The Vista thread for me! (condensed info)

I have some questions about Vista, and i don’t have patience to parse through the partial answers in the other threads:

OEM vs. Retail vs. Upgrade

Pros and cons? Ease of reinstalling an OEM vs. Upgrade copy? If i buy an “upgrade” online, how easy would it be for me to reinstall? (ie., buy an Upgrade Home version, install over XP, later purchase unlocks to Premium; Hard Disk dies and i need to reinstall everything, how difficult would this be?)

32bit vs. 64bit Vista Why would i NOT want to use 64 bit Vista? Can i “upgrade” to 64 bit Vista once i’ve chosen to install 32 bit? Can i reinstall an upgrade as 64 bit if i’ve chosen to install it as 32 bit instead?

64-bit, are you kidding me? Do you like pain? Do you like suffering? And those extra 32 bits add up to a completely negligible performance benefit.

64-bit on a server is a total no-brainer. Huge performance improvements. Not so on the desktop. Let the other early adopters eat the pain. After 4 years, it’ll be worth it, and all the kinks will be worked out. We do need 64-bit eventually on the desktop, so it’s great that MS is laying the groundwork now with official 64-bit support for Vista right out of the gate. But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer the teething pains of this migration.

Also, I recommend OEM versions because I believe the only valid OS install is a clean OS install. In-place upgrades are risky and unstable. And it’s cheaper! And you get to keep your old XP license (it isn’t “invalidated” during the upgrade)!

Note that you can install it on the same drive. All the old folders are renamed to “Windows.Old” and so forth. None of your data or files are lost, you just copy 'em over to the appropriate locations in Vista after the install. Best of both worlds. But you will have to reinstall apps.

Yea, i was sort of hoping 64 bit Vista had better support than 64 bit XP, but i suppose it hasn’t happened yet.

I’m kind of leary about getting another upgrade copy since i’m already running off an upgrade copy of XP, and i have to keep the OEM 98v.1 install disk around just to reinstall. That’d be an upgrade chain three disks long…

If you buy an OEM version, it is only licensed for one computer. Back in the pre-XP days this was just a license formality, but in the age of Windows Activation this has serious consequences.

You can’t activate it on another computer even if you remove it from the first and, more importantly, you also can’t get it reauthorized if you make major upgrades (like, say you swap out your motherboard and CPU). So don’t go with an OEM version unless you’re absolutely sure you’re going to stick with the motherboard and CPU that are in the system you’re installing Vista to when you do the first activation.

That may or may not be an issue for you, but be aware of it before you buy an OEM copy of Windows.

you also can’t get it reauthorized if you make major upgrades

This is wrong. Yes, you can get Vista reauthorized if you do a major upgrade to your system (eg, you replace the mobo, the drive, the CPU, etc).

At worst you’ll have to call Microsoft’s authorization line and talk to a human being.

All the misinformation presented in the Vista threads is getting really tedious. Please, people. Do some research before pressing any more keys on your keyboard.

All of this talk about what is and what is not allowed ignores one critical thing: it’s really the activation component of Windows that first enforces the license. Above I mentioned the fact that OEM licenses forbid the transfer of the OS. The fact remains that despite this, users do it every day and Windows Product Activation (WPA) doesn’t stop them.

Indeed, on the eve of Windows XP’s release, there was much ado about Windows Product Activation and how it would “force you to buy a new copy of Windows” if you changed your motherboard or added a new hard drive. Reality proved to be far less eventful; in the event of a problem, one might be inconvenienced with a phone call to an automated license activation system, but that was about it. The apocalypse never came.

No it isn’t. Did you not see the 3 times I said OEM?

Did you not read his quote? The reality of transferring an OEM license is much simpler than the licensing language would have you believe.

I challenge anyone who believes what he quoted (which seems to be a vague, weird mixing of OEM and retail situations) to actually try to install an OEM version of XP or Vista, swap out the motherboard and see what happens. Because it doesn’t work. You may be able to call Microsoft Support and bullshit them into believing you had to swap the motherboard out because the old one died and you couldn’t find an exact replacement, but that is iffy at best. In any case, even if you do manage to get the new motherboard activated somehow, you’re legally breaking the license.

Where do you see anything, in that brief quote, that even obliquely references retail versions of XP?

OK, you’ve never tried it. It’s not iffy. It’s a cakewalk. It’s been done by millions of people, multiple times. It’s a slam dunk, a walk in the park, and there are no indications that things will be different under Vista.

The driver situation for 64-bit Vista is already way better than it ever was for 64-bit XP, so that part is good. It’s still a bit tough to find 64-bit drivers for the occasional thing, just because all 64-bit drivers must be signed. There’s no “this driver isn’t signed do you want to install it anyway?” option on the 64-bit version. That doesn’t mean they have to be WHQL certified or anything, just signed from the developer.

That’s an extra layer of security you may not care about. 64-bit vista has some similar small benefits like that, but for the most part, this is one of those things where “if you have to ask, the answer is no.”

Essentially, there are very few truly 64-bit optimized applications. And if you use one, or have other use for 64-bit (like more than 4 gigs of RAM), you’re probably running a workstation doing video rendering or working with really large CAD projects or whatever and chomping at the bit to get it already.

I own 3 OEM copies of XP, and I have had them on no less than 8 computers. I have never ever had even the slightest problem with activation. You do have to call the number, they ask you if you have it installed on more than one computer. You say “No, I just upgraded my machine and/or am reinstalling.” They say “ok, here’s your answer code,” and that’s it.

It is absolutely, positively, no big deal. At all.

Does it violate the letter of the license agreement? Yeah, it looks like it to me. Does Microsoft have any interest in enforcing the agreement to the letter? It doesn’t look like it so far, but who knows what that means for the future.

If you want to say that Microsoft seems to be showing an interest an more strictly enforcing their license agreements now that Vista’s releasing, then that’s reasonable. But don’t pretend that you have any basis for saying that they enforce that rule for XP.

Stop being such a fucking dick and admit that none of us know for sure how stringently any of this is going to be enforced.

That’s right. Microsoft could care less if you upgrade your motherboard. What Microsoft does care about is preventing you from installing your copy of Vista (or XP) on a dozen different computers.

Why would you not want to use 64-bit Vista?

Driver availability. Game compatibility. IE weirdness.

The Magic 8-Ball Says “Ask again in 2008.”

I’m reporting you all to Microsoft. License violators!! Next thing you know, you’ll be posting magazine scans online!

Sounds like in reality oem version is no more restricted than xp:,1697,2088385,00.asp

And there seems to be a work around to the upgrade deactivating your old xp copy:

Not sure how valid any of the above is, just what I’ve read.

And from my experience with vista 64 in rc2 stay FAR FAR AWAY since the drivers aren’t just bad but mostly non existent.

Has anyone seen evidence that the Vista upgrade actually invalidates your XP product key? That is, the activation server will no longer accept it? Or is it just “legally invalidated” due to your license agreement, but technically still usable?

Wondering if the “deactivating” the XP product key has been shown to happen in the wild, or it if was just extrapolation from having read the license?

Until it’s tried out, it’ll be just another random bit of Vista question with contradictory answers depending on who you ask.

I have to say, being in the home and small business tech support business right now is “living in interesting times” in the chinese curse sense.

The number of companies that are still behind on having Vista hardware drivers ready to go is kind of scary. Wireless adapters, printers and video cards are the biggest issues right now. The worst offenders are the cell phone provider wirelesss EvDO cards. None of the support channels for them seem to have any clue about there being an issue with Vista, let alone when drivers will be out.

I heard that the OEM version doesn’t have the 64bit version on it?

Not an issue today; but in, perhaps, 4 years.

There is a 64-bit OEM version, but it’s separate, so you don’t get it with the 32-bit OEM disc.

It just seems absurd to me to install a 32 bit OS on a 64bit cpu. I would think that a 32 bit os running on a 64bit system would run much worse then a 64bit OS would.

Echoing the sentiment of TSG: In the next few years 64 bit will become an issue because like in the days when you went from 16 bit to 32 bit, adoption will be even faster then you think.

A 64 bit computer can run 32 bit apps, but a 32 bit computer can not run 64bit apps.