So, on Friday I got a new computer. The computer consists of a quad-core Core 2 CPU, 4 gigs of memory, and a Radeon HD 4850 based video card. Although there are some known techniques for getting an existing Windows installation to work in a new computer, this install simply refused to work with the USB ports on this computer (the computer freezes up several seconds after Windows has booted; disabling the USB ports in the BIOS allows it to work, but is not an acceptable solution). So, I ultimately ended up reinstalling Windows.
I had quite a few options when it came to choosing a version of Windows. Thanks to my obsessive downloading of everything on MSDN Academic Alliance, I have legal copies of Windows 2000, Windows XP x86, Windows XP x64, Vista x86 & x64, two copies of Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008 x86 & x64. For those not familiar with the Servers, 2003 is an updated server version of XP, and 2008 is an updated server version of Vista.
As Server 2008 is an updated version of Vista with additional features (and the newest of any version), I figured I'd use that, and that's what I'm writing on right now. However, this install may be short-lived. As it turns out, just about nothing works on Server 2008. In the last three hours I've encountered the following:
- The Asus motherboard driver installer for Vista x64 will not run. When run, it says "Does not support this Operating System: WNT_6.0I_64". If I understand this correctly, it's saying it doesn't support Windows NT 6.0 x64. This is curious, as this is exactly what Vista x64 is, suggesting that the installer does not run on the system it was made for. Furthermore, several pieces of motherboard hardware do not have drivers included with Server 2008, and so appear as Unknown Devices and PCI Devices (there are still a couple unknown devices left if you manually install each driver). Epic Asus fail.
- The other major driver I needed was the 4850 driver. This was especially important because the 4850 has a known issue where the fan speed stays too low, resulting in hot temperatures. So, I downloaded the latest version of the drivers and ATI Catalyst programs from the video card manufacturer (as best I can tell the ATI web site doesn't list drivers for the 4850) and installed the driver and program. Installation had no problems; running the Catalyst Control Center, however, resulted in the message "The Catalyst Control Center is not supported by the driver version of your enabled graphics adapter.". Very curious, considering that driver and the Control Center came bundled in the same ZIP file. Epic ATI fail.
- One of the programs I use most of all (by far) is Windows Live Messenger. Naturally I soon needed to install it on this computer. The Windows installer even helpfully created a Windows Live Messenger Download link in my start menu. Unfortunately, following the link, downloading the program, and double-clicking it (I'm not even mentioning the UAC and IE annoyances) brought up the error message "Sorry, Windows Live programs cannot be installed on Windows Server, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, or Windows operating systems earlier than Windows XP Service Pack 2". By process of elimination, this appears to say that only supports XP x86 SP2+, Vista x86, and Vista x64; curious, given the fact that Microsoft advertises support for Server 2008. Epic Microsoft fail.
- The other program I use most often is FireFox. So, that was next on the list. Download, install, so far so good. Launching FireFox, however, is a completely different story: instant crash. Epic FireFox fail.
- And just for good measure, this install has blue-screened once so far (in about 3 hours), with the PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA bugcheck. I'm not sure exactly whose failure this is, but the Asus driver problems seem the most likely suspect. Epic fail.