May 2006 - Posts
Many thanks to Susan Bradley, the extraordinary MVP who manages this blog space. After much pain, she has managed to get the underlying Community Server that we run on to work with BlogJet, my preferred tool for uploading blogs. I’m not sure if it will have me updating this space more often, but it will sure make it easier!
Microsoft makes a trial version of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition available free for the download, and many of you have taken advantage of the offer to test out x64 Edition. A great way to make sure it's really appropriate for you and that you are appropriate for it. :)
However, once that decision has been made, and you're approaching the 120 day time limit of the Trial, you need to upgrade to the released version, or remove the x64 Trial from your computer. There are two ways to upgrade - an "in place upgrade" that you run from within the working Trial version, or a "repair install" upgrade that you run almost as if you're installing fresh.
You can use either one when up until the time your Trial expires, but once your trial has expired, your only choice is the Repair Install. Fellow MVP Michael Stevens has superb details about how to do a repair install on his site, so I won't repeat them here. Just go read his instructions: http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm.
If you haven't allowed your Trial version to expire, you can do a repair install, or you can do an in place upgrade. I strongly recommend an in place upgrade - you don't have to reinstall any drivers, for example, because they'll all get picked up by the process. To do an in place upgrade, simply insert the XP x64 Edition CD into the CD/DVD drive, and follow the installation steps. Easy peasy, and in no time you'll be done.
I don't usually bother with press releases here, but just in case any of you are thinking about buying a new 64-bit motherboard or computer, be aware that AMD officially released a new socket configuration for their Athlon 64 processors - the AM2 socket. http://www.amd.com/us-en/Corporate/VirtualPressRoom/0,,51_104_543~108605,00.html. The AM2 provides for DDR2 memory, which should, in theory, provide better overall memory throughput. But early reports haven't shown much in the way of speed improvements yet. The review at AnandTech: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2741 is a typical example.
So, what should you do if you're buying a new motherboard? Well, several manufacturers are already shipping AM2 motherboards, so you can go that route. Or stick with Socket 939 for the moment, with the understanding that the current CPUs are probably the limit of speed that will be available going forward. Personally, I'm fine with that and if I had to buy a board today, I'd probably still buy a 939 board. By the middle of the summer, though, I'd expect to be move to AM2 as the number of available AM2 motherboards increases, and the kinks in them get worked out.
Microsoft has opened a new website that has specifics of what will be required for Vista - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/capable.mspx. As the web site makes clear, the minimum requirements for Vista are substantial, but not unreasonable. However, the new Aero features have a rather higher hardware bar, including 1GB of RAM, and a 128 Mb of graphics memory, at a minimum. And, as I have said repeatedly, though folks still seem to have trouble with the concept, Vista will support both 32-bit and 64-bit processors. But, that being said - I wouldn't buy any new computer today that wasn't 64-bit capable, regardless of whether I ran it in 64-bit or 32-bit mode. And yes, that means I wouldn't buy an Intel laptop today, but would buy either a Turion laptop, or wait for the next round of Intel laptop processors that should be x64 capable. (Sorry, Intel, but I've never been more disappointed in you than the 32-bit only Core Duo.)
Want to know more about Longhorn Server and how it will be administered and confirgured? Then tune in to the TechNet Webcast coming on Wednesday, May 31. http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032294712&EventCategory=4&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US
This may be the first chance you get to see the new interface, but it's probably also one of the last chances we have to help change it. So pay attention, ask questions, and speak up if something doesn't look right. I know I've got some questions about where Monad fits in this, how I'm going to script installs and configuration, and especially how I'm supposed to configure a headless server if I don't use images (and I don't).
OK, anyone who has spent any time at all running the current beta of Windows Vista knows that it has a new bootloader that doesn't use boot.ini. And that it is remarkably stupid and unfriendly if you want to make any changes to it. The program you're supposed to use is "bcdedit.exe", and I assure you that in all my years of using Microsoft products and operating systems, this is just about the most user-hostile program I've seen since Edlin. What a thorough PITA.
Well, as always, where there's pain, there's someone out there with a solution. Run, don't walk, to http://www.pro-networks.org/vistabootpro/. A simple little utility that front ends bcdedit and makes the Vista boot manager easy to manage and use. Highly recommended.
Heard a great new expression today. Someone who was in a position to know referred to one of the bundled applications that ship with Windows XP (including x64) as a "craplet". Perfect. We all know exactly what he was saying!
The promise, of course, is that Vista won't have any craplets, they'll all be really cool applications. I'm still withholding judgement on that, but I have to say things are definitely looking better. And at least if they are craplets, they'll be amazing good looking ones on Vista if you can afford the hardware (and version) bar to get Aero.
Good question, and one that doesn't have only one answer. To address this question and help you decide, I've written a straight talking whitepaper that's now up on Microsoft.com at: http://download.microsoft.com/download/B/8/6/B868C664-13FC-4F91-9651-5B6D4F1A2F60/Is_Windows_XP_Professional_x64_Edition_Right_for_Me.doc. The intent of the whitepaper is to try to provide an accurate and un-biased opinion of who should, and who should not be migrating to 64-bit XP. With a look ahead at 64-bit Windows Vista as well. Take a look, and let me know what you think.