Friday, June 20, 2008

Windows Vista still sucks after 16 months

When it launched, I commented that all those people floundering around in the video represent the new Vista users figuring out how to make the damn thing work. Now, after a full year and a service pack, plus numerous security updates, it's time to take another look at Vista.
We tried for a long time to suffer along with the UAC ("User Annoyance Control") message, but eventually I gave up. The time it has taken for the dialogue box to come up and then go away again after clicking has increased progressively over time: 10-15 seconds waiting is just too long, when CCleaner only takes about that long to run. So now we have to put up with Annoyance #2: the warning message that Annoyance #1 is switched off.
Vista Service Pack 1 fixed my other main gripe: printing. Our HP1020 printer is connected to Penny's Vista machine, and each time I wanted to print out a page I would have to send the page to the shared printer, and then go to her machine and reboot it to get the page to print. I kid you not! After SP1 I can now print correctly. It was nice of Microsoft to make me wait over a year for this bug fix. Shared printers are obviously not big in Redmond.
Of course the related bug is still not fixed: the HP 1020 driver for Vista and XP makes horrible little black rectangles down the right hand margin of the page whenever graphics are used. HP is unlikely to fix this because they don't care about their old HP1020 customers. So I will probably not buy another HP printer, even though I have owned 3 or 4 over the years. Enough is enough.
That gets rid of the main issues. But of course Office 2002 still doesn't work with Vista correctly, and there is no sign of a bug fix either. Each time Penny wants to collect her email Outlook 2002 asks for her password. It doesn't do this on my XP machine, and I have exactly the same version of Outlook. I'm not prepared to spend a fortune upgrading to a newer version of Outlook just to fix this bug.
Speaking of upgrades, I'm not prepared to spend money upgrading Office 2002 just to get the Office Assistant (i.e. Clippy) to work either. I'm not even sure if Office 2007 has one, but it has those dreadful toolbars and no option of a menu, so Microsoft in all its wisdom has lost another Office customer.
Then there is the brain dead "Power Off" button in Vista that actually does a "Standby" (there is NO hibernate option) instead of a "Shut Down". I finally found out from Paul Thurrott how to change it, so now at least it does what it is supposed to.
Vista Home editions don't have a "fax" option, unlike Windows XP, so each time we need to send a fax from home (we don't have a fax machine at home) we have to use the modem in my laptop, because I'm still running WinXP. Another Microsoft brainwave: the fax option is only available in the Business editions of Vista, because fax machines are found in most offices, but not in most homes. Genius!
So if I get a laptop with Vista on it, I'll probably have to get the Business edition, and hope that it can do "home" things like play music and DVDs. Only time will tell. Of couse, I can't to an "anytime upgrade" because that isn't available to HP South Africa customers. I guess I probably won't be buying an HP laptop after all.


Anonymous said...

Time to opt out of the M$ circle of hell
Give Linux a shot& You will never regret it.
Nag-free computing at it's best.

Donn Edwards said...

I already use Linux: the VPN that I am part of uses Debian Linux.

My file server uses Ubuntu Linux.

I have tried really hard to do a database development using and it SUCKS: you can't connect to more than one data source, so I can't even import some spreadsheet data into an empty database! And it's SLOOOOOOOOOOOWWWW at opening data files with any decent amount of data in it.

MySQL may be all very well as a database backend, but where is a decent FRONT-end? MS Access 97 is the best front-end I have ever found on Windows, Mac and Linux. Nothing else comes close, as far as I can tell.

Anonymous said...

Hi Don:

If you haven't already, you might try a little free program called "TweakUAC." It will allow you to keep UAC turned on for security reasons, but greatly decrease the number of pop-ups:

On a side note... I'm one of those people that just HAS to have the latest version of whatever software I'm running. My new computer I got in Feb 08 came with Vista Home Premium installed. I spent 3 months messing with it and started have BSOD, and other issues (Even after a fresh install of the OS and all my programs). To make a long story short... I ended up spending several hours collecting all the drivers I needed to run Windows XP on my system and reformated my harddrive and installed XP Pro. I have not had a singe BSOD or major issue since. I LOVE Windows XP!

Anonymous said...

Hi Donn,

What's going on in the defrag world these days? Have you had time for any testing?

Donn Edwards said...

I will post some stuff soon. I was on holiday last week, so there is some catching up to do.

Anonymous said...

Vista works fine for me - Business 64bit. It was a "natural choice" as I have 4GB of RAM, new hardware, no printers, I wanted to have DX10 and no major driver issues with XP 64bit.
One of the first things I've done was disabling UAC. Disabling Hibernation required command line, what is a bit weird for such system. The most irritating issue is probably the searching system. It works great with "Control Panel" - actually makes it usable, but it tends to omit some files on my disks. So I'm forced to use self-made searching tool.

Anonymous said...

Windows Vista sucks men, users who say they work for them surely a good money was spent on buying new hardware, ok thats work and welcome to the new tecnology for a home user, but think on offices, corporative computers 20, 50, 200, 2000 computers? that they need to upgrade they hardware only for a new os and all for what???, for work with the same shit and do the same things????, no men, so windows vista sucks and people who say that it works for them too.