Posts Tagged ‘vista’


In an effort to save time and frustration later, i decided to try the Vista upgrade on a virtual machine on my mac using parallels instead of using an actual production PC running Winxp. But, as so often happens, the effort turned out to be frustrating and time consuming.

I’ll try to keep this short, but i warn you now, if your setup is like mine then you are in for a long ride to eventually get to, and i’m paraphrasing here, where you want to go today.

First let me give you the sitch. I have a MacBook running Parallels that i use to run Winxp and Autocad and try out a few other programs once in a while. I didn’t want to screw up that virtual machine, because it works, and does come in handy, so i fired up Parallels and created a Clone of that Virtual machine so i had one to play with and not worry about screwing everything up.

First hurdle: ACPI not compatible with the Windows Vista upgrade. To which i replied “huh”, then realized what it was saying and why. When i created the clone of the VM for some reason i ended up with the OS set to Vista, even though it was actually WinXP. You need to have the OS type set to WinXP, so you can do the “prepare for windows vista upgrade” which is under the ACTIONS menu and can only be performed when the VM is not active. You will be prompted to insert the Vista DVD as the VM restarts.

Second hurdle: The existing partition i had for WinXP was too small being as i had set up an expanding drive set to 8 gig, but thankfully a little program named XXCLONE ( works in windows (even a virtual machine) and copies an entire partition to another larger partition, with little input and absolutely no hassle. All i had to do was create a copy of the WinXP partition, then adjust the size in Parallels – which erases all the info on that partition so be forewarned – and clone the small 8 gig partition onto the 20 gig i had just created, giving me enough space for the Windows Vista Upgrade. Next was the simple change of the settings in Parallels to make the new 20 gig hard drive the active one and disable the original smaller hard drive. Then, prepare for Windows Vista Upgrade (see hurdle one if you forget) which involves restarting the VM and inserting the DVD, and following the simple instructions to upgrade your WinXP machine to Vista. This takes a little while, even when you allow Vista to connect to the web to install the most current updates, patches, etc – you will still be in for a bunch of updates after it is supposedly done, but i digress, this is after all supposed to be about upgrading a VM not a review of Vista.

Hurdle Three (& Four): Autocad did not work fully after the upgrade. It wanted the install CD to reinstall the express tools. After it had reinstalled them a couple of error messages showed up when Autocad finally starts, dealing with ACAD not being able to load in the menu. Simple fix though, type “MENULOAD” and find the proper menu, load it and also load the expresstools menu. After the menus are loaded and everything is looking correct, type “EXPRESSTOOLS” in Acad and the menu will become active and usable. AVG and AVG anti-spyware did not work. AVG anti-virus required the downloading and reinstalling of a newer Vista compatible version and then the routine updates to the program and database. I know this is not a virtual machine thing, it’s just something i point out because after all Vista is still windows and is full of holes, albeit smaller holes that WinXP, but you MUST ensure you are protected.

In conclusion, upgrading a virtual machine to run Vista is a little time consuming, but possible without starting from a clean install, which was originally what the vista installer implied. it would seem that boosting the memory up to the max helps alot with the operation of Vista in a VM, but it is very taxing on any other programs you may have running on your mac. it does not give up that memory very quickly after quitting Parallels. But for me, wanting to get a real feel for Vista without actually committing to it, it was worth the time and effort.



VISTA – the view from here

Posted: March 4, 2007 in software, Windows
Tags: ,


I’ve spent a bit of time working with and playing with Windows latest and greatest operating system, Vista. In short, for Windows it is a good attempt, a good start, definitely the foundation for the best version of windows we’ve seen this far, but in comparison with other operating systems, it’s okay – no great shakes as the saying goes.

You may ask why I would have this opinion, and no it is not because i’ve drank from the apple kool-aid and am brainwashed (that’s a blog for another day), it’s based on the fact that it took the Microsoft boys many years of tweaking to finally release Vista, and it is nothing more than an amalgamation of what other OSes have had for some time. I was expecting something more, not just a ported version of Mac OSX, and some stolen ideas from Linux and Unix.

Sure it looks nice and has some cool new features (well new to windows anyway) and seems to be a little more stable than any of the other versions of windows, and i’ve tried them all over the years from 3.1 up to now, but there is nothing that really makes me say “Hey, this is great and well worth the 5 year wait”. Add to that the fact that most people will need to buy a new computer just to run Vista and you end up with a disappointing piece of software with a very hefty price tag. To help hit this point home, i have a 6 year old apple laptop running the most current mac OS and doing it rather well i might add. Try that with any laptop older than 2 years and you will probably not even be able to install Windows Vista, and if by chance you did manage to get it installed you would fall asleep waiting for it to load or do even the simplest of functions due to the massive overhead and requirements of this latest and greatest (?) version of windows.

Yes Vista does have it’s good points. A lot of the pre-installed software is quite good and well integrated into the OS to make it easy for you to play with photos, make movies, tweak your music collection, etc. And the security system as well as the way you install programs has been updated and improved greatly, but for those already familiar with Mac OSX, you are probably saying, “so what, we’ve had that for years”. Which is true, but for windows users, this is a definite improvement.

In my opinion, add Vista to the list of software that is“not quite ready for prime-time”. But hey, your mileage may vary as the saying goes. I’m sure service pack 2 will fix most of the problems, add functionality and fill the security holes that will be popping up as more and more people succumb to all the hype and move to Vista. One definition of Vista is… “A distant view or prospect”  I just hope the view is not too distant, we’ve waited long enough as it is, and as far as prospects go, it has potential, and i hope it becomes more than just flashy pictures and graphics seen through some poorly constructed window frames.



Someone said it wouldn’t work. So, being one who likes a challenge, I set out to prove or disprove the statement. I couldn’t see any reason it wouldn’t work, so I fired up VPC 7 and created another virtual machine to be used for installing the beta version of windows’ latest (and greatest?) operating system, Vista.

The first hurdle was getting the dvd I created from the downloaded ISO file to be recognized. I was getting a message telling me my BIOS was not ACPI compliant. As it happens VPC does use a virtual BIOS and with a bit of persistence (numerous restarts and continual taping of the DELETE key) I managed to catch the virtual machine at the proper point in the startup to allow me to access the BIOS. Once you catch the bios a simple change is all that is necessary. Find the “ACPI Aware OS” and change the setting to Yes. Then simply exit saving the settings. The machine will reboot and this time will allow you to install windows Vista.
The install took about 2 hours on my ibook g4, and required very little “baby-sitting”. After the install was done, I restarted the virtual machine and was greeted with a very pretty looking group of icons on a scenic desktop background. A few tweaks later and I had the desktop looking more or less like a cleaner version of the familiar WinXP desktop. There was a small problem with the network connections on Vista though. They don’t work. After a bit of searching, I found out that it is a driver issue, which is a fairly easy fix as long as you have a working install of WinXP in Virtual PC. You simply need to copy 2 files from your VPC install of WinXP. The files are “WindowsSystem32driversdc21x4.sys” and “net21x4.inf“.  Place the 2 files somewhere where you can access them in your Vista VPC, a drive you are planning on sharing is best.
Install the VPC additions in your Vista VPC and then share the folder you put the two files noted above into. I copied the two files and dropped them on the desktop of the Vista VPC after that just to make finding them easy. You need to go into the control panel, then device manager and find the your non-functioning ethernet card. Update the drivers to the files you just placed on your desktop. Reboot your VPC and if you did everything correctly, you are good to go surfing/browsing/emailing, whatever, with your now functioning ethernet card.

There are a number of Updates available for Vista, and being as it is a Beta version, there will more than likely be a few a day as problems arise. Updating is brutally slow, as is most things in Vista VPC even with the ram cranked up to 512 (what an annoying limit, but that is a VPC problem and not Vista related), but if all you want to do is prove it can be done and get a look at the next windows operating system without screwing up your current computer, then it does the job. Vista is up and running, but I have not had much time to actually play with it to put forth a worthwhile review of it, so I will withhold my thoughts and comments for now.