A clean install of Windows Vista Ultimate was performed, which began with changing the BIOS boot order setting to boot the PC from the DVD-R/W drive. Next, the 32-bit version of the Vista install DVD was inserted into the DVD-R/W drive before saving the BIOS, at which time the system automatically rebooted.
Start time is 3:29pm.
Following the reboot, data continued to be read from the install DVD and loaded to the system. Once complete, I was presented with a graphical user interface (GUI) that featured a sleek desktop background. At this point, the product key was entered and the install continued.
Vista Install GUI
A listing of available hard drives was then presented on which to install Vista. Hard drives can be partitioned and formatted at this time. Here the GUI is a step above Windows XP and the interface to the FDISK-like functions has been simplified.
Available Hard Drives
Note that an earlier install of Vista, which I no longer wished to use, was detected on the HDD. A message appeared which stated that all data for the current operating system would be saved in a directory named "Windows.old".
Over the next 10 minutes more files were read from the DVD, copied to the hard drive and expanded. Two additional reboots took place and the install was complete. The install automatically configured a boot menu, which now appears whenever the system boots up. The default option is to boot to Vista with an alternate option available to boot to a previous version of Windows.
After setting the date, time, and time zone, Vista requests that an administrator account be created. The computers performance was then checked (see following image) and the login menu appeared. This step took around 4 to 5 minutes.
Windows Experience Index (WEI)
Finish time is 3:55pm.
I began installing Vista at 3:29pm and was logging on some 20 minutes later at 3:50pm. After automatic updates were downloaded and applied, and a subsequent reboot, I was ready to use Vista 5 minutes later at 3:55pm.
This was a good point to take a system backup. After running Disk Cleanup for all users and deleting non-essential files, I was left with some 8.6GB of data to backup. Although Vista Ultimate features a number of backup applications such as Basic File Backup and Restore, Shadow Copy, and System Restore, I used True Image Home from Acronis.
In about three minutes, True Image Home backed up and compressed the data on the Vista partition to a 3.7GB backup file.
Acronis True Image Home
The integrity of the backup was tested by actually restoring the previously saved Vista partition. The restore took approximately seven minutes to perform.
During the course of working on this article, Acronis released two patches that fixed bugs with Windows Vista. However, I continue to experience a problem with True Image Home when restoring Windows XP from a backup. When this is done, the boot menu that had been set up by Windows Vista no longer appears and the system boots to Windows XP automatically.