Solving Vista Problems Sometimes Creates More Problems

Bill Weber has been watching the YouTube videos for a while – and he felt compelled to write me about his experiences with Windows Vista:

Thanks for all the fun moments from the Help-a-Thons and providing YouTube fodder for years to come. Some moments are truly memorable, and I don’t just mean those where you are answering questions! *laughs* I’m glad you’re still continuing to help people with their technical issues.

While I’m on the subject, I wanted to comment on Windows Vista. Unfortunately, I bought a new computer instead of building my own, and it had Vista Home Premium installed. After using XP and giving Microsoft enough time (so I thought) to work out the kinks in the new OS, I thought I’d try it. Boy… is it fragile! When faced with a bad program installation or conflicting software issues, it just turned into “Vista Whack-a-Mole.” Solve one problem, three more crop up. I had the infamous “no network – server execution failed” error. This causes a red “X” over the network icon in the system tray, although connecting to the internet proceeds more-or-less normally. Apparently people have been experiencing this issue since February, and attibute it to AOL / AIM software. I use AOL proper, and had few problems with it in XP.

Microsoft has never responded to this issue, and the only workaround users could come up with was to elevate localhost or localgroup (depending on the Vista version) to the Administrators group, causing a huge security hole. In addition to this problem, I was experiencing hangs on shutdown, three minute waits for the “available disks” box to refresh in System Restore, and failure to create restore points about 70% of the time. Indeed, I couldn’t even install the drivers and software for my SoundBlaster audio card, presumably because every time Vista attempted to create a restore point, it would hang, and wait until the restore point timed out before proceeding, causing installation to take HOURS.

In attempting to fix these problems, I also lost my TV card…i.e., Windows Media Center would not record or show “live TV” stating “your card could not be found/is not installed.” No amount of reinstalling drivers or anything else would fix that, which was the last straw. I re-installed Vista from scratch, and haven’t restored all my programs yet. I’m most fearful of installing Norton Systemworks and the ZoneAlarm suite. I know Symantec states these programs will not work together, but if one installs ZoneAlarm AFTER Systemworks, they’ll work side-by-side with little problem…at least they DID for a while.

Personally, I like the ZoneAlarm software, having used it for years, and also like the WinDoctor element of Systemworks. I don’t know of any other registry checker that allows the user to MANUALLY choose (or just skip) a registry “fix.” I apologize if this is the wrong method of asking a question (and I don’t really expect an e-mailed reply; I’m just throwing it out there) but: regarding Vista, what registry checker and antivirus program combination would you recommend? I was never thrilled with Norton AV, so I really didn’t want to go completely with Symantec. I’m just sorry I spent money on two programs that are incompatible with each other. I downloaded Systemworks, so it’s not like I can just run the Symantec products from disk without installing them. Symantec also invades every area of your OS with their product (LiveUpdate services, startup config entries); I was looking for something a bit less invasive that doesn’t require a special program to “clean up” their sloppy uninstall, which Symantec is well-noted for.

So… Vista stinks and is very fragile, and I don’t think Microsoft is supporting it as they should. I’m backing up every time I install any major program, which is a pain and TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE all because of a flawed OS. I’d like to continue to use ZoneAlarm suite as my antivirus and anti-spyware program, but need a good registry checker which allows a lot of MANUAL control over the “errors” it finds. Too many just “fix” supposed registry errors willy-nilly, causing more problems than leaving said items alone, especially with Vista. If you reply, just a few words and/or links would be sufficient. Thanks so much for your time.

26 thoughts on “Solving Vista Problems Sometimes Creates More Problems”

  1. Wow, so someone installing programs with known and published problems keeps having issues. I’m amazed. How about using Vista without tons of antispyware crap programs and attempting to modify the registry manually?

    Believe it or not, but refraining from downloading hacked programs, using the default firewall, and paying attention to the UAC and you don’t need norton or any of that crap. At least I’ve been virus free on vista for nearly a year now.

    Chris, I don’t understand why you use these emails from downright novice users in your quest to bash on Vista.

  2. I have said this before. I guess I must be lucky, I have had two laptops at work, both with Vista and using Vista as I type now, I have not have one of the problems this user mentions. I have XP and a Macbook Pro with Leopard, and out of the three so far, XP is the one I have had problems with crashes.

    Vista came on the two laptops and has been excellent, no crashes, no hardware problems. If I was that user, I would have had the laptop back asking for a repair,, because that was a lemon.

    Dont use Norton, its a system hog on any computer, Symantec the same. Look at the archives here and go for the free programs like AVG, etc. I have friends running Vista with the same good results

  3. yea i also bought a laptop with vista….

    deleted it after 2 weeks.

    now i only use ubuntu 7.10 and windows xp for some games.

    very happy now

    i must give the ubuntu / gnome community credit on this release, the stability, usability and support is so much better than previous releases.

  4. If you’re running two software suites side by side that are known to be incompatible, think it very unfair to blame your troubles on Vista until you at least do enough troubleshooting to rule the dueling suites out as culprits. Also, why in the blazes are you, in this day and age, still runing AOL?! It’s problems with the Windows OS are legendary! Ditch AOL and Symantec and see what happens. (I wouldn’t touch software from either one of them, personally). Running Vista Ultimate on a Gateway GM5424 since May with minimal problems. Vista has done equally well on my Sony Vaio Laptop since February.

  5. AOL – he should be forced to give his computer back!

    This is fairly typical of the type of problems you run into when trying to run older software. Software that isn’t aware of how you are supposed to run and install on Vista. You might be able to get it running with some work if there are no other alternatives, but you would be better off looking for a Vistafied solution.

    Bill said that he waited for MS to get the bugs out. How are they supposed to fix AOL and Symantec? I love how the software vendors all sit around and allow MS to be blamed for their laziness.

    I think MS has done a poor job of marketing Vista. They should sell it as a completely new OS, not an upgrade like we are used to. They have done so many things right with this OS, things that we have clamored and whined for, but we still complain that things are different and some old things don’t work.

    Maybe he should just switch to the Mac where everything works perfectly and he can find comfort in the womb of the Mac Community.

  6. I have some of the Vista issues mentioned, please keep me boned up on any future fixes.

    Keep up the good work!!

    John

  7. I have had Vista on a new Dell XPS 410 since February and I absolutely would not go back to XP if given the choice. This OS has not crashed once since I’ve had it and I use it every day all day, it boots fast and has not given me any problems in contrast to the XP on my old machine. The XP crashed all the time along with freezes and hangs, mail problems, printer problems, software problems and connection problems. It got to the point where I couldn’t stand it and could hardly wait to try Vista on a new machine to see if it would be better and it is! This comes from a 70 year old Great Grandmother who has been using a PC since 2001.

  8. These guys who respond to people who are having problems with Vista by saying, “I’ve used Vista for a year without any problems.” are, as far as I’m concerned being less than honest. I had Vista on my new Acer Aspire 5100 for about a month. I switched back to XP and all my problems are solved. I am using XP and Ubuntu 7.10 side by side and am very happy.

    With Vista, I could not even download and install updates without getting the message, “Updates failed to install”. I would try over and over again – NO LUCK! Some of my software would just quit working without so much as a warning message. I tried several times to install Office 2003, with no success. I contacted MS, but they never were able to solve any of my problems, and believe me, there were more than what I have just mentioned.

    On start up my duals were both pegged 100% for the three minutes it took for everything to load. After loading they were 45% and 55% and I have no idea what was going on in the background. Transferring files was a nightmare. It took forever.

    I am pretty much fed up with MS and plan to divorce her as soon as I get up to speed on Linux. A company that continually spies on its customers is a no-no. A company that has brow beat, intimadated and forced software manufacturers, computer manufacturers and makers of of hardware and firmware to bow to its demands is pretty rediculous.

    I retired from Duke Power Company and a friend of mine that worked there stated they had switched to Vista on a few of their computers but were having so much touble, they called a halt to the proceeding. Is MS not concerned that businesses are not switching ot Vista? When they are forced to do so, the doo-doo will surely hit the fans and maybe Bill Gates will finally recall this defective piece of junk.

  9. I really like Uniblue’s RegistryBooster2 for keeping the registry up to snuff. I’ve been running Vista Premium since it came out and I’ve had very few problems. Norton is too resource hungry for me.

  10. I have been running Vista Business full bore on a 3 year old computer I built, 754 ecs motherboard, sempron64 3000, 80 gb wd hd, soundblaster live soundcard, invida geforce 6200 256mb agp vidoe card, avg free, windows defender, pc tools free firewall, spyblaster, and I run scan disc once in awhile and use ccleaner with virtually no problems with drivers, instalations or anything, actually much less than i had with xp. But in an answer to your question, if you are using crud like aol, systems suite windoctor and other symantec/norton crud you really have no business messing with the registry. I suppose if you put a Chrysler engine with a
    General Motors fuel and ignition system and a Ford transmission in a Mazda you would probably blame Mazda for your problems.

  11. Oscar said:

    “These guys who respond to people who are having problems with Vista by saying, “I’ve used Vista for a year without any problems.” are, as far as I’m concerned being less than honest. ”

    And those of who really are using Vista without any problems think people who can’t get Vista to work just don’t know what they’re doing. Just because you don’t know how to install/use Vista doesn’t mean Vista is the problem. Vista is not to blame when you try to run it on incompatible hardware or when you try to install incompatible software on it.

    Rick

  12. Vista Ugh I found a good place for it in the trash can thats where mine would be If I hadn’t paid so much for it Xp rocks,,,,,,

  13. For those who some how seem to think that there is no way a person could not have any problems with Vista, try to keep in mind that your experience isn’t necessarily going to be the same as someone else’s.

    My own Vista experience so far hasn’t been too bad. A few annoyances, and a what not here and there (and a reinstall due to an incompatible antivirus product), but nothing that has turned me off the operating system so far. Having said that, I’m sure there have been and still are any number of issues with Vista itself, and also with a great deal of software that is available to be run on Vista, regardless of whether it is ‘compatible’.

    The Vista experience is going to run from ‘perfect, no issues’, through to ‘I think I would rather be dead that use this operating system’, and everything in between those two extremes. The can also be applied to people using OS X or Linux.

    The fact is there are so many potential variables involved, including the people using the operating system and software, that making any kind of blanket statement means making a number of assumptions, most of which probably shouldn’t be made.

  14. i was a vista user as of two months ago after i decided to change operating systems fro xp to vista home edition everything seemed fine at first until it started to slow down and windows explorer window came up saying it had to close due to a problem.i couldn’t bring my picture,music or documents up at all. decided to take my machine to a service tech here in the area where i live so he might could find the problem but ended up with a operating system that became unresponsive and was a pain to remove the tech tried to reinstall xp but the machine wouldn’t do it .the machine is a dell 2400 and he told me to contact dell but dell couldn’t come up with a answer . so in the end i ended up going with a different os that the tech gave me which was a Linux os Ubuntu and kubuntu 2 disks and told me to decide which one to use and my machine has been running like new ever since.so in the case of vista and Microsoft better off saving your money and get something that will work in the long run.

  15. What is the truth about Vista? I have been reading the Pros & Cons and it is very confusing. I’m thinking of getting a new OS but have my doubts about which way to go? I have windows Me right now.

  16. I’m thinking about going to Windows Vista just to experience all of the problems I’ve read about it. XP’s stability has really been a very boring experience for me. I’ve actually thought of going back to the good old days of Windows 98 incessant troubleshooting problems. Maybe going forward to Windows Vista would be the better solution. Hmmmm whadayathink?

  17. Well, it’s 2008 now and Vista isn’t straightened out, not by a long chalk. Only a fool would say it doesn’t look pretty, but s that really enough? What’s the use of clever glass borders and shadowed windows if it takes 5-8 minutes to load a ton of back ground progs in before you can get there? Microsoft still even ‘advises’ users experiencing RAM problems to switch it off.

    I wouldn’t go back to XP because that OS had problems too, but I expected these (and more) NOT to recure in Vista, which is getting on for two years old .

    The best thing to come from purchasing a new machine with Vista, was that I installed Linux (Compiz Fusion) on my laptop. The fantastic GUI whacks VIsta’s and uses a fraction of the resources. It starts in about 7-10 seconds, purrs like a cat and shuts down in 10 seconds. THAT’S what a modern OS should be doing by now, not struggling to perform simple tasks to the point of freezing.

  18. Folks many vista errors can be corrected just by adding more memory.
    Many of my customers go for the cheap computers.
    They don’t have enough memory.
    It takes 1 gig just to run vista.
    Then you need memory to run your programs correctly.
    I recommend a min. of 3 gig for running vista.
    You will be surprised at the results.
    Lockups will go away, pauses, errors, and many other annoying things will clear up.
    Now I am not saying memory will fix every thing.
    It will how ever go along way toward getting your Vista to run
    correctly.

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  20. Robin, if you are referring to “Spybot” search and destroy, it’s been around for quite a few years now… lololo.

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