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Windows Vista Issues and observations.

The first point to make about Vista is the amazing array of different versions it comes in, with different feature sets. So not all things are possible with all versions.

The biggest difference between versions arises between the 32 bit (often referred to as x86) and 64 bit versions (often called x64). There are many more software and hardware incompatibilities with the 64 bit version. Hardware drivers (which are software files which communicate between Vista and the hardware) for the x86 version will not work in x64 and vice versa.  Given the choice, the best bet at the moment is get the 32 bit version if you can. It will be a long time before the only versions of software or hardware drivers will be 64 bit.

Vista is different from XP in many ways and similar in other ways. Some of the changes are for the better, some for the worse and some for no obvious reason at all!

The following are some observations made dealing with Vista systems.

The first of the new features encountered is "network discovery", an admirable feature which should allow a visual display of the entire network the PC is connected to.  In practice it shows your PC, the router or network connection point it is connected to and a generic circle called Internet. So, a bit pointless in most if not all cases.

But, this feature requires that the devices on the network identify themselves, which many do not. The result is that Vista reports the PC has limited connectivity or has local connectivity only and refuses to connect to the Internet.

This can be fixed by turning off DHCP Broadcast. See Microsoft's Knowledge Base article 928233 for more details. Note that you must first create the registry entry which allows the PC to recognise a turned off the broadcast flag, then you must actually turn off the flag.

Nice one MS.

A more obscure manifestation is that certain web sites can not be displayed. This issue seems to arise with certain network connectors integrated into the motherboard. Updates to the drivers do not seem to fix this (last tried May 2008) so plug in a PCI network card.

Having got your network connections working the next problem you may experience is trying to share drives or folders (directories) on your PC so they can be accessed on other PCs.

This used to be simple and easy in Windows 98 with an easy to understand way to set a password for each share.  Windows 2000 may this almost impossible and XP gave everyone a sigh of relief when it became merely difficult!

XP to XP is usually not too bad but sometimes, for no apparent reason a username and password is required.

Vista has actually provided more control on this issue, but still not obvious how to make it work.

First up, sharing drives or folders is not turned on by default. You have to go into the Network control panel applet and turn on drive and folder sharing.

Whilst you are there decide if you want sharing of the Public folder ( a special folder which replaces the Shared Documents folder - see, change for what gain?). You can turn this on/off as you see fit.

Also, do you want your shared folders or drives to require a password? This is a one off setting, all or nothing unlike Win98 which applied a password on a share by share basis.

If you leave this setting on (the default), in theory, each users will get a pop up box asking for a username and password. In practice they will probably get an "access denied" error message. But if the pop up does appear, the username and password provided must match that of a user on the Vista PC. So, you must make a User Account (use the applet of the same name in Control Panel) for each user who you wish to access one or more shared resources.

You must then include that user account on the permissions section of the folder sharing screen.

Printer sharing is not turn on by default either, and access to this will need a password too! Oh, scary, someone is using my printer. How insecure!

Now, if you do not need a user password (which is probably 99% of cases in the Home editions and irrelevant in the Business editions which are only required if the PC logs on to a domain server) there are still hurdles to overcome.

First of which is the need to turn on the Guest account (off by default). Do this in User Accounts.  Unlike XP there is no need to give this account a password to get everything working properly.

Sharing folders needs the Guest account to be added into the list of allowed users. After you have shared the folder right click on it, choose Share, choose Change Sharing Permissions, choose Guest from the drop down list of user accounts and click Add. You can change the actions the external user can do but the choices are limited, more or less all or not a lot. You can get a finer choice by right click on the shared folder, choose Properties and then choose the Sharing tab, Click on the Advanced Sharing, click on Permissions and then you can choose to allow Read, Change or Full Control.

Change does not allow the user to delete files or make new files but Full Control does. The Co-owner setting equates to full control.

Sharing an entire drive is even more complicated.

The basic process to create the share is the same. But after creating the share right click on the shared drive letter and choose properties. Choose Security. Click on Advanced. Click on Edit. Click on Add. Click on Advanced. Click on Find Now and then choose the Everyone account.  OK your way out. See, simple really!

If you want to share a drive but need a password you follow the above process buty choose Authenticated Users instead of Everyone.

Whilst on the subject of networks I have had no joy using the "Easy Transfer" utility to migrate files and settings from the old PC to new. Even trying to create the .mig file on the new PC does not seem reliable.  I make the .mig file on the old PC or a USB drive and then copy/take it to the new PC.  That works.



Previous versions

64 can not run16 bit and needs signed drivers

Experience performance rating


Simple text boot.ini replaced by Boot Configuration database (BCD) - needs editor BCDEdit built in use 3rd party





Last modified: August 06, 2008