My Day at the Windows Vista SP1 Install Fair

On Saturday October 27th, I had the chance to visit the Microsoft campus and join various others in installing the Windows Vista SP1 Beta.

Now it has been a while since I visited the main campus so I drove around for a bit before I went over to the conference center.

After taking in the sights and wishing that the company I worked for had a soccer field next door, I headed over to the conference center, laptop in hand. When I first got there, all of the doors were locked and I couldn't see anything through most of the windows. I finally got someone's attention after awhile (perhaps I looked suspicious, trying to peek in any way I could) and was escorted inside over to the registration table for the Vista SP1 install fair.

After I registered my name and vehicle, I was handed three items: The Windows Vista SP1 Install Fair Tool Kit CD, documentation on the steps I needed to take for the installation, and a nice patch cable for hooking up my laptop to their network. I was then told to find a seat in the next room and get installing.

Upon entering the next room, I concluded Microsoft was ready for a huge turnout. The room was quite large and there were likely around 50 desktop stations that had a monitor, keyboard, and mouse sitting there for the user to connect their desktop to. The rest of the open space was for us laptop users.

What was the turnout like? Nothing like I'm sure Microsoft expected. The entire right half section of the room was close to empty. A good portion of those there during my time seemed to be from a senior citizen SIG group, as they all seemed to know each other and I was one of the few in the younger age bracket.

Unfortunately, none of my pictures of this room turned out well, but below is the best shot out of the ones I took.

Once I had my laptop, a Core 2 Duo with 2GB of memory, hooked up to power and connected to their network, it was time to begin the installation of the Vista SP1 beta. This was quite an interesting and enlightening experience for me. Below you will find my notes during the install, all time stamped:

[8:50A] Starting "Step 1" - This was a script on the Tool Kit CD that gathered pre-installation information of the system and allowed for installation of Vista SP1 through Windows Update. The main portion of the script basically took a screenshot of the system files before SP1 was installed. This step completed at 9:19A, after which I stepped away for a few minutes to get some breakfast and something to drink.

[9:24A] I had old "Important" updates still waiting to be installed, and SP1 would not install (or even show up in Windows Update) until this was completed, per their documentation.

[9:29A] Began the installation of KB937287 Build 6001.17030

One thing I notice while I'm here are the various shirts I see the Microsoft employees wearing. Quite a few have a "Windows Vista Rocks!" shirt on while this one guy has one that says "msft: microsoft sponsored free t-shirt".


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