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2007-02-15 09:57:00

Vista -- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A WORD ON THIS: there was a survey done among IT professionals not too long ago. The overwhelming majority of corporate IT departments are planning to wait at least until after the first service pack comes out for Vista. Many are planning to wait about 18 months to upgrade. Just two cents I picked up on one of the Tech Lists I'm on. But there's something to be said for lost productivity -- if it occurs. -- Rich Franklin

I’VE REGRETTED UPGRADING to Vista. Among the things I’m experiencing is that it takes 7-10 minutes to boot my system (no exaggeration), videos lock up after three seconds, it took 90 minutes to print flyers to my color laser when it should have taken five minutes, audio doesn’t work, and my Wyldfyre program won’t work.
I just received an email from a Team Leader at Microsoft. Here is what they say:

“An upgrade install is only recommended for systems that have a simple and clean software environment. (The clean environment refers to an environment with least third party software and incompatible hardware installed.)”

My system is far from simple and clean. My computer is about two years old with tons of stuff on it. I admit that it started running sluggish with XP and I knew it was at that time in the cycle that I either needed to get another computer or reformat and install XP and my applications from scratch again. I thought I’d give Vista a try to see if it got rid of the causes of the sluggishness I was starting to see with XP but it looks like it just made it worse.
Microsoft’s recommendation to me is that I do a clean installation of Vista. I already dug out my program CDs to do a XP install from scratch so not sure if I’ll try Vista or just go back to XP. HP doesn’t have the Vista driver for my HP 2605 color laser and I’ll still have the Wyldfyre program incompatibility so I think I’ll just stick with XP for now. I’ve been using Vista for a week and I haven’t seen anything in it that I need. -- Keith Byrd, Charleston, SC


I FOUND THIS IN MY INBOX this morning: tech staffers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are warning professors and administrators at the school not to upgrade desktops or laptops to Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system because the software isn't yet ready for "productive and safe computing," according to an internal statement posted on MIT's web site. That's right folks, MIT gave Vista an "F!"  -- Author Unknown

I LIKE IT A LOT. The Upgrade Adviser told me exactly what software/hardware was not compatible before I ever attempted to install Vista, I found the new drivers on the manufacturer's websites and everything is working fine.

I hate to disagree with a group of MIT geeks, but I spent the day at the launch event this week with the geeks from Emory, Georgia Tech, UGA, UA, Auburn, etc., etc, and they were totally fired about switching platforms. The security thing is crap; I have never seen so many levels of security. It even will encrypt every single bit on your hard drive so that if anyone were to ever take the hard drive out of your computer and put it in another, they would see absolutely nothing and would never be able to unlock it. That's apparently how NSA encrypts their computer hard drives.

It's not for everyone. I have an uncle that is still waiting for the automobile thing to get all the bugs worked out before he buys one (hyperbole not fact). Like everything else new, don't expect everything you see in Vista to be "intuitive." It's all new and there IS a learning curve. Then again, everything has a learning curve. Fortunately, as humans, we overcome that or else there would never be a next generation of us. ;-)  And, perhaps, we will overcome this learning curve also or there won't be quite as many in our next generation either. -- Buddy Snipes, Decatur, GA         

I AM AN ELECTRONICS ENGINEER and have owned various computer services corporations for over 20 years, before DOS was released ... we just tried to install our partner version on our newest laptop and it failed before it got past the BIOS, apparently the startup devices were in an order it didn't like ... so we manually corrected that problem ... and it still won't install, forget it for a few months, Microsoft and other companies just love the free debugging from early adopters, saves them having to do the work themselves. If you are planning on purchasing a new PC Vista ready is a good idea because the hardware is supposed to be compatible but don't count on it. -- Chris, Colleyville, TX

THERE'S A HOST OF PROGRAMS and drivers that won't work with Vista -- Texas Assn. of REALTORS just informed us that ZipForms is not compatible.  We checked and neither of MFP HP or our scanner programs will work with Vista -- seems like everybody is rushing to catch up.

I think MS has run out of steam -- they're too big now to effectively compete and deliver programs that work right the first time.  Eventually, open source programs will take over.  Look at IE7.0 -- it's full of compatibility issues.  We waited years for IE7.0 only to find it doesn't work nearly as well as Firefox -- they're playing catch up.  The innovation is gone from MS.

I have no plans to update to Vista anytime soon.  I have lots of time invested in XP and will run XP as long as possible. -- John Huval, Humble, TX

I HAVE UPGRADED ALL OF MY COMPUTERS and laptops (eight in all) and have had very little trouble.  The only trouble I had was with a program I forgot to uninstall even though Windows told me to.
I Find VISTA very stable and well worth the added features.  MS Office 2007 is a great piece
of software as well. Try the Upgrade Advisor program from Vista and it will detail all the possible disruptions that you may have with your programs and hardware. Big thing is to upgrade your memory (to at least 2gig) and to upgrade your graphics card.
I love Vista and am glad we made the investment and the switch.

The new Vista and Office are truly innovative. For those that are being scared off by all the negative posts you will be sorry. I have observed that when all of the small companies that depend on Windows do not update their software it is always Microsoft's fault. Viva la Vista!!!  -- J. Warren Sloane, James Island, SC 

I DECIDED THAT IT WAS TIME to replace the tablet PC I used in the office with a desktop. Now I can take the tablet with me and use it like it's supposed to be used.  So, I replaced it with a Gateway 5411E, with one of their 19"-wide monitors.  Vista Home Premium came pre-installed.

I considered buying an upgrade to Business or Ultimate, but the added/deleted features didn't make much sense for me.

First problem I encountered was Gateway's own EZTune monitor software.  It's sort of a software lock for the monitor (causes viewing difficulty if you move the monitor to another computer -- therefore nobody will want to steal it).  It also can automatically adjust the screen orientation if you turn the monitor on its side or upside down.  The software kept insisting that changes had been made and that I had to re-install (I only fell for that one once).  Then, the screen orientation software would insist that the license was invalid.  All this on startup - every restart.

The system came with McAfee -- I deleted that immediately and installed NOD32 (as I keep seeing so much good about it on RealTalk).

Then I installed Office 2007.

Now for the fun part -- reinstalling all the 'old' software.

1.  Autorealty's AutoContract Gold installs with no problem.  However, the license information won't take and it causes an error that shut's the program down -- fortunately, I also have access to the online version.

2. (free version) works just fine.

3.  Top Producer 7i works after I dig into IE7 and make TP a 'trusted' site and install MS Virtual Machine.  TPs Outlook connector does not work because it cannot find Outlook 2003.

4.  The GIMP (open source Photoshop clone) installed and works fine.

5.  Opera 9.x browser works fine.

Then, someone in the office added a networked printer to the office network (this causes our office network to boot machines off the network).  This time, I temporarily forgot the reason I now had 'Local Access' only -- my office laptops were working fine, so I thought it had to be Vista.  Silly me, I even went out and got a wireless PCI card (installed correctly) thinking that would help. 

Then, to top everything off, I reinstalled Vista (after burning a CD of the software I had downloaded).  It wasn't until after the re-install that I realized that the networked printer was what had caused the limited connectivity. All-in-all, I think the reinstall was a good thing.  It got rid of all the garbage software that had been added at the factory.

Except for the (authorized) network printers which I had to tell the system to find, all my printers automagically installed.  That said, all the printer hardware software that came with the printers won't install (my HP3015 all-in-one's hardware can't be accessed via HP's software as it won't install).

I reinstalled Goldmine 6.5 (contact management).  So far so good, with the exception of the Word/Excel/AcroRead plug-ins -- the plugins don't recognize the newer versions.

APC power control software for the battery backup appears to install and run correctly.
I haven't even dared an install of my Palm Desktop -- I'll wait until Palm says it has a
version that works. -- Pat Hallesy, Fredericksburg, VA

I RECENTLY PURCHASED A NEW LAPTOP so that I could experience the new Windows Vista, and the new Office suite. The new laptop is no slouch (but my old laptop was not slow either).

The specs on my new laptop are:

    • Dell Inspiron 6400 (small business)
    • 1.83 Ghz dual core T5600 667mhz front side bus
    • 1.5GB RAM (512MB from the factory, 1GB added at home)
    • 80GB hard drive
    • ATI X1300 discrete graphics card with 128MB dedicated RAM
    • 1680 x 1050 xbrite display
    • cd-rw w/ dvd blah blah
    • usb / firewire blah blah
    • and such and such…
    • Windows Vista Business
    • Microsoft Office 2007 Small Business Edition (SBE)
    • 3-year on-site warranty ? very important  

Here’s my take on things Vista:

1.  You need more RAM when running Vista vs. XP. 512 MB is not nearly enough. Gotta have at least 1GB. Luckly RAM is cheap nowadays.

2. You need more hard D\drive space for Vista. I don’t know how much space Vista takes up, but I nearly ran out of room on my new laptop with it’s 80GB hard drive. Vista must take up at least 10GB more than XP.

3. AERO GLASS (or whatever they are calling it now) is cool. The entire machine looks slick and having windows fade up, flip, etc. is cool.

4. The preview windows that appear on the taskbar is so useful.

5. The whole interface is slick looking. I love the transparent effects.

6. I’ll admit, I like IE7 and it’s tabbed browsing. -- Steven Hong, Minneapolis, MN

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