Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Windows Vista: Bill Gates Driving His Edsel To His Waterloo

My 1 gigahertz, 512 Ram Toshiba Satellite notebook was finally bogging down on me after several years of excellent service. It was time for a laptop with more oomph. I compared prices and reviews of all the state of the art computers and decided that I would stick with Toshiba and buy a Core Duo with lots of ram, big hard drive, blazing speed, etc.

Windows Vista had been out for six months, and I really had not been aware of some of its idiosyncrasies. Within an hour of powering up the new Tecra, I knew I was going to have trouble. After several days of searching for drivers, tweaking, crashing, bsod-ing, wrestling, sweating, not sleeping, learning, tech-help calling to Toshiba, and just general frustration, I returned the notebook to the vendor who was not that pleased to take it back. He begged me to keep it; I begged him to take it. He offered me a "reduced price copy" of Windows XP to install in the new machine - only if I would reformat the Vista machine.

Ah hah, I said, Toshiba already told me that 2007 Vista machines would not be driver compatible with Windows XP. He then said nothing and reluctantly refunded me $1200.00. OK, I'm a cheap power user and refuse to spend two grand on a computer.

I mean, why should I have to install Windows Virtual PC 2007 (which I did) in order to run many of my apps?

BTW MS Virtual PC does not support usb as of this week. Virtual PC is actually an operating system (XP) running separately within Windows Vista. Vista should be enough, but third party software developers have been lax and unenthusiastic about matching their programs to Vista requirements. One thing that I needed on Vista was my Winfax program which Symantec has not even attempted to supply drivers for. I will not blame Symantec although I will think twice about any of their products in the future.

Even as Chris Pirillo has said, Vista may be a "50-50" proposition for new computer buyers as well as upgraders, but not for me.

Not only are needed software drivers very scarce, the entire interface is klutzy. Too many ways to mention, but whoever thought of revising the Explorer file folder scheme should have included listing the C: drive in the left pain. Why should I have search for the Root Of All Folders when wanting to look at all the folders sitting neatly like ducks in the left pane as has been done since Windows 3.0? OK, I like to learn new things, but only if the new things increase efficiency. Game players may love Vista, and maybe some folks who have never used Windows XP. I really believe Microsoft has jumped the shark on this one and one Serice Pack (coming out in 2009 according to one comedic blogger) will not fix the problem(s).
If you really like Vista prepare to buy newer software programs as many of your old XP programs will not fit. You may have to buy new peripherals such as printers, fax machines, scanners etc. You may not even find drivers for some Vista approved products, much less non-Vista products.

I also was not thrilled with all the permissions and interruptions in Vista that intrude while doing normal tasks. "Do you want Windows to do this?" "Do you want Windows to do that?" Why should I have to hack the registry in order to debug Vista? Even something as simple as changing the urls for browser links was impossible. Power users are so used to shortcuts and tweaks in XP, I do not think they will be happy with Vista which will be pushing (MSs cruel intentions) an unsupported XP off the shelf in a year, even while some computer manufacturers are installing XP on their newer computers because of all the complaints. Dale, Acer, Toshiba have made complaints and some have demanded that Microsoft allow them to sell XP computers despite MSs objections.

According to Vista Beta tester - Geekoid Christ Pirillo (google his youtube comments) and others, Vista is actually Beta software tested on Beta software. I believe Pirillo attempted to advise MS on some quirks, but was ignored.

I was never so relieved as when I returned the Vista Toshiba to the retail store vendor and then proceeded to the Tohshiba Direct website to order a Windows XP Professional laptop which are "flying off the shelves."

I could find no one else selling XP on newer computers. I do cringe a little when I see all these better laptops selling beaucoup cheap during these back-to-school sales weeks, but at least I know that I paid more for a better product - Windows XP Professional. Thank God for those vendors/manufacturers who have held out and have seen the light that there are many people who will not be happy with Windows Vista.