Tag Archives: microsoft-windows-vista

Do I Recommend Vista for Christmas?

LordKelvin asks:

Chris, I have been an XP user for some time now, and I am thinking of upgrading to Vista (mostly because it has DirectX10). However, I have also heard rumors that it’s UI stinks, and that it has many issues. What is your opinion on what I should do, and do you know any other way to get DX 10? Thanks for reading.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it makes you feel any better, Jeb asked me the same question earlier today:

Hi Chris, I just found your chat room today for the first time. I wanted to know about vista. Through my school, I have the opportunity to download Vista Business and Vista Business 64bit. Do you recommend either over XP? I know Vista has many problems right now, however, Iā€™m dying to play Halo 2, but very unwilling to buy a console to do it. (I love the keyboard and mouse setup.)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it makes you feel any better, Xenopax asked me the same question earlier today:

I’ve got a couple of question’s yesterday I was looking at download.Com’s Top Downloaded and I say that AVG Free was the top Anti Virus Program so I was just wondering what Anti Virus do you use?My other question is should I upgrade to vista I heard some good things and bad things about vista but I was just wondering should I upgrade now or wait tell ever thing gets fixed?

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it makes you feel any better, Bob sent me a barely-intelligible question earlier today:

im gona get the 8800gt then but which one alpha dog, zotac 512 amp, msi, xfx……. i installed vista home premium 64 bit yesterday but after installing the driver for my x850xt the screen turned black and didnt change so i restared my pc several times but still no luck so i called an expert in who reformatted my hdd then reinstalled vista it is all good now as i have not installed any drivers. When i buy the 8800gt and plug it in and install the drivers do you think the same problem will hapen????

If it’s broke, don’t use it. If it makes you feel any better, I sang this song earlier today:

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.

Another Inconvenient Truth?

The headline for this post was not written by me, but Scott Graham:

Windows Vista? What more can I say, I personally have had (in the past) a few speed-bumps along the way but not much to “rant” about. Friends and family on the other hand, not so good. Blue screen of death, “do you want to open this, do you want to do that?” it feels like Vista is a letdown and them problems seem to be dominating the consumer’s choice over whether or not to purchase the OS. Only a week before the release of Leopard (OS X) did I receive an email regarding a move from a Window’s power-user to Mac simply because of Windows Vista. Now of course with the release of Leopard I now couldn’t recommend a Mac more but should Windows power-users consider a move to Mac before looking at Windows alternatives?

Should they? Hell yes. Do they? Hell no.

This morning, I finally had a reason to use the Windows DVD Maker for a project (Spike TV wants to use some of my wacky YouTube videos for one of their shows). The experience with this particular Vista program was impressively simple – up until the point where I went to burn the DVD. 4.8% into the process, I received a generic dialog claiming that “An error occurred when burning the DVD.” No word on what caused this error, or how to fix it.

The process in iDVD was a bit more involved, but at least it worked for me in the end (and let it be known that iDVD is slightly more complicated, but not overwhelming). I could’ve downloaded DVD Styler, as recommended to me by someone in the chat room, but I’m guessing that most users would stick with what ships on their computer OOTB.

It would seem whilst some stick with Vista despite the bumpy ride, some have been polluted with the thought that Windows is a Vista territory – end of. This is simply not true, even with the pending removal on XP sales at the end of this year in my opinion people should think before they take that leap to another platform – after all isn’t a Ā£30 OEM copy of XP more suitable than a Ā£1200 Mac, after all most of the people who have came to me with this problem do little more than basic web-surfing and the occasional game or photo sharing etc.

Depends on how tired you are of waiting for Godot.

I want all of you Vista users to do this for me: fire up Windows Media Player 11 right now. For some of us, the URGE graphic looks wonky. URGE is no longer URGE, but Rhapsody – and the Windows Media Player team hasn’t bothered to update the client since this service change, and (consequently) the title bar of the Windows Media Player looks like ass for some of us. No word on when this is going to be updated. No word on why Windows Media Player 11 still launches on some Windows XP computers with white pixels in the upper corners, either. Feedback I submitted through the official channels as a WMP beta tester (and former Microsoft MVP) was routinely dismissed. Feh.

In my opinion people should instead of simply being told “what is wrong” with Vista should be told what the alternatives are (e.g. XP) before they jump in the deep end. What do you think to what I believe is an ever-growing “myth” that Windows is becoming completely Vista territory and should as a result users having issues (whilst Leopard remains a superb OS) should take this giant leap to an entirely new environment over a few driver problems that may well be a thing of the past after the pending release of SP1?

Rinse and repeat. In the time that it’s taken Microsoft to get from XP to Vista, Apple has released 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, and now 10.5. With each release, the OS X core gets a little bit better. Knowing that all software has bugs, Apple has also released incremental patches with frequency – rather than scheduling massive update roll-ups (“Service Packs”) to their customer base. Windows users are typically made to hunt down patches from an unweildy Knowkeldge Base (and in some cases, request the patch from Microsoft before they can download it).

“What is wrong” is less about Vista itself, and more about the corporate decisions that gave you Vista – and will potentially give you “Windows 7” in 2009. It’s coming from the same company, folks. And if you’re ready to call me a Micorosft basher, take a step back. I like many things that Microsoft produces.

Xbox 360 is pure awesomeness at its core – and if it didn’t have the Microsoft brand stamped upon it, I’d have no idea it came from the same company. Maybe the Windows, Office, Mobile, and Zune divisions need to take a page from the Xbox book? Scratch that. They need to take the Xbox book, period.

P.S:.May I also just say another big thank you for your videos regarding Macs and in particular OS X, it has really inspired had me to go out and get the MacBook Pro which should be here anytime soon (I hope).

Be prepared to get attacked for that decision, as well as to face a completely different set of problems.

Another Windows Vista Speed Tweak?

“TheDub” keeps coming up with suggestions for making Vista snappier. Far be it from me to keep his findings a secret.

I thought I would mention another thing. You will not believe me when I tell you that I have gotten Windows Vista performance similar if not the same or faster than Windows XP. Both on battery and off.

What are your thoughts on “Superfetch” technology because along with Desktop Search this was the other performance hitter. Upon disabling this service… Vista is MUCH faster when I shut the lid. Vista is sleeping within a second or two, compared to when Superfetch and Desktop Search were enabled.

Is this another one of those ‘Whoa’ not ‘Wow’ features in Vista? I know its supposed to improve system performance by tracking your usage habits and pre-loading stuff into memory that it thinks you are going to use. Well, aside from Firefox and Thunderbird, I rarely do the same thing every day at the same time – so it was really a “bog down” for me. My physical memory free in the device manager on windows boot is now 600mb out of 2gb… but it also says that 800mb is cached. Before when Superfetch was on,.free physical memory free was 6-10mb and like 1.5gb was cached…

I have no idea whether Superfetch is helping on systems with fast HDs, but laptop HDs are not normally super fast. Disabling Superfetch.. man, it helped a lot… i mean a lot… its as fast (or faster) than XP was on this same laptop now… I’m happy! The only thing that is slow as far as Vista performance for me now is file copying / moving and deleting… I pray to the Microsoft gods nightly hoping that they will fix this issue…

Vista BSOD

Ya know, I’ve gotta be doing something wrong. Windows Vista can’t be this bad. Can it? Seriously, I’m not trying to pull punches when I point out radical design flaws and blatant usability oversights.

For those of you still wondering if Windows Vista is any better than Windows XP, claiming that it’s not problematic in the slightest, or thinking that XP was equally as troublesome in its infancy… I offer the following screen shots.

Apparently, my machine BSOD’ed earlier – with the chat room finding out about the crash hours before I did (as they saw it unfold live from afar while I was watching a movie with Ponzi). After clicking through the all-too-familiar “Windows has recovered from a serious error” dialog, I was passed directly to this one:

Vista Exhibit 1

And I quote: “The problem was caused by Windows Vista.” I clicked the green link (why is it green and not blue like other hyperlinks throughout… oh, nevermind). A few seconds later, I was downloading and installing the patch as directed. Almost:

Vista Exhibit 1 (2)

Might I suggest a few alternative responses to not being able to install something you prompted me to install?

  1. No soup for you
  2. Talk to the hand
  3. Go play Hold ‘Em Instead
  4. Someone set you up the bomb
  5. Please don’t tell anyone
  6. Hasta la Vista
  7. This isn’t a COM Surrogate Error
  8. PC LOAD LETTER
  9. I’m pining for the fjords
  10. But I was going into Toshi Station to pick up some power converters!

To add insult to injury, Windows Vista then connected to FBI.gov, downloaded an old family photo that should’ve been lost in a fire that never happened, and set it as my desktop wallpaper in tiled mode with the ‘Hot Dog’ color scheme:

That's '70s Geek

Cease and Desist

It seems that both Jake and I are now officially members of the prestigious “Cease and Desist Letter” club. We are not saddened by this turn of events, as it was wholly expected – and neither of us had ever received a “Cease and Desist Letter” before. We would much rather have received a printed form to print out and hang on our walls for posterity, but the email from Microsoft to remove the Windows Vista BitTorrent tracker will have to suffice. My question is: does the Windows User community care, either way? Should we have even bothered to do it in the first place?

Windows Vista: Download vs. DVD

A few minutes ago, in an online group chat, Microsoft Windows Featured Community leaders received the following stream of information regarding the number of sanctioned downloads for Windows Vista Beta 2. This report comes directly from Microsoft’s own Aaron Coldiron:

Yes, you can immediately publish what I’m about to tell you. You are literally the first to hear this – but I probably won’t be able to satisfy all your appetite for questions. šŸ˜‰ I wanted to update you on downloads for the Windows Vista Beta 2. Demand for Beta 2 has been huge – which we expected. But, we are hitting ceilings on bandwidth. Right now we are serving out product keys 10x faster than we can serve the downloads. Already this is the biggest software download event in history. There’s two points I want to give you:

  1. We are pumping out bits as fast as we can. If we pushed out bits any faster there would be a measurable impact for the Internet. So, we are literally saying that if we increased our bandwidth any further there’s a possibility of taking down the Internet – people might have problems with World Cup viewing, etc. That would [sic] be bad. So, it isn’t that we weren’t anticipating demand – we were and are – it is that we are at the threshold of what the Internet can bear.
  2. We want to encourage people who can wait to order the DVD. The DVD guarantees you RC1 upgrade (as long as you activate). DVDs will take about 1 – 4 weeks to arrive depending where in the world you live. And, I want to emphasize that we aren’t making money on the DVDs. We are just charging for cost of goods and shipping. Along with that – people who have PID keys may have a wait on their hands to get the download. This could be several days to even up to a week or more in some cases. That speaks to why ordering the DVD might be a good option. People who already have PID keys and want to get the DVD just need to go back to the GetReady site and go through the process there. They will get a new PID key.

When I asked why they couldn’t just seed it as a torrent (BitTorrent), Aaron responded:

There are legal and privacy issues which unfortunately make that not an option for Microsoft to officially sponsor a BitTorrent. I really wish we could do it, but we can’t. If someone [seeds or downloads a torrent] we can’t guarantee that they’ve got an unaltered copy, etc.

Even though Microsoft can’t sanction the seeding of a Windows Vista Beta 2 torrent, they’re probably not going to do anything to stop it from happening. I do hope that someone will officially produce an MD5 hash so that users can compare checksums! Aaron continued:

Stats – right now we don’t have any specific stats to share. Let me just say that demand is on the upper ends of our projections. We’ve been pretty clear in all our messaging that this beta will be limited. Limited in the # of people. I can’t give you any direction on this at this time. So, no comment.

The Internet needs to decide: Windows Vista Beta 2 or World Cup? šŸ™‚