My first impression of Windows Vista x64

(This post was imported from an earlier blog. It was first published in 2008.)

I recently built myself a new PC, and I decided I would try to install and use the 64-bit “x64” version of Vista. Long ago, I heard stories about how drivers were seriously lacking for Windows XP x64, and I was hoping the situation has changed for Vista.

It’s evident that some mainstream applications are starting to push the limits of a 32-bit address space. I think it’s time we start moving to 64-bit computing. As a software developer, I would like to be in the early majority. However, my mother can afford to wait a little longer!

So, how is it so far? I’m happy to report very few problems. I did purchase the new motherboard, CPU, and video card with x64 support in mind, which was a great start to having so few problems.

I also have some old devices that I want to continue to use, including an old HP psc 1210 printer/scanner/copier. It’s not a fantastic printer, but it does the job well and I don’t want to replace it if I don’t have to. I still have spare cartridges.

What concerned me at first about the printer is that when I visited the HP web site, there were no new drivers available for download. I typically interpret updated driver availability as meaning the manufacturer is “on top of things.” I was almost ready to say that HP ditched us psc 1210 owners. I am happy to report that’s not the case.

While I did not find a new driver, I did find an article mentioning that drivers for the psc 1210 were already included in Vista. “Aha!”, I thought, “There’s always a catch: I bet you the Vista built-in drivers only enable the printing functionality, and not the scanner!” After all, those silly manufacturers are always trying to obsolete our stuff! ;-)

Microsoft and/or HP proved me wrong. After plugging my printer into the USB2 port and installing absolutely no drivers myself, I am able to both print and scan. It just works!

Printing was obvious and easy to test. Scanning was a little less obvious, but easy as well. Here’s how:

In the Vista “Windows Photo Gallery”, the “File” menu has an option titled “Import from Camera or Scanner”. Choose that, then on the following dialog, select the HP psc 1210, and then click the “Import” button. On the next dialog, “New Scan”, there are familiar controls to preview, crop the scan area, choose colour / greyscale / black and white, select a resolution, and the target file format.

… So, while I am happy, there is at least one catch: The convenient “Scan” button on the printer itself no longer actually does anything. That button used to launch the scanning preview automatically. Instead, in order to scan with the psc 1210 in Vista, I’ll be following the process above. I can live with that.