Vista Rants


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http://live.pirillo.com/ – Last night, I tried to install a Beta of SP1 for Vista. To put it mildly, it didn’t go so well. Coincidentally, two viewers have written in to ask me how I feel about Vista.

Okay then. Here we go.

First and foremost, I do NOT base my opinion on Vista solely on the failed upgrade using the beta of SP1. That was just the second straw that broke the camel’s back. Yes, it’s beta code – but I’ve long contended that Vista itself is still very much acting like a beta. If you have watched any of my previous videos about Vista, you’ll see that I’ve had issues and concerns from the beginning. Why should you listen to my opinion? It’s not necessarily an opinion. It’s based on facts – and with plenty of supporting evidence.

So I install the service pack. The machine reboots a couple of times during the install… and suddenly I’m at a black screen, with nothing other than my mouse cursor on it. O-kayyyy. Reboot a couple of times. Nothing. Reboot into safe mode. Oh! That worked. Tried rebooting normally… black screen of nothing. Repeat this process several times.

Fine, whatever. Get out the Vista disc and go into the recovery console. Great! I can roll back to yesterday, before I began this mess. So, I tell the machine to do so! Uhm… what do you mean there is no space left on my HD to perform this operation? That’s not a Vista beta problem – that’s a Vista final shipping version problem.

Boot into XP, which was already residing on this machine. Delete some useless files to free up space. Go back into recovery console. Holy hell you’re kidding me!!!! Going into XP deleted all the restore points in Vista!

I am now left with a crippled and useless Vista. Did I reinstall it? Absolutely not. I am running Windows XP again now. Yes, I miss the look of Vista, and maybe the way the desktop is handled. But… XP is running. It’s faster. It WORKS!!

Do I recommend Windows Vista [for everyone]? Not a snowball’s chance in… I’m waiting on Apple to release Mac OS X Leopard. As far as I’m concerned at this point, Microsoft is taking a huge hit. The future of Windows, in my opinion, is inside a Virtual Machine or Boot Camp on a Mac. Understand, too, that I’m still in love with my Xbox 360 (and I think they’re doing amazing things with Popfly) – so this rant should not be taken as an all-out Microsoft-bashing diatribe.

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Thank you for all of your emails, videos, and comments. Let me address some of those now.

From the beginning, Vista has had issues. In many instances, we’re not talking minor problems. Driver incompatibility, hardware incompatibility, software not running, programs or the computer itself randomly crashing… all just the tip of the iceberg. For many people, the software incompatibility issue was a nightmare. They installed Vista, only to find a very long list of programs that simply would not work. For other people, they simply did not have the proper hardware to run Vista. Upgrading your hardware can be quite expensive, as you well know.

Some of the feedback I have received today has been phenomenal. It’s interesting to see what other people are saying… and finding it to be much of the same things, over and over again.

From schagg311:

The EXTREME lack of x64 driver support for a multitude of things. For example, I have a Belkin N1 wireless desktop card (F5D8001 v1.0). They (Belkin) tout their products as ‘vista compatible’ yet this is misleading because there are NO Vista 64-bit drivers for ANY of their products. Although I’m only concerned about the one I have. There are two things that really bother me about this.

  1. Vista was supposed to include so many drivers (native support) for a great many things but this apparently doesn’t include Vista x64. and
  2. )not only is it misleading for a company like Belkin to say they’re ‘vista compatible’ when that’s not completely true (false advertising anyone?) but for MS to allow companies to say that when it’s not entirely true is just as bad.

From PyroPictures:

Another minor irritation is that I have 2 MS Mouse 3000 input devices and both are Vista certified/approved/whatever. About twice a day Vista loses track of my input devices. I have 3 USB ports, so it’s not the port. I have 2 mice, so that’s not it either. I’m big on re-booting to maintain contiguous blocks of free memory but twice a day is a bit too much, particularly since I have 4 GB.

From Akula:

i bought vista home premium, my scanner, fax and printer do not work, my Ethernet wireless does not work and also i am having problems with my laser printer!

From hardasfeth:

upgraded to vista from XP nothing but problems mainly with drivers freezing or vista telling me not compatible when they are all vista approved drivers and programs.

Wait, back up. What’s that you said? You are having driver issues with Vista-approved drivers? You’re not alone, unfortunately. from Mark Kaelin:

Drivers seem to be the most pressing problem for Windows Vista right now. If you are lucky enough to have equipment and peripherals that have updated drivers or old drivers that don’t cause problems you are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. But for those of us with problem drivers, this is just not acceptable. Vista has been coming for five years – make the darn drivers for it already.

I have already blogged about the SP1 features, as written by Microsoft. My question is, why are these issues being resolved in a service pack? Many of these issues should have been addressed long before Vista was released. You knew this was coming for five years, Microsoft. Why release an operating system that truly wasn’t ready to be unleashed on much of the computing public? Larry Dignan made an excellent post surrounding Vista SP1. He says it best:

When you look at the sheer volume of additions / fixes / etc. in SP1, you’d be a dunce not to wait for it before pondering Vista. In some corners, the SP1 is an indictment of the first Vista, which you could argue wasn’t ready for prime time in the first place.

There you have it in a nutshell. THIS is why I’m fed up with Windows… and I’m not alone. Microsoft dropped the ball in a very big way when they released something they never should have. They left themselves wide open to losing a very large number of people. I stand by my earlier opinion… the future of Windows… at least in MY house… is likely to be inside of a Virtual Machine.

Every OS has its problems – OS X had problems when it started, too (as did Windows XP). But this is 2007, and consumers demand more from their experiences (and rightfully so). This is why Apple mindshare continues to expand… which is more an indication of Microsoft Windows failures than Apple’s successes, I believe. Are we supposed to sit idly by and wait… and wait… and continue to wait after we wait some more?

Sure. Whatever.

Let’s play the blame game, instead? Let’s blame the user, let’s blame the OEMs, let’s blame the hardware vendors, let’s bl… why does it matter who is to blame? At the end of the day, we’re still left wrestling with a cavalcade of quirks and a questionable future. We still get the runaround.

Microsoft can succeed with the next version of Windows, provided they…

  • Shove backwards compatibility for software into virtual machines.
  • Make those quality seals and “compatible” labels mean something FOR ONCE.
  • Come back to a single Windows SKU for consumers.
  • Hire a marketing team that understands the product they’re pitching.
  • Listen to their most passionate users instead of giving them the middle finger.
  • Abandon the notion that UI doesn’t matter.
  • Pay as much attention to average consumers as they do the enterprise market.

Ed Bott wanted less whining, and more complaining – but that line is incredibly fine. These issues aren’t petty, and our decisions aren’t always based on logic. Human beings are emotional, and it’s okay for them to be upset about being handed a product that… well, here’s what Microsoft claims Vista does:

The computer stops responding or restarts unexpectedly when you play video games or perform desktop operations.

Case closed.