Adventures with Windows Vista & a Cheap PC

by Todd Ogasawara

I've been blogging observations (on a personal site) about upgrading a $500 eMachines desktop PC from Windows Media Center Edition to Windows Vista Ultimate Edition over the past two weeks. Here's a summary of what I've jotted down. Note that I've been using various Beta and Release Candidate versions of Vista for about 18 months. So, I'm not new to Vista. But, I was still surprised by a few things after the upgrade nonetheless.

Upgrading a Cheap PC to Microsoft Windows Vista
Choosing the PC to sacrifice to a real-live upgrade: An eMachines T6420 (about $500 after the rebate)

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (~2.2GHz)
1GB RAM
200GB C: drive
160BG D: drive (added after purchase)
No graphics card. Uses shared video RAM

Cheap PC Vista Pre-Upgrade Preparation
Microsoft Vista Upgrade Advisor results. Backups. More than one and different methods.

Cheap PC Vista Upgrade Timeline
This is an upgrade of a real PC used over the past year or two. This is not a test PC. It has real applications and data on it (backed up, of course). 90 minutes later...

Full Aero Glass on a Cheap PC?
Aero Glass effects using an integrated nVidia 6600 with shared video RAM. Very nice!

The Cheap PC, Vista, and AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
A small surprise. Not a show stopper. Easy fix.

Cheap Vista PC Vs. McAfee SpamKiller Detect
I uninstalled McAfee AntiVirus long before the upgrade. But, it had other ideas. Night of the living SpamKiller time.

Cheap Vista PC: In Search of a Printer Driver
Aren't HP Photosmart printers kind of popular? Apparently, mine is not :-{

Cheap Vista PC & ReadyBoost
In theory, this is one of the cooler sounding new Vista features. In reality, what exactly does it do?

Microsoft Vista Sidebar

Hated this feature in Beta releases. Warmed up to it in the Release Candidate phase. Must-a, gotta have it now.