Well, I tried running Vista since mid November, so I figured I've given it a valiant shot.Â On Thursday I blew it away, returning to the comfort and performance of Windows XP.
There were two real issues for me with Vista, and why I decided to can it.Â Both of them revolve around hardware issues in a way, which I figured that I could work through.Â I use a Toshiba Satellite P30 laptop, which boasts a 17" widescreen monitor (1440x900), a hyperthreaded 3.06 GHz processor, and was upgraded to 1 GB of Ram.Â Based on all the specs for Vista, that should be plenty, despite the fact that the new OS now requires a whopping 512MB of RAM for it's own use.Â (As an aside, I remember sitting on the bus in high school when one of the cool kids had just got a desktop with 512KB of RAM.Â It was going to be a killer gaming machine! LOL!)
At any rate, armed with my healthy PC and the disk, I installed Vista, and took it for a 1 1/2 month test drive.
Now, I didn't hate Vista by any means.Â It's a very attractive user interface.Â Some of the gadgets that you can put on your desktop are quite neat, although you do have to minimize all your programs to see them.Â (Something that doesn't usually happen in my experience.)Â I'll admit that I found the updated explorer a little clunky, but that may have just been me.
So what were the issues that caused me to drop Vista?
Lack of driver support.
Okay, now I'd be an idiot if I thought that everything would be supported, and I'd like to think I'm not.Â There were about 5 drivers in all that I couldn't get, and I only cared about one of them:Â Video.Â My Toshiba sports a Mobility Radeon 9600/9700 card, and the native drivers just didn't work.Â Sure, they displayed an image, but the max resolution I could get was 1024x768.Â Not only did it look a little funny on the widescreen, but I really felt the decrease in screen real-estate.Â I waited about 3 weeks, hoping that it would be fixed, an then went on a hunt for experimental drivers.
Toshiba naturally didn't post any new drivers for my machine with Vista.Â Why would they?Â After all, this laptop is an obselete product, being purchased almost 2 years ago.Â But this is where I found something that really surprised me... ATI is an AMD product.Â Why am I surprised?Â My processor is an Intel... I really didn't think that these guys would mix things up, but then what do I know?Â 🙂
At any rate, I found the ATI site, and they even had a Beta suite for Vista.Â Sweet! I thought, downloaded it and installed.Â The driver wouldn't even start.Â So here I am no better off.Â I submitted a detailed email to their team, and never received even so much as an acknowledgment.
Now, if there is one thing that really irks me, it's not bothering to reply to someone who sends Beta feedback.Â I am going to the effort of testing your product.Â The reasons I'll do this are varied, from interest to need, but the least that you can do when I volunteer my time and effort to testing your product, is send me an automated reply that says thank you.
Two days after I submitted my email, they uploaded a new build at ATI, which I downloaded.Â Again, no luck with installation.Â Again the driver did not even start, with errors generated in the Vista Problem Reports Section.Â In three weeks, the build never changed again, and the claustrophobia finally got to me.
The other issue that really drove me up the wall was speed.Â I still feel that my computer's specs are quite current, despite the fact that I don't have a dual core with more than a GB of RAM.
Vista boots quite quickly.Â Faster, I think, than XP.Â But trying to run programs is frustrating.Â When I open Outlook 2007 on XP, it takes a few seconds.Â When I did it in Vista, it would take over a minute, and show the "program is not responding" message.Â Trying to open 2-3 programs at once... not good enough.
And then comes the UAC, or "User Access Control" feature.Â Naturally, this is another one of those things that is supposed to protect you from yourself.Â If you try to open a program that has not been digitally signed, you get prompted to ask if you're sure.Â Fine, no problem.Â But I have a few programs that are not signed, and that I use frequently.Â By design, the team at Microsoft decided that you would not be able to check a box to say "don't ask me about this program again".Â My personal feeling is that this was an absolutely ridiculous decision.Â I believe that you can turn off the UAC feature, but why should I have to sacrifice the protection everywhere to allow certain trusted programs to run.Â I hope that Microsoft one day realizes that the solution to security is not to add more clicks to slow users down, but rests in other methods.Â (And no, I'm not saying I know what they are, that's up to them to figure out.)Â Just think how effect it is with your printer's "are you sure prompt"... you click print, then you click "Yes".Â Then you realize that you made a mistake!Â Additional prompts are effective the first few times, then lose their effect.Â Users become conditioned to them.
So there you have it... the reasons I canned Vista.Â And I gave myself quite a scare on trying to replace it with XP too...Â The disk I burned for the XP OS (legal, thank you), wouldn't boot!Â It just skipped right by and went in to Vista.Â I seriously thought that I was going to need a new laptop as Vista appeared to be holding on tightly.Â LOL!Â Fortunately I realized it, got a new disk, and was able to install XP Pro again.Â And boy, at that point did I ever miss Vista's quick install.Â 6 hours later my machine was back on XP, patched, and programs installed.Â In fairness, there aren't many patches for Vista yet, and less programs work there.Â I'm also quite familiar with my XP install process, and like my machine customized to a certain way, all of which takes time.Â I still feel that the Vista install is faster though.
At any rate, I'm back on XP now, and will try Vista again when my wife and I replace her PC in March and it comes pre-installed. Â 🙂