After seeing me for years dumping software and changing configurations on my home PC my wife is resigned to the fact – that our Home PC may not work or may not be in the same state it was when she last saw it. Two years back, when the present machine came home, the machine had Windows XP, a few months later I changed it to Windows XP Media Center Edition and then finally to Windows XP. This week, I had installed Vista Beta 2 Home Premium. As a learning from several fights we have had in the past on the subject of our Home PC, to safeguard my marriage I have a Barebone installation of Windows 2000 with MS Office Viewers, Internet Explorer, FireFox, Antivirus, Scanner/Printer Drivers installed. I have told my wife that whatever I do on the PC, she can always boot into this Windows installation and get her work done and I promised not to mess around with it.
Anyways, coming back to Vista Beta 2 story. I had installed it and I was glowing happy with the sight of the new Vista UI that I have been talking to people in conferences for more than a year now. Before I could call my wife and show it to her; I was disappointed to find that my Network Card (now legacy 3COM 10/100 NIC) doesn’t have a driver shipping with Vista Beta 2. This means no Internet and no printing (I have an HP PhotoSmart 2608 connected to my home network) – and from my wife’s view, the PC in its present state is totally useless. After several failed attempts of trying to get the Windows XP, Windows 2000 version of 3COM drivers to work – I have given up. Just before I was giving up totally on Vista for this PC, I got hold of a Legacy Driver Pack from Microsoft (Microsoft may or may not ship it for general consumption, I was told it is only for testing purposes now). The Pack has a Wizard that identifies and installs the correct driver for your legacy hardware – and it took few seconds and an uncalled for reboot done by me. My Vista beta 2 PC now sprang to life – Windows Update downloaded and installed few updates and everything was great. Performance in the last few minutes of playing around seems to be much better than the Windows XP that I had on the same PC.
Watch out for more as I keep messing around with this installation.
And for my wife – she is away visiting her parents for next few days and I missed a chance to show my success in getting a “working” Vista to her. After all, these are common in a marriage :-).