Vista Redux


Previously I’ve blogged about the new Microsoft Operating system, Vista. As much as I didn’t want to, I finally had to break down and purchase Vista to be able to test software that my company produces. Even that is no easy task, because in a bizarre hair brained marketing scheme, Vista comes in several different flavors where its predecessor only came in two.

I decided to pick the middle of the road Home Premium edition for my testing. And, since you can’t return software, and because the software costs $200, I decided to buy it pre-installed on a laptop, that way if I need to I can return the laptop with Vista installed. That turned out to be a smart move, as today I’m on my way back to COMPUSA to return the whole mess.

Vista is, well…I’ve searched for the appropriate words to describe it, and there are just so many it’s rather hard to choose. But I’ve decided on the phrase eye candy.

Vista is: pretty, pointlessly gadget laden, and “user insulating” from the actual operating system almost to the point of it being like earlier versions of the Macintosh operatiing system.

Its also a huge resource hog…no thats not right, resource “glutton” would be a better way to describe it. On the HP 9220 Intel Core2 Duo processor laptop its running on, even with 2GB installed RAM it had 18,000 CPU threads running, and runs 10-15% CPU usage in idle mode, just sitting there doing nothing!! Compare this to 1-2% idle CPU use of my current laptop (which I’m writing this on). Vista doesn’t have performance…its got “stuff”, most of which are just cute micro applications like newsfeed readers, yellow sticky pad notes, and analog meters to show things like CPU use.

And, in my opinion, Vista is summarily annoying, becuase now to do things like copy, delete, install, files the level of security now requires THREE clicks where ONE would do before…I spend a lot of time doing repetitive work thats not needed. For example, to delete all the “crudware” that came with my laptop (AOL, game offers, trial versions of software etc) it requires two extra security answers to uninstall the software. Even doing something simple like getting the AOL icon off the desktop requires two extra answers to stupid questions like “Windows Vista needs permission to do this” Hello! I’m at the keyboard, running the mouse, logged in as Administrator. Aren’t you smart enough as an OS to determine that I’m not a remote intruder?

The Aero interface “is” pretty, no doubt about it. But why do I need semitranspaernt windows to see a blurred version of the window behind it? why do I need a 3D window scroller that flys the windows that are open around the screen in 3D? What does that do for me other than look cute?


And of course, it won’t run the programs my company provides…though its likely a fault of the immature graphics drivers.

And, the icing on the cake was that my laptop came equipped with an HDMI port. This allows connecting up to HDTV displays…and I’ve been looking forward to having this….but noooooo. The Nvidia Go7600 chip on the laptop has an incomplete Windows Vista Driver, with no controls for this port, or no controls for ANYTHING for that matter….the usual Nvidia control panel comes up blank, and there is no software update available on the websites of HP, Microsoft, or NVidia.

Blecch. What a letdown. They say in the new Windows Vista slogan, “The Wow Starts Now”…well sure if you think eye candy is the reason to own a computer.

But with extra work to do things you did before, application incompatibility, and huge hardware requirements to allow the OS to run idles at 10-15% CPU use, I think the slogan should be ” The new Coke of operating systems”. Cocal Cola learned in the 80’s that messing with success gets you trouble.

Since the Vista graphics drivers won’t let me run an advertised feature, the HDMI port, I bought a vaporware laptop…so back it goes. My advice- if you don’t have a compelling reason to buy a new PC or Windows Vista, stick with what you have.

Or, and I never thought I’d say this, buy a Macintosh. At least with a Mac, everything works out of the box.

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February 18, 2007 11:55 am

thanks for giving a REAL insight into vista instead of how cool it looked and how often you had to see bill gates promoting it. I almost bought one but will stick with windows 2000, at least I know it works and doesn’t waste memory on useless cool. XP is bad enough.

February 19, 2007 12:32 pm

Check out the Mac ad for “sucurity”.
It’s pretty funny.

February 19, 2007 1:24 pm

Hi Gregg,
The Apple spoof security ad really does capture the frustration of using Vista. It’s such a waste of time always telling the OS its OK to do something.
Apple is well positioned to take advantage of PC owners that can’t or won’t run Vista. Though to be fair, Apple has not had much issues with viruses mostly due to them not being a large target with (a couple years ago) about 5% of the market for PC’s.
If you want to create global havoc with a virus, its hardly worth paying attention to an operating system with such small market share.
As Apple Mac OSX grows in popularity, that may likely change.

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