Windows Vista RC1: a Piece of Sith

The last thing I wanted to do upon returning from Alaska was rip Windows Vista “Ultimate” a new one. I also don’t want to go through my list of Vista UI nitpicks, as several of them still have not been addressed – and likely never will be. Even after installing RC1, I find myself feeling like I did after I first saw Star Wars: A Phantom Menace. For whatever it’s worth, I left the theater disappointed and dejected.

Sadly, the first release candidate for Windows Vista feels more like an alpha to me (or early beta, at best). I’m not talking about performance issues, which will most likely be improved upon before this OS goes gold. No, it’s all about a cohesive user experience / user interface for me. Vista fails on most UI fronts. It doesn’t look or behave similarly across any part of the operating system. Even more sad? That’s by design, folks.

I never thought I’d say this, but… we’ve finally seen the day when KDE / Gnome look, work, and feel “better” than Windows. Vista is schizophrenic, and that disorder has been further enabled by the range of vigilante software development teams who are providing code to the core without cross-checking with other teams for UI consistency. Unless Microsoft is sitting on major detail revisions, I’m afraid they’re sitting atop a “Phantom Menace.”

If OS X had a decent desktop PIM, I think Vista would push me to switch. As far as the inconsistency of Apple’s UI is concerned, that’s already been UNOfied. There’s no such app for Windows Vista, and I’m not holding my breath for Stardock to produce anything I want to use for longer than 3 minutes at a time (sorry, but 99% of Windowblinds skins are bloated and inelegant).

73 thoughts on “Windows Vista RC1: a Piece of Sith”

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  4. Would you agree that OS X UI has a simliar “schizophrenic” nature? Stripes, brushed metal, mail, etc…

  5. “99% of Windowblinds skins are bloated and inelegant”
    I beg to differ. How many Windowblinds skins have you actually taken a look at? There are thousands, maybe millions produced over the net, and some of them are really much much better than Apple Macintosh’s GUI can ever hope to achieve. For you to make such a tactless comment, you must have obviously restricted yourself to looking at the lower grade skins produced by beginners and/or novices.

    By the way, if by bloated you mean slow, I’d like to highlight to you that with Windowblinds 5 installed and running with a skin loaded on my Windows XP Pro SP2 I had no noticable performance difference compared to without it, and that’s not to say that my computer has advanced hardware. It’s almost three years old now, with:

    Pentium 4 2.66GHz processor,
    512 MB DDR RAM
    NVIDIA GeForce 4 MX 440 AGP 8X 64MB Video Memory

  6. Granted Vista is definitely not “there” yet. But that doesn’t mean it’s a piece of sith (shit?) either. The fonts, contrary to what you said, is actually quite good, like the consola font, which I actually are using across all my IDE as I speak. Vista’s looks is far from being perfect, but so far, Vista UI is the coolest UI I’ve ever seen, with the glass effect and all, while its practicality is debatable, it’s by far the coolest interface from Redmond. And that’s saying a lot.

  7. It’s time for alternatives.

    Just installed Ubuntu as a dual boot, and it seems both easier to use and more intuitive than XP. Vista seems bloated, buggy, and expensive ($259 to upgrade, but you’ll probably need a new PC anyway, meanwhile Ubuntu happily runs of my P3.)

    My Ubuntu laptop arrives soon.

  8. This marks the day in which I unsubscribe to Pirillo’s content.

    Chris, I wish you would hurry up and switch to SOMETHING else, because I for one am sick of hearing you whine about Microsoft software.


  9. You are no longer a geek or for that matter even a nerd. You have become a 3rd grader who whines when you doesn’t get your way. Whines when there is something you don’t like. Whines when you think no one is listening. Go ahead and have the temper tantrum, we are ignoring you

  10. Ah yes, UNO for Mac OS X is lovely. When I arrive at a Mac without it installed, I’m befuddled by all the interface weirdness Apple keeps foisting on us. With with UNO, all is good. Well, most. We’ll see how Leopard is.

  11. I’m with you, Chris. I see some new UI elements of Vista that are truly compelling – for example I think that the newer dialog boxes with clearly stated “Do this” or “Do this instead” are great. Unfortunately, you get new UI in one place and old UI in another. What’s worse is when they just put new UI on top of old UI – just forcing you to do one or more extra steps for no good reason (“Personalization” Control Panel for example.)

    I think most of the people that think Vista RC1 is awesome are the type of people that only ever turn on their computer and then click on their web browser or a couple other apps and that’s it. But people like me that use the system for much deeper things and frequently have to delve into all kinds of system settings, etc. are going to feel let down as you say.

    I hope that they take the extra time to polish this to one consistent interface but unfortunately I just don’t expect it to happen.

    I work for a very large company that supports end users and I’m scared about having to explain many parts of this UI to the average Joe.

  12. I can’t believe that people are complaining about whining on a blog. Isn’t that what they are for?

    It would be interesting if Chris would update his previous list of problems with an earlier Vista beta to see how many, if any, they have changed.

  13. Boy, I never thought it would happen after so many years. I unsubscribed to Pirillo’s content (newsletter, feeds).
    Your latest rant about Vista made me do it, Chris. I’m sorry for your co-writers (some are really good), but your personal contributions are more and more uninteresting and unintelligent. Hardly anything substantial, just whining. Grow up, be a man and do something useful!

  14. So let me get this straight. You people stick around when Chris suggests that the events of 9/11 were covered up as part of a conspiracy or something about UFOs, but when he says Vista sucks you leave?

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  16. If I were you Chris I would get a Mac anyway. It can also run Windows if you are tied to any custom Windows Apps. As far as a PIM is concerned a friend of mine swears my Daylite ( It’s apparently bloody fantastic!

    Anyway. As the editor of always says in these situations: “If you keep waiting for Microsoft to finally copy the Mac even remotely successfully, you’ll never, ever Get a Mac.
    Why Macintosh? Because life’s too short!”

  17. “it’s by far the coolest interface from Redmond. And that’s saying a lot.”

    I believe you meant “But that’s not saying much”. Just correcting for the sake of clarity.

  18. agreed. i was suprised to see the lack of consistency. after valentine and balmer trumpted their vastly improved dev processes with windows server 2003, i expected more from an OS in dev for five years.

    vista has some good new features, but its a frozen turkey that may never make it to the table. windows ME 2.0.

    happy for a new OS, but disappointed in microsoft’s ability to execute. i have huge respect for the company and what they’ve brought the world. but, time for new leadership.


  19. Sad but true, Vista need 6 to 12 months more work. I just don’t get what the big rush is, I mean do a good job otherwise most companies won’t use it or will wait until SP2 is released.

  20. What sort of Mac OS X PIM are you looking for? There’s plenty of PIM’s available for Mac OS X, including Microsoft’s own Entourage which communicates with Exchange Servers. Then there’s the excellent Now Up-To-Date and Now Contact bundle, which we really love. And lots of people swear by SOHO Organizer. There’s also Palm Desktop, Meeting Maker, Marketcircle Daylite, and of course let’s not forget about Apple’s own iCal & Address Book. Go to and do a “Mac OS X” search for PIM – and you’ll find several other shareware PIM programs as well.

  21. Wow. Harsh words in here.
    Guys, he’s just calling a spade a spade. Give the guy a frelling break.
    Next to Apple’s OSX Vista is a dog’s dinner.
    Tell me why I would need to have slightly transparent edges on explorer windows??
    Problem is, Chris has seen and used OSX, and is coming to the conclusion that the OS HE has to use for the next 5-8 years from Micros**t looks like it was designed by high schoolers.
    Sure OSX has it’s faults and is not as business friendly but I have had features for two or three years that Vista is just now geting around to introducing.
    Keep in mind here that we’re just talking about computers here, not life or death.
    OSX Tiger on an Intel machine is just awesome; fast, slick and virus free.
    Vista is going to be soooo pointless once Apple brings out Leopard.

  22. If you’re looking for a PIM for OS X you can do a search at and see if they have anything you like – plus browse through the 16,000+ other OS X apps that are listed.

    Hate to say it, but MS is in the hot seat with Vista. After the delays the expectations will be very high and will be difficult to meet.

  23. Will Vista have any kind of effects plugin API? I mean, cmon, surely Microsoft figured that Linux and Apple already / would eventually outdo them in the eye candy department. Isn’t there a way to hook into the DWM / shell and add most of the really cool things we see in other UI’s? If not, that’s a huge mistake. I predict it will take less than 2 years before Vista’s UI becomes ghetto. The shame is that you can see the potential in things like Flip3D. But would take a coder mere days to produce something way cooler if he had the API.

    My specific Vista UI grips are:

    1. Window management still sucks, even with Flip3D. Excuse me, but no window docking / layout management???? Bastards!!
    2. Sidebar gadgets either hog screen space are are uselessly behind other windows. Using opacity just makes them and the contents under them unreadable. Bastards!!!
    3. No built-in virtual desktop? Bastards!!!!

  24. Fess up, folks. How many of you work for Microsoft or for a company that is paid directly by Microsoft? And while we are at it, how many bear that relationship to Apple?

  25. Will you people please start proofreading your posts before you post them? You all look like you took typing from a crack-head coming off a weekend binge!

  26. So, Chris is disappointed and dejected because he considers Vista “disjointed by design�, “schizophrenic�, “disordered�, “inconsistent�, “bloated�, and “inelegant�. And yet, our intrepid writer, will CONTINUE to patronize Microsoft.

    After reading Chris’ denigration of Vista to be followed with his casual acknowledgment that he can think of no reasonable alternative for an OS, I have to conclude that Chris’ justification for choosing Vista as his only tenable OS is “disjointed by design�, “schizophrenic�, “disordered�, “inconsistent�, “bloated�, and “inelegant�.

    Excellent choice, Chris, you and Vista are a perfect match! Why do I have the image of Chris submissively squirming on Ballmer’s lap being fed rancid doggie treats while Ballmer coos, “Are you my good boy? Yes, you’re my good boy. Yes you are.”?

  27. Chris, I appreciate your willingness to be trasnparent and honest. I’m a lifelong Mac fanatic… but I appreciate the UI elements and other good ideas Windows has delivered to the desktop operating system market. VISTA has some cool ideas but I am really looking for Microsoft to push Apple to break the snooze its been in over the last 6 years. Mac OS X must move forward with a new UI and I’m looking to Suse, Ubuntu and Microsoft to push Apple to do what it does best… innovate.

  28. Chris,

    Your biased views are clearly noticeable. Windows Vista is to date the best operating system by Microsoft.

    PC beats the Mac by far! And those retarded mac vs pc commercials are technically illegal.

  29. I’m glad that someone is calling Microsoft out on this, and I’m extremely surprised that there aren’t more people standing up and saying anything.

    I’ve been a Microsoft fan for a long time, but my faith is starting to show cracks: they may have pushed “good enough” a bit too far this time.

  30. Complaining in someone’s forum that someone is whining in their blog — what is more whiny than that? You, the real whiners, are clearly just upset that he was critiquing Vista. Babies. It’s his blog. This IS the place for him to speak his peace. Geez.

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  32. i have to say that you will only find trouble in vista if you go looking for it! ive been running it for a couple of months now ( i think! ) its a great OS… As far as a i can remember i had one problem when i installed my TV card, but i used the wrong drivers anyway! as for the unconsistancy yeh i can see it in a few places but ure makin a big deal outa that! it is still RC1… gonna be a while ( and lots of tweaks ) before the final release!
    i use plenty of varying applications so i can use the majority of the features… i dont see much going wrong!

  33. The problem with Vista really is in general, part of what this article states. Having been a Windows use from the beginning until 2 months ago, I had tried to defend the company and its software. But there comes a point when you start to realize that something really isn’t as good and as reliable as you might try to convince yourself of. So when I was literally turned off by the Vista look, feel, paranoid nagging, and sort of cold environment, I decided to finally give a Linux live desktop a try. You see, you just won’t believe it until you experience it. The control, flexibility, and stable reliability without all the patches, virus protection, spyware defense and on and on is simply a remarkable breath of fresh air. Linux, in my opinion, leaves Apple and Microsoft in the dust. As for Vista, it’s a dud and may turn out to be Microsoft’s biggest flop. this is what I call a product produced from paranoia and panic…..if I was still a Windows user I’d stick with XP……..

  34. Hey Does any one know of a Forceware Driver for NVidia GeForce MX 440, I’v been looking for one but can’t find one. I have Vista RC1 Build 5600.

    Please Email me Or Post here for a Link or Info.


  35. It’s incongruous. There is no unifying aesthetic theme. Lipstick on a pig? Yes. But more like lipstick on an odd assortment of hog parts where the desktop’s the boar’s head and Aero’s the lipstick. IE 7 is so ugly it’s embarrasing that it ships with Vista.

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