I have been using Vista for some time now and I have to say that I’m happy with it. There are some minor things I don’t like that the longer time it takes to delete and copy some files, some problems debugging ASP.NET apps and such little things that make you spend some time to have everything working properly.
However, I had a horror story with drivers. I didn’t had any serious issue with my computer until last week when I decided to install Virtual PC 2007 in order to try Orcas. When I started Virtual PC to try the orcas virtual hard disk images, my hard disk stopped for a minute, then the hard disk restarted and just a second after, it stopped again and so on. When the hard disk stopped the mouse was working but if you switched from the active window, the system waits for the hard disk to respond.
This hard drive issue happened three or four times previously, but after one stop and restart of the hard drive the system continued to work properly and I wasn’t able to reproduce it again, so I didn’t spent more time on such a sporadic issue. But this time, I really needed to study the cause.
The hard disk is a Maxtor STM 3250820AS and my motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-K8NF-9 . The first thing I did was to download the utility image to test the hard disk. The test didn’t found any error on the hard disk. Anyway I called to the tech support in case they know something about the problem or if they have a newer firmware but it wasn’t the case. Then I took a look to the motherboard manufacturer to see if there were drivers for Vista but there wasn’t any driver for Vista. As the motherboard is a nForce4 motheboard I download the latest nvidia drivers and I installed them. The result was that the network connection didn’t worked and the hard drive was still failing. I opened a tech support ticket on the motherboard manufacturer page and on the nvidia page.
The first one told me that my motherboard didn’t support Vista so if I have any problem, they are sorry but won’t do anything. I don’t find a good practice to drop support of a product that can be bought only a few months before Vista was released but there is something to think about when deciding which motherboard to buy next…
Nvidia support was really bad. They told me to contact the hard disk and the motherboard manufacturer, even if I told him that I already contacted Maxtor. I’m wondering if they read all the ticket before replying… After quite a few replies they didn’t give me any solution.
So I was on my own and finally managed to get the SATA HDD working by hand installing twice a driver from the folder where the nvidia drivers get extracted. The driver does not seem to be bug free but at least I was able to finally install Orcas.
Life is complicated enough so I really hate to have to spend time with things like this…