WD's Raptor And Nvidia G80 Don't Play Nice With Vista

The Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD is one of the fastest hard drives in the world, and Nvidia's G80 among the top graphics cards on the market. They are also among of the pieces of kit which we have discovered do not run well with Windows Vista at all.

If your computer runs Windows Vista and contains an Nvidia graphics card or one of Western Digital's speedy Raptor drives then you can suddenly find that certain options refuse to work, and even simple printing jobs can provoke cryptic and misleading error messages. So, we went on the hunt to find out what is wrong and hopefully solve - and prevent - these problems.

After a full week of testing, we finally located the culprits and worked out a solution. We can strike Vista from the list of suspects, since this problem didn't occur with any other hardware components in all our testing.

For our performance tests, i.e. whenever benchmarks are run, we always use the fastest system components available. Since Western Digital's Raptor WD1500ADFD is considered one of the fastest desktop hard drives available in the market today, it has been our drive of choice for the past year or so. Sadly, it is also one of the two offenders in the scenario we are looking at today.

Western Digital's WD1500ADFD spins at 10,000 rpm

Windows Vista in the Test Lab

Practically all of the editors at Tom's Hardware Guide's Munich labs have made the switch to Windows Vista, using it as their sole operating system - both at home and in the office. There is no reason not to use Microsoft's youngest OS, as it can run all of the applications we need as well our benchmark programs without a problem.

However, during our migration to Windows Vista, we encountered a problem. After installing the OS (Windows Vista Enterprise Edition 32 Bit, English), the chipset drivers and the graphics drivers, several errors suddenly appeared. For example, we could no longer open the control panel, the Computer properties or the Personalize Desktop menu. The printer went AWOL as well. This problem does not occur every time the system starts up. Nonetheless, it does appear sporadically after a period of uptime. Some of our readers will undoubtedly be familiar with this phenomenon, although localizing its cause can prove very difficult.