Saturday, March 17, 2007

2.5 Days on Vista

The new desktop arrived on Thursday - Velocity Micro Vector GX. VM builds some very nice equipment, using quality components (aka you gonna pay a few dollars more than a Dell, but you'll get more reliable components as well). The new desktop has:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo 6400 (2.13GHz / 2M cache) CPU / 965 Chipset & Motherboard
  • 2G RAM
  • 320GB 300MB/sec 16MB cache SATA hard-disk
  • Lite-Scribe CD/DVD burner (you can laser "etch" a label onto the CD/DVD)
  • nVidia GeForce 7600 GS

Oh - and Windows Vista now has some built in benchmarks to score your system overall, so you can know how well it is for gaming or business info, etc.

ComponentWhat is ratedSubscore
Processor"calcuations per second"5.1
RAMMemory operations per second5.5
GraphicsDesktop performance for Windows Aero4.7
Gaming Graphics3D business and gaming graphic performance4.0
Primary Hard DiskDisk data transfer rate5.4
OverallWindows Experience Index4.0

Basically, I now own a computer that's worth more than my 1996 Corolla.

And it comes with Vista.

So far, so good. Vista looks and feels nice, so no complaints there.

The new "Windows Easy Transfer" software seems more user friendly and controllable than the old "Files and Settings Transfer", but is equally annoying. Well, it's annoying if you don't want to transfer absolutely everything, or have some of your stuff in non-standard places. Problem isn't that it misses stuff, it's that if you want to just transfer your settings and email folders, you can't say that. Besides saying what you want, you also have to go back and say what you don't want. And after 2 tries, where besides saying don't copy "My Pictures" and "My Music", I also had to de-select the folders by explicit paths. Seems that unless everything is in standard places, it doesn't consider "My Pictures" to be "My Pictures". Or, the left hand of windows doesn't know what the right hand of windows is doing, since when I open "My Documents", it shows me "My Pictures", even though they're both not on my C: disk, as that was filling up...

Trying to find a better program on the web, seems like none of them are very popular. In between the 1st and 2nd try of WET, I stopped by Fry's a got a USB Transfer Cable, so the 2 computers can talk @ 480MB/sec, instead of just the 100MB/sec over the network. Belkin one said it came with free Laplink PCSync software - sounded like it might help. Not - it's for *keeping* 2 computers in sync on a set of files / folders, not moving stuff to a new computer. Of course, the details on the Mil Spec plastic package (I sweat plastic packages now-a-days are designed to withstand nuclear detonations within 100ft, but would take even a 10 year old 10 minutes to open) didn't say what PCSync was for. Yes, CherkyB, it didn't say PC Migration. It also didn't say it could withstand a nuclear detonation within 100ft...

But, I'm smarter than your average cockroach (note - "average", not above average, and singular - I bet a small cabal of cockroaches could keep me guessing), so I managed to move Nava's Outlook Express folders, IE favorites and cookies, and get most of the programs we care about install.

Tried to get my Outlook folders over - copying wasn't the problem, new desktop didn't come with Microsoft Office, so no outlook, just Windows Mail (replaces Outlook Express - consider it Outlook Express 7 or so - a bit nicer, but nothing to blog about). Try to read the old Outlook folders into Windows Mail - can't do it. Search the web and find out that it's can do it, but only if you have Outlook installed.

Now, if I had Outlook installed, would I really want to use Windows Mail (aka Outlook Express 7)?

Not to be put-off, I go to, and find a trial download of MS Office that's good for 60 days. Have a brain fart, and click on the "Home and Student" version, so the one I get doesn't have Outlook, just Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Not sure who decides that PowerPoint or OneNote are more important than Outlook, but there it is. I'm sure it was listed someplace, but not on the page I was on / downloading from.

Fine - I'll try a different way (this is why I get paid the big bucks. Well, I like to think it's big bucks). So - if Windows Mail will not import from Outlook "natively", but will from Outlook Express, let's try going from Outlook to Outlook Express on the old computer and from there into Windows Mail (since OE to WM worked for Nava's mail). And since Windows Mail appears to be just a big update to Outlook Express, I bet Outlook Express on the old computer can import from Outlook.

Yep - 10 minutes later, I had the files into Outlook Express, copied the Outlook Express hidden storage folder. (hint - C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{}\Microsoft\Outlook Express) to the new computer (doesn't matter where on the new one, as you "import" from it)

Show Nava how all of her email is now on Vista under Windows Mail - takes her about 10 seconds to spot that while I did specially migrate her contacts, it dropped the mail lists. Contacts can be exported in a CSV file, but it won't include any lists. OK - back to the old computer, find the Outlook Express "Windows Address Book", copy that over as well, and import it into Windows Mail.

All of this should have been handled by Windows Easy Transfer, except the 1st try, after twelve hours, it was still only 2% done (it'll find every file / folder on every attached disk and both evaluate it, which slows it down, and most likely copy it, which slows it down). 2nd try, when I went back and de-selected all the pictures and all the music, and had specifically told it to just do a few folders that should contain the Outlook / Outlook Express / Internet Explorer stuff, after 4 hours, it was still on 1% done, so was also brain dead.

Still have ~30GB of pictures and music to copy, but at 100MB/s, that should only take 300 seconds. De-rate by another factor of 20x for slower disk / computer, 6000 seconds. That's 100 minutes. Less than 2hours.

That means the Windows Easy Transfer could have copied all of the music, pictures and video 6 times overnight the first night, but only got 2% done. Let's see - 2% in 12 hours is 4% per day, or 25 days to migrate from an old computer to a new computer. Ridiculous. Even if it's not "linear", and the 25 days would have sped up at some point, and been only 5 days, still ridiculous. Or with the

But, I like the new machine. I don't mind doing stuff by hand - it's kind of fun, and you can learn some stuff while doing it. And this way, I don't have to worry about Windows, or some other program, copying programs or Windows Registry settings, or other stuff that might pollute or otherwise slow down the new machine.

Cause it is much, much faster!