Vista Home lacks the GUI to manage local groups which means the group membership of any user you create will be fixed at creation time. Not such a bad deal for most home environments but if you’re running Samurize, like me, it’s a problem if you want to gather and display performance statistics. It’s a problem that’s been discussed over in their forums for a while. While the GUI is absent, you can do it from the command-line.

NET LOCALGROUP "Performance Monitor Users" username /ADD

will do it. You need to run the command in administrative mode and the easiest way I’ve found to do that is to type “cmd” in the search box but, intead of hitting ENTER, hit SHIFT-ENTER. Respond Continue to the UAC prompt and the Dos-like box is running as a full Administrative user. And while you’re at it, check out all of the NET commands — NET /?.

(I’m going to post this over in the Samurize forums but I want to give you all a first-shot at it.)


Vista Recovery Strategies

Information Week does some pretty good articles and this week they came out with Vista Recovery Strategies. It discusses the included backup tool but the thing that I found interesting is the Vista Relibility Monitor (on page 7). It also makes reference to something that I’ve used over and over when I ran into the SVCHOST.EXE problem (see this Windows Secrets story): the system recovery options presented when you boot from the Vista CD/DVD (starts on page 5).

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Only 30 days before you must activate Vista? I don’t think so!

Another interesting story from, is this article which tells you how to extend your activation grace period from 30 days to up to 120 days. It seems that the slmgr command, when invoked with -rearm will give you another 30 days from the time you run it before you must activate. Go read the article for more details.

Only 30 days before you must activate Vista? I don’t think so! Read More »

Vista upgrade requires an installed version of Windows!

Microsoft has changed things with the upgrade versions of Windows Vista, When installing XP, you could insert a CD or DVD with Windows 98 or another upgradable Windows version on it. Not so with Vista! It requires you to have an upgradable Windows already installed on one of your disks. Now, I suppose you could install XP on a USB drive and carry it around with you or simply install XP first, before you install Vista but that’s really a pain. has published this article that tells you how to install Vista on a bare hard drive, and the author (Brian Livingston) has come up with a reasonable rationalization as to why this approach is OK. The process is a little funky in that you boot the DVD and go partway through an install and then use that partially installed copy as the version you’re upgrading from, but it sure looks like it’ll work. And, when you think about it, if you blow you hard disk and have to reinstall from scratch, how much sense does it make to first have to install XP in order to upgrade to Vista again?

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All Vista versions on one DVD

I was corresponnding with a friend (hi, Chad) about Vista and were remarking how not everyone knows that all versions of Vista for your platform are on the Vista DVD. For instance, the January Microsoft Action Pack shipment contains a DVD that’s labelled Vista Business and a license key for it. But if you don’t enter the license key during install, you’re presented with a menu which allows you to select the version you’ve purchased. And, like Windows XP, you’re allowed to run the version for 30 days before it requires you to activate it. But, I’ve gotta think that, by virtue of how the installer and activation works, it’s perfectly OK to install Ultimate, for instance, to see if you like it before you plunk down your money for an upgrade (or the full version).

So, if you’ve got a DVD with Windows Vista on it, go through the installer and see what you’ve got. Note that the DVDs are bootable so you can run the installer by running setup from Windows or by booting the DVD. In both cases you’re prompted for your license key and in both cases if you don’t enter it, you can select the version you want to install. Note that this is platform dependent, though. The 64-bit versions are not packaged with the 32-bit versions and vice-versa.

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