Windows Vista Home Premium

While Vista isn’t new on the Quest I did add a new flavor, Windows Vista Home Premium. At $100 less than Vista Ultimate it seems to be the version to get. There are only a things Ultimate provides over Home Premium including Windows Complete Backup & Restore, Windows Fax and Scan, and Bitlocker disk encryption. I don’t care about any of those but there is one thing that Windows Vista Home Premium won’t give me, and that’s Remote Access through Windows Home Server. I’m installing this in a virtual machine on my MacBook so remote access to it through WHS is not something I need in this particular case. I’m more likely to use this as the remote PC than want to remote into it.  Microsoft should add Remote Access support to Vista Home Premium since it seems to be targeted at the same people as Windows Home Server – those with lots of audio and video media.

Installation on VMware Fusion 1.1.1

I used the New Virtual Machine Wizard to create the VM. The wizard is very straight-forward so I won’t bother to include screen shots of every step. I selected the following options (listed in the order they’re asked for in the wizard):

  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows
  • Version: Windows Vista
  • Name and Location – Save As: Vista Home Premium
  • Name and Location – Where: A directory I have on an external USB drive for VMs
  • Disk Size: 30GB
    I kept the default settings where disk space is only allocated when needed, so 30GB is a ceiling.
  • Easy Install used
    I entered an ID and password to be created. Since I use Windows Home Server this is the same ID/password created on the home server and the other Windows VMs I use. I also enter the product key. I also keep the default of making my Mac home folder accessible from the VM as read-only.

I let the virtual machine start immediately and install from DVD. Twenty minutes later I’m presented with the logon screen. Once I logon the VMware Tools install kicks off automatically. When they’re done the virtual machine reboots.

Post Install Setup & Configuration

Once the VM reboots and I logon the first thing to do is fix the sound driver. As the Fusion Release Notes indicate the sound driver needs to be updated:

When you install Microsoft Vista 32-bit edition in a VMware Fusion virtual machine, there is no sound output. To correct this problem, run Windows Update to update the sound driver from within Vista.

To update the sound driver in a VMware Fusion virtual machine running Windows Vista 32-bit edition:
1. In the virtual machine, from the Windows start menu, right-click Computer and select Properties.
2. In the left pane, under Tasks, select Device Manager.
3. When prompted for your permission to continue, click Continue. Windows displays the Device Manager.
4. Right-click the Multimedia Sound Adapter with a warning symbol (indicating that there is no driver) and select Update Driver Software.
5. At the prompt How do you want to search for driver software?, select Search automatically for updated driver software. Windows finds and installs the appropriate driver for your virtual sound card.
6. When you are prompted to restart, click Restart Now.
Sound should now work in your Microsoft Vista 32-bit virtual machine.

So I update the driver, reboot and test the sound which works fine.

The VMware Easy Install creates it’s own PC name (which is random so meaningless) and uses “Workgroup” as the workgroup. I change the PC name to match my naming convention and change the Workgroup to my home workgroup. Which needs another reboot.

Then it’s time to run Windows Update to get all the security patches so I go into Windows Update and tell it to check for updates. The first update I get is an update to Windows Update itself. Once that’s installed I check for updates again and there’s 45 updates totaling 105.3MB. (It really is time for SP1) I install those updates and there’s another reboot. I then configure Windows Update to download updates when they’re available but not install them.

I try to connect to my Windows Home Server software share so I can install the connector software but I can’t. I’m told “File Sharing & Discovery” is off so I say to turn it one. Then I’m asked if I want to change my network type to “Private” which is recommended if I’m at home or work, rather than turning File Sharing on for a public network. I click the selection to make the switch. I still can’t connect to the Share.

The VM is configured to use NAT networking with the host. I shut down the VM, change this to bridged in the virtual machine network properties (so the VM gets it’s own IP address), and restart the VM. Now I can connect to the share and install the Windows Home Server connector software. I do a backup once the connector software is installed. Also, changing the network to Bridged cause Vista Home Premium to see this as a new network so I made it a Private Network by selecting “Home Network” when prompted.

I haven’t done the activation yet. I’ll wait the 3 days allowed in case I find I need to re-install the VM.

Additional Software

I already installed the WHS connector software. Now it’s time to install AntiVirus software. I already use free versions of Avast and AVG on other VMs so I wanted to try something different on this one. I decided to go with Avira AntiVirus PersonalEdition Classic which is free for personal (non-commercial) use.I picked it mainly because I never used it before and wanted to see what it was like. Their full version (the one you pay for) rates high for virus detection.

Lastly, I use Windows Live Writer for creating blog posts and I find a couple other Windows Live offerings intriguing although I haven’t actually used them. So I run the Windows Live Installer and select the following installs:

  • Windows Live Sign-In Assistant
  • Windows Live Mail
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery
  • Windows Live Writer

Once these installs finish my Windows Vista Home Premium virtual machine is complete.

Summary

The virtual machine currently takes 11.8GB on disk although that can grow to 30GB if I add software and data. The installation took me about 3 hours although I wasn’t sitting there immediately responding to every prompt. The install probably would have been faster if I installed from a DVD image rather that a physical DVD and the time to download that 105MB of updates will vary depending on the Internet connection.

The VMware Easy Setup feature simplifies the setup even if it doesn’t get things exactly the way I want them. Changing the PC name and workgroup is a simple task.