VISTA RTM: "Windows could not update the computer's boot configuration." - And BCDEDIT For Dummies

Vista RTM is out for MSDN subscribers, so I figured it would be as good a time as any this morning to install it on my second drive (the one where I had an x64 version of Windows XP that I hardly ever use.)

So I booted off the DVD and asked Vista to install itself "new" (not an upgrade) on this drive. I've already had some experience with this in the betas and I figured it would be cleared up by RTM, but no joy. About 85% through the expanding files phase you get a dialog that says "Windows could not update the computer's boot configuration." and that's the end of that.

Now there have been a number of so-called "Fixes" for this that involve a missing registry key, that go something like the following:

"This bug happens when partition manager is missing as upper filter for
disk. The following steps will fix this:

1. Open
HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E 967-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} using regedit.
2. Confirm that UpperFilters is empty and UpperFilters.bak is present.
3. Rename UpperFilters.bak to UpperFilters.
4. Reboot and re-attempt the upgrade"

However, in my case, this would not apply, since the Registry never comes into play - I am doing a clean install, not an upgrade.

So far, it's still very early in the "game" and the Windows Vista MS newsgroups have no information of any value on this (not for it happening on a clean install).

I suppose I could move my various folders and "Stuff" to the main drive temporarily, format the little booger, and try it that way, but that's an inconvenience I'd like to avoid.

Anyway, if you are finding this same issue comment here and we'll try to pin it down.

(P.S.) "Your upgrade may take several hours to complete." -- Jesus H. Christ! They aren't kidding, man! Go get a big spaghetti dinner and some wine!

N.B. - And the solution, as indicated above, was to copy my folders of "stuff" (music, videos, backups and other junque) to the main drive. Then, I booted off the Vista DVD, selected my second drive, allowed it to FORMAT the booger, and everything went fine from that point on. Moral of the story? Even with a clean install (not an upgrade) if your selected hard drive has folders and "stuff" on it that Vista doesn't like, it may not install until you clean it off and or format the drive.

HINT: Windows Server 2003 x64 can copy entire folders of files from one drive to another a lot faster than Windows Vista x86 can....

Now the only issue left is how to configure BCDEdit on the Vista hard drive to allow for booting into the legacy OS. Here's my post on the Windows Vista newsgroup, if anybody wants to follow the saga. Maybe, "BCDEDIT For Dummies"?

And the answer:

Within a couple of hours, John Barnes posted this:

"Download and install a copy of VistaBootPro or BCDEdit in Vista and with the
Vista drive first, set up a legacy os. After that if it doesn't load, on my
system I have always had to copy the ntldr, ntdetect.com and boot.ini files
from the other drive to the root of the Vista boot drive and adjust the
boot.ini as necessary to point to the NT based drive."

I had already "done that", but as I tried again, I realized that if you change the Hard Drive boot sequence in your BIOS, the entry in boot.ini (on the Vista Drive) would need to be changed. Here's what fixed it (the old , and then the "new"):

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003 Enterprise
x64 Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003 Enterprise
x64 Edition" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

With rdisk(1) in the new, we are good to go! And of course, we can use VistaBootPro in Vista to make either one be the "default".

One other pointer: If you do an upgrade with Vista, it's going to leave nasty temporary folders filled with multi-megabytes of useless leftover junque on your hard drive. If you run the Disk Cleanup wizard, and select all the checkboxes, that will do a fine job of cleaning you up.

Disabling Those Nasty Security Dialogs

This is, of course, not recommended, so you should consider the implications carefully. In my case, I'm behind a firewall (my router's, not "Windows Firewall", which I do not need) , nobody else uses the computer, and I've got Windows Defender and AntiVirus running on the machine.

As users have come to know, Windows Vista runs with User Account security checks on everything, and frankly, although it certainly makes sense, it can get a little ridiculous IMHO. So, to disable these nasty, scary dialogs:

(WARNING!! This will disable most of Windows Vista’s new security features):

Go to Control Panel.
Click Admin Tools.
Click System Config.
Click Tools.
"Disable UAC" - requires a reboot.

Bye, bye, fellas. This may also fix a whole slew of minor security - related issues with Access Denied messages on wwwroot folder and subfolders, and debugging with Visual Studio 2005 in ASP.NET 2.0 with IIS 7.0.

And, don't forget, you Vista Ultimate folks - IIS 7 will now offer you the ability to do what you'd expect on a "real web server" (which it is) - have multiple web sites. Just add some Class C (192.168.0.XXX) IP addresses to your stack, make a new Website in IIS, and give it an IP address. You can put the friendly name (e.g. "mysite2") into the hosts file so you can now do "http://mysite2/"

Now, you don't need to put up with that stupid restriction from Windows XP that only lets you have "one" real web site on the machine (not to mention the 10 connection limit, which you'll be pleased to note is also history).

The Final Analysis

When all the dust is settled, I just have one thing to say: Windows Vista is a solid, really awesome operating system. I like it. In fact, I kind of feel sorry for all those Anti-Microsoft, bash Windows Penguinistas - they will never have an OS as robust, easy to use, and powerful as Windows Vista. Actually, they are secretly doing what "Fred" did in the image above - although they'll never admit it, because they are total dweebs! I have nothing against Linux - I use it, primarily to do "MONO" .NET development. But when you want to compare based on speed, ease of use, ease of configuration and a whole host of other features, there is simply no comparison - Windows Vista is a clear winner. And when you start getting into this TCO - "Total Cost of Ownership" deal, the Penguinistas are gonna be left in the dust on this one. An AK-47 is no comparision with an M-16.

Einstein's Greatest Blunder Not a Boo-Boo?

In other news, the Hubble Space Telescope has shown that a mysterious form of energy first conceived by Albert Einstein, then rejected by the famous physicist as his "greatest blunder," appears to have been fueling the expansion of the universe for most of its history. Experts say the upcoming Hubble repair mission could extend our view up to 11 - 12 Billion years back, which is getting pretty close to the "beginning"? Dark matter.