Windows Vista Help

Not an hour goes by when I don’t see a twitter, email, forum post, etc. chock full of Vista complaints. Reporters, bloggers, regular users, the galactic senate – they’re not just disappointed, they’re disillusioned.

As previously asserted, I moved back to XP the other day. Productivity: restored! Classic mode was usable again (but only after installing XPize). Microsoft Office 2007 ran well enough. All my old drivers were wicked wonderful – including SLI support from NVIDIA. After a couple days of working in XP, I realized: I missed Vista. XP’s Windows Explorer is faster, the drivers in XP “just work,” and none of Vista’s kinks are present in XP – but Vista’s DWM (Desktop Window Manager) . I had to find a way to make Vista work again with all my current USB hardware and non-compliant drivers – I had to find a way to fix my problems. Moreover, I had to find a way to make Vista work for most of these people – neophytes and experts alike.

“Great,” I thought. “Now everybody’s going to claim that all of this was a publicity stunt.”

Nothing could be further from the truth – because I’m still quite interested in doing 30 days on OS X with Windows running in virtualization. I’m just certain that there was a better path for Microsoft to take in this entire XP-to-Vista transition. Moving back to XP from Vista was painful, so… hats off to whatever you sprinkled throughout this thing to make me want to come back to it.

Indeed, I have quite a modest proposal:

Microsoft needs to license a stripped-down, slightly-modified version of VMWare 6.0 running Windows XP N – making this available for free through Windows Update for all activated users of Windows Vista. Yes, VMWare 6.0 is still in beta – but you can’t sit there and honestly tell me that beta software is any better or any worse than the bugs we’re all discovering in Windows Vista.

So, why recommend VMWare’s software over Microsoft’s own Virtual PC? That answer is exceedingly simple: VMWare is an amazingly robust virtualization tool – and it’s the only one that supports USB 2.0 device passthroughs. Virtual USB device support *ALONE* is makes it possible to run your XP-happy hardware on Windows Vista. Virtual PC is an inferior product by comparison – no arguments, my friends.

VMware Workstation 6.0 beta build 39849 is free for anybody to download, install, and use. I didn’t believe it would be possible – but my scanner actually works perfectly in Windows Vista… through a hardware-accelerated XP virtual machine. My FAX driver works wonderfully… through VMWare running Windows XP on top of Vista.

Apple gave its users “Classic mode” in OS X to give them some amount of backwards compatibility – and Microsoft did no such thing. In Vista (and earlier versions of Windows), you can right-click an executable and run it in “compatibility mode,” but this feature is (a) not foolproof, and (b) buried so that the average user will never find it. It’s the latter decision which brings my blood to a boil.

Microsoft: it’s not too late to save your users from further frustration. The only lucid proposal is the near-immediate deployment of a limited edition VMWare virtual machine with “N” pre-installed and ready to go. And don’t tell the world that you’re working on a new version of Virtual PC. Fact of the matter is: I got it working today, and I really believe that you can make it equally as simple for novices to do, too.

I’m not sure it’s possible to pull a “Convergence” (ala Parallels) user experience – it’s probably too late for that, sadly. But you can give them some resolution to problems they’re experiencing in Vista. Your influencer community is bleeding, externally AND internally. How long is it going to take for someone with some amount of power to wake up and shake up? Politics? Empower people who have great ideas, great voices, great perspective, general technology agnosticism – and, most importantly, people who have NOTHING to lose. You need to find an internal and external connector (what you almost had in Scoble).

I’ve got Excel installed on my computer – as does Ponzi, as does one of our new hires. But I recommended Google spreadsheets for a certain project. Why?! Excel is an amazing product with amazing features. But it doesn’t “work” in today’s world. It’s not about the software anymore – it’s about the people who are using the software, and despite all your R&D – these are the very same people you’ve effectively abandoned by not providing a smooth transition between XP and Vista. Remember me? Yeah, I dumped Vista because I didn’t think there was any other way of getting things done the way I wanted (and needed) to get them done.

You’re spending HOW MUCH MONEY on ADVERTISING an OPERATING SYSTEM that PEOPLE ARE HAVING MAJOR ISSUES WITH. Why NOT spend a FRACTION of that BUDGET on making SOME KIND OF SOLUTION AVAILABLE. I’ve spelled it out for you – it’s perfectly clear. Convenient? No. Affordable? Probably not. But who are you serving if you’re not serving your customers? You can’t count on all of your vendors, either – you have to take matters into your own hands, and don’t tell me you can’t do it. Microsoft *CAN* do anything.

Please, someone figure out how to make this happen? Please, for the sake of Windows? Please, for the sake of your community – even those who are experiencing nothing but smooth sailing inside Vista? If you really want to “WOW” the community, why not help them step forward? Why did I have to figure this thing out on my own?! Don’t point me to your newsgroups for peer support – my community is all over the place, all over the Web.

Let me put it to everybody else another way: I can only recommend Windows Vista with VMWare 6.0 Workstation (beta or beyond). So, if Microsoft (or VMWare) doesn’t give it to you, you’ll have to spend an additional $200 to acquire a license – possibly more if you don’t already have a copy of XP on hand. Of course, if you’re not having major problems in Vista – I’m not trying to help you, but the people who are likely around you.

VMWare solved my frustrations – VMWare brought me back to Windows Vista (which, as I’ve already stated in previous conversations, is fundamentally better than XP). Your marketing department won’t like it one bit, but I think it’s time to spend your money where it really, really, REALLY MATTERS. The Internet, my friends, is your marketing department – and I can’t believe it’s me who is telling you this.

Now, remember when Dwight disagreed with why I arrived at my decision to head back to XP in the first place? Check out what he wrote today:

When I booted my Windows Vista desktop this morning, I apparently had a corrupted user profile. Vista tossed me into a temporary user account from which I wrote this blog entry. At least the OS did recover gracefully — in earlier versions of Windows, I might not have been able to get in at all. Now I’ve got to figure out what the problem is and, if necessary, migrate my files & settings over to a new account. Chris Pirillo, let’s talk . . .

I’m not saying that VMWare would have saved him from this problem – but I am pointing out that just because someone’s having a wonderful time in Vista today doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to stay happy with it forever.

In a somewhat-related note (not to make this post any longer than it already is), I can’t tell you how frustrated and confused I was at TechFest the other day. For one, I *LOVED* it and want *MORE* of it!!! But I saw some working code that looked better than beta which may never see the light of day.

Hey, did the podcasting community know that MICROSOFT HAS WORKING CODE TO HELP YOU WITH PODCAST PRODUCTION!!! I really have to get one of my videos encoded to show you software (which can work at the driver level) which will eliminate background noise better than I’ve ever seen before. “No ship date.” Screw that. I’m having problems with your “production” code, and you’re telling me that you’ll hold back (indefinitely) code that clearly works well enough already? AAAAAAARGH?! WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU GUYS AND GALS THINKING!?!?

Oh, but it gets better. The same audio research group has a working client that will apply speech-to-text synthesis on your audio and allow you to EDIT OUT WORDS DIRECTLY FROM YOUR AUDIO FILE. All those “uhs” and “ums” and oopsies can be clicked out in a nanosecond… with code… from Microsoft… that I witnessed in person… which will transcribe and edit and KICK YOUR PRODUCTION INTO OVERDRIVE… and may never see the light of day. AAAAAAAAAAGH?!

Let me bring this back full circle:

“Competitive advantage” is no longer a strategy, gang. Someone’s gonna deploy it faster (and possibly better) than you. And if you’re worried about the DOJ hounding you about being unfair, have your legions of lawyers figure out how to make it fair – the same lawyers that [with gratitude] sent Jake and I a C&D for serving your community when you did not (seeding a torrent of Vista’s beta).

You’re giving the desktop version of Virtual PC away for free, for whatever reason. You’ll lose brand equity by backing another product that runs amazingly better on your OWN PLATFORM – but in the process, provide your people a proper path for backwards hardware compatibility (no matter how awkward, you SHOULD agree that it’s better to let the user continue to work in Vista rather than completely roll back to an earlier version of Windows or different OS altogether).

And if Microsoft doesn’t respond to this, I’m begging for someone at VMWare to sit up and pay attention to a tremendous opportunity.

If you, by finding and reading this post, are having a problem with Windows Vista in relation to software and/or hardware compatibility, do not pass Go: get ahold of the Workstation version of VMWare 6.0 and set up an XP virtual machine. This is an amazing, amazing, amazing workaround for some of the headaches you’re probably hitting. Grab it while the beta for 6.0 is free, at least – hoping VMWare and Microsoft can work something out for the world.

Might Vista sales pick up if news gets out that they’ve improved it to work better with all your existing hardware and software? Oh, I know it has the potential of creating confusion – but not if the implementation is near invisible.

I’m not recommending VMWare 6.0 Workstation for every single problem in Windows Vista; it would be impractical to rely on the virtual machine for every digital hiccup encountered. The idea of my parents setting up a virtual machine in the first place makes me cringe. Still – it’s a solution I’m just not hearing enough about. I don’t expect this post to show up on Digg, StumbleUpon,, Reddit, or Slashdot – but it will show up in Google, which is how 99% of the world will find it.

And speaking of help, why isn’t Microsoft (or any OEM for that matter) producing a vendor-neutral show like this? Seriously, why? Doesn’t Microsoft see the world as its potential customer in some fashion, no matter how, when, or where? Channel 9 and 10 don’t count – my parents aren’t going to watch either one.

Okay, I’m not going to pretend to understand the politics – but I do understand how the politics impact me as someone who wants to see technology succeed in every facet of our lives. This was, quite possibly, the longest post I’ve ever written; I’m only trying to help.

72 thoughts on “Windows Vista Help”

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  3. Well said Chris! I always enjoy your insights and feedback to the digital community. Thanks for all of your efforts in bringing insights like this to the rest of the world. My hope is that M$ will hear this and maybe, just maybe take it to heart and realize that ignoring the users needs does not make good business sense. I think that it would be awesome if they Open Sourced some of the products that they have developed in their lab but will never try to sell. I think that it is long overdue for M$ to give something back to the community and to admit that the best solution does not always require using M$ only software.

  4. Great proposal; I’m slogging through the grind with a dual-boot XP / Vista desktop solution. I thought about VMWare or Virtual PC, but made the “mistake” of grabbing a refurb’d MacBookPro last week. First Mac and what did I do immediately: downloaded the trial of Parallels and installed Windows. It only took me an hour after that to pull the trigger on a full Parallels license. Long story short: I don’t think you’ll need a 30-day trial of Windows on Mac OS X. ;) Having said that: Microsoft would be wise to quickly consider your strategy outlined above, not to mention asking you to take the spot Gartenberg just vacated.

  5. After reading the ‘switch back to XP” article, I have become totally disillusioned with Chris Prillo. What a flake! After all the complaining about Vista for 30 minutes in the You Tube video, you “sold out” because you MISSED VISTA?? How lame can you be????
    Makes me wonder if Microsoft told you to eat your words or loose out on all the freebies. It’s obvious you are gutless.
    You’re not a man, you’re a mouse, totally manipulated by Microsoft.

  6. Chris,

    I was part of the Vista beta testing. I didn’t want to lose the functionality of XP, but I wanted to run both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Vista. I partitioned both of my 120 gig. hard drives. Vista 32 bit on one partition, 64 bit on another and XP on a third. Each version of Vista is on a different hard drive. I just pick which partition to boot from. The other partition is being used for data storage, pictures, documents, etc. This way I have the best of both (all three?) worlds, and have relatively secure storage for important stuff.

    RW Driskill

  7. Chris, I went to the VMware website, filled out the registration to D/L the beta of 6.0, clicked on the Download button, and – get taken back to the blank registration page. Filled it out a second time, clicked on the Download button, and – get taken back to the blank registration page.

    Seems as though they’re not offering beta downloads anymore…

    Oh well. Guess I’ll have to roll the dice and try Vista and hope everything works O.K. using compatability mode.

  8. There appears to be a big difference between upgrading to Vista and doing a clean install. When my sister upgraded from XP (on a brand new machine) she had nothing but problems, but when I convinced her to do a clean install — using the Vista upgrade per your link — everything went smoothly and she has had not a single problem since. After using two betas of Vista and one RC, I did a disk format and clean install when the production versions of Vista and Office 2007 arrived, and I too have not had one problem. I suspect the upgrade software is buggy as at least two files were moved to incorrect folders when my sister did her upgrade, and she had two driver issues that disappeared with the clean install.

  9. As soon as Vista arrived my goal was to come up with a standard platform that I could sell to customers who want Vista. I chose Intel for the hardware because I like their support and documentation. My Intel rep recommended a particular motherboard (DQ965GF) so I installed Vista Business Edition on it. I then installed all of Intel’s Vista-compatible drivers. I soon found that the system would wake-up fine from the default “hybrid sleep” mode the first time, but any subsequent attempts to wake the system up would result in a lock-up. With speakers attached I noticed the sound begins to loop or stutter during wake up, and when it locks up the sound continues until I kill power. I also noticed the network icon would have a permanent X over it when a wake-up was about to lock-up.

    After installing Msoft’s Intellitype and Intellipoint for Vista so I could test their wireless keyboard and mouse, I found that the system would not wake up at all from these devices. Worse, if I woke it up by pressing the power button it would behave terribly: the one time it woke up without locking up within a few seconds the hard drive went to sleep.

    I’ve got the system somewhat stable now (sans Intellitype/point) and will continue to document this experience in my blog.

  10. VMWare Player is free and they have a tool that makes it easy for you to create a virtual machine from an existing physical machine.

    So once you get your install running, make a VM out of that and then run it in player. Or am I missing something? Does VMWare player not work under Vista?

  11. VISTA biggest gripes:
    1. winmail stops responding while composing long email :(
    2. Lock desktop icons? I run three monitors and need to lock the icons on each one to certain areas. How? I have searched all help files on vista forums. Am I over looking something?

    Maybe you remember when MS announced the new OS as Longhorn and I asked you “does this mean it is BS :)
    As you, I love the security and fast search times of vista, especially the ctrl e to focus on the search in winmail and esc to toggle back,but the quirkensess of other parts of the os are drving me nuts :(

  12. Hmmm.. flip flops.. but I am glad there is some work-around for Vista.. for now.
    I wonder how long it would take for MS to sit up and take notice.

  13. I couldn’t agree more with your proposal, Chris. I too, got frustrated with Vista and reverted to XP since I run a lot of 3d graphics programs and between Windows lousy drivers and nvidia’s lack of support, I couldn’t do my work. I downloaded the VM Ware 6 beta a couple of weeks ago and yes, you’re right, it works like a charm. You barely know you’re running a virtual PC. I can even run my 3d programs in VM Ware. Maybe with your passion you can inspire a grass roots thing to turn Microsoft around.

  14. Hi Chris Pirillo
    All that negative about Vista,HERE A GOOD STORY.
    I did have a very smooth transition,I did run win-XP home,before I install
    Vista Home premium full version,I delited all programs what was not neccesery ,leave all documents on computer,defragment and install
    Vista over win-XP.
    I am not using VMWare.
    After 6 weeks Vista run very good.
    Here my impressions:

    Super Fetch : Vista put programs most use first.

    Ready Boost: Using Your USB Key to Speed Up Windows Vista, Vista use it as memory.

    Aero: 3d Documents, photos, Use windows key and tab.

    Backup: to Cd or DVD set date for next backup, system ad on and remind you.

    Uninstall: works better and quicker, in Control panel , programs and Features.

    Updates: Works better, set date and time when to update, and work in the back ground.

    Firewall: works good

    Gadgets 100`s to use from.

    Re-Size desktop icons : Hold down CTRL and roll wheel on mouse.

    Defender: Scan computer for harm full software.

    Window vista media centre: Photos, music, video ,TV.

    Snipping tool : Drag your mouse over part of picture that you like to capture.

    And what computer do I have(Not to flashy)
    Pentium 2.4 1Gb Ram, 80gb Drive, ATI Radeon 9600
    HP Printer, LCD 17″ and 21″ CTR ,Sound Live,Camera,D-Link 504T
    Networked to my wife computer (XP-Home)
    All work great,use my computer 5 hrs a day and work very very smootly.
    Adrian (68 senior) Australia

  15. Chris, I know ou think that some of the techfest demos were “better than beta” — but they’re not. You’d be surprised how many of them really just got working in the last couple of weeks. The code is messy, it hasn’t been run (let alone tested) on more than a handful of different machines, video cards, cameras, etc… yeah, I get impatient and want a bunch of this stuff in users’ hands right away too, but I also want them to have a good experience with it.

    The good news: 6800 Microsoft employees came through Techfest Wednesday and Thursday, and there was huge excitement about the stuff they saw and the opportunities to get it into products. We never guarantee that things will end up in products, but we sure work hard to make it so.

  16. filled out the registration form @ VMware but, like Mac, i was immediately returned to the fill out registration form.
    What is going on????

  17. Damn Chris, as a lifelong Windows user, I am grateful for your passion. If only Microsoft cared 1/10th as much as you do about their software, then I wouldn’t be so pissed at what Microsoft did to the software I used to love. Simply put: WHO at Microsoft thought so many bad things in Vista were good?. When a vendor makes it hard to use their product, then as you note, it opens a strategic opportunity for someone to step in and step up. Thus,

    Instead of openness and better, cleaner code, you got the god-awful disaster that is OXML;

    Instead of trust, you get treated like a criminal with WGA and OGA;

    Instead of making tasks easier by improving the Windows UI, in Vista you get the Start menu, Vista Explorer, and the many layered mud of the Control Panel. And they even fucked up Solitaire, Jesus H!

    Instead of security, you get UAC, which is so goddamned annoying its worthless;

    Instead of affordability, Microsoft raised prices* and doesn’t seem interested in selling overseas anymore, selling Vista for almost $800 in Denmark, the same in Australia; (* The USDollar is lower than it’s been in decades thanks to the Bush Administration, and that means Vista and Office 2007 cost more.)

    Instead of your computing experience getting better with Vista and Office 2007, it got dramatically worse and noticeably slower, even on faster hardware. With Office 2007, you were invited to forget everything you know, chuck all your keyboard shortcuts, and given a UI built for a retarded 1st grader;

    Instead of your new HP printer working with Vista, HP tells you they won’t write a Vista driver before Service Pack 1, giving your brand new, years-of-beta-tested OS a strong vote of no confidence.

  18. Thanks Chris for cutting through the hype; performing the analysis; offering solutions; and telling the Micro$oft execs the decisions they should be making.

  19. I watched your last video, the one where you gave up on Vista, but with your latest move, I’m left wondering what you were paid/offered by Microsoft to change your mind. I give up reading another word about Vista, now and forever. XP works great, I’ll leave you techies to fight it out and have fun playing with all the broken toys. Just think….if you devoted all the time you’ve been wasting trying to help the richest company in the world fix their mistakes for free, you could have cured the global warming issue by now. To each their own.

  20. OK, so I’m not one of you guys trying to transition form XP to Vista, but your tip about VMware is still useful to me :).

    I use Mandriva Linux 2007.0, and dual boot XP because I provide Windows Support locally. I also am beta testing Mandriva 2007.1 (so now triple boot …).

    I read this article, and got VMware Workstation 6 beta and installed XP without a hitch. Note: I DL’d the user’s manual (a pdf file) and took time to read it first. I think the average user would be able to get XP running with the help and insight provided in the user’s manual.

    The one point where I think VMware was a bit optimistic is the minimum RAM needed. The manual says at least 512 MB and recommends 2GB. Well it ‘works’ with 512 MB, but is S-L-O-W. I will correct this insufficiency in the near future.

    Thank you for the tip. I now can see myself running all my experimental and work related stuff in a VM rather than rebooting. That in and of itself is a productivity booster.

  21. Vista, eh? From what I hear, it’s about eye candy and desktop search but mainly aggressive DRM. Well I can live without eye candy and DRM – and I keep my folders properly organised. And if I ever depend on Microsoft for security it’ll be time to pack it in. It’s like Apple (used to?) say – you spend more time maintaining Windows than working on it; and touch wood I’ve got XP nailed down. Vista’s hardly a killer app, is it.

  22. Chris,

    I’m buying a new PC to run Vista. I currently have a desktop PC that has XP dual booted with Ubuntu, a fileserver that is currently running Win2K and Linux and a Mac Mini all connected to a USB KVM switch. My intention is to add the Vista computer to this setup, so I will be able to instantly switch from XP to Vista (or Linux to Vista) when I need to. Since all 3 PCs will be on the local lan, connected to the internet through a router, file sharing will be easy – probably easier than using VMWare, unless their network connections have improved lately. I’ve operated a similar setup on my desk for more than five years with a fair degree of success. One CPU is never enough.

  23. Chris, you’ve demonstrated the finest attributes of the ubergeek – the problem ticked you off and you couldn’t find an answer, so you effectively put it down for a few days and in the background your mind worked out an elegant workaround.

    I heartily recommend you try the free VMWare Converter which will let you build a VM of your XP installation, and the also free VMWare Player which runs beautifully under Vista and will let you run said VM.

    By the way – for those of us whose machines came with a Vista Home Premium, and who live in a country where the online upgrade option isn’t an option (Australia would you believe – tho you can do it in Iraq I notice – grrr) VMWare is a blessing since Virtual PC 2007 wont install to Home Premium.

  24. Microsoft seems to have forgotten that the largest single reason that people run Microsoft products is the legacy apps/hardware. If you have to buy all new stuff anyway when moving to a new version of the OS, that significantly eliminates a good chunk of their product advantage.

  25. Hey Chris,

    I love Vista, while some of my older programs dont work 100% its ok, perhaps its time I move on and leave old things behind. Life is great with Vista and their will be no looking back from me.

    Too hell with XP, let it R.I.P

  26. Chris, I just found your site =D (what took me so long)… The techtv days was how I got into building my first computer and now doing my own IT consult work =).

    I’ve never felt so compelled to complain about windows until now. And when I bring up bugs or problems in some forum, I get accused of “fanboy” and “ranting”.

    I don’t care much about the opinions, but rarely does it end in a good solution. (especially the ones who says “that’s the way it is so just live with it”)

    Forums are just too bloated with info and disorganized. Answers and questions are all over the place… how can you search for answer if you didn’t know it exist?

    If a solutions Wiki can be integrated to the top of each topic of forums, then answers can easily be organized and tracked.

    Too bad there isn’t a wiki to track things that would improve vista.
    Reading through so much blogs/threads can be a overwhelming.

    A wiki to track consumer found bugs, quirks, and also suggestions on improvement and voting would be a nice one place to go and contribute.

    I’m not holding my breath for vista’s SP to fix problems. They are not assuring anything.

  27. VMWare for backward compatibility. What a great suggestion, Chris! I would use this method readily. In fact, MS could simply extend the Beta during the “compatibility period” and phase it out at some point.

  28. I loved your video about the vista/xp thing.

    And that’s what I like about you, your honest.

    Now what appeals to me, is that like any power user, you just want to do what your daily work load of life and job, easily and efficiently.

    I too like xpsize, they’re interface is sweet. I also like the Tango Icons Switcher, but i keep getting some odd bugs.

    I myself am an long-time computer since the 1980’s was even in the day’s of bbsing, was a sysop, was a bbs mod group leader, became web programmer, etc etc. And yes I was/am a techtv fan.

    So now, I am curious to find out both what kinds of windows efficiency tips/software you use have, or recommend, as well as what kind of desktop customizations you like?

    And yes I agree dual monitors rock, and I wish i could afford 2-lcd’s at home as well.

    The only cool efficiency tool I use at work is Launchy, the app launcher for windows. It’s sweet looking and easy way to look up anything web/files etc.

    I’m also fan of the site which also has a lot of efficiency information, tips and tutorials.

    What do you and others like?

  29. Mac, Rd — Sorry I’m late on this, but your problems registering for the Workstation beta might be some weirdness (ie website bug) depending on your geography, browser, and referer headers. Drop me a line (jtroyer at vmware) and I can try to get you set up. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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  32. I tried to send you an email but Vista wouldn’t send it. It said try again through my ordinary email. So I did. It wouldn’t send it. It will be intyeresting to see if this form goes through as I’ve bought off Amazon and joined forums and they all work OK.

    PS the\wilma password thing doesn’t work for me. Have no problem with my XP machines when connecting to OSX. What to do now then?


  33. I’m having a problem, i’m unable to view photos in thumbnail view on windows vista. does it just not have this option?

  34. I am desperately seekingn help with my Vista problem. (System Restore doesn’t go back far enough for that to work for me in this instance)
    I have a Sony DVD203E handycam with Picture Package that worked well on XP. When I tried to install it on my new Vista PC it installed OK, on the surface, but wouldn’t work. I then had the problem of rebooting whenever I closed down. I managed to discover this was because of the handcam USB driver that had to be updated. I did this, getting version 2, but then found although the rebooting was solved my system crashed whenever I placed certain CDs in it.
    I then decided to uninstall both the drivers and Picture Package but because they were installed as XP versions they cannot be uninstalled. It just comes up that I “cannot run the programmes in this operating system.”
    Can somebody please tell me how to uninstall an XP programme from Vista? I would be enternally grateful. I am a 75 year old idiot who is trying to create some holiday videos for my grandchildren with Pinnacle but cannot insert the DVD’s into my Vista PC without it crashing.
    Thank you for your interest.
    An email to me at would be appreciated.
    Best wishes
    Jim Brown

  35. Chris, how can you say that you miss Windows Vista?!

    I got a new, fast machine with 2 GB of RAM and I absolutely, totally hate Vista. There is nothing in this lousy, incompetently created and coded OS that anyone could possibly miss.

    This thing regularly crashes when its OWN, BUILT-IN e-mail client is started. It crashes with almost everything else as well. I have never sees as many blue screens of death in 15 years of using computers, as I have seen in TWO days of using Windows Vista Home Premium.

    Although XP wasn’t perfect, it was a much better and more stable operating system.

    I will probably return the whole machine to the store and exchange it for one of the few remaining refurbished XP units, rather than going through the hassle of reinstalling Windows XP. It will probably be worth to have to pay the usual 15 percent restocking fee to get rid of Vista.

    What doesn’t cease to amaze me is the fact that all of the computer manufacturers have so readily jumped on the bandwagon and are eagerly offering this inferior OS and the many apologists, who actually have either the gall (or are just plain stupid) to say that Vista isn’t perfect, but it is still pretty good. What crud!!!

  36. Chris,

    I repost here what I recently posted somewhere else, about my disillusioned conversion process from MS, plus added some…

    As more I hear from people about their huge disappointment from Vista, and as I learn more about all the various new DANGERS that comes from using it – especially the freedom-of-information wise issue (for example, see: ), I am becoming more determined in my wish to let others to know more before they make this crucial decision of choosing Vista as their OS. I think that a OS needs to work as less as possible in the background, not to be the center of attention as if the only reason to USE a PC is to admire the new curves and translucent effects. this approach is unforgivable, and crossing all red lines, at least for me. Who says that code cannot be efficient? Who says that a OS must be rushed into development just to hit the market prior to OSX 10.5 aka Leopard? I say, as an ex-programmer and current filmmaker, that any OS MUST maintain simplicity, and Microsoft just lost it, they are the ones that became arrogant, and greedy. I have the feeling that within a few years, it might leave Microsoft positioned in the market in a such way, that it would be famous mostly for its Office software; maybe they will sell the Windows devision in a similar way to IBM who sold its laptops devision to Lenovo. Anyway, Apple IS a serious candidate to gain control very rapidly within this changing market, and they are not so arrogant as they used to be. Mac is not for some snobbish elite anymore. It is already Apple Inc., that means mainstream products like iPods and iPhone. The Mac with its steadily developed OSX is going to the same direction, and the first step is of course Boot Camp, which is a knock out even to the most fanatic Microsoft addicts.

    Like you, I admired Microsoft for years, since the DOS times, and was very happy with XP, including all its endless problems. I convinced myself that it’s part of life. I was so so wrong. I got to know Apple through my film school’s lab, where we edit our films on Final Cut with iMacs, and it took me almost a year to get used to OSX, and yes, it isn’t perfect, but a completely different world, I can tell you this. I decided that my next laptop would be MacBook, and since I have purchased it, I have no regrets, only joy, because I got rid of my Windows addiction at last. And when i “miss” XP, I can run it natively, or via Parallels Desktop in a window, or even better, in COHERENCE mode, but lately I do it less and less. Microsoft just sucks. period. I played with my friend’s Vista computer for some time and it is worse than hell on earth. It needs super fast computer just to get started, it is so complex, confusing, and not straight forward at all. Like a maze of endless sub menus, and with the same old problems, only many times more complicated to solve. I was able to use torrents, but the machine, a brand new “Vista Certified”, is getting so slow, that even the screen saver barely works, with 1Gb of RAM, by the way. It isn’t an operating system, it is a battle field of functions, restrictions, limitations, and useless graphical eye blinding gimmicks. I can’t imagine doing more complex stuff like music, or god save us, film editing. F*** it, anything else is better, even “good old” XP, which soon will disappear, of course, or Linux. But i truly think that Apple’s OSX is the best thing around. Not perfect, but decent, functional and intuitive. The only 3 times I needed to restart my machine in the past couple of weeks of intensive work, including demanding processing of HDV material, rendering effects and all you can imagine, was, you guessed it right, when Windows crashed. Thanks, but no more Windows for me. No more, for ever.

    P.S – running XP in VM within Vista is the most ridiculous thing I have heard, and if Microsoft will listen to your advice it would be like admitting they screwed it completely with Vista. It’s like running DOS inside a VM within Windows 95 or 98. Absurd! So what about: running XP within Vista WITHIN OSX? How does this sounds? awesome or what?? There is absolutely no reason to stay in love with a company that crossing all the red lines and stop-loss limits. Why would I bother with Vista when I can have XP working on MAC until the point that I will no longer need it? It would be very soon, I hope, probably with OSX 10.5.

  37. Dear Chris

    I have had so many incompatiblity issues with vista software on my new Compaq PC – there is not the space or time to dwell on it anymore.
    I have eventually sorted out my ipod but other hardware has been impossilble to add (driver downloads do not help).
    My latest problem is installing the new version of AOL (with a new NETGEAR modem) – I have internet access but no direct broadband link to aol) – They say that everything is up and running from their end – so any tips would be welcome.
    My new printer is also having problems along with my new USB memory device, digital camera etc..
    I even reinstated my old tower with windows XP- but the modem didn’t take. Plodding onwards – retried vista – but to no avail.
    My new PC is sluggish to the point of 1999 and I am one frustrated lady!
    This is all a shame really – I cannot appreciate the new vista software at all.


    Answers anybody?

    Please don’t say “you should have bought a mac – I know that now….

  38. First of all I run Windows XP,but I have a friend who purchased a new lap top guess what was on it ?, vista. She used Geek Squad to set her up,she got set up alright,a figure of speech. Geek Squad got upset when she called back for help. I don’t think they,!, even know how to work VISTa. Bill Gates rode on the coattail of others so long,that when he,and his crew did invent something different It was a POOT IN THE CAN. A DUD!!! Best Regards John Weeks.

  39. hello,
    my windows vista says that my backgrounds have been disabled. when ever i try to set a picture as a wallpaper it does not do anything, and i just have a grey screen. what do i do!?

  40. For even the everyday home PC user Vista has hurt my feelings. I got all the bells and whistles the spy ware pop up blackers and so on But some days all I want to do is play one of my games wish I could. I don’t mind being asked to allow the installation of a foreign software but the error message that says something to the effect of NOT COMPATIBLE really irks me so all I can do when I want to relax with a game is paly solitaire or Mahjong. FUN FUN FUN :( Any ideas??? Help out an ordinary user.

  41. I’m running windows vista and when i save docs on my machincne or email them out the docs can’t be read! it opens up as all blocks and weird languages that are jumbled! but if i open the same doc on my machine it reads just fine? i try saving the same doc on a flashdrive and it does the same thing…why?? am i missing something here or is there a security issue that needs to be ironed out??

  42. “Moving back to XP from Vista was painful, so… hats off to whatever you sprinkled throughout this thing to make me want to come back to it.”

    Sure wish you could articulate the difference more than “whatever”.

    I have no interest in Vista. Should I?

    Here’s what I would consider an upgrade from XP:
    (1) more efficient (smaller and/or faster)
    (2) more stable
    (3) more transparent (i.e. better administration tools for diagnosing and resolving issues).

    Does that sound like Vista? Give all the reports I’ve heard from the front lines, that sounds like the OPPOSITE of Vista.

  43. I’m having troubles setting my color scheme, Its only on my account but each time I try to open the window to change the color scheme, it opens a window which has nothing to do with what I’m trying to do, I’ve tried so many things, and I cease to understand why it’s just my account, Help?

  44. Help. Just brought a second hand HP Laptop RAunning Windows Vista Home Premium. System boots screen shows as lging on then all goes black. Can do Alt Ctrl Del And Task Manager appears. Unable to access Vista Desktop. Nil Password to access System. Only One user lgon so should goe straight to desktop at startup.

    Please help urgently. Im totally lost and so frustrated.
    Thanks and I look forward to feedback asap

    JeN Hughes

  45. Our laptop has had problems lately, it’s been getting slower and now it won’t start up in the normal safe mode (without command prompt). We have been trying to install an anti- virus program called kapersky, and that won’t install, and the computer is around 3 to 4 years old (not sure if that helps). We think it may be teh kapersky but it won’t even stay on the desktop anymore once we’ve started it up. HELLP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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