View Full Version : From XP to Vista: upgrade or all-new?

2008-Oct-28, 02:33 PM
I just re-installed Windows XP from the CD due to a sudden catastrophic hard disk failure. The CD seems to have gone bad in one or two spots; it couldn't copy two files named "driver.cab" and "fsvga.sys". The last time I re-installed it, it couldn't copy the former, and I found out that I couldn't install any third-party drivers without it until I "manually" copied it myself (by using Windows, which was otherwise running fine after Setup finished installing Windows without that driver file). However, the driver file is now bad enough that I can't copy it at all anymore, not even the way I did last time, which means I won't be able to install any drivers. And whatever fsvga does, it claims to be inside that driver cabinet, so that's another thing my operating system won't do anymore.

I checked into having Microsoft replace the CD I already have, but they wanted to charge me $60 just for the privilege of asking the question, which would be silly when the answer I expect is "no, just get a new OS" anyway. Thus, I am forced to get something new. (And it has to be Windows for compatibility with my other stuff, so don't bother mentioning Unix or Mac.)

One option, actually the cheapest, is to get an "upgrade" from XP Home to Vista. But that will only help if the Vista "upgrade" doesn't rely on the XP base having those two files working. If it brings its own ways of handling those functions, then I'll be fine, but if it just piggybacks on those underlying files, I'll be right back where I am now (except with a new OS I'm not familiar with and might not like anyway). So, can anybody tell me whether I need those files to upgrade? All other parts of the re-installed OS are working fine.

Or do I just need to spend the extra money on a whole new stand-alone Vista Home or XP Home? (Yes, I do know of a place where XP Home is still available, and it's the only option that I'm certain will work with all of my other stuff, but it's also the most expensive option, and now is a very bad time to be blowing extra cash.) Vista is cheaper, so as soon as I'm back home, I'm going to check my printer and third-party programs for Vista compatibility...

2008-Oct-28, 03:00 PM
You don't have a Dell computer, do you? Dell installs a complete copy of the original operating system on a hidden partition, so you don't need the original disks to reload the system.

2008-Oct-28, 03:23 PM
Vista has a different way of handling drivers, so it doesn’t need the “driver.cab” file. The “fsvga.sys” file is the Full Screen Video driver and should come with Vista. I would be more concerned with the processor on your current system. I would highly recommend at least a dual core processor (a quad core is an expensive luxury). If your current system when it was loaded with software was slow, it will be much worst with Vista. One gig of memory would be the minimum.

The next problem is, is the software you use is compatible with Vista. Most is, but some you will need to jump through hoops to get it to work. And some software won’t work with Vista. In general the older the core code of the software is the more likely it won’t work.

The biggest thing you will notice is the quality of the graphics. Vista is designed to work directly with the graphics cards and is also moving away from a bitmap approach of handling graphics to a vector approach.


2008-Oct-28, 03:49 PM
One option, actually the cheapest, is to get an "upgrade" from XP Home to Vista. But that will only help if the Vista "upgrade" doesn't rely on the XP base having those two files working.

I don't know if it's still the case with Vista. But the XP version of the upgrade installer (which I have and use) only needs to see any version of windows (including itself) somewhere on the system.

Which means you can (as I have done) do a partial install from any earlier disk, just so it's far enough that you've entered the software key (I think, not sure about that last bit), stop the install, then install XP-Upgrade. And I can confirm that it works fine on new systems, too.

I should add, the partial install only has to be done when setup on the upgrade XP itself is installing onto an already formatted system where no other version of windows is visible to it. Otherwise, XP-Upgrade is happy to format and overwrite your old windows. Pretty sure Vista uses the same scheme.

2008-Oct-28, 06:17 PM
When I loaded Vista on my old (2002) system, I thought it would be so slow as to be unuseable, and then only if it worked at all.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the hoopla surrounding this issue wasn't true. Of course my hard drive crapped out on me three weeks later, but that's another story...

I'd definately go for a fresh install using a full (not upgrade) version. If you're building your own system, I'd carefully evaluate your current and future OS needs to determine which version of Vista is right for you.

Regardless, before you switch, run (if you still can) the hardware compatibility checker. If your hardware won't handle Vista, it's time to upgrade your hardware.

2008-Oct-28, 06:26 PM
From a gamer standpoint, I'm not a fan of Vista (admittedly, more through hearsay than experience). When running memory-intensive apps like many games, I'd rather have my OS eating as little mem as possible.

That said, my g/f's laptop has Vista. It runs fine. No problems so far (except that I get more and more annoyed that MS continues to treat all consumers like PC-illiterate, and insists on having the OS "do everything for you", which is oft not what you want if you know what you're doing).

Her laptop isn't that beefy (some $500 model from Worst Buy). But it seems to handle all her photography stuff well, including the large poster-sized images (6000x4000 pixels +).

2008-Oct-28, 08:17 PM
Vista is a Hog.

It's a Look Pretty OS with functionality comparable to 2000 NT.

I'd just as soon install 2000NT and be done with it. Plus- I'd only need about 3 or 4 gigs of hard drive space for NT.:D

Vista had (I cannot vouch for if they have been patched yet) some heavy security holes that set me off of it right at the very beginning.

Vista is also extremely annoying.
Here's Vista in a nutshell- It was cranked out too fast with more emphasis on looking advanced than actually BEING advanced. It's like a bloated Circus OS that puts on a nice show but is carousing in the background and don't even ask what it does on its time off...:whistle:

Vista is also not User Friendly to the likes of someone like me that Tweaks and adjusts settings to my own standards.
Vista is about as easy to tweak as it is to talk sense into a teenager and get them to sincerely agree with you.
Vista took Microsoft Tyrannical control to a brand new high- making user control and configuration look dirty and unwanted and unnecessary.

....And the Hog...:sigh:
Vista Uses up hard drive space and memory at absurd levels- usually accomplishing very little for the actual user. It's pandering to Microsofts wants and needs instead. In order to run Vista, a person must also upgrade most older machines. The point of upgrading hardware in order to meet the needs of gluttonous OS? Extraneous and totally unnecessary wow factor and MS Monitoring(Spying).
Check the Prefetch and minidumps- Vista reminds me of a guy hitting the buffet and tearing through each and every item just to sample them and dumping the rest. It's like driving a 10mpg sports car all over town running simplistic errands and leaving the engine idling while you dash into shops.

Vista is also Loaded with MS Spyware and monitoring. What you do, where you go, how you do it and what you watch, play, use-- all transmitted in neat little packages back to Microsoft. In addition, they employ invasive techniques to spy on you in a manner that treats you as a theif or a threat to their precious company.
If MS cannot verify your Vista OS- they can and WILL Remotely SHUT DOWN Your system.
Yes, they have been able to do that since the XP sp's came out. Remote shut down. Vista just made it easy and easier to hide these applications in system software.

And your problem is easily solved anyway.
I can discuss with you in PM perfectly legitimate and legal ways of obtaining what you need fast and easy. Either way-Microsoft will try to sell you something of course. Oftentimes if you raise heck though- they will simply replace your disk anyway.
Stick with XP. It's not perfect but it came around after a couple service packs to being a pretty solid OS.

ETA: But off hand I'll note... I tend to hit command prompts before I deal with uber cute blinkenlightzen GUI's...:whistle:

2008-Oct-28, 08:26 PM
Fazor, my 1.4 year old laptop runs Vista, drives my 24" widescreen at 1920x1200, plays DVDs without a hitch, handles all my photography needs, and sports a 120 GB hard drive and 2 GB ram.

Pretty good for a $999 1 GHz Duo, and it's been more stable under Vista than my previous rig was under XP.

I checked Best Buy and similar models with twice the processor, ram, and hard drive size are going for less.

Alan G. Archer
2008-Oct-28, 09:03 PM
In early 2007, I built a Windows XP SP2 PC for my sister using new and used parts. I reinstalled Windows and during the setup, Windows reported that a driver failed to copy over from the CD. I restarted setup and the same thing occurred. It happened again the third time a ran setup. After a lot of cursing, I took a look at the CD and it looked pristine, without a scratch or a greasy smudge anywhere. (The DVD burner was new.) I never had a problem with this Windows CD in the past. So, I used a couple of lens cleaning tissues on the CD, gently buffing it for a few minutes while still cursing. Setup ran successfully without reporting an error.

As soon as the desktop was ready after setup, I ran the System File Checker (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310747) to validate the system files. This was done before connecting the system to my DSL modem and installing any updates. SFC completed and had nothing to report.

2008-Oct-30, 12:17 PM
I used a couple of lens cleaning tissues on the CD, gently buffing it for a few minutes while still cursing. Setup ran successfully without reporting an error.I tried cleaning the CD after I read this, but I still don't know whether that worked.

I started installing Windows on my new hard disk that I bought to replace the failed one. I think I finished without any trouble with driver.cab, but I'm not sure I remember correctly anymore, because the main thing I remember is that the next time it booted, it couldn't communicate with that disk anymore either! It was just like with the previous one on the same IDE port. So I figured the problem was the IDE port, not the disks.

So I put in a CD that normally lets me manage my drives even without the operating system running, recover lost data, create or delete or merge partitions, and such. I thought I might partition my SATA HDD and install the software there, at least temporarily until I could get another SATA HDD to use for the software instead (because I don't like having software and data on the same drive, in case of problems with one drive). And it said it couldn't detect ANY hard disk drives... not even the one that's on SATA. (I don't know how the computer was communicating with the optical drive, which is also SATA.)

Presumably, I haven't had sudden catastrophic (not gradual) failures of two IDE HDDs, one of them brand new, and a SATA HDD, so now I'm figuring that there's something wrong with the motherboard...

2008-Oct-30, 12:29 PM
I use Vista on my new setup (quad-core, 3gigs ram, etc etc). It runs fine on there. Basically if you have at least 1 gig you should be okay. Games that chew memory may give you issues - but if you are barely scraping by anyway "Crysis" may not be the best game to try running in the first place. (That being said FSX was unplayable on my old system... despite its decent specs. It was an XP machine.)

Vista is not as unstable or as holey as some people suggest. Most issues have been patched and those haven't been will be updated, just as XP has been, in stages. XP wasn't really appealing when it came out. I stuck with 2000 for a while (until a drive failure).

Either way - my experience with Vista has been good.

Alan G. Archer
2008-Oct-30, 10:40 PM
Well, Delvo, my tech-fu is failing me today.

My previous Windows XP box featured an Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard that worked fine with two SATA HDDs until I reinstalled XP in preparation for the PC going to my brother-in-law (he wanted Linux on a separate HD). I installed XP with only one SATA HD and one IDE DVD burner. When I booted the system with a second HD, I was greeted with a BSOD saying that the BIOS was not ACPI compliant (the mobo had the latest BIOS). When I removed the second HD, the PC was happy on boot up. I then installed the second HD and again was hit a BSOD on boot up. I believe I tried another HD and the same error occurred. I don't recall if I cleared the CMOS prior to reinstalling the OS.

Other users of the same mobo have reported ACPI problems similar to mine. Some found that enabling the parallel port in the BIOS solved their problem. I was never able to solve my problem. As it is, the "old" PC is reliable and sports a single-core 2.4 GHz AMD Athlon 64 4000+ CPU, an EVGA GeForce 7950 GT video card with 512MB of DDR3 RAM, a Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic sound card, 2GB of system RAM, and is powered by an Antec TruePower Trio 650 PSU. My brother-in-law likes it and it will eventually replace his balky and noisy seven-year-old Windows 98 thing.

2008-Nov-06, 05:34 AM
Well, I have a working PC at home again now, with a new motherboard and memory, but no new operating system, because cleaning the CD worked despite the lack of anything there to clean off. :confused:

But now there's a new problem. I just downloaded Firefox and discovered that the latest version not only apparently doesn't let me get rid of that stupid worthless search thing to the right of the address bar, but has also added a whole extra stupid worthless bar below that for bookmarks, which I also can't get rid of! Mozilla seems to have gotten microsofted since the last time I looked. Time for a new browser, I guess, unless I can find some hidden secret way to get rid of this visual pollution they're trying to force on me now...

2008-Nov-06, 06:04 AM
Nevermind, I found how to get rid of that Firefox crap; rage subsiding...