Never Again

All's Well that Ends Well

The pitfalls of early adoption. Plus, logging in can be a lot easier said than done.

We pride ourselves on being early adopters, so on Jan. 31, 2007 -- the day after the official launch of Windows Vista -- we activated our volume license for Vista Ultimate along with Windows Live One Care.

We proceeded put it on our desktops and servers in hopes of a seamless upgrade from XP. We quickly discovered, however, that Windows Vista Firewall and Windows Live One Care Firewall conflicted with one another. We discovered another problem when we found Windows Defender wouldn't work well together with Windows Live One Care.

Cry for Help
We made the 911 call to Microsoft, and the company's tech support call center in India was great. Amey (our tech support person) was reassuring, saying "not to worry." Using Windows Easy Assist, he proceeded to uninstall Windows Defender from Windows Vista.

There was one problem with this: He didn't realize that Windows Defender is an integral part of Windows Vista, unlike in Windows XP where it's a separate program. Since he carried out the uninstall at the server level, everything crashed and no one knew why. In the process we also discovered that our Dell computers wouldn't allow the Windows Vista Ultimate Installation disks to boot up from the disks, so we were up a certain creek -- the one that can't be mentioned in a family publication -- without a paddle. Luckily, our data was backed up, but we had to reformat our hard drives and do fresh installs of everything. And I mean of every program we ever had.

Unexpected Upgrades
Well, this eventually turned out to be a good thing because in the process we eliminated all instances where drivers were not available yet for Windows Vista. The only bad news in all this was being told by Dell that the drivers for all of our Dell 922 printers wouldn't be available until April. Consequently, we had to purchase 86 HP inkjets (which delighted HP).

The somewhat unexpected -- though happy -- ending is that the Windows Vista Reliability Monitor says we are now at an 8.4 rating, which is much better than we ever could've expected had it not been for our four days of madness.

Since all's well that ends well, we still love Microsoft.

When Less Protocol Is a Good Thing
By Alex Albright

Several years ago the network team was doing some work over the weekend and I happened to be there at the time. When they finished, I noticed that my log-on was unexpectedly slow. This should not have been the case given there were so few people there. I notified my manager, but nothing was done.

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Glacial Pace
The next day, when everyone was at work, the log-on time was beyond abysmal. You could log-on after half an hour -- if you could log-on at all -- but forget about doing anything else. There were about 2,500 people whose productivity came to a standstill. Three days later the problem was resolved and everything was back up and running. That was the good news. The bad news was to fix it we had to pay $250,000 for new switches -- actually a small price to pay since we were getting dinged $800,000 for every day that we had a total outage.

The problem? Many of the machines had dual protocols, both Pathworks as well as TCP/IP. Consequently, the switches had to register each Network Interface Card twice, and so ran out of memory. Ouch.

About the Author

Steven Fishman is the CIO of Ultrasonic Precisions Inc. in Corona, Calif. Alex Albright is a server administrator in Barker, Texas.

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