The reason for writing this entry is solely to explain some problems I have faced in the last few days trying to get my new Vista laptop set up properly. To put things into proper context, this is a Windows Vista Business edition running on a Dell laptop with some pre-installed Google software and internal hardware for network access. For the definitive review of Windows Vista, go to Paul Thurrott’s Supersite review.
Problem 1: The system was not connecting to my protected wireless network. It complained about incorrect credentials which I assumed to be the incorrect password. I panicked since my current laptop has that password saved and I hadn’t used it for a long time. So I try digging out the router manual, which of course, could not be found anywhere. After searching on Google, I find the instructions to mess around with the router settings which allows me to reset the password.
The issue is: It was not the password. Vista didn’t understand the other settings of the router like Data Encryption and you need to configure the connection manually. If my memory serves me right, Windows XP did not ask me for this. Now, I am not sure if this problem is by design. Maybe Vista wants you to know the router details so that it prevents hacking. 🙂 I don’t know.
Problem 2: When I pressed the “Power Down” icon on the Start Menu for the first couple of times, it put Windows Vista into “Sleep Mode”. When I discovered this, I clicked the expand icon to see the “Shut Down” option, but even after 10 minutes, it stayed on the same screen. Since I had to go, I closed the lid of the laptop. When I re-opened the laptop at home a couple of hours later, the battery had almost run down – meaning that it had been consuming power. Anyway, after restarting the system, it booted fine and I was able to use the system.
Then, I tried shutting it down again. This time, I waited to see what happens. After a long wait, I got the Blue Screen of Death. Stunned, I watched Windows ask me if I want to start in Safe Mode – I haven’t seen that for a long time which goes to show how stable Windows XP was. No, I selected Restart Windows as usual. Now, after logging in again, I got the following message, “Windows has recovered from an unexpected shutdown. Windows can check online for a solution to the problem.”
When I clicked “Check for Solution”, I got a dialog with a title “Call Microsoft Corporation for a solution.” The message says, “An update is available from Microsoft Support Services that fixes the problem you reported. Microsoft recommends that you only request the update if you consider the problem to be critical. To get the update, call Microsoft Product Support Services.” Note the words “if … critical” and “call”.
Luckily, I didn’t have to talk to a person. There was also a section on the dialog called “Technical Information” which has the text “Error message when you put a Windows Vista-based computer to sleep while a modem connection is active: STOP 0x0000009F“. That was hyperlinked to a Knowledge Base article.
By clicking the Knowledge Base article, I finally arrive at a Hot Fix that allows me to download the fix at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=5754c17d-91a0-4dca-ab86-16e09a5c717b&displaylang=en. The fix worked. I am now able to shut down and restart the system without any problem.
Problem 3: If somebody had told me about this problem, I would have thought he was joking. Suddenly, for some reason, when I closed Internet Explorer, Vista would come up with a dialog saying “Internet Explorer has stopped working. Windows is searching for a solution.” After a few seconds, it restarts IE without apparently having found a solution. When I close it again, it says something to the effect that an unexpected problem is causing Internet Explorer to not respond properly and asks me if I want to debug using Visual Studio.
I found a temporary solution by disabling the Vista UAC (User Access Control). I am not sure if it is the right one, but UAC was driving me crazy anyway. More about the multiple warning messages here. In the meantime, I also uninstalled the Google and Yahoo toolbars. A dying man clutches at straws, but there is more to it – read below.
Problem 4: When I launched Microsoft Outlook for the first time, an error message came up, saying “Failed to register a VB Script DLL. Reinstall or run Regsvr32.exe Vbscript.dll to self register. An error occurred while creating a form.” On pressing OK, Outlook crashed.
I tried running regsvr32.exe and it said that the operation was successful. I restarted Outlook. It crashed again. I found that there were multiple copies of vbscript.dll. Tried registering each of them. It didn’t work. I ran Microsoft Office Diagnostics and it seemed to fix the problem.
I had to do a restart for something else. Suddenly Outlook started showing the same message. My friend said he would give it a try. He reinstalled Outlook and still faced the same problem. Then he discovered that Google Desktop was using vbscript.dll and he turned it off. Suddenly Outlook started working again. I have since uninstalled Google Desktop. Now, I am not 100% sure that Google Desktop is the cause since we did try a lot of things (tweaking settings, etc.) during the period and perhaps one of them took more time to take effect.
Final Thoughts: This is not a reflection on the capabilities of Vista, which overall seems to be a competent operating system. I put this out there just in case someone is facing similar problems. It takes time to trouble-shoot a problem and if someone lands on this page, hopefully they find it helps them solve the issue faster.