Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fighting Vista

After years of having to work with used laptops I was astound to hear that my Employer is going to give me a brand new HP – 6710b laptop. I was eager to check out how my productivity increased with the new machine. My working environment usually consists of 2 instances of Visual Studio 2005, MS Office word/excel, IIS 5.1 , 2 DB Servers (SQL and Faircom), Around 10 tabs of Firefox, 2 windows of IE, Skype and MSN, Outlook, Virus Guard and a few other utility programs on a Win XP SP2 box. My problem was that whenever I’m furiously in to a debugging session I end up with insufficient CPU cycles for my crucial programs. So naturally this ‘state-of-the-art’ laptop had brought me new hope.

As soon as I got my hands on the new laptop I was impressed with its look and hardware features. But my main concern was the fact that the new box is running on Vista Business. What I’ve heard about Vista is not so great. Well, I thought I shouldn’t trust on rumors and should try it my self.

First thing was to get all the software installed. One thing I noticed during installations is that you better run the installer under admin rights. (Choose ‘Run as Administrator’ from the right click menu). The behavior in Vista is such that although your logged in user could be belonging to Local admin group you will have to explicitly mention to the OS that you actually need Admin rights whenever you execute something.

From the point of getting everything installed it took me nearly 4 -5 days of spare time to get my development environment to a workable state. Main challenges were with getting IIS 7 to run my web applications and enabling them to be debuggable with Visual Studio. Listed below are some of the steps I did while achieving this feat. Please note that I plan to explore more in to why Vista has these restrictions and on the way discover a few more things to share on the blog.

1. Turn on IIS related features/requirements

(I actually disabled UAC which in turn got rid of the annoying gray screen asking me ‘Are you really sure?’ every time I try to do start something productive)

2. Turn on Windows Authentication

For the web application you are trying to run you need to enable Windows Authentication. Just select the web application in inetmgr and go to security > authentication and enable it.

3. Using the Classic .Net Application Pool

One of my friends suggested to use Classic .Net application pool and I did configure my application to run on that. But I will do more reading and testing to find out why or why not we can run our applications in Default App Pool in IIS 7.

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