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2 Unexpected Pitfalls When Installing Vista setup

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Old 01-20-2008
E Pericoloso Sporgersi

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2 Unexpected Pitfalls When Installing Vista
and How To Rescue Yourself From Them

Pitfall 1.

On my brand-new portable with 2 internal SATA HDD's I wanted to install
Vista with the same partition structure as on my XP desktop computer (also
with 2 internal HDD's, actually 2 Raid 0 SATA pairs), namely:
HDD 1: partitions C:, D:, E: and F:
HDD 2: partitions G: and H:
Provided I installed all applications and data files to the corresponding
partitions, this would allow me to copy my desktop's environment variables,
shortcuts and scripts (batch files) without having to worry about paths.

To my surprise, after Vista's installation finish, I got:
HDD 1: C:, E:, F:, and G:
HDD 2: D: and H:

Now the configuration I wanted required D: to be on HDD 1 and G: on HDD 2.

Fortunately I noticed it in time and used Disk Management to reassign the
correct drive letters. Part 2 will describe why this is so important to me.

Pitfall 2.

Ever since Windows 98 I've had 2 HDD's in my consecutive desktop computers.
Hoping to gain some speed I always installed Windows on HDD 1 partition C:
and the swapfile (pagefile.sys) and TEMP folder on HDD 2 partition G: (all
caches and temporary files stored there). This also kept the images of my
system partition C: a bit smaller, not having to include a relatively large
swapfile. I also assume this divides the load on the HDD's somewhat more
equitably. (I've had HDD's die on me, but always the first HDD, never the
second one).
This configuration always worked fine up to Windows XP Pro SP2.

I wanted to do the same with my Vista portable, but then things went wrong.
With the swapfile on a partition other than the system partition C:, Vista's
sleep and hibernation options didn't work any more, but made the computer
freeze with a black screen, requiring a forced power down and a cold boot to
recover. Moreover, the start menu shut down button and the physical power
button did shut down Vista, but did NOT power down the computer. To actually
power down the machine, I had to keep the power button depressed for 5
A start menu restart always worked as expected, but of course a hot reboot
does not require a power down.

I'm glad to report the rescue proved to be easy. Vista appears to require a
minimal swapfile in its system root. So I configured it to have:
on HDD 1 C: a swapfile of 128 MB (128 MB might not be enough for you, YMMV)
on HDD 2 G: a second 4GB swapfile

Problems solved. But to Microsoft I would suggest Vista's setup to give more
control over the partition structure, and Vista to give more elaborate
warning about the issues of not having a token swapfile in Vista's root.
E Pericoloso Sporgersi
"It is dangerous to lean out!" [of Windows]
XP or Vista? A polyglot''''s efficient solution: Vista for my portable and
XP for my desktop!

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