My new Media PC and Windows Anytime Upgrade Experience

This past Friday I purchased a new desktop machine, intend to be my media center/xbox 360 extender pc. I purchased the upgrade from Windows Vista Business to upgrade to Windows Vista Ultimate via the Windows Anytime Upgrade website. Here’s the details:

All in all, it’s intended to be a mid-to-low range media center pc (htpc?).

Installation was a snap. I had to figure out the power supply as it is capable of both 20 and 24 pin configurations (I haven’t built a machine in a long time and haven’t seen this before… confused me).  One comment about the hardware: The Antec P180B is the nicest chassis I have ever used. This was one of the first times I have put together a machine and not cut myself on a sharp metal edge!

  • Windows Anytime Upgrade: Note that you have to activate your windows version before trying to upgrade or else it goes through the entire upgrade process only to leave you back at the same version you started with. Additionally, if you are using the Windows Anytime Upgrade, you’ll need to wait for the CD to arrive as the media is required to complete the upgrade.
  • Microsoft Office 2007 Professional: I received this for free for participating in the launch event and submitting a feedback form. Installation was a snap. It looks good and was usable immediately after installation.
  • Driver Support: All devices EXCEPT the wireless NIC installed and were functional on the first try. I downloaded the drivers from each of the manufacture’s webstie before-hand and put them onto a flash drive and all installed properly. With the NIC, though, I went through 4 different devices before finding the one that was ultimately going to work (2- USB adapters [1 -DLink and 1 – Linksys] and 1 PCI card [DLink] all failed to work due to driver failure [they all worked on my XP laptop]). Word to the wise: The manufacturers say they have Windows Vista support for their devices but save yourself the pain. Go to WindowsMarketplace and search to ensure that the devices that you are looking to install are actually certified Vista Ready (because if they are not, chances are… they won’t work). After looking at WindowsMarketplace, the first NIC I used was up and working within minutes (and I wasted 4 hours over two evenings talking with tier-one tech support for THAT?!?!?!… yeah.. I’m kicking myself).

One thing to note: Because of the whole prompting for elevated priviledges thing in Vista, you can’t edit (read "save") your hosts file unless you actually run your text editor as administrator. There’s no prompting for saving files with elevated priviedges if you need them to save the file.

Now to install a VPC of Windows XP so my kids can still play their Strawberry Shortcake and Dora the Explorer games…



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