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Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Experiences with Windows Vista

I installed the Beta 2 of Microsoft's Windows Vista on my system a few days ago. Although the visual effects are very very good, but the OS seems to have played havoc on my linux installation. It replaced the GRUB with it's own boot manager (as expected) which showed Vista and the older Windows XP as the two operating systems installed on my system. I should tell you that I run three OS: Windows XP, Ubuntu Linux and Vista.

I found Vista very un-useful for me because of it's pathetic networking subsystem. I was unable to configure my system as the gateway for the other computer on my LAN. I use a cross-cable to connect two computers directly. Apparently, Vista had problems with this and kept giving a error saying something like "Unable to detect router..." But the troubling fact was that for some reasons the download speeds were just not like what they should be. My max download speed is around 11.6KBPS but on Vista the displayed download speeds started at around 11KBPS and waned to something like 60 Bytes (yeah, bytes!) per second making any kind of downloads impossible. Even more alarming was the fact that with a week of using Vista, I was unable to use gmail even once. Now somebody told me it was a known bug (whoa!).

It seems like for Vista, Microsoft has decided to re-write the whole networking stack code, throwing away the years of old but tested code. I've heard that the newer builds of Vista have most of these bugs fixed but it's still buggy enough. And I hate those in-your-face allow/deny security messages that Vista pops up for every action that modifes the system.

Coming back to the bootloader part: Vista replaced GRUB.  but the troubling part was that I was unable to boot to my Ubuntu even after I re-installed GRUB by going through the Ubuntu Live CD. At last, enough was enough and I formatted the Vista partition installed a fresh copy of Ubuntu and through the GRUB installed by it finally booted to my old Ubuntu installation (phew!). But now even Windows XP doesn't boot, it keeps giving an error saying "Unable to find autochk.exe". Maybe Vista did something very harsh with the MBR :(

So it's back to the old Ubuntu Linux for me.

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Committer on Apache Solr. Principal Software Engineer at AOL.

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