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Running Vista Ultimate 64 bit

posted under category: General on May 6, 2008 at 1:00 am by Nathan

At home, I've been using Vista Pro, 32 bit for nearly a year. I got it free from a developer promo Microsoft was pushing. I'm fairly cheap, and fairly into developing windows software, so I went for it. My XP install at that point was almost 2 years old, which is ancient for me. I was eager to wipe it and try out Vista.

A few months ago, Microsoft had another promo, and I, being cheap, traded my privacy for Vista Ultimate. My software came last Saturday.

If you don't know, when you get Vista Ultimate, it comes with both 32 bit and 64 bit discs. Since I was going to trash my Vista Pro install anyway, why not go 64.

I decided to split up my primary partition and make room for an XP install to make sure my kids' software still works, and, you know, just in case. Truth is, Vista can't be trusted.

So I installed XP, which overwrote my boot record. Now only XP will boot. I formatted my boot partition and installed Vista 64 - a good experience, but not as good as installing Ubuntu. Now only Vista will boot.

XP's recovery software is awful. Truly bad. Wait 20 minutes for the DOS-like installer to load SCSI drivers that I don't need, then give me a crippled DOS prompt. If you destroy your boot records with XP (which I did 4 times), Vista's install disc will fix it for Vista, but there's no clear way to get them to dual boot.

Eventually, with a few lucky googles, I stumbled on EasyBCD. Great software. A few trial & error reboots and now it's perfect.

The 64 bit nature thus far has been a real sleeper. Vista hasn't crashed yet, so that's good. I haven't installed enough software to notice the larger memory footprint. The only thing even noticeable is the "Program Files (x86)" folder and the special designation for x86 software in the task manager. Not bad. So far, everything has just worked. I think the real test will come when I reinstall Crysis.

As for it being Ultimate, animated desktops, a poker game and drive encryption are not worth the extra money I would have paid.

Overall, it's good. I like having the things I wanted from Home Premium along with my IIS7 that I liked from the Pro version. The price was right. No complaints.

Next, I'm going to try triple-booting by adding Ubuntu.