How Not to Install Windows Vista SP1 Beta

I thought I would have been fine with installing the first Windows Vista SP1 beta last night (after having been invited and accepted into the feedback program). Guess what?

Everything seemed fine after the first three installer-induced reboots, but then I came to see a black screen of… nothing but my mouse cursor. No matter what I tried, I could not move past this snag.

I tried rebooting in Safe Mode a few times – and the first few times, it showed me that SP1 was installing itself again. Eventually, however, I could only boot into Safe Mode for a second before the PC would restart itself.

So, I throw in my Vista install CD and hop into the Recovery Console. It shows me that I have three restore points for this particular installation of Windows Vista (x86). However, it cannot restore the volume because… Vista is too retarded to help me.

So, I need to clear space on this volume (obviously). I boot into my x64 installation of Vista and discover that it was never activated. Grumph! Well, okay… so it’s back to a fully-functional Windows XP I go – if only to clear some excess space on the Vista x86 partition.

After wiping out a few non-essential (and rather large) files, I went back into the Recovery Console only to discover that my restore points had completely vanished. Awesome. Pure awesome.

Back to Windows XP… period, end of story.

In the middle of this ordeal, I received an email from Wendy Kaufman, an NPR correspondent who wants to interview me on the subject of Vista. Her timing is impeccable.