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What about Physical Address Extension in Vista? Can I run 32-bit and 4GB RAM then?
The Physical Address Extension, explained here
, is available in 32-bit versions of Windows Vista (it was disabled in Windows XP as of Service Pack 2). However, just like that red button you always see in movies that says "Do Not Use," there is a reason that PAE is probably a bad idea, even in Windows Vista.
The ultimate fault lies in the x86/32-bit architecture, but the more immediate problem relates to device drivers and certain applications. In the professional world of Microsoft server operating systems, PAE is perfectly acceptable because device drivers (such as printer, videocard, sound etc.) are programmed to be "aware" of PAE and thus they are compatible with it. However, many consumer drivers and applications (including key software such as videocard drivers and antivirus applications) freak out when exposed to a system running PAE to allow 4GB RAM in a 32-bit environment. Symptoms of drivers and apps reacting badly to PAE include hanging, freezing, BSoD and a lot of other nasties.
But wait, PAE is required for NX (no-execute) and that is enabled by default in Windows XP SP2! So what's wrong with PAE? The NX feature is a separate feature than the part that allows for 4GB RAM. Thus, the NX portion is enabled but the showing-4GB-RAM is not.
If you have 4GB or more of memory (or are planning upgrading to 4GB or more) then you really should bite the bullet and obtain a 64-bit version of Vista. If you have a 32-bit version, you can obtain a 64-bit version and legally use the same key that you used with the 32-bit version. It will activate just like your 32-bit software and is entirely within the End User License Agreement as long as you are only running the 32-bit version or
the 64-bit version, not both at the same time with the same key. 64-bit driver issues are virtually nonexistant now compared to release.
I can only boot Vista when ___ drive is connected/the Vista DVD is in the drive. Why?
If you have more than one visible partition when you install Vista (logical or physical), Windows will install, by its default configuration, the boot files and system files to different partitions or drives. I had this problem and had to figure this out the hard way: I had C:\ and D:\, where C:\ is my OS/apps/games drive and D:\ holds user profile info (documents, music, pictures) and stores other stuff like ISOs. However, I discovered that I could not boot without the Vista DVD in the drive. I also noticed in VistaBootPRO that one of the "boot" directories resided on D:\, not C:\. This is by design. To avoid this behavior, unplug all but one hard drive when installing Vista (this includes USB storage devices as well). If a physical drive has more than one partition, it won't matter if the boot files get splashed onto a different partition as you're still dealing with the same physical drive (unless you repartition).
No, you don't have to install Vista again, simply do this instead:
You need to have a Vista DVD handy. Boot from it (with the offending drives connected), pick your Vista installation to "repair" and go into the Command Prompt. DISKPART will let you assign partitions as "active" or "inactive." I can't remember whether you have to work with partitions, volumes or disks, but the point is you must find the rogue non-system-file-containing drive that has boot files on it. Select it and type "INACTIVE" into DISKPART. This will create a for-sure no boot situation. Never fear, run the Startup Repair tool twice. Run it, then reboot and run it again. Take the DVD out of the drive and disconnect the now-inactive boot device. You should be able to boot with just a single physical disk connected.
I only have an Upgrade Disk. Can I do a "clean" install?
Yes, you can. First, as always when reinstalling the operating system, back up your data!
I am not responsible for any data loss as a result of you using this guide!
Second, after you have backed up your important files, insert the Windows Vista DVD into the drive and boot from it. Proceed to setup Windows as you normally would, and use the DVD to format the partition onto which you want to install a clean version of Windows. The key step is to NOT ENTER ANY PRODUCT KEY OR CHECK THE BOX TO AUTO-ACTIVATE WINDOWS WHEN ONLINE
in this setup run, nor should you get the latest updates for installation either (although in practice Vista never installs anyone's network adapters in my experience until after the getting updates phase is done, defeating the point). It is absolutely imperative you select the correct edition of Vista that you purchased, this is NOT a hack to allow you to use a higher version of Vista with a lower version's key!
Install the OS in "trial" mode. Once Vista boots for the last time during setup and you actually see your desktop, put the Vista DVD back into the drive and allow the Vista Setup to run. Start to install Windows as if you are doing an upgrade. This time, type your Product Key and if you wish, check the box for automatic activation.
Now your computer will upgrade Vista to itself. It will upgrade to the same edition you just installed, but because it is an "upgrade" install, your "upgrade" key will activate properly.
Is this legal? Yes. Is this within the EULA? Yes. Windows Vista upgrades may be used with any qualifying version of Windows, including Windows Vista. Although it may strike some as unethical, there is nothing illegal about this procedure, though it does require more time (upgrade installs can take 45 minutes or more, on top of the first install you did).
I read ___ about Vista licensing, is it true?
: Windows Vista is restricted on multi-core CPUs in some way.
: Windows Vista only counts physical CPUs. For Home Basic and Home Premium, one physical CPU (unlimited core count, including actual cores and HyperThreaded cores) is permitted. For Vista Business, Enterprise and Ultimate, two physical CPUs (each with unlimited cores, logical and physical) are permitted. Anyone with more CPU sockets than this is probably going to require some flavor of Windows Server 2008.
: You cannot transfer your Anytime Upgrade OS to another machine.
: As long as you only have Windows Vista installed on one machine at a time, even if you have to call Microsoft, you are within the limits of what Microsoft will allow.
: Product Keys issued with 32-bit Windows do not work with 64-bit Windows.
: The differentiation on Product Keys comes with Retail vs. OEM vs. Volume Licensing, not 32-bit vs. 64-bit.
: Buying OEM software means you must buy a new copy of Windows every time you change a single piece of hardware.
: Microsoft is pretty liberal when it comes to OEM copies of software. Heck, only "system integrators" are even supposed to buy it, but thousands of enthusiasts purchase OEM to save money. There is technically a legal gray area in that the OEM software is supposed to be locked to the hardware (generally determined by the motherboard and its built in accessories) that it was first installed on, but in practice
Microsoft does not enforce this rule as strictly as they could. I've moved OEM copies of software around from one computer to another, for example I installed a Dell OEM copy of Media Center 2K5 on a home-built machine for my mother even though the OS came with my laptop (which now runs Vista Business). The install of MCE 2K5 activated flawlessly over the internet using the Product Key on the bottom of my laptop. If online activation fails, call Microsoft with a sob story and they will allow you to move your OS. Remember: only one machine at a time!
: I read the license agreement literally and ___ says you can't do ___.
: As far as I can tell (and many others will agree with me on this) as long as you are only using one licensed copy of Windows Vista on one machine, Microsoft generally doesn't care what you did (moved the OS, upgraded half your machine, etc). One OS per one physical/virtual machine. That's the bottom line.