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Microsoft Windows Technology

Revisiting the Original Reviews of Windows Vista 414

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the take-with-a-grain-of-salt dept.
harrymcc writes 'We now know that a remarkable percentage of consumers and businesses decided to spurn Windows Vista and stay with XP. But did the reviews of Vista serve as an early warning that it had major problems? I looked back at the evaluations in nine major publications and found that they expressed some caution--but on the whole, they were far from scathing. Some were downright enthusiastic.'
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Revisiting the Original Reviews of Windows Vista

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  • Vista (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:18AM (#29719209) Journal

    I dont think Vista was that bad OS after a little bit more powerful hardware came out and after you got used to it. It feels a bit more sluggish than XP but that's what Win7 improves with their move responsive UI (which is really important thing that always seems to be forgotten - just compare Opera to Firefox)

    Everyone who have started using Win7 already are saying it's great. Even those who skipped Vista completely. Personally I will probably move from Vista once I get a new computer - I dont want to do an update nor move all the files and settings in place and install new programs right now (and more so because I will probably get a new computer soon anyway)

    One of the failure points for Vista was that all the drivers had to be redone and released for it. Even if it's a better thing now that it happened, it was bad to be in the first ones. But this time they all work in Win7 too, so that's not an issue.

    What comes to UAC, it's the correct direction, but lots of Windows userbase is general audience which would get annoyed with such in Linux and other OS too. Atleast it's there now, and those who dont like it can disable it.

    Most of the problems with Vista was actually that it was taking Windows OS into new direction and probably needed that one OS release in between to get there and so that users get familiar and used with it.

    • Re:Vista (Score:5, Insightful)

      by underqualified (1318035) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:30AM (#29719365) Homepage
      i agree. aside from needing a lot more memory than what was considered "standard" at the time of its release, vista wasn't bad at all. i think everyone was just riding on the stay-away-from-vista band wagon. it's just sad that the general public believe the opinions of 12-yr-old geek wannabes or 40-yr-old bloggers who don't even know the difference between java and javascript.
      • Re:Vista (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hijacked Public (999535) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:53AM (#29719713)

        And needing more graphics power than was considered normal in order to display a modern UI.

        And UAC being maybe the most annoying thing ever added to any piece of software ever.

        And inexpicably long file transfer times.

        And backward compatibility.

        I used the Vista RCs extensively and couldn't stand them, even on excellent hardware. This past weekend I spent an hour or so helping a friend set up his new Vista laptop and network and was reminded of why I can't stand Vista even on hot off the presses high end laptop hardware. The UI lags no matter how much computing power you throw its way. UAC still requires multiple approvals before executing one task. Even with an SSD traversing directories is still too slow.

        I've been running the Win 7 RC and have to say that it appears to fix most all of Vista's problems apart from UAC. It is probably good enough to get me to take advantage of bootcamp, which Vista certainly was not.

        • Re:Vista (Score:5, Informative)

          by dave420 (699308) on Monday October 12, 2009 @12:05PM (#29719867)
          I don't know what hardware your friend has, or how you set it up, but Vista flies on my machines. The file transfer issue you talk about was fixed years ago - it can easily max out our gigabit ethernet at work. Backwards compatibility was indeed broken for drivers, as it uses a new driver model to increase stability. I've used vista for years, without re-installing it, and it's fine.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            The post I replied to suggested that the only problem Vista had at release was needing more memory than was 'standard'. The file transfer issue was present at release, but as you point out it has been fixed. My complaint is that even with modern hardware opening a directory with 50 video files excessively slows the Explorer window. It might be that I don't care to see previews, maybe I'm just passing through, but the OS sacrifices far too much in order to display previews.

            Backward compatibility is an issue

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Z34107 (925136)

              Opening a directory with 50 video files may slow the Explorer window to generate thumbnails... but only the first time you open that window. It doesn't regenerate them every time, so it won't take any longer to open that window the second time through.

              If the Quickload installer won't launch, try the right-click-run-as-administrator trick. Or go to its properties and turn on compatibility mode for XP SP2. Or usually if an installer fails, Vista will pop up a more-or-less helpful window offering to try "w

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by bdenton42 (1313735)

                Opening a directory with 50 video files may slow the Explorer window to generate thumbnails... but only the first time you open that window. It doesn't regenerate them every time, so it won't take any longer to open that window the second time through.

                There's no reason that window/mouse response should become sluggish when it is generating thumbnails first time or not. That's just poor UI design. I see the same thing in IE. Some web sites, this one included, will cause window/mouse response in IE to get very sluggish or non-existent for a while. The user action should always have priority. I don't care if it's busy processing through 1000 Slashdot comments... if I want to click a link, close the window, or go back it should just do it.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by element-o.p. (939033)

                Another thing to consider: Your friends' preinstalled copy of Vista is going to be garbage because of all the broken sometimes unremovable shovelware. Ditto for the restore image on the recovery partition or the CDs, and doubly so if it's a laptop. All the computers I see (laptops especially) are practically unusable, even fresh after a recovery partition. Install from a regular boxed-copy Vista disc, type in the OEM key (you'll have to back up your activation or give Microsoft's automated line a call) and the same laptop will fly.

                In fairness, I don't suppose that can really be blamed on Microsoft since all the crapware on an OEM installation is installed by, well, the OEM installer :) However, having said that, I really can't say that purchasing a PC (desktop or laptop) and then shelling out another $150-200 for the O/S (full version, not upgrade) is a good answer to the problem -- nor is pirating a copy because I already "own" Vista. Screw that; I can legally get Ubuntu (or Gentoo or Slackware or CentOS....) for free.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              This guy's post is not a "troll". It's an OPINION..... please learn the difference and learn to tolerate others' opinions even when you disagree with them.

        • Re:Vista (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Monday October 12, 2009 @12:09PM (#29719923) Journal

          You complain about both backward compatibility and UAC. Most problems with UAC came from exactly that - the old software wasn't made to support it. New software is. Nevertheless, UAC is the correct direction for securing Windows as OS. People have been complaining that Windows is insecure, and now that MS takes the correct way people complain that it's a nuisance? You can't have it both ways (and you can disable UAC if you're not happy with it).

          UAC nuisance goes away when you replace older software with newer one that supports it. But to support it MS had to just throw it in.

          • Re:Vista (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Hijacked Public (999535) on Monday October 12, 2009 @12:28PM (#29720127)

            I don't fault the idea behind UAC, it is absolutely needed. But with decent implementations of the same thing having been in the field for years, why did they screw up theirs so badly?

            My desktops have been Unix lineage for most of my life, so I'm used to having to provide admin credentials to admin things. But I still found Microsoft's UAC immediately annoying. A lot of that has to do with poorly written software, but that is the reality of using Windows and Microsoft should have been able to accomodate it.

            And they still haven't solved most of the problems associated with bad software as even Win 7 lets it fiddle with the OS too much. It can still slap icons all over the place without asking. It can add to the right click context menu (and try getting rid of that crap). It can start itself at boot in any of the many ways Windows allows, without asking you.

          • Re:Vista (Score:4, Insightful)

            by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday October 12, 2009 @01:31PM (#29720993) Journal

            UAC still doesn't stop a user from clicking "okay" "okay" "okay" as they install a trojan.

        • Re:Vista (Score:4, Informative)

          by Blakey Rat (99501) on Monday October 12, 2009 @12:18PM (#29720035)

          This is the same old complaints over again.

          And needing more graphics power than was considered normal in order to display a modern UI.

          Slightly, perhaps. But that's because of backwards compatibility, not some sort of horribly conspiracy against the public. OS X has the advantage that all the apps written for it knew they'd be rendering to the GPU.

          And UAC being maybe the most annoying thing ever added to any piece of software ever.

          Except you only really get UAC prompts:

          1) When you first install all your software. After the first two weeks, and all the programs you're likely to use are already installed, you only see UAC when patching. (This is what gave people the bad impression, but what's the alternative? If Microsoft game installers a pass, like Apple does, they would have been crucified for insecurity.)

          2) For buggy applications. Applications that break the multi-user contract pop-up UAC prompts often, yes, but those applications were already broken-- Vista is just exposing their brokenness. (And, UAC enables them to run *at all* automatically, without you having to use "Run As... Admin" like you would on XP and Windows 2000. In Windows XP, a broken app like that would just fail with a vague error message.)

          And if UAC is throwing up multiple alerts for one task, you're tinkering with the guts of the OS. Stop doing that.

          And inexpicably long file transfer times.

          Patched over 2 years ago.

          And backward compatibility.

          Possibly worse than other Windows releases (although the compatibility from Windows 98 to Windows 2000/XP was pretty iffy, too), but still better than any other OS on the market.

          • Re:Vista (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Hijacked Public (999535) on Monday October 12, 2009 @01:08PM (#29720639)

            Valid complaints have a way of sticking around.

            We seem to have some marginal readers among us. I mentioned the long transfer times as having been present at release, which all of you apologists admit is true. Then, later in my post, I mention traversing directories. I don't know how much you know about computers, but those are two different things mentioned at two different points in my post. Kind of like when you read a book where a guy is alive at the beginning and dead at the end. Do you wonder how he did all the things in between if he was dead?

            Regardless, you are right about gettings UAC prompts when you install software. You'd think one would be enough but it usually isn't. You also have a toss up as to whether you'll need to right click and Run as Administrator or not. Confusing at best to be told to install something as an admin when you are an admin and the last install you just did asked you to confirm your admin credentials. And the app you are installing is still given the freedom to install itself and its settings almost wherever it pleases on your disk.

            The overwhelming majority of computer users don't really care about the technical details of why things are done the way they are, so explanations do little to mitigate the problems. Even considering those, Microsoft fostered an environment where applications could do anything they liked at install. If they want to correct that I'd prefer they do it in a way that doesn't make me suffer for their oversight. Like many other users who can exercise the choice I intend to sit it out until they do.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by SpryGuy (206254)

          Agreed, but most of those issues disappeared with SP1 (and UAC was easy to turn off and/or work around to make it less annoying, and even if left in place, became less annoying over time as it really was hit up front as you installed everything and set everything up).

          Since SP1 came out, I've been quite happy with Vista.

          In fact, every time I have to go back to XP, I get frustrated with how old and obsolete and inefficient it is. I miss things like the screen snipper and the start menu search and a lot of th

      • Re:Vista (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pete6677 (681676) on Monday October 12, 2009 @12:07PM (#29719903)

        The main reason most businesses stayed away from Vista was because there was no business justification for it. If the only thing Vista can do that XP can't is to run slower and look prettier, why would you want to install it? Remember, a business software upgrade is never free even if there is no additional licensing cost. The IT staff time required to upgrade the PCs and networks along with any user downtime or learning curve is not worthwhile just to install a slower and buggier OS that offers no real improvement over XP.

      • Re:Vista (Score:5, Interesting)

        by causality (777677) on Monday October 12, 2009 @12:12PM (#29719951)

        i agree. aside from needing a lot more memory than what was considered "standard" at the time of its release, vista wasn't bad at all. i think everyone was just riding on the stay-away-from-vista band wagon.

        The real issue with Vista was that it didn't offer a good reason to upgrade for the many people who were satisfied enough with XP. It wasn't the staggering improvement over XP that XP was over Win98 and WinME. That's why the average person wasn't eager to install it and perhaps more importantly, neither were many corporations. Many who are more technically inclined felt that its improvements were not innovative but were instead evidence that Microsoft took some ten years to finally address some of the core flaws in XP. I personally think that stance is justifiable.

        For example, UAC was the result of rampant malware infecting XP, yet a good designer could have told you before XP's release that most users running as "root" all of the time was asking for trouble. That's because other systems learned the importance of privilege separation and viewed it as a general design principle a very long time ago, before there was such a thing as Windows at all (think Multics, VAX, Unix). So now we have UAC so that the use of superuser capabilities can be limited, and if you listened to their marketing at the time, we were supposed to believe that this was innovation.

        Having personally witnessed the various versions of Windows (since 3.1) slowly acquire user accounts, something like a distinction between superuser and normal user, network stacks, mount points, something like 'su' (RunAs), something like Sudo (UAC), I am reminded of that saying that "those who fail to understand Unix are doomed to reimplement it." Sometimes the word "poorly" is added to that sentence. The design principles we have seen and tested after decades of computing are sound, or they're not, yet much of the improvements I have seen in Windows were not due to robust basic design. Instead, they were reactions to the failures of earlier versions, which is not terribly innovative or interesting. I do see a lot of real innovation when it comes to OS-level support for DRM, but this doesn't make me want to run Vista either.

        it's just sad that the general public believe the opinions of 12-yr-old geek wannabes or 40-yr-old bloggers who don't even know the difference between java and javascript.

        It's sad that there are legitimate reasons to dislike something and that those good reasons often get drowned out by a bunch of demagoguery. You'd think the demagoguery would only be necessary in the absence of legitimate reasons, but some really seem to enjoy it. Others seem to have an axe to grind.

        Call it a little devil's advocate, but I'd speculate as well that the abusive or at least "questionable" business practices of Microsoft (such as the ones for which they were convicted in multiple countries) and their willingness to use underhanded tactics like vendorlock haven't earned them many friends. While the average person just wants to browse the Web or run their office apps and really doesn't care, that only seems to make the minority who do care all the more vocal. Still, you can't worry too much about them if you trust in your own ability to know a reasonable argument when you see one.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        >>>side from needing a lot more memory than what was considered "standard" at the time of its release, vista wasn't bad at all.

        Not bad??? My brother bought a brand-new machine with 1/2 gig of RAM which Microsoft claimed was enough. It wasn't. It was slower than a snail through molasses, even worse than my old XP laptop on 96 megabytes. After he upgraded to 1.5 gig it did work a bit faster, but then he started having problems with Vista accusing him of using an unauthorized copy & refusing t

    • Re:Vista (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dave420 (699308) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:34AM (#29719417)
      For me it didn't even take getting new hardware to get better performance under Vista. MS released some patches soon after launch that addressed the main performance issues people were having, and it's been great ever since. I'm still using it, after 2 years of no re-installs or cleaning up of my computer, and it's flying. The major problems people had, which were not addressed by Microsoft, were due to the new driver model, which made drivers less able to crash windows and generally mess up your computer (a Good Thing). Pre-Vista drivers weren't compatible, but now nearly everything has a Vista driver, so it's not a problem. The same thing happened when people moved from 98SE to XP - everyone decried XP's 'Fisher Price' interface and screwy drivers, but it was the exact same thing. Now folks are pining for XP, when in a few years Windows 7 will be the new XP. Vista was, in my opinion, rather unfairly tarnished by people spewing utter bullshit about it (which still goes on today on /.), and it'll never get over that. For those who have used it, the majority are still using it, and didn't go back to XP.
      • Re:Vista (Score:4, Insightful)

        by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:41AM (#29719519) Journal

        I never had any problems moving from 98 to XP.

        In fact since XP is actually Windows NT 5.1, it was a hell of a lot more stable than the old 95/98/me MS-DOS overlaid-with-a-desktop model which kept crashing or freezing. I'm glad Microsoft discontinued that line.

        • I never had any problems moving from 98 to XP.

          Me neither, I skipped both for NT 4 and Win 2000!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by steelfood (895457)

          It's actually the move from Win2K to XP.

          I'm still on Win2K at home. Came with my dell laptop that's dead now, and I've been installing it on every new dell computer I get (I only have one machine at a time, so there's no license breech there). I don't need the fancy window dressing. The extra stuff is all fluff to me, including and especially Windows Media Player and Windows Update improvements. I have my own antivirus and firewall software, so the BS Microsoft's included with SP2 is irrelevant to me (and a

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chyeld (713439)

        My primary and lasting complaint vs Vista was the decision (which admittedly was foreshadowed in XP) to create multiple versions of the OS, where the only difference for the price was what features were enabled in the kernel. Especially when the 'top tier' version boiled down to "we might someday decide to give you some free crap, but not really".

        Well that and the fact that they played that "Vista Ready" game despite the fact that their own people were complaining that "Vista Ready" computers were barely ab

        • by Blakey Rat (99501)

          Especially when the 'top tier' version boiled down to "we might someday decide to give you some free crap, but not really".

          Yah, ditto that. The "Ultimate Extras" were a cruel joke.

          I still think Microsoft should do something to make up for it... grab some of the Microsoft-published older video games that you thhey make money off of anymore, and release them as Ultimate Extras for free-- games like Shadowrun, Halo 2 PC maybe, the latest Flight Simulator. That might make the whole thing worthwhile. Probably no

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        after 2 years of no re-installs or cleaning up of my computer, and it's flying.

        Yes, this is another thing that was greatly improved in Vista. I have it on my laptop and desktop pc and I've never needed to do a reinstall, which was quite common thing with XP (you just had to do it atleast once a year). At some point everything became so much slower and cluttered that you just had to do it - in Vista everything still works fast, as will probably in Win7 too.

        • My PC at work has been running XP for around three years without reinstalling. Booting takes a while but after that performance is reasonable for a netburst P4 with 2 gig. Until McAfee starts updating, then it is time for a coffee.

          No re-installs on my 1GB Core Duo after 3-4 years either, but that is probably because I'm mostly running it under Linux anyway.

          So no to you just had to do it (reinstall XP) atleast once a year. I do that with Linux when a new release comes out ;-)

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      What eventually made me dump Vista was not the performance, or UAC, but the behaviour of parts of the OS, especially SearchFilterHost. SearchFilterHost's behaviour looked (and probably still looks) like malware. I assumed for a long time the system was infected, but no virus or malware detection ever turned up anything.
    • Re:Vista (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rob the Bold (788862) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:37AM (#29719463)

      I dont think Vista was that bad OS after a little bit more powerful hardware came out and after you got used to it. It feels a bit more sluggish than XP but that's what Win7 improves with their move responsive UI (which is really important thing that always seems to be forgotten - just compare Opera to Firefox)

      So Vista isn't so bad one you get a more powerful computer, get used to the slowness and upgrade to Windows 7? Was this supposed to be tongue-in-cheek?

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        You might want to note the word *was*, in 2006. Back then my current, a little bit oldish computer didn't run it good but when I bought a new one, it was great. Most of that cause was probably RAM. Obviously current OS's aren't going to work with decades old hardware. It's not really slower to XP, and Win7 will improve that UI responsiveness even more (XP didn't have the same kind of just-show-ui-quickly-while-its-loading thing either)

        • Re:Vista (Score:4, Insightful)

          by inject_hotmail.com (843637) on Monday October 12, 2009 @01:11PM (#29720689)

          ...(XP didn't have the same kind of just-show-ui-quickly-while-its-loading thing either)

          The hell it didn't! If one logs into the computer as soon as the login screen is displayed, (if the "welcome screen" is enabled) you'll see the "Welcome" line rise in a jerky fashion. That will disappear, and the taskbar is displayed right away. Because XP uses Terminal Services to show you your desktop, you'll see that the Start button, QuickLaunch area, and system tray will be blank (for only a few seconds, or longer) while your hard drive grinds away trying to furiously load everything at the same time. Win NT4 took a while to give the login screen (on slow computers), but at least when it did, one knew the OS was loaded completely.

          I do like the idea of 'delayed automatic startup' in Vista (and 7 I hope)...

          I remember the good old days of 'the operating system loaded', then 'you can use your computer'...now, it's a mash. So many people I know start clicking stuff and don't understand that their computer is still loading (there's no clear indication that services/apps are still loading damnit!), and they ask me why it's taking so long...then they click it again. Sure, there's a HD light that few (as in 10-15% of all computer users) people understand, and the hour glass sometimes...but nothing definitive...why is that so hard?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Random2 (1412773)

      Another note to add is that Vista was the first OS Microsoft created that wasn't designed to have Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer linked, which was likely a cause for several backwards-compatibility issues.

      • by ndege (12658)

        Vista was the first OS Microsoft created that wasn't designed to have Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer linked

        I assume, you meant to exclude all versions of DOS, Windows 3.xx, and NT3.x/4?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kybred (795293)

      I dont want to do an update nor move all the files and settings in place and install new programs right now (and more so because I will probably get a new computer soon anyway)

      This is one of the biggest PITA with Windows; migrating to a new machine or fresh install. With my home computer (MacBook) I just ran the Migration Assistant and it moved my settings, users, apps and files from my old iMac without any hassles. With Windows you're hunting for the install discs and looking at a day of installs and trying to remember where you downloaded some things from.

      Is there anything close to that for Windows (that actually works)? I use Windows at work, and when I get a new machine it

    • by ukyoCE (106879)

      I agree UAC is the correct direction, but the problem isn't the users. It's the legacy of poorly coded apps that "violate" UAC, because Windows is just now using UAC to enforce security measures that are common practice for apps on Unix OSes.

      Hopefully once Vista and Windows7 have "fixed" all those bad habits and bad programs, UAC prompts will start to appear with a MUCH lower frequency, more comparable to how often you get SUDO prompts on the Mac or Linux.

      UAC is a good effort, but still was probably not th

    • How is it that every version of Windows is "the fastest Windows ever", yet each version boasts higher minimum system requirements, suggesting that each version runs (if it runs at all), more slowly on the same hardware?

      *adjusts monocle.

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        Because you need a current hardware to enjoy current OS and technology. Ubuntu and other commonplace Linux distros dont run on a 100MHz+16MB RAM computer either (yeah maybe you find some specialized ones that do, but thats not the point and dont support everyday people)

    • by QuoteMstr (55051)

      What comes to UAC, it's the correct direction

      Agreed, given Microsoft's backwards compatibility constraints. However, Microsoft made a terrible error: Microsoft opened a gaping hole [gizmodo.com] in the UAC security model by --- wait for it --- not protecting the UAC-enabled switch with UAC.

    • "just compare Opera to Firefox"

      people often don't realize the difference between Opera and Firefox. While they both are browsers, Firefox is also an application foundation. The XUL engine in Firefox allows for a very rich application foundation based on web interfaces and standards. And it allows alot of additional features to be added to Firefox but like everything, these things use CPU cycles and memory.

      Opera and Firefox are very different forms of browsers. So maybe it would be better to compare Gecko-on
    • by MrCrassic (994046)

      I also agree. Windows Vista was pretty good, and definitely a stepping stone from Windows XP. However, it was the usual hardware requirements that probably set people off, since:

      • A) Lots of people either upgraded their underpowered PCs to Vista (mine included) or
      • B) Other bunches of people bought PCs that were a bit underpowered for Vista to begin wtih.

      The parent also makes a really good point, since he/she mentions that problems were inevitable because of driver rewrites. My sound card, which was designed fo

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by element-o.p. (939033)

      I dont think Vista was that bad OS after a little bit more powerful hardware came out and after you got used to it.

      To each their own, and if Vista works for you, then that's great. Ultimately, a computer is a tool, and I promise not to get offended if a different tool works better for you than the one I use :)

      However, my experience with Vista has been somewhat different. My wife has bought two Vista laptops in the last year, despite my suggestions to buy something -- anything -- else. Quite frankly, if Vista had worked for her, I'd have said the same thing to her that I said to you...but it doesn't (thus the seco

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:18AM (#29719217)
    It's sucks, it's terrible, I've never used it...
  • OS Change (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:21AM (#29719245)
    Vista pushed me to Linux, so it's not all bad.
    • Same here. I didn't start using Ubuntu as my main OS until my Win XP install on my tablet got utterly destroyed by a virus and my only other MS options were to re-install XP, risk the same vulnerability or move to Vista.

      I chose neither.
    • Re:OS Change (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Malc (1751) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:31AM (#29719377)

      Vista ain't bad, and really Win7 isn't as different as Vista was to XP. I tried very hard for 10 years to use Linux. Not any more; it's too much work. When I'm using my computer, I don't want to spend time fiddling with the OS and desktop environment. So I'm happy using Windows at work, and Mac OS X at home. Each to their own though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Rob the Bold (788862)

        Vista ain't bad, and really Win7 isn't as different as Vista was to XP. I tried very hard for 10 years to use Linux. Not any more; it's too much work. When I'm using my computer, I don't want to spend time fiddling with the OS and desktop environment.

        Neither do I, it takes enough time to be constantly fixing friends' neighbors' and family's copies of XP & Vista.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          You should try having them use Linux. Then, not only do you get "My computer is slow" but you also get "why can't I install ..." or "why doesn't the printer work correctly all the time?" or "Why doesn't flash video work well" ....

          Linux is a tradeoff, in my experience with "older" or non-computer-oriented people, between usability and stability. Stable - yes... no problems with viruses right now, pretty stable as far as the OS goes, etc. Usability? There were issues there. Yes, maybe it's because it's not

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by vertinox (846076)

        When I'm using my computer, I don't want to spend time fiddling with the OS and desktop environment. So I'm happy using Windows at work, and Mac OS X at home.

        I don't know about you, but I often have to fiddle with both WinXP and Vista to get things to work.

        I mean its not something a 30 second Google query couldn't fix, but issues with both the UAC and the auto rebooting on updates without asking or warning when running a full screen game basically made me go "UNGGGGGH!"

        As far as fiddling with OS X... Not so

    • by UberLaff (730967) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:42AM (#29719533)
      XP pushed me to Linux. Strangely, Vista brought me back. I think I'm the only person on the Internet who made that switch...
    • Re:OS Change (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:44AM (#29719587)

      Same here, I got fed up with Vista pretty quickly (it came with a new computer - and blue screened at first boot) and switched to Linux - Ubuntu specifically.

      Unfortunately Linux eventually pushed me back to Vista. It took about a year and a half, and by then SP2 was out all the issues I'd had with Vista before had been delt with. It it has all been gravy since then.

      I'm telling you, if you aren't fond of the effort Linux takes you might want to give Vista another shot, it has improved a lot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      >>>Vista pushed me to Linux, so it's not all bad.

      Me too!!!

      Then I realized Linux is programmer-friendly but not user-friendly*, so I decided to try Mac OS X. Then I realized I'm not rich enough to keep the Mac constantly upgraded, so I eventually found myself back at seven-year-old XP PC (NT 5) right where I began.

      *
      * Change Ubuntu Linux's resolution to 640x480.
      Now change it back without using secret,
      hidden key commands. It can't be done.
      That's a non-user-friendly design.

      • Please explain how you have to spend money to keep a Mac constantly upgraded, but you can use a PC for seven years without upgrading.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ColdWetDog (752185)

          Please explain how you have to spend money to keep a Mac constantly upgraded, but you can use a PC for seven years without upgrading.

          That's easy. Since Microsoft rolled out XP, Apple has rolled out something like 7 point releases of OS X (Jaguar, Panther, etc.) Apple charges for those, as opposed to the free service packs for XP. Of course, you don't have to upgrade each and every time Steve jumps up on the podium but it seems to make people feel better. I think Mr. Commodore64 is happier on some depr

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:30AM (#29719367) Homepage

    Advertisements usually are.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:31AM (#29719373)

    The legacy of Vista is the importance of first impressions.

    for the majority of users, their first Vista experience was impeded by a slew of "you just clicked an icon! this is a security risk! are you sure??" messages, and "in order to run this program, you must have administrator privileges. do you want to run this as administrator now?" popup messages. it was very annoying, and blunted what could have been a fine experience with a shiny new OS.

    This was by no means the most serious problem with Vista, but it had tremendous impact on its reception.

    • Vista (and Windows 7) are still plagued with problems. Some are "We made a wrong design decision" (Like the search functionality). Some are "We made a wrong design decision and it causes what appear to be bugs, but are a side effect of said decision" (Maximize a window on your primary monitor will halt the animated background on your second monitor). Then there is the "This is absolutely broken, but we'll probably never fix it" (An application calling LockWindowUpdate constantly [however inappropriate] caus
    • by lymond01 (314120)

      The security pop-ups were certainly (sorry...ARE certainly annoying) when running in non-admin mode. But I'd almost say they were a necessary evil. Most users, even after you explain it to them a hundred times or have to reformat their computer because of a virus, still don't get the idea that running with full admin privileges is a bad idea. These annoying pop-ups may or may not have helped them figure that out, but it went a long way to keeping computers clean of viruses.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Most reviews apparently aren't that thorough. They do what the salesweasels do: Install the thing on fancy new hardware, possibly well out of budget for joe average for the next half decade, click around a bit. That's all on a "clean" system, where windows has a well-known tendency to degrade over time, especially in the face of repeated de/installs, like, oh, with games. And that, a mere industry standard review doesn't catch.

    What struck me about this crop of "reviews" was that most compared windows seven

  • More interesting would be who got it right with windows xp and windows vista reviews.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:36AM (#29719439) Homepage

    Hey, Harry, you were writing and editing stories about Vista back when it came out, right? What did you say? Um, thanks for reminding me. I wrote quite a bit about Vista in my Techlog blog for PC World, and was smart enough to express caution about its significance and raise questions about compatibility issues, but not savvy enough to guess it would become a legendary flop. (Here's a post from March 2006 in which I'm fairly skeptical, but say "It...seems unlikely that it'll be a Windows Me-style fiasco." Wrong!)

    I recall that I had plenty to say about the last quarter, last month, last day, last hour, last minute removal of features that made Vista interesting. What was left was a Windows OS with a lot of hinderances and no benefits over the previous version of Windows. It was one huge empty promise. And I did, in fact say this was the new WindowsME. And quite predictably, I was marked "troll" and "overrated" and heard no end of how wrong I was. What I heard was that Vista was elegant and refined and that if the PC was too slow to handle it, it wasn't Vista's fault.

    No one succeeded in changing my mind on the topic and it seems the masses, for once, agreed with me. (How rare!)

  • Most reviewers get their "stuff" from the suppliers. They have a vested interest in being nice to the suppliers - to get more stuff, freebies, invitations, early access, privileged information and maybe even paid work. There is no way the public should expect more from them than glowing promotion of the good and no mention of the bad. Sadly, ther reviews don't tell people this.

    When I see a website that accepts no advertising, buys all it's products for cash, anonymously from retail stores and has a test s

  • by jkrise (535370) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:42AM (#29719535) Journal

    But my feeling is: Windows 7 will suffer the same fate that Vista did. It will be still XP in all major Corporates; where they will erase the pre-installed Windows7 and install XP using the Corporate licenses. Software developers will continue to support XP atleast for the next 4 years.

    By which time, the OS on the desktop will be irrelevant siince Netbooks will completely change the dynamics of the OS market. It will not be a stretch to predict that Linux will establish itself within the next 4 years in all Corporates where people exect their devices to boot instantly and work reliably consuming less resources like mobile phones.

    • by majortom1981 (949402) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:56AM (#29719753)
      Well on my network we just got all new z600 workstations with xp .As soon as our windows 7 licenses come in we will be putting windows 7 on the machines. N oreason not to with xp mode if we need xp we just run the program virtually in xp mode.
    • I didn't realise the depth of Microsoft's problems until I found out that my university has a license to give away Windows 7 installs to all staff and students for home use for free. Oh, and we have officially skipped Vista across campus - no word on Win7 yet.
    • I disagree. We are on XP now, however we plan to move to Windows 7 EE as we roll out new machines.

      With the EA including App-V in the MDOP, most anything which will not run in Windows 7 should run through App-V. We are finding that more of our applications work under Windows 7 without modification than did under Vista. Windows 7's system requirements are less than that of Vista. Add a 2008 R2 server and you get branch cache. There are no compelling reasons to stay with XP on a new PC now, however there

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      By which time, the OS on the desktop will be irrelevant siince Netbooks will completely change the dynamics of the OS market. It will not be a stretch to predict that Linux will establish itself within the next 4 years in all Corporates where people exect their devices to boot instantly and work reliably consuming less resources like mobile phones.

      Exactly. What the trade rags seem to miss is that Network Computing *is* happening. It isn't happening nearly as quickly as its proponents trumpeted that it w

    • by FreelanceWizard (889712) on Monday October 12, 2009 @02:00PM (#29721553) Homepage

      I manage an Enterprise Agreement for 250 seats. The minute we upgrade our ShoreTel VOIP system to the new Shoreware version with Windows 7 support, we're done with XP. We're going to begin reimaging all computers with Windows 7 Enterprise using WDS.

      Why, you might ask? Windows 7 offers a ton of advancements for the enterprise, from DirectAccess (for always-on VPNs) to improved terminal services and application virtualization (MED-V) and BranchCache (like Offline Files, but better). Additionally, it's got a cleaner interface and, in our tests, runs a smidge faster than XP for office applications on our new Core 2 desktops. Another plus is that we don't have to include drivers in our WDS image, since Windows 7 supports almost every network device I've thrown at it out of the box, and whatever other drivers it needs to download, it can grab during setup.

      Admittedly, 250 seats isn't huge and the plural of anecdote isn't data, but I think it's fair to say that a lot of businesses with EAs and Software Assurance are going to snap up Windows 7. It's a major improvement over XP, and both users and sysadmins like it.

  • by glrotate (300695)

    I really haven't encountered a compelling feature exclusive to XP, Vista or 7 to upgrade beyond 2000.

    2000 has a clean efficient interface and is unencumbered by all of the bloat and runs 32 bit apps.

    Except for Cleartype, what real improvements do any of the above offer?

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:51AM (#29719691)

    Vista sucking has a lot more to do with sociology than technology. The problem was that marketdroids severely understated Vista's hardware requirements, tried to segment the market too finely with too many editions, and outright lied about the user experience at some levels of hardware capability. What's what marketdroids do: they lie for profit.

    But marketdroid lies notwithstanding, the underlying technology behind Vista wasn't bad: far from it, actually. For the first time, there's a half-decent security model for the average user. (I don't buy that UAC sucks.) There are a ton of kernel and API improvements behind the scenes. We have symlinks, even!

    Sure, there were a couple release-day bugs, but every OS has those. XP had a similar number of pre-SP1 issues. And hell, it had fewer than the first version of RHEL5 (that OS paused for a full five minutes on every boot, polling SATA drives that never came, until a patch fixed the issue.)

    The "Vista sucks" meme, however, spread virally because 1) we all love to hate Microsoft, and 2) most users really can't tell the difference between good technology and bad, but they can certainly parrot what their friends say. It doesn't help that Vista really did suck for some users who were running on underpowered hardware. (If you want to argue that Vista's hardware requirements are too high, we can do that, but Vista doesn't suck on the hardware for which it was designed.)

    Really, Microsoft could just rebrand Vista as Windows 7 and release it today to great acclaim: in fact, that's precisely what they did. Since Vista's release, even low-end hardware has caught up to Vista's original requirements, so despite the inevitable lies from marketing, Vista^H^H^H^H^HWindows 7 will now run fine for a lot more people. The new name kills the old meme, and forces people to reconsider whether Vista sucks.

    tl;dr: Vista doesn't suck on the hardware for which it was designed. In fact, it's a vast improvement. Marketing sucks for lying about what hardware you need for Vista, however, which put a bad taste in people's mouths.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mikefocke (64233)

      I had used XP for years and was quite happy.

      My wife needed a new PC and it came with Vista. Never had I seen Vista. No manuals. So out of the box it was fully functional in 30 minutes with no confusion and all for Dell's cheapest mail order $400. Now it is a year later ... no crashes or other issues, she doesn't even know what OS is on the machine, she just uses it.

      When I needed a new machine, I bought a no-name eMachines from Costco on a whim. Came with Vista and had a trivial experience setting it up and

    • by viralMeme (1461143) on Monday October 12, 2009 @12:47PM (#29720363)
      "Vista sucking has a lot more to do with sociology than technology. The problem was that marketdroids .. outright lied about the user experience at some levels of hardware capability", QuoteMstr

      "More internal Microsoft e-mails were unsealed today in the Windows Vista Capable lawsuit [techflash.com], detailing the wrangling that took place inside the company and across the industry before and after the operating system's January 2007 launch. The plaintiffs are using the messages to support their contention that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was involved enough in decisions to warrant a deposition"

      'The "Vista sucks" meme, however, spread virally because 1) we all love to hate Microsoft, and 2) most users really can't tell the difference between good technology and bad', QuoteMstr

      The "Vista sucks" meme spread becasue Vista did really suck, really :)

      "From: Stevan Sinofsky
      Sent: Sunday, February 18, 2007 12:08 PM
      To: Steve Ballmer Cc: Bill Veghte; Jon Devaan
      Subject: Re: Vista

      A lot of changes led many Windows XP drivers [bizjournals.com] not really working at all - this across the board for printers, scanners, wan, accessories (fingerprint readers, smartcards, tv tuners), and so on
      "
  • The question isn't "Is Windows 7 better than Vista"?, it is "Is Windows 7 better than XP"?

    When first starting to build a new PC, I used to install my Windows NT 4.0 license (purchased in '97 or so) on it, and wiped and installed Linux on the old hardware. In '02 I purchased a license for XP and continued doing the same thing. I'll buy the next MS operating system when a better one comes out.

  • Painful decision (Score:3, Informative)

    by MpVpRb (1423381) on Monday October 12, 2009 @12:13PM (#29719973)

    AFIK, most of Vista's problems came from a decision Microsoft made.

    For the entire history of Windows, backward compatibility was king. They even emulated old bugs in newer versions.

    In Vista, they decided to eliminate the absolute requirement for backward compatibility. Yes...Apple had done this several times already, but for Microsoft, it was a MAJOR philosophy change.

    Because of the lack of backward compatibility, users who needed to run old programs stayed away.

    Windows 7 is also not backward compatible, but more time has passed, so presumably, less users care about running their aging software.

  • is that it does not run Windows legacy software like Windows XP and earlier versions did.

    My brother is a Gamer, and he bought a Windows Vista Home Premium Laptop, it would not run his old games like Warlords IV and we tried a VirtualBox machine with Windows XP Pro in it but it had limited 3D support and Warlords IV would not run under it. His only option is to run Warlords IV on his old Windows XP Pro desktop, but then he cannot take the game with him on his laptop.

    Not just Gamers are affected, but business owners. Many have custom written software they paid for development on older versions of Windows or even MS-DOS that Windows Vista won't run. Some software needs special hardware that does not have drivers for Windows Vista and the XP drivers don't work too well in Windows Vista. Windows Vista does not have hardware drivers for a lot of legacy hardware and thus many machines even if they meet the RAM, CPU, Video, and Hard Drive requirements cannot run Vista without the needed hardware that lacks drivers.

    For example my son's Windows XP Pro system has a Texas Instruments Wireless adapter, and Windows Vista and Windows 7 lack a proper driver for it. TI never made a Vista or 7 driver, and neither did Microsoft. So in upgrading him to Windows 7 I'd need to buy a new wireless card. Now if it was a hardware dongle, TV tuner, AM/FM Radio card, or multiple port serial port adapter that lacked Vista or 7 drivers it would be more expensive to buy a newer one to replace the older one. In that case most people just stick with an older version of Windows.

  • Every review of Windows since 1994 has been the exact same. Just fill in the variables:

    " I have seen the future: Windows $NEXT_VERSION Milestone $MOCKUP.

    "I am so excited about $NEXT_VERSION of Windows. It will go beyond just solving all of the problems with $CURRENT_VERSION, it will be an entirely new paradigm. Forget about security problems, those are all fixed in $NEXT_VERSION. And they’re finally ridding themselves of $ANCIENT_LEGACY_STUFF.

    "Also, there’ll be $DATABASE_FILESYSTEM. It’ll be awesome!

    "I wonder how $NEXT_VERSION will compare to $NEXT_NEXT_VERSION.

  • by vorlich (972710) on Monday October 12, 2009 @01:07PM (#29720635) Homepage Journal
    I have a grudging respect for XP professional edition that grew on me as I managed to turn off all of the rubbish and secure the system. I have not used it on since the Zone Alarm screw up, by which time I had migrated all my systems to Ubuntu. I just got completely fed up with the obscure methods of networking or anything to do with servers, apache and mysql - all much easier in the big U. I still use XP in a VM for my employers access database which really can't be migrated and since they are using Vista (comes with the new PCs) conversations about what to click on over the phone rapidly descend into farce.. (with apologies to Vista professionals, which I imagine, there must be.)
    "Ok click on Tools"
    "Where's that?"
    "It's in the menu bar,oh wait a minute you don't have that. Can you see it on the left hand panel?"
    "I can see the list of tables..."
    "No that's the wrong view. Is it in the blobby display along the top of the screen?"
    "What's the blobby display?"
    "All those sort of chunky yellow icons at the top of the access window."
    "Are they yellow?"
    "I'm not sure, I thought they were sort of yellow the last time I looked at your GUI."
    "My gooey? Where's that?"
    "It's okay, it's your screen, along the top of the window, they're about a centimetre tall and chunky."
    "No, I can't see anything called tools."
    "Try clicking on the big MS circle in the top left-hand corner of the screen."
    "A circle? I don't have a circle."
    "It's a 3D ball, in blue with the Microsoft logo."
    "What's a logo?"
    "Hello, are you from the past?"
  • by icebike (68054) on Monday October 12, 2009 @01:08PM (#29720649)

    Say what you will about Vista, that ship has sailed.

    The real story here is how badly the early reviews missed the mark. The Ed Botts of the world bought it hook, line, and sinker, as many suspect they are paid to do.

    The press failed US, their READERS, in their gold-rush to the Microsoft advertising bonanza. How are we to trust them going forward?

    Yes its popular to bash anything Microsoft while giving Apple a pass for farm more egregious failings and a far more combative attitude. But EVEN in that environment, where bashing is expected, the overwhelming majority of articles were positive. Those two or three posting negative stories are no longer with the organizations where their review appeared. Coincidence?

    We would have been better off listening to Joe Random Blogger, who were out there with not a great deal of good to say about Vista. We would have been better off shunning any outlet that took any Advertising money from Microsoft, or were owned by a company that did. We would have been better off evaluating sources for thin reviews, outlandish claims and clear bias. Joe Average Reader is a pretty good judge of content character over time.

    The Release Candidates were getting seriously bad reviews on many blogs, and even some of these very same publications. But somehow by the time it came to review the RTM release all of mainstream press guys stood at attention and saluted. The bloggers' voices were drowned out by the clicking if heels.

    This same thing is happening with regard to other products, other major software release today. (The latest versions of Office, KDE4, Kindle, some Blackberries, etc, come to mind). Lots of carping, even some quite nasty, but uniformly glowing reviews in the major publications.

    Mainstream press wants to play gatekeeper of information. They belittle the blogosphere, decry the lack of filters, and insist on professional credentials. Yet they deliver major misses on some topics where there was clear indication of trouble ahead.

  • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Monday October 12, 2009 @02:57PM (#29722455)

    I have been forced to use vista at work for the past month or so. Here are the things I hate, mostly from the first week. Keep in mind this is based on using 2000 and XP, and having certain expectations about how Windows in general is supposed to work. No one's going to read this, that's fine, I'm just spitting in a hurricane.

    1. Explorer - if a heavy IO operation is in the background, explorer frequently says "not responding". I want that in the background, and regardless of IO settings, I should be able to browse the disk. What if the only way to stop the IO is a control panel, or an application I have to dig for? Like a virus scanner, which you can't run Windows without. We have a deadlock. It's the shell of the OS, not some random application.
    2. I still can't tell what's highlighted. Which is the current active window? Which folder is highlighted in Explorer? Should this be useful out of the box, or should every user have to adjust this?
    3. Search - I don't even know where to begin. "Search in files" only finds text in a known file type with a filter for it. Search happens only in indexed locations by default. So it won't find the program I just downloaded, but it will look for that term in my e-mail? You should at least be able to click "Advanced Search" instead of having to find the non-button-looking button. I can't tell if it's looking for a file name or in the contents of files. It's just plain unintuitive. I still have no idea where I'm searching.
    4. "Folder Options" used to have a tab to manage file types. Vista moved this into a Defaults control panel, and you can no longer manage behaviours. Anything beyond the default "Open" action has to be done in the registry, which Microsoft says is dangerous and could cause the OS to stop working. This is reduced functionality, affecting how the OS interacts with files, which is pretty much the definition of a GUI shell.
    5. "Add and remove programs" renamed to "Programs" or "Programs and features" for classic view, invalidating millions of documents and confusing users. Going in further to Windows components, using IIS as an example. You can turn on or off IIS options, directly from the Windows Components dialog - you can turn your web server Directory Listing on or off through the operating system control panel. Isn't that just a little too integrated? We just added more places you have to look to repair a malfunctioning application!
    6. Search *STILL* includes shortcuts. I search for *.vsd and I get shortcuts. What purpose does this serve? If the documents exist they will be found. Otherwise the shortcut will point nowhere and be useless. You can't sort shortcuts either, they are all type "Shortcut". So you can't remove your audio file shortcuts and leave your excel file shortcuts. If I search for "xls" maybe that should return shortcuts, but *.xls is very specific.
    7. Explorer: Very hard to select a column heading to change the width, because the completely unnecessary Sort selector is right next to it.
    8. Drop object into command prompt to avoid retyping it. Dropped because high-security areas do not accept messages from low-security areas, design was fixed for win7
    9. "Copy as Path" and "Open Command Prompt here" are only available when shift-clicking. Also not available on left side of explorer view
    10. Alt-Enter doesn't work in left side of explorer pane
    11. Not clear if the highlighted folder in left pane of explorer is the currently selected one - the selected and current highlights are nearly transparent by themselves, and only slightly different from each other. Makes it easy to accidentally delete a bunch of stuff
    12. Mouse scroll-wheel does not work in explorer left pane, automatic scrolling is supposed to make things easier. But so does a mouse.
    13. Explorer: Backspace is the same as CTRL+Left Arrow, making users use the different "ALT+UP"
      - duplicated functionality, users have to retrain their muscle memory. Makes sense, but loyal Windows users are

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