Sunday, May 27, 2007

Really Starting to Loathe Vista on the R2H

Oh, how I hate to admit it. With the exception of a couple of months after RTM, I've been using Vista since September of 2005. The day I received my Beta invitation, I felt like I'd won a pageant, except brains counted and I'd get to keep my clothes on (luckily for the Vista teams!). I really do want this product. It works on my Tablet PC, but on my UMPC, it's really just hacking me off.

After Asus repair returned the device to me for the second time, I installed Vista a third time. I carefully followed the driver/utility order specified in this thread. Everything was pretty good, until I realized no one at GBM seemed to be using the fingerprint reader. Since I do, I was forced to wing it at that point. Wireless card stability quickly went down the tubes; the device began dropping out of Device Manager almost as soon as I've begun to use it. The touch screen likes to go out for a walk, sometimes, too, and that's a bigger problem, since I have a Hawking USB wireless adapter (that I no longer hate), but am not willing to attach a keyboard to get around the inability to use my R2H's primary input device. I carry a mini-keyboard and mini-mouse daily; I just don't want to use them.

I'm not using my Vista product key, because I can't. Although I qualified for the free Vista upgrade, I've yet to receive my media and license. Moduslink must have known I'd been plotting this post for a few days, because I received an email this morning stating that my order had [finally] been shipped.  It'd only been ordered in January/February, rejected/resubmitted in March (I still question their grounds for rejection), and approved in April. I guess June will be the magic month. I'm guessing it will arrive (if it arrives) when I'm at TechEd and unable to put my hands on it. Oh, and no matter what I say about Moduslink, you should know that they believe they are doing a heck of a job.

Let's move on to the little issue of Vista not activating. Since my own copy of Vista isn't available, I took advantage of my employer's Work at Home licensing. Instead of entering a product key, machines are supposed to connect to the internal network and validate the OS by communicating with a KMS server. Instead, I get a 0xC004F059 activation error:


I am running the latest BIOS available from Asus, 207. Basically, what this means is that my installation of Vista could cease to fully function on the day I'm flying back from TechEd. I'm torn between my options. As I see it, I can let the machine run as it is, poke it into some Softie's face at the conference, then ask for help. I could also just let the deadline come and hope that my Moduslink package -- with a product key -- will be in my hands mere hours after Vista goes into reduced functionality mode and prevents me from watching movies on the way home (note to self: copy some movies to the PDA phone). Finally, I do have a few days before my flight out; I could re-install Vista and deal with any issues 30 days from now, rather than 14. For those who might suggest the other options I've noticed bopping around on the net, well, I'm not sure how many other UMPCs are going to be floating around this Microsoft conference, but I expect mine to attract at least a tiny bit of notice and curiosity, and I do not intend to spend any of my precious (first) TechEd moments being tasered by Orlando's finest while shrieking "but I'm legally entitled to it!" just because something looked suspicious. I also don't want to end up on Microsoft's permanent "do not admit" list. Paranoid? Yes, but I'm not hurting anyone but me.

In time, I hope Asus and Moduslink will come through for me.



zirelda said...

I'm one of the ones who wants to wait until the first service pack comes out to use Vista. Do they even have all the drivers out yet? My niece called in March having installed Vista and couldn't get her graphic card to work. No drivers so she rolled back to XP. I hear the next OS is due in 2009. Short shelf life for Vista. But then I don't know much more about the system other than the mixed reviews I've read. Does it really take 4 Gigs of RAM for it to run sweetly?

The Miniature Mage said...

Hi, Zirelda! I appreciate your stopping by. I'd say lots of manufacturers have issued drivers, but I'm guessing that now, as in the past, some devices are going to get left behind. Hopefully, your nieces computer won't be one of those! She should definitely keep checking with the manufacturer for updated video drivers.

As for the 4 gigabytes, I'm running Vista on two of my machines; one has 768mb of RAM, and the other has 2 gigabytes. Microsoft recommends 1GB for Vista Ultimate; people who wanted a zippy computing experience would often double anything MS saidI and that world only bring you to 2GB. Until Friday, none of the computers on which I'd run Vista betas or final had more than 1.25GB. I think Vista and I would get along fine if my wireless and touchscreen would work consistently, and if I could get it activated.

The Miniature Mage said...

Update: Hubby and I left for Orlando (site of Tech-Ed 2007) May 31st. Hubby returned June 2, and my Asus Vista upgrade was waiting for me, pretty much as I predicted. I have learned that I must join the domain to talk to the Key Management Server at work; since I don't want SMS automatically loading on and managing my personal machines, I'm glad that I was finally able to put a product key in and get activated; I did that two days after arriving home from the conference. Now, if only I can stabilize the hardware!