Vista Elbow Grease

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2008-03-25 Print this article Print

First, the new defaults for my NVIDIA GeForce 6200SE kept setting the frequency too high for my 19-inch Gateway FPD1960 flat-screen monitor. Now that was a really weird because that's pretty basic stuff and it had worked right with Vista the first time around. I got around that by burning my own Vista SP1 disc with the latest (169) NVIDIA ForceWare Release drivers patched in.

Next, I worked on my long-standing problem with Vista being able to deliver basic audio with the Realtek ALC 882 audio chip set. I'm happy to report that I finally, finally fixed it. No thanks, however, to Vista .

Vista finally had a driver for it, but it didn't work. All I got out of my speakers was an annoying high-pitch buzz like a bumblebee on meth. I went digging through Vista 's driver database, and I found a driver from Creative dated 2/14/2007. Don't ask me where it was hiding before because I sure hadn't seen it in the last 12 months of looking for a way to get the audio working. Be that as it may, I finally had a working basic audio system on my Vista system. Hurrah!

After that, I had to get my Vista PC to work with my network. While Vista could talk to my Windows Server 2003 and 2008 as well as my openSUSE 10.3 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 servers, it couldn't work with my Windows 2000 server or any of my NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices. Vista defaults to using NTLMv2 (NT LAN Manager) authentication for servers. That was because earlier versions of Samba, Windows Server 2000 and NT, and most NAS devices don't or can't use NTLM2. Instead, they tend to use the older NTLM or LM protocols for authentication.

The only reason I figured this out is that also know a fair amount about networking. To fix this, you'll need to get down and dirty with Vista 's internals. The solution is to Click "Start -> Run." Then, type in the Run field: "secpol.msc." And you thought only Linux still required command line utilities. Ha!

This will bring you to Vista 's security policy system. Once there, drop down to "Go to: Local Policies > Security Options" and then find "Network Security: LAN Manager" authentication level. When you're there, change the Setting from "Send NTLMv2 response only" to "Send LM & NTLM -- use NTLMv2 session security if negotiated." For on this, see my tale about Getting Vista to work with Samba.

And, so it is that at long, long last I have a working Vista system. It's still not a good system.

Network performance, to everything except the system running Server 2008, is awful. That's because Vista and Server 2008 can both use the SMB2 network file protocol. As I write this, no other operating system supports this protocol. USB 2.0 performance is also amazingly bad. I'm not even going to mention Aero performance, but I will say that watching video with Vista on this system is more like watching a PowerPoint slideshow than watching a movie sometimes.

Still it does work. It's slower, in every important respect, mind you to XP SP2, XP SP3, openSUSE, MEPIS 6.5 and 7, but it does work. And, it only took 16 months and a lot of elbow grease to get it there! What a deal!

I'm editor-at-large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. That's a fancy title that means I write about whatever topic strikes my fancy or needs written about across the Ziff Davis Enterprise family of publications. You'll find most of my stories in Linux-Watch, DesktopLinux and eWEEK. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, I worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects.

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