Vista First Timer - Ultimate X64

zoob

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Messages
181
It began as a post-exam stress reliever. I love working with computers, and thought, hey, I’ve been reading about Vista instead of studying for my history exam, so why not finally go through with it?

I was planning on reinstalling some form of Windows, so I had already backed up all my data.... For the record, I had been using XP SP2 for a while now.

Well, here I go. On the phone with my girlfriend, I ask her “32 bit or 64 bit?” She replies “64! Bigger is better!” Knowing that’s not always the case, I used it as a reason for me to go 64 bit. I wanted to anyway, just like how I secretly wanted a black MacBook and ended up with one because the store was sold out of white...

Base machine specs:

Intel E6700 @ 3.2 GHz (with Speed Step enabled)
Asus P5WDH (2004 BIOS)
Gskill 2x1 GB RAM
XFX 7600 GT
Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic

Peripherals:

Microsoft Natural 4000 Keyboard
Logitech MX510
Dell 3007 + 2007 LCD monitors
Logitech Quickcam Pro 5000
ATI Remote Wonder II

Formatted my hard drive, and started the Vista Ultimate X64 installation.

Installation went smoothly!


Seems my video card, admittedly mid-range, is holding me back.



After it was done, I had install all my drivers:
  1. Intel X64 .INF driver
  2. Intel Matrix Storage Manager drivers for AHCI mode on my SATA controllers
  3. Forceware 158.18 (latest version) for my 7600 GT
  4. Creative X-Fi Drivers following instructions found here:
    It involves using the Creative drivers and MediaSource with a modified application package called YouP-Pax.
    http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?board.id=soundblaster&message.id=96154
  5. Creative Alchemy (for Direct3D ->OpenAL translation)
  6. Logitech Quickcam 5000 drivers

Turns out there are no drivers for my Logitech MX510 or my Belkin 1500VA UPS. The mouse I don’t really have issues with since I never used the drivers in XP either. The UPS is kind of a bummer, but being in Downtown Toronto, I’ve never experienced any prolonged power outages in the past 2 years.

Next up is software installation:
  1. Office 2007 + Visio 2007 (with Save as PDF add-in)
  2. Steam for Counter-Strike: Source
  3. Daemon-Tools x64
  4. ImgBurn
  5. Ventrilo
  6. SpeedFan (to turn down fans)
  7. FireFox + Thunderbird
  8. WinRAR
  9. Matlab X64
  10. Windows Live Messenger + APatch to remove ads
  11. foobar2000

SpeedFan was odd, as it detected different devices than it did in XP.

Here Speed02 controls my CPU0 Fan. There are no hard drive temperatures to be found.

I used APatch (http://apatch.org) to remove all of the clutter from Windows Live Messenger. Look how clean it is now!


Our school offers us a version of Symantec Antivirus for all students however they only provide the Vista 32 bit version for download. I sent a polite request to the help desk asking for a 64 bit version, and go to bed.

The next day, I realize there is one other piece of equipment I haven’t setup: My ATI Remote Wonder II.


I rarely used this in XP, but I was able to get it working with a few select applications like VLC. I also had installed GBPVR in XP and was playing with that as my HTPC software, but realizing that Vista Ultimate has Media Centre, I decide to switch. Being unsuccessful trying to find drivers for X64, I give up and search for an MCE remote. This thing is designed for MCE and has much better support in every other piece of software to boot.

Lucky me, I also receive an email stating someone`s burned me a copy of the 64 bit version and that I can go to the library and pick it up.

I head out, pick up the CD with SAV, and head to the computer store to use up some credit that I had sitting around. Originally I planned on getting just the MCE remote for $33 (price matched with another local store) however it was only offered as a bundle with the keyboard for $48. Not bad, so I decide to grab it and try it out. I have no real use for the keyboard so it’s still sealed. It piggy backs on the remote IR receiver, by the way.


I get home, install SAV64 with no problems and let it auto update. Note that Symantec Antivirus requests you to disable Windows Defender to prevent some compatibility issues. It installs fine and now Windows no longer complains about my computer being insecure. Yay!

Now time to try out this MCE remote. It takes AA batteries. Good! I have rechargeable ones lying around, but they’ve been sitting in my drawer for a while. I scavenge them from my Gameboy and toss them in.


I start up Media Centre, and start playing with the super easy interface... pretty sweet.

However, most of my TV shows are encoded in XViD with AC3 sound tracks. After many headaches with ffdshow, I finally realize that you need the 64 bit version. ( http://help.lockergnome.com/vista/Codec-works-media-player-media-center-ftopict19531.html )

ffdshow 64 bit version: http://ffdshow.faireal.net/mirror/ffdshow/ffdshow64-rev2546.exe

After configuring ffdshow to be used for XViD, Divx, and other various codecs, Media Centre now plays everything perfectly! Also further along in the thread it states that Ultimate X64 defaults to using the 32 bit version of Windows Media Player 11, so it instructs you to switch to the 64 bit version by doing the following:

  1. Run this at a cmd prompt
    %windir%\system32\unregmp2.exe /SwapTo:64
  2. Go here in regedit:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\wmplayer.exe
    And set the Values as follows:

    (Default) - "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe"
    Path - %ProgramFiles%\Windows Media Player


It even detects my camera Fuji FinePix F30 no sweat:


Some tweaking to make my SATA hard drives perform faster. Unfortunately these settings do not stick! I don`t know why.



There was one quirk when setting up Ventrilo. It seemed that the default recording device is “What U Hear”, so you have to go and set the default to the actual microphone input in Control Panel->Sound.


So my thoughts so far:
  • Performance in Counter-Strike: Source is similar to XP
  • Stuff loads way faster!
  • Shutdowns take a long time! But this is due to it waiting for applications to shut down.
    Remedied by changing the shutdown timeout: http://www.aeroxp.org/board/index.php?showtopic=5853
  • Flip3D is a big sluggish, but then again I’m running 2560x1600 + 1200x1600
  • Media Centre is pretty sweet, though it doesn’t support FLAC properly
    My FLAC files are 1 file + Cuesheet embedded


My conclusion:

Vista Ultimate X64 installation went surprisingly smoothly with no serious issues. The only problem came from driver support on odd accessories (Remote Wonder II and Belkin UPS). The applications that I use all run fine. Watch for updates as I share my experiences with Vista after day 2 :)
 

djnes

Fully [H]
Joined
Mar 24, 2000
Messages
19,560
Awesome post. I can only speak for myself, but I certainly enjoyed having pictures to go with the wording!
 

calebb

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 26, 2000
Messages
8,130
Very nice post - I'm bookmarking it & if this was digg, I'd digg it :) Good miscellaneous tips like the 64 bit version of ffdshow & registry edits.

Thanks for taking the time to gather screenshots & take pictures - great read!
 

Lepard

Gawd
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Messages
540
I've been meaning to go 64-bit for my PC, but have been reluctant. My last final is due on the 28th of April. Guess Sunday will be the day!
 

zoob

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Messages
181
So after another couple weeks with Vista, and with the last of my undergraduate exams written, I have some time to make a few updates.
The first thing I noticed was some inconsistencies with Vista dialogue boxes. This is the standard type you’re expecting to see:


I usually use Notepad to jot down quick notes or as a place to dump the contents of my clipboard. Upon shutting down Windows, sometimes I forget that they are still open. To my surprise, I see a familiar looking dialogue box.


*ahem* Wow, I never noticed that the OS X dialogue box is semi-transparent until now.


What the heck? Even Thunderbird uses the new Save/Don’t Save format.


If there’s one thing I hate about Windows, it’s the inconsistent dialogue boxes and themes. WMP11 looks completely different from anything else in Windows. Live Messenger has invisible Window elements that prevent you from placing its windows at the very top of the screen. OS X is better in this respect, although QuickTime suffers from the same issues.

One of the driver issues that I previously brought up was the fact that my Belkin UPS doesn’t have drivers for Vista. However, I failed to realize that it at least has some generic drivers.



Now with multiple computers on my network, file sharing is a must. I was attempting to access some of my notes from my MacBook, however I was having difficulty with the user authentication. I tried all the usual methods of authentication, and finally discovered that in order for it to properly authenticate, you have to use &#8220;<ip address of the Mac>\<username>&#8221; as the user. For some reason this is different than in XP.
Again, folder sharing for Windows machines is slightly different. In order to setup file sharing like it is in XP, you have to change a few options. Turn File Sharing on, and disable Password protected file sharing. This is functionally the same as Simple File Sharing.



Also, when you share a folder, add &#8220;Everyone&#8221; and set the permission level to what you desire.



My housemate realized that when he switched over to Vista, he could no longer see my shared music folder (when I was running XP SP2). I never had the chance to test this, but apparently XP SP2 machines require a patch to use the method that Vista needs to see network shares.
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/...1d-ee46-481e-ba11-37f485fa34ea&DisplayLang=en

From my previous post about Vista, I switched over to the MCE remote. I finally had time to flip through the manual, and then I saw the section on programming the TV Power and volume buttons. Seeing as my Altec Lansing MX5021 speakers has an IR remote, I immediately programmed the TV power button to turn my speakers on and off. The volume I decided to leave to Windows, as it has a nice OSD that tells me the volume level. One problem I ran into with the MCE remote is that if it is not plugged directly into the motherboard USB ports, it will not wake your system from sleep. Keep this in mind if you&#8217;re going to be using this.
Now if you&#8217;re like me and don&#8217;t like watching live TV because of commercials, you probably are familiar with Torrents. I use the program called uTorrent. Quite a nice program, and a huge step up from BitTornado and BitComet that I previously used. I upgraded to the latest uTorrent, version 1.7 BETA. Here is where I ran into some problems with uPnP. It didn&#8217;t really make sense because I was using 1.6 without any problems.


A quick diagnosis indicated that uPnP support on my router is the problem. I use a Linksys WRT54GS v4. I had been using HyperWRT + Thibor 15c for the longest time (204 days of uptime before I cycled power due to some slow resolving DNS problems).
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/using/tools/igd/default.mspx
So I upgraded to Tomato 1.06, and now it passes the Microsoft uPnP test. Its QoS functionality is also much easier to configure, so now torrents only consume 50&#37; of my total available upload bandwidth.
( http://www.polarcloud.com/tomato )


Unfortunately for me, uTorrent 1.7 BETA was still complaining about uPnP, so I just forward a port instead.
The latest weird problem I had was moving my large TV archive over to my new 500 GB hard drive.


I don&#8217;t have a clue why it spent so long attempting to calculate the time for transfer. Why wouldn&#8217;t it just start moving files over like I requested it to? I attempted to cancel the operation so I could move it manually in the command prompt. For some reason, Vista refused to cancel the task, locking a file in the process. I left it for a few minutes hoping it&#8217;d fix itself, but even an hour later it was still there. It required a push of the reset button to have it go away. The information is useful, as it shows how fast it transfers the files (I was hitting some good 55 MB/sec when it functioned properly), but why add this frivolous feature if it makes even a small file moving task take twice the time?

Sometimes I leave Media Centre open to play my music. Frankly, the interface is simpler and easier to use than the regular Windows Media Player 11 if I just want to put on all of my music on shuffle. I was doing some work in MATLAB and needed all the space on my primary monitor for my models, Excel and Word. When I dragged it over to my other monitor, it looked like it was crashing. The window disappeared, my music stopped playing, and I couldn&#8217;t figure out where it went. Moments later, a friendly dialogue box pops up.



Great! It doesn&#8217;t like my rotated 20&#8221;. I figure, &#8220;OK, next time I launch it I&#8217;ll keep it on primary and move something else over if I need space&#8221;. Subsequent launches welcomed me with the same message. Why would it remember it being on the monitor it hates? I shrugged it off, temporarily un-rotated the monitor and launched it again making sure to keep it on my primary un-rotated monitor.
I also noticed some performance issues while working in MATLAB. If I left it open while I went out for dinner, and came back to it hours later, my system would be thrashing the hard drive heavily, and the system wouldn&#8217;t respond for a few seconds like it was essentially waking up from a nap. I don&#8217;t recall this happening in XP. On a (related) side note, if you set your hard drives to spin-down after a certain idle time, the spin-up can freeze Windows temporarily until the drives are completely online. This is a bit annoying, so I&#8217;d recommend setting the idle time to something ridiculously high (2 hours) so that it&#8217;ll only fall asleep when you do.
This sluggishness prompted me to go out and purchase another 2 GB of RAM. At $46 per stick, how could I refuse? I&#8217;m up to a happy 4 GB of RAM.

Gaming has been fairly pleasant, although I&#8217;ve only played one game so far: Counter-Strike: Source.


This game does not support OpenAL, thus I had to make use of Creative&#8217;s Alchemy ( http://preview.creativelabs.com/alchemy/default.aspx )
To install it, place dsound.dll and dsound.ini in the following folder.
X:\<path to Steam>\Steam\steamapps\<user account name>\counter-strike source
dsound.ini should contain:
;dsound.ini <-- used to set ALchemy translation options
; Buffers <-- #buffers to use (default is 4)
; Duration <-- buffer duration (default is 25)
; DisableDirectMusic <-- disable DirectMusic support (default is False)
; MaxVoiceCount <-- maximum number of voices to support (default is 128)

Buffers=5
Duration=10
DisableDirectMusic=False
MaxVoiceCount=128
With these settings I am able to play with CMSS3D virtual surround on my headphones. I am also happy to report that EAX seems to work without issue with 4 GB of RAM, contrary to many reports. (http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?board.id=Vista&message.id=13555 )
However, similarly to Windows XP, if you tab out of the game and return, the sound channels will become mixed up and everything will sound &#8216;hollow&#8217;. Gleam notifications like MSN message pop-ups and Thunderbird mail notifications will also affect this, so be sure to disable or exit out of any applications that have that kind of functionality.
I noticed that my microphone was playing back through my headphones. To disable this, right click on the speaker in your system tray. Click on Playback devices. Right click Speakers, and select Properties. Scroll down to your Microphone and mute it.


Vista enjoys 4 GB of RAM. I loaded Word in less than one second to work on this document, with zero hard drive thrashing. 4 GB in Vista is about the same as 2 GB in XP. I am also happy to report that my 2 x 1 GB of Kingston ValueRAM DDR2-667 CL5 (Nanya) is functioning quite nicely at DDR2-640 4-4-4-15.
 
Top