Monday, 16 June 2008

Good reasons why NOT to buy WIndows Vista

When my last notebook burnt out last month I needed a quick solution. I identified a notebook that satisfied my needs and had a choice of operating systems. XP Pro, Vista Business or Linux. 

I selected Windows Vista Business. I got my previous notebook with XP. In spite of the warnings, the operating system was a huge improvement over the previous version. I upgraded to SP2 and had no problems. So in spite of the negative publicity, my thinking was that Vista will be around longer than XP, so I braved it. 

I created two user IDs on the machine. One for work (I do consulting) and one for me. Both were created with administrator status.

My first revelation was that the new version doesn't allow the user to do very much himself. Everything works on a series of wizards that try to do everything for you. You cannot select a printer from a list - you have to leave it up to the operating system to identify the printer and instal the appropriate driver. 

Connecting to a network proved to be a major problem. I connected to my home WAN without a problem and could use the Internet immediately. But do as I may I just couldn't see the other computers on the network. Nor could the system find the printer. I tried all sorts of things to get there. Eventually, I switched to my consulting user ID. All of a sudden I could see the home network! The printer was also there. 

Trying to connect to the printer was a nightmare. An option to add the printer resulted in a message that "You do not have sufficient rights to perform this operation". As mentioned already I have full administrator rights. 

The option to connect to the printer seemed to be the next choice. After a long wait, I was told that there is not enough memory to complete the operation. Close some applications and try again. Evidently 2 Gigs of RAM is not enough to instal a printer. All applications were closed, tried again, same result. Reboot, same result. 

After many attempts I did not manage to get rid of the insufficient memory message, but the printer did appear on my printer list. 

Having found the network on my work ID seems to have been enough. I can now access the network and printer from either user ID. 

Today I tried to use my scanner. This is a plug and play device - at least for all previous operating systems. Vista couldn't find a driver. I tried searching the Internet but could not find an appropriate driver. 

Several hours later, I detected a little call out from the active tray. Windows has identified a solution to my computer problems. Click here for more. The solution was to link to the Vista Hardware Compatibility List. I clicked, only to be told that I had to use Internet Explorer 6 or higher. I am using Opera and Firefox on the main, but it seems that Microsoft force you to use their much inferior product for any access to their sites.

The list had never heard of the model. 

Other issues are general issues. XP allowed me to set up multiple languages. Vista only allows one. All sorts of actions bring up the "insufficient rights" argument to prevent me from performing basic functions. Simple plug'n'play devices do not plug'n'play easily on Vista. 

I am now at the stage where I want to return the software to Microsoft. I would like a full refund. Windows XP was the first and only Operating System produced by Microsoft that worked properly. Why they introduced Vista beats me! Whatever its merits, the release of this product is obviously premature. 

My experience to date is that Vista is a substandard product, not nearly ready to be unleashed on the general public.

I will instal Ubuntu Linux - I have heard great reports - and switch to OpenOffice.org. 

Good bye Windows!

2 comments:

Rebecca said...

I've had the same experience with Vista. I am happy to see that Microsoft is going to continue to offer upgrades & patches until 2014. One of these days I hope to give Linux a shot.

Barry M said...

Thanks for the comment. I am getting used to Vista, but can't get a driver for my scanner.
I installed Linux (Ubuntu) on a separate partition - seems fine so far, faster than Vista but not as pretty