g. instead of "run" on the start menu, you have "search;" you start typing in a text box and the start menu shows you everything-files, documents, web pages, emails, whatever that have a matching text string. So for example instead of launching Word, then looking for and opening the novel im working on called "Silver Lining," i type "Sil" into the "search" box, pick the "Silver Lining.doc" entry, and Word launches and loads my document. Finally more like the Mac than previous Windows, which were really basically DOS with a graphic shell pasted on. (Yes I know you could already launch programs with documents, but this is more elegant, you'll see what I mean after you've got to do it a few times).

I'm quite satisfied with Vista; in fact with my late model hardware it's like having a new computer again. But, my advice to most people is, if your computer is more than about a year old, wait for a new machine. If you are upgrading a recent machine that has the hardware needed, back up all your personal data, and do the clean install. Changing operating systems is not for beginners; if you have any doubts, it's best to pass.
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on September 6, 2007
I installed with no issues. This is the 32 bit version only. Make sure this is what you want.
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on February 10, 2007
I've normally always liked Microsoft OS's. But that all changed with Vista. A little personal background: I'm an electrical engineer, did computer technical support prior to that, run a home network and build my own systems. In other words, I'm technically very astute. I have a gaming system with 2GB ram, SATA hard drives, PCI express (SLI) video card. My system more than passes the Vista compatibility test (other than removing McAfee). So I decide to order Vista. After receiving my copy, I proceed with the installation. Vista performs another compatibility test during installation and comes up with an error that the install can't proceed because the SATA/Raid host controllers are incompatible. I did everything I could think of, including contacting MS technical support (useless!). Keep in mind I've done the upgrade option given by the Vista CD and not the clean install (which wipes the system). I also have 2 backups of everything; one on a different internal drive and one on an external USB drive. I decide WTF and spring for a new motherboard with current drivers. I get XP running with my new board and all and then try the upgrade again and receive the same exact fracking error! I call support again and they say I have to choose the clean install option, which I didn't want to do because I don't want to reinstall all the software (including special engineering and math programs). Thanks for skewering me MS.

Since I have to flat line the system I decide to install a stripped Raid configuration with 2 Seagate drives. I still have the IDE drive in the system with my backups. The drive configuration is finished so I insert my Vista upgrade CD and try to begin installing (I figured it would work like XP before; since this is an upgrade CD it would ask me to insert my previous full version CD into the drive). I get the message that this copy of Vista can only be installed from within a running version of XP. So now I have to reinstall XP first (since installing the raid wiped the previous install of XP). I whip out my old 1.44 floppy and the disk for installing the sata/raid drivers for the new motherboard (this is required for installing XP on a clean system as it doesn't come with those drivers). I finally get to the point of selecting the drive to install XP on. It lists my IDE backup drive and my stripped 800GB raid drive. I create a partition of the full space on the raid. Now I carefully and methodically select the 800GB drive as the install drive and press enter to install. Next is a screen informing me the 800GB drive needs to first be formatted and I press whatever key it was to proceed. HORROR of HORRORS! The next screen informs me the XP install is formatting my backup IDE drive (the one with all my file backups). There isn't an option to cancel and even then knowing I'm too late, I shut the system down and physically disconnect the backup drive (which in retrospect I should have done anyway). I've just been skewered by MS again! But all is okay, I stopped the format and can probably recover the data with some special recovery software and I have my USB external backup drive. Finally after much struggling, shedding of blood and a multitude of expletive outbursts that would make a sailor blush, Vista is installed on my system. I plug in my external USB backup drive and go to My Computer, but no drive is listed. I check device manage and Computer Management and the drive is listed but I can't access it. I unplug the USB drive and plug it into my XP laptop and the drive and data are fine. I plug and drive back into Vista and nothing! I call MS support again. After some fooling around and telling the tech that all my Backup data is on this drive he informs me I just need to assign the drive a drive letter in computer management. I'm leery, but he's consulted with others and is certain this is the way to proceed. So okay I do it and low and behold the drive is now list in my computer. I click on it and get the message that the drive must be formatted. FRACK! Now I don't know if you were keeping count, but that is now 2 separate copies of external backups that have fallen victim of the Vista upgrade. How many of you out there have 2 separate Backups?! Not many I'm sure. After 2 hours I get off the phone and still can't access the drive in Vista or XP now. Resignedly I begin the search for data extraction and recovery software, which I find and buy. The software installs and runs fine on Vista, but when it extracts the data from the initial internal backup drive all the files are of zero bytes. Okay, not good! I remove the drive and put it into another computer with XP and install the software on that system. The software again runs fine and successfully recovers all my data. Woot! Saved! After a week and a half of fiddling with Vista, installing software and drivers, only the typical software (office, IE, media player and a few others) work on the system but there are many instabilities. None of my engineering software works, there are network access issues and a plethora of other issues. The most important thing is that I do not trust Vista with my data. Today (2007/02/10) as I write this, I have formatted my system and am happily reinstalling XP.

With all that said, the moral is DO NOT UPGRADE TO VISTA on a working XP system, especially if you have any non-standard software (engineering, databases, etc). If you are brave (or foolish enough to do so), be sure to backup all your data on multiple drives and disconnect them from the system while you do the upgrade. If you are lucky, one of the copies may survive the journey you've embarked upon.
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on March 9, 2007
I recently upgraded from Windows XP Pro to Vista Ultimate 64 bit. Personally, I am really happy with Vista now that I have it running. The upgrade process was less than ideal, but it's not that complex. I'm running it on an AMD X2 4800+, 2GB ram, and an EVGA 8800 GTS video card. In other words, I have a pretty high end system that can properly handle Vista. Some impressions:

1. The upgrade process was long and there are some issues to aware of. First, if you are upgrading from a 32 to a 64 bit system, you will have no choice but to do a CLEAN INSTALL. This issue is not made at all clear on the packaging or the documentation. Be prepared to backup all your files and probably reinstall your software. I did not find the windows "easy transfer" utility particularly useful.

2. I found that all of my programs worked fine after the install, but I did have some driver issues. I'm finding that good Vista 64 bit drivers are not always readily available. For example, Creative still does not have anything but a beta 64 bit driver available for the Soundblaster X-Fi xTreme music sound card. I have also encountered some minor driver issues with my ASUS A8N SLI Delux motherboard.

3. The 64 bit edition of Internet Explorer 7 needs a lot of work. I've gone back to using Firefox, since java and flash just do not want to work at all in IE7 64 bit.

4. DO NOT buy Windows Live Onecare if you plan to run Vista 64 bit edtion. It will NOT work, even though the box suggests it is the "ultimate companion" for Vista. Norton 2007 works just fine, as does a free program called Avast.

5. Vista is a resource pig. I would not recommend upgrading to Vista unless you have 2GB RAM, a dual core processor, and a higher end video card that can run DirectX 10.

The upgrade process took about 5 hours, including downloading various drivers and tinkering with the system. Despite the challenges, I really do like Vista as an OS. It has been very stable for me so far, and I've experienced a noticeable performance boost with 64 bit. I love the Aero desktop, and just generally find Vista to be more user friendly and interesting than XP. The major negatives for me have nothing to do with Vista itself, but the lack of support for 64 bit in general (from Microsoft and third parties).

Bottom line: Do not upgrade to Vista 64 bit unless you are confident in your computer knowledge. I cannot comment on the 32 bit version, but I suspect the upgrade process is much easier. Also keep in mind, that Home Premium does NOT contain the 64 bit version. For me, Vista 64 indeed has been an upgrade, though that will not be the case for everyone.
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on March 29, 2007
It's not because it's so slow that I hate it, it's because Microsoft has decided that I'm too stupid to know what I'm doing so they've decided to protect me from myself and won't allow me to even look at what's on my hard drive. Every mouse click now takes 3 or 4 clicks for the same thing. It's so confusing to look at my documents folders, I can't figure out what is where. I can't view web pages on my own site because they aren't in the security frame of safe. All my USB WiFi devices don't work on Vista and the only ones available are extremely expensive. My cousin bought a Vista installed laptop and with customer support couldn't get it connected to his WiFi router at home because of security issues, so he took it back and got one that has XP Media Center on it for less. I was given a full, licensed copy of Vista Ultimate and I will not install it on any of my computers. If MS stops supporting XP and I have only Vista available in a PC, I'll buy an Apple.
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on June 3, 2007
I've been using Windows Vista Ultimate for several months now, and I must say that I am extremely disappointed. I'm normally a big early adopter of technology, but Vista is just not ready for primetime, folks. Yes, it's basically Windows XP warmed over with a somewhat prettier interface (that is a me-too rip off of the Mac OS).

Beyond that, though, it actually has several bugs that make one wonder how this thing was ever shipped as production ready. Some of the bugs that I have noticed so far (and confirmed to be problems others are having):

* After going to sleep and waking up again, my computer loses its Internet connection (both wired and wireless). I have to manually run an "ipconfig /renew" command or otherwise refresh the adapters to be up again.

* Basic file copy and deletion operations take forever as the fancy, new file operation dialog says it's "calculating." This is almost unforgivable for an operating system to flub up such basic tasks.

* Vista haphazardly classifies certain folders as various multimedia views (pictures, music, etc.)--even when they are just regular files. Gee, I always wanted to know what the "album" and "rating" of a DLL or EXE file is. Despite attempts to correct the situation, Vista eventually loses the settings and reverts back to its signature craziness.

* The new security pop ups (UAC) often come up more than once for the same basic task, even something as simple as renaming a file. They are totally intrusive.

* Interface elements, such as networking, that were simple in Windows XP have been obfuscated with dumbed down and nonsensical interfaces that make it difficult to accomplish certain tasks.

* After installing and running many programs, I have received a dialog of Vista asking me if things "ran properly." As if I knew. I think things ran properly, but the fact that the dialog box comes up makes me question it. So which is it?

* File lists in folders now re-sort on the fly. Rename a file, and it will disappear right afterward if the file list is large enough.

And the list goes on and on. With the development time that went into this product, I'm quite disappointed. At this point, I sort of wish I switched to the Mac OS instead of buying a new laptop with Vista on it. If you get Vista, wait until the first service pack comes out.
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