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Migrating to Windows Vista

Tim Anderson says:
I've used Vista on two machines, one a home-brew desktop with an Intel motherboard, the other a brand new Toshiba Portege M400 laptop, described by Toshiba as 'Windows Vista capable'.

Installing on the desktop was by far the easiest, helped by a Nvidia GeForce 6600 graphics card, which copes well with Vista's Aero graphics. There is also an Adaptec 2940 SCSI card, which has no official Vista driver, but installing an older driver got it working. The one failure is a Umax Astra 5400 USB Scanner, for which I cannot find any viable driver.

Getting the Toshiba up and running was more of a challenge. Setup doesn't recognise the SATA driver, so sees no hard drive. The workaround is to turn on the laptop's RAID feature and use a driver on a USB stick. Setup then completed, but left many devices inoperative.

An arduous process of downloading beta drivers from Toshiba's site fixed most of the problems, though the fingerprint reader crashed and the trackpad utility raised two security dialogs on every boot.

Troubleshooting

Of course, as with every Microsoft OS, there are going to be teething problems for a while. For the next few weeks 'Vista-kicking' will be the web's most popular pasttime.

If you encounter problems, it's a good idea to right-click a program icon to bring up its properties and have Windows run it in XP compatibility mode, and as an administrator. This move to a full user-management model is one of the biggest changes for software to deal with, because Windows restricts where it's allowed to save programs to.

In the meantime, remember to keep checking your hardware provider for the latest Vista capable drivers, and look for updates on the major programs you use, even if it doesn't initially look like they're having problems getting comfortable in their new home. In some cases, you may have to pay to upgrade to the latest version of the software, in others, it'll be a simple patch upgrade. Either way, be on your guard, but don't be paranoid about problems when upgrading to Microsoft's latest OS.

This article first appeared in PC Plus issue 251.