Vista upgrade options
Nov 3, 2007, 9:43 GMT
Washington - Installing Windows Vista on your current computer should be easy, right? Well, sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't.
Even if the upgrade itself goes without a hitch, you may have questions about the type of upgrade you should choose - over top of your existing operating system or as a new installation altogether.
Read on for some ideas.
Q: Vista's installation program demands that I uninstall McAfee Security Suite before it will continue. For some reason the McAfee suite won't let me uninstall it, so I'm stuck. What should I do?
A: For the most part, Vista's installation program is smart enough to know which programs the new operating system is compatible with and which ones it is not. Most antivirus applications made to work with Windows XP and earlier versions fall into the 'not compatible' category.
If an antivirus application such as McAfee cannot be uninstalled, it's probably because it has become damaged. These antivirus programs typically cannot be uninstalled normally if they become damaged. That's by design: security programs are protected against viruses, including those that might try to remove them.
The solution is usually to look on the Web site of the manufacturer that made the antivirus program for a utility that will assist in uninstalling damaged installations. Symantec provides the Norton Removal Tools for this purpose (http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/tsgeninfo.nsf/docid/20050331081 62039). McAfee users have two options. The first is the McAfee Consumer Products Removal Tool (http://service.mcafee.com/FAQDocument.aspx?id=107083&lc=4105&partner =McAfee&type=TS&ia=1) and the second is MCREM, a tool jointly developed by two enterprising developers who made their tool available for free.
Q: I just bought Windows Vista. I currently run Windows XP. Should I install Vista as an upgrade over XP or go through the lengthy process of installing Vista as a new installation and reinstalling all of my programs?
A: Actually, some 'pain' is involved in installing Vista either as an upgrade or 'from scratch,' and in fact one could easily argue that there will be less pain in the long run if you install Vista from scratch.
Here's why. When you upgrade an existing Windows operating system with a new version, settings and files from the new operating system are added to settings from the old one. The combination means that you'll end up with many more settings in your Windows registry - the system file that controls the look, feel, and behaviour of Windows - than you would if you installed the new operating system from scratch.
You'll also end up with many more files on your hard drive than you would need or have if you installed the new operating system by itself. The bottom line will typically be slower overall system performance, since your computer will have to work harder to look through existing files and settings to find the ones that your new operating system needs. The best policy, therefore, is always to avoid the 'upgrade' option when installing a new operating system and choose, instead, the 'new installation' option.
If you're handy with a screwdriver, the best way to install a fresh copy of a new operating system without disturbing anything on your current setup is to buy a new hard drive, pull out the old one, and install the operating system on the new hard drive. That way, should anything not be to your liking, you can always just reinstall the old hard drive and continue on as before.
Installing a new hard drive is simple, with detailed instructions located in many places on the Internet (http://www.helpwithpcs.com/upgrading/install-hard-drive.htm). New hard drives are inexpensive, as well - with capacities of 400 gigabytes available for under 100 dollars.
If you do take the new hard drive approach and end up loving your new operating system, you can always use the old hard drive as a backup device, either in your existing computer or, if there's no room for an extra drive, in an external hard drive case. External cases are available for around 20 dollars from most online retailers.
--- Have a computer question? Send it to the Computer Helper at email@example.com.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur