Sunday, November 30, 2008

My "Move" to Windows Vista!: part deux

OK, it's not really a 'move' but If any of you have been reading my blog for some time, you may remember when I
upgraded my Dell Optiplex GX260 from Windows XP to Vista (if not, check that post out here). Well, I quietly reverted back to Windows XP about 3 months later (check out that post here), mainly because of a combination of small hardware and software incompatibilities.

(Fast forward to now where I am comfortably using a Macbook Pro (MBP) which is very fast and has some up-to-date hardware.) Even though I am using my system with virtually no concern of vicious spyware, adware, malware, viruses, trojans and worms, I still have the curiosity (and desire) to learn about the Vista operating system. Thus, after I recently updated my VMware Fusion on my Mac to the latest 2.0.x version, I had the prime opportunity to replace my Windows XP virtual machine (VM) and start fresh with a brand new, clean install of Windows Vista Home Premium, 64bit edition.

Well, I ran into an issue from the start. Evidently most (if not all) Vista x64 DVD media discs have some EFI booting logic burned into the disc which is not recognized by my MBP. Why did I choose the 64 bit (x64) version of Vista? Well, from what I've read and heard, x64 offers a bit more security and is where the Windows OS is eventually heading across the board. Back to to my EFI issue: I scoured the net and found instructions posted by cpcarrot here on how to get by this problem. Basically the instructions had me create a new Vista x64 boot DVD, stripping out the EFI information... So after a few hours of figuring that out, burning a DVD and testing it out, I was on my way to loading Vista on my Macs' Bootcamp partition!

Going through the Bootcamp setup and installation was fairly straightforward. I did however run into another snag when it came to installing Windows drivers within Vista for my MBP hardware. The supplied Bootcamp installer failed/errored/hung up in a few places, so I had to search (yet again) for what was going on and how to fix. After finding this post, I was able to download some 'hacked' drivers and get my system loaded with all devices recognized by Vista.

The last issue/hangup I ran into was enabling the use of dual monitors when I booted into the Vista/bootcamp partition. Essentially, I was not able to use my external monitor port on my laptop. It wasn't even being recognized. <Ahem>Knowing a thing or two about Windows</Ahem>, I immediately focused on the driver set I had. I knew those 'hacked' drivers would not be supported by Apple but after much internet searching (with no solutions) I gave a shot and called apple support. BOY, WAS THAT A MISTAKE! I basically got the run-around like no tomorrow on the issue I posed to them. I even got escalated to a 'senior tech' whom suprisingly told me they don't support Windows drivers. By the end of the call I was fuming. They don't support drivers for Windows on their hardware?  Why would one need to install the bootcamp application then? THE REASON YOU INSTALL BOOTCAMP IS TO GET WINDOWS TO INSTALL COMPATIBLE DRIVERS FOR APPLE HARDWARE! Sorry. It still gets me mad to this day. Eventually I found this set of unsupported drivers, which when installed, allowed my to use my external LCD as a separate additional monitor. I was in business!

Aside from these few hangups, the system has been running great both in VMware Fusion and via the Bootcamp partition for well over a month now. As a matter of fact, I've just installed Steam and am downloading Counter Strike Source, Day of Defeat and Battlefield 1942 for an upcoming LAN party in January!

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