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What is it with me and Vista or How I learned how to do a nearly painless clean install

by Tris Hussey on May 22nd, 2007

Part of the revamp of my home office was the APC laptop stand. This spiffy device also sports a nice 4 port USB 2.0 hub in the back. Great. Awesome, keep the cable clutter under control. Yeah, well not so much.

See starting late last week my laptop started having trouble. Not shutting down, not updating, not … just not working right. Sigh.

I tried the general troubleshooting stuff. Roll back to the last restore point. Uninstall stuff that I thought could be problematic (read early beta). Etc.

Did it work? Nope. Time for detective work. I noticed, during one of my umpteen times booting into Safe Mode (which you get to, btw, by hitting F8 repeatedly when the machine turns on) that when the USB stuff didn’t appear things were okay. Hmm.

Okay, I actually didn’t figure this out until after I did a clean install of Vista, which is the point of this post, isn’t it?

XP had a pretty labourious process for doing a non-destructive clean install. Meaning, you don’t lose everything in the process. Vista has made things a lot easier, and better in fact. Ed Bott on ZDNet has a great step by step on this process, which you should read before you need to do this (yeah like that ever happens). Essentially what you get is a spiffy, clean, fresh install of Vista and all your files are in a directory called Windows.old. Yes, you will likely have to reinstall your apps and special drivers, but you’ll be on a fresh clean slate.

I’ve pretty much gotten myself back up and running from the clean install, few things left to download and reinstall still. Oh my crashing problem? As you might gather, it had little to do with my install of Vista (which was corrupted to some degree because things are working much smoother now), it was the darn USB hub in the laptop stand! I switched to my old USB hub (USB 1.1, but hey) and everything is ducky.

You live and you learn.

Speaking of Vista, looks like SP1 for Vista might be closer than we thought, at least according to info from Mary Jo Foley. Man I hope so.

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POSTED IN: Vista, Windows, Time savers

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