Is Windows Vista a flop?

May 2, 2007

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Check this shit out (Fig. 1). Windows Vista has Aero, which is a fancy marketing term for new UI graphics.

When I ask that question, I need to qualify it. Obviously, Microsoft is going to sell lots of licenses of Windows Vista, if for no other reason than because it has been loaded on every new PC sold from Jan. 30 forward. (Although, Dell recently announced that it would also continue to sell some XP machines.)

And at some point, Vista will become ubiquitous just because companies and individuals will all get new computers and existing XP users will gradually be forced to adopt to keep up with the platform for which new software is being developed.

But from the standpoint of the average computer-savvy user who is not buying a new PC, is Vista worth the upgrade? For me, the answer is "no." Not right now, and certainly not if you have old hardware and software.

I should point out that I say this as a general supporter of Microsoft's products. People who write "Micro$oft" annoy me. (They're a company; of course the mission is to make money.) I have a subscription to the Microsoft Action Pack and I'm an MCP. I have a copy of Windows Vista Business with 10 licenses sitting right there on DVD, waiting for me to install it. But I'm not going to do it. Not right now.

I'm thinking Vista is a flop compared to XP in terms of actual advancement in what it does for the end user. And I don't mean improved security and all that necessary but unsexy jazz.

XP was a genuine step forward, with great new built-in user features over what Windows 2000 and ME had to offer. In addition to XP's nice new UI, I believe it came down this: There were a lot of advances in the popular use of PC technology about the time that XP came out: MP3 players, digital cameras, etc. — they all went into the widespread popular mainstream right around this time. XP had much-improved support for all of it. With Vista, that revolution has already happened, so what does upgrading to Vista get you? The "Aero" UI. BFD. Smoke and mirrors, my friends. (Okay, I do like Vista's new Start Menu configuration.)

Upgrading my desktop machine to Vista would for me be an all-but-guaranteed headache. I know this for two reasons:

1) I know because I have Vista on a laptop PC that I bought on Jan. 30, the day of Vista's release. Vista runs my laptop just fine, but it has issues with several pieces of old software that I've put on it. The PDF printers for Adobe Acrobat 6.0 don't work. My MP3 player's file transfer software is non-functional. Could I fix these with updates? Maybe, but the point is the answers aren't apparent without research and I don't want to dig into it. This hopefully will be easier in a year or so as more vendors have updated their drivers for old devices.

2) I also know because I ran the Vista Upgrade Advisor on my XP desktop machine. The results were not encouraging. I have a lot of older hardware and software, and it didn't like a lot of it. My XP machine is a well-oiled amalgam of older technologies (and only has 512 MB of RAM), but it's versatile and does everything well. The minute I introduce Vista into that equation, that well-oiled machine will be destroyed. (I have, for example, grave doubts that my ATI TV card and its video capture capabilities will still work.)

Bottom line: I don't want to go out and buy new stuff just so I can run Vista on my desktop machine and have "Aero." Plus, when it comes down to it, I still prefer XP's UI to Vista's, which looks way too much like Mac OS X.

So the Vista DVD will sit there, uninstalled, until I rebuild my computer, which may be a while since my XP machine works just fine, thank you.

How about you? Are you upgrading to Vista? Am I overstating my case? Is Vista less of an upgrade headache than it appears?

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19 comments on this post

    Hi Jammer, Coming from a similar direction to you (MAP, MCP et all), I've found that Vista has had an odd effect on me. I've suddenly began to love Linux (Ubuntu more accurately). Granted, it's not the polished desktop-ready newbie-friendly OS that Windows XP/Vista or OS/X purports to be, but it does what I want it to do, and once you get your head around it - it does them *well*. As for Vista, I remember people having similar feelings about XP's eye-candy. "Why bother upgrading for pretty blue bars?" And, of course, XP was for most home users a progression from the 9x systems, so it was more unlikely that new hardware would work with XP than with Vista now. I've been running Linux for 6 months now, and I've got to say that it's a liberating experience. I still can't believe how much free / open-source software is out there for the platform, and that anything now I need to look for is probably ready to be downloaded and installed through Add/Remove Programs over the Internet. Businesses will still use Windows where they use Windows now, and home users will either buy a Mac or a Windows PC. It's a no-brainer. Now when is Vista R2 out...?

    I don't see a reason to upgrade to Vista, and I agree that it has received less the attention as XP recieved when it first came out. Speaking strictly as a student, I remember when schools were very quick to get their PCs XP compatible (Probably because Me sucked a lot) but I don't see that with Vista. For me personally, there isn't a reason to get Vista, yet at least. For one it's a lot of money, and two, I can still do what I need to do with XP. I might give it a year or so in order for Microsoft to get the kinks out of it but I'm in no rush now.

    I suspect I've been using MS products too long to get away from them for home PC use. If I were running a web server, I might go Linux. On my web hosting plan I picked Linux over Windows, given the choice of either. I know what you mean about open source. There are great open source web apps out there, many of them running on open-source PHP and MySQL. I'm using such an app (WordPress) to run this blog. But I suspect I'll be chained to MS and Adobe products for desktop/office use. Which I'm also okay with.

    As I read yesterday on the UserFriendly forum: > Apple: "OS X". Microsoft: "Me 2!" err, I mean "Vista!" ;-) Linky -- the rest of the thread is interesting too. Personally, you won't be able to tear me away from my Linux From Scratch, unless all the sources I use end up disappearing. But then, I'm probably considered a sadist, too, so that comment probably isn't worth much. :-) (I've got an irrational hatred for things that I can tell have crappy code running behind them, too. That's part of the reason I don't use Qt anymore (it's not terrible, but it does do some strange things) -- and it's the entire reason I left win98 behind for Mandrake six years ago. But not before hanging on for way too long because I didn't know of anything better.)

    Greg: Schools running ME? No wonder they wanted an upgrade! Seriously though, I work for schools supporting IT systems, and there's always a reluctance to upgrade ANYTHING (even though they get licences dirt cheap). Saying that, I recently did a small Vista deployment in a school and was very impressed at how well it ran over a network (on decent hardware of course). The cynic in me thinks that recent XP patches are gradually slowing it down. Jammer: I know how you feel about running Windows for too long. I'm from the Windows 3.1 and DOS 5 crowd. In fact, my first attempt at using Linux was running SUSE 9.3 for 6 months. After that, I was relieved to be reinstalling XP on the system. I betterly blogged about it. I posted my initial thoughts on Ubuntu, and I'm happy to say that most of my opionions still stand, whether positive or negative. One interesting point though - the only reason I'm still using Windows is for Office! And I think that Office 2007 is fantastic. Still, that's what the boys at Redmond hope for isn't it? Vive la difference!

    I'd dearly like to swtich to Linux! Games games games. If I wasn't a gamer, I'd buy a Mac. Once they sort out the games problem, I'm there.

    "The games problem" is a chicken-and-egg. As long as people keep waiting until "the games problem" gets sorted out, they'll be stuck without many games, because the companies that write the games won't see much of a market. Etc., etc. That's too bad -- IMNSHO Linux is a heck of a lot better of a platform for gaming; it just doesn't have the support of the game writers. Hopefully I can add a "yet" to that sentence though. (Some games are being ported -- Quake 4, Doom 3, and anything else out of Id Software is, for instance. And the Unreal 3 engine is *supposed* to have a native Linux client too (but I don't know for sure if that's still going to happen; it was a rumor last I had heard). And Beyond the Red Line released a native client too, though that may be more due to Freespace 2 having a native Linux client. But the majority of stuff probably isn't there yet.)

    I built a new PC in February and opted for Windows XP over Vista. This is mainly because there was no driver support for the Matrox RT.X100 video editing card which I would be using. A quarter of a year later and the driver issue for Vista is still dire as is backward compatibility for older software. The cynic in me believes this is deliberate and unlikely to be fully resolved. Adobe for example has just released a new version of CS suite after announcing that none of it pre-Vista software is officially compatible with the new OS. Matrox has been silent on the issue of compatible drivers. The reason is probably down to money and resources. As Jammer says, these guys are out there to make a buck and that means getting us to buy new stuff rather than spend time on patching up old kit. I'm not a gamer and Office 2003 still does more than I'll ever need to do. I know that at some point I'll have to cough up for newer kit but at the moment I'm enjoying the lower prices on the older stuff while it will still do what it (needs to) do. :)

    I will not upgrade to Vista either, not for a while. Everything works fine on XP, Vita only introduces problems and there is nothing of interest to make the upgrade worth it. Over time it will be on more people's PCs by default, and by then the Internet will have all the solutions to the issues we may have now. Perhaps when Vista SP2 has come out, it will finally be worth looking into.

    We bought a couple of IBM Lenovo 3000C200 laptop PCs in 2007 May. These are fairly average 1700MHz laptops purchased from a UK supplier called eBuyer for around 300 quid a throw. These came preloaded with the basic version of Windows Vista. To describe Vista's performance as dismal would be understatement of the year. Problems included... 1. Waiting over an hour to get the OS from pre installed state to being actually usable (and I use the word "usable" lightly). 2. MS outlook 2002 crashed on start - seems the pre-installed Office 2007 conflicted with it. 3. Painfully slow start up, over five minutes 4. Painfully slow to do anything at all. 5. Stupid user interface with lots of unnecessary clutter that needed switching off in order to get any speed from the machine. So we took the "brave" step of reformatting the drive on one machine and installing Ubuntu Linux instead. Now, I have flirted with Linux on desktop PC's for some time, though not in any serious way. Until recently Linux was not user-friendly enough for desktop use and besides, it lacked decent applications. But things change very quickly in the IT Industry and Linux in particular has come a very long way. Besides Vista made me so angry that I thought it was time to try one of the "new" Linuxes as a Windows replacement on a real, working desktop. There are many choices but in the end I opted for Ubuntu. This is what I discovered... 1. It took less than 15 minutes to install a working Ubuntu, c/w a fully working OpenOffice. 2. I then decided to Outlook with the far superior (and free) Mozilla Thunderbird. This has never crashed and handles my huge archive of old emails far better than MS Outlook. FYI MS Outlook goes decidedly wibbly as its *.PST file approaches 2GB. 3. Ubuntu's start up averages less than 1/3 of the time that Vista takes. 4. Applications load at a speed that I have never experienced with any Windows machine. 5. I have no problems with virus, spyware, trojans, adware etc. Remember that on many Windows PC's half your system reources can be taken up running anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall and other "protective" software. 6. Ubuntu, and almost all the software for Ubuntu is FREE! No strings, no spies, no adware. In fact there are none of the "nasties" that one has come to expect with Windows. Three months and countless installed applications later, these Ubuntu-based machines (upgraded to Kubuntu) still deliver the same performance that they did when they were new. Compare that with any version of Windoze, where machines get slower and slower the more applications you install. Since 2007 May, we have purchased 3 Lenovos and dumped Vista on all 3 machines in favour of Kubuntu. In addition we are gradually migrating all our Windows PC's to Kubuntu as well. I am at my wits end with constant upgrading, security patching of Windows operating systems. I am sorry to say that Vista is one seriously-flawed operating system too many for us and I am utterly sick of all the broken promises from Microsoft. (K)ubuntu has made migrating to Linux really easy for us. So easy that my non-techy girlfriend was able to install a complete Hungarian language version of Ubuntu for her sister in Hungary, including Skype and all the other doodads, whistles & bells in just over half an hour. There are still issues with drivers for scanners etc, but these are gradually being resolved. Our few "must have" Windows applications, such as ThumbsPlus, Adobe PageMaker and Microsoft Access will all run adequately on Linux by using CrossoverLinux from Codeweavers (costs around 25 quid). In fact MS Access on Linux is actually faster than on Windows! Seriously! All our other data can be handled perfectly adequately using the fantastic array of free, open source applications available for Linux - such as OpenOffice (opens and saves M$ Word, Excel & Powerpoint files), Gwenview (for managing photos), Amorok (for MP3's) Kaffiene (for playing DVD's and other movie files). There is also a fantastic array of free, open source educational software that is unrivalled on Windows. The support one gets from the Ubuntu community is far superior to anything you can expect from Micro$oft. My final comment is that anyone struggling with Vista should seriously consider one of the Ubuntu family of Linuxes instead. My view is that if one has the hassle of learning something new then why not make this intellectual effort really worthwhile? My remaining niggle is that presumably I must have paid for all these unwanted Vista OEM licences? Clearly Vista is not of merchantable quality. So I wonder how I can get my money back? I feel a letter to the Office of Fair Trading coming on!

    At home, I don't plan to go for Vista anytime soon. When WinXP came out, I stuck with Win98 for a while, until I felt that XP was getting "stable". I love XP, but it had it's problems in the beginning, just like Vista does. With Vista however, I just don't think it's going to be that way. I've been using Linux on my "try and trash" secondary computer for quite a while and I'm currently preparing to go the Debian way on my main computer too. I'm basically a minimalist. I'm still not using XPs "fisher price" interface and Vista, from what I've seen, is mainly eye candy and performances suffer A LOT from it. Add to that it's crippled legacy apps/hardware support and you get a beautifully limited OS. It might prove to be a great OS for my girlfriend and my parents, but its just not appealing to me. At work it might be a different story. I'm a computer technician in a Health Agency in Quebec and I think we will either be forced to move to Vista (when there's no more security updates for XP) or go right over it, just as we mostly went right from WinNT4 to WinXP (for different reasons). Anyway, I got myself a Vista workstation to get to know it and will run a WinXP virtual machine to ease the transition. finally, I suspect that if Microsoft doesn't move quickly to resolve issues with Vista, it might get some people to take a look at linux or Mac.

    I know the feeling most of you have i tryed vista i liked its new look and its start menu but that was really it. it used to much power from my laptop my laptop is a decent spped laptop too at a nice healthy 3ghz ht with 1.5gb ram and 512mb grafics so i decided being bord with xp after having it for so long i would go back to good ol linux so i had to flip a coin between ubuntu and kubuntu liking somt things aboiut each but then i rembered its linux so i had both interfaces i chose what mood im in on startup :P but after a good 3 months i found my self reinstalling xp bacuse of games i do like the occasional game or 5 and unfortianly linux dosent have them also the support for my video card in linux (sis 661fx) so after reinstalling xp i bacame bord again having xp now for ever lol so i decided id get the best of both worlds so now i have dual boot simple ey and then for thoes days when i feel like using crud im my opinion i use in windows vmware and run a copy of vista ultimate so i get the bets of all 3 worlds but i dont think ill move to vista for some time i have the hardware i have the software just not the want also with the release of windows code name 7 in 09 i think ill just wait

    It is hard for me to believe that Microsoft ever consulted professionals for advice before they embarked on developing such a bad operating system. The look and feel is terrible and its performance unimpressive. I bought a second machine for home and of course it came with Vista. It takes 2-3 minutes from booting to opening Firefox. My older machine that has XP Home edition does this in 45 seconds! Also, several of my games do not work properly. I want to call Microsoft (or Dell) up and request to exchange my Vista copy that came with the new machine with XP. Has someone done this?

    I will Stay with XP Remember what was Before XP and After windows 98 it was windows ME. It Crashed had Driver Issues was Never Stable. Vista is Crash Grab OS . it Reminds me So Much of Windows ME I won't buy it I'll wait for Windows 7 code name Blackcomb or Vienna That will be new XP.

    Only time will answer the question. Many people compare Vista to Me. But I've been using Vista for the past 8 months and had no issues except it's RAM hungry and I never even thought of playing games with Vista. I'll be doing it when I upgrade my RAM. Otherwise Vista is fine and it's not buggy as Me was. Vista is very stable and all my PC's hardwares run properly. Think of the days when Xp came out and became the nightmare of people that demanded more RAM and processing power along with driver issues. Why don't we wait for some more time for the hardware prices to come down? Only one issue with Vista is it's too expensive for its offering. Xp is a better choice now and when softwares take advantage of Dx10 and Vista becomes cheap, switching over to Vista will be a wise decision.

    The "game problem" on Mac has been sorted out, its called Boot Camp. Just boot up in Windows for games. Problem solved. One of the main reasons I have a Mac is because of drivers. You know exactly what hardware is in the machine, and Apple supplies the drivers for them, even for Windows (boot camp). If you feel like hunting for drivers that don't work well, get a PC.

    Vista is a flop and you need atleast 4 gb of Ram to work it.

    Vista is a slow fat flashy flop. Microsoft (hopefully) will gt it this time. Fix what you have forced on the end users and stop selling new flops. Live up to your advantage by releasing real software that works on today’s computers, and stop selling me beta software that needs a more powerful, more expensive computer, just to see if I like it or not. I don’t want to buy a new PC just to use your beta software. This is not anger or negativity, it simply is what I am forced to live with. I swear, there is nothing worse that a arrogant geek telling me I don’t like it because I don’t know how to use it, when I paid my money for the only real option there is for a person needing to do business. I do not have time for an "unconventional" O.S. The bottom line is Microsoft claims to serve the business community and Vista is cryptic and unstable and more of a problem than I had before I was forced to upgrade just to grow my business (we have to buy new P.C.'s). And I am not big enough to say no to an O.S. that, I may have to have 1 year from now but might not even be supported. It sucks and I will not make excuses for Microsoft. They have the monopoly advantage and need to be held accountable for it.

    I recently bought a PC for my in-laws who wanted something just for web surfing and e-mail. The best deals were for Vista installed machines. It looks nice, and I like some of the security changes, but it is *so* bloated. To boot to desktop with just basic services running, sees a commit charge of something in the order of 1GB. Just to run the OS!! Ridiculous. I'm using XP on my home notebook and my media centre (MediaPortal), and it's stable, well supported, quick, reliable and reasonably efficient. Why I would want to "upgrade" to this is beyond me. If I were forced to upgrade, today, I would definitely explore the Linux route.

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