First, a correction: HP includes the Vista system disks in a special partition and expects you to make your own recovery disks. I still think people deserve a real disk, but I doubt I'll get anywhere with that. I'll leave that battle until after I fix the sound and networking problems with this system.
Another reboot to integrate some downloaded software led to a catfight between the three month trial version of Norton Internet Security and the Vista firewall. I let Norton take over for now.
Still no sound, and no sound devices in Device Manager. Another reboot, and this time I stopped the process to check the BIOS details. Aha, the sound device was disabled. I enabled it and continued to boot.
Still no sound yet again, but I clicked on HP's Advisor taking up the top part of my screen and, seven clicks later, I had a list of hardware device drivers to reinstall. I clicked on the Realtek High Definition Audio option, installed the driver, rebooted, and had sound. Finally.
On the way to sound happiness I detoured through the â€œrefix my monitor resolution settingsâ€ land, which appeared out of nowhere. Somehow, installing the sound driver flipped my graphics into 800x600 display mode. I reset the display properties, and so far it hasn't screwed up again. Yet.
Too bad I didn't have a network connection any longer. More on that next time. First let me address the really, really stupid User Access Control issue.
Microsoft doesn't understand the reason User Access Control works in Linux systems but not in Vista because they're not in the South. They use the UAC to verify people are doing what they mean to do. That's not how people in the real world do it. I'm in Texas, and I bet fully half the accidental deaths are prefaced by some idiot yelling, â€œhey, guys, watch this.â€
If a UAC popped up in the air in front of them, asking them to question whether they really want to, say, jump off the building holding a sheet to make a parachute, they'd say â€œhell, yeahâ€ and jump. If a Linux version required our idiot friend to provide a password, somewhat like a Breathalyzer machine in some cars before the engine would start, there would be one less funeral in Texas three days later. Stopping people who aren't authorized (or thinking clearly) from making system adjustments works great in Linux, but stinks in Vista, because the UAC doesn't actually stop an idiot from being an idiot. Yes, that's a hard job, but it can be done. Just not by other idiots, like idiot vice presidents in huge software companies.