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Windows Operating Systems Software

HardOCP Spends 30 Days With Vista 662

boyko.at.netqos writes "Hardocp.com has published "30 days with Vista" — with the same author from "30 days with Linux" doing the evaluation. And he doesn't like it. From the article: 'Based on my personal experiences with Vista over a 30 day period, I found it to be a dangerously unstable operating system, which has caused me to lose data [...] Any consideration of the fine details comes in second to that one inescapable conclusion. This is an unstable operating system.'"
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HardOCP Spends 30 Days With Vista

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  • by mjmalone ( 677326 ) * on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:51PM (#18608565) Homepage
    Is there anything that Vista does right? It's not just that it's more resource intensive, and less stable than XP - it's also less usable. Check out this report [pfeifferreport.com], vista is less intuitive, has higher menu latency, and has more "friction" than XP/OS X. This is not just about the OS being "pretty." For a product that is used every day by millions of people this will substantially impact productivity.
  • by Ucklak ( 755284 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:55PM (#18608633)
    One of my biggest gripes is that the popups are too wordy and popups that require an answer aren't intuitively selectable.
    Going to green text on a white background for a "Yes, I want to" or "No, I don't" was a bad UI choice.
  • by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @01:57PM (#18608661)
    haven't used Vista and won't till my office switches. But...

    Is there no ability to set the color scheme used? Perhaps there's a better choice? Granted the one you're using sounds bad as a default selection.

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:01PM (#18608731)
    What I've been trying to figure out is why anyone would use a Windows operating system in the first year of release to begin with? Yes, sometimes you have no choice but to use Windows. Especially if you're a gamer. But that doesn't mean you need to use the newest release. There have been fourteen or fifteen major Microsoft Windows releases and we haven't learned by now that it's unwise to step into the newest version within the first year - or even two years sometimes?

    It takes time for software to catch up and for the operating system itself to have some of the crapification sucked out of it. I can't think of a single release since 3.11 that wasn't plagued with significant problems at release. So if you feel like running the latest bloated Microsoft stuff somehow makes you 31337, then go for it and enjoy your misguided self-perceptions. Otherwise, give it a couple years and perhaps your existing software and games will work on it, new games and software will be specifically developed for it and the general stability and security will be much improved over where it is today.

    And for fuck's sake, if you move to a brand new OS that was just released and you lose your precious data on it - who's really the idiot there?
  • My experience (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blackmonday ( 607916 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:02PM (#18608761) Homepage
    I evaluated Vista on a mild machine - Dual Core Pentium D, Intel 950 graphics, 1 GB memory. Surprisingly, 50% of my system memory was being used by Windows and Aero. That was pretty much all I needed to know that I was sticking with XP for a little while longer.
  • Re:Instability? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:02PM (#18608765)
    The only issue I've run into is the compatibility. There are simply too few applications and devices supported. I haven't had stability issues, but I'd still recommend people wait a year before taking the Vista plunge unless they are buying an OEM machine and new peripherals, and you don't run anything but mainstream apps.
  • Re:Yeah whatever (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:04PM (#18608809)
    It's habit for most people to complain about windows.

    I usually find that people who bitch about it use it exclusively. They mostly don't even understand just how complex a job it is that operating systems have to do.

    Me? I use Linux most of the time, and have XP for games and other trivial stuff (if games are trivial). Linux is far ahead in the server arena, an pure number cruncher stakes (which is what I use it for), but still behind in the home user experience. Unfashionable as that statement is, its true. Yes there are all the pieces, but how many versions of Linux are there? Is the Linux Standard Base adopted across the board yet? Nope? Well stop whining, Linux isn't ready for the the mainstream desktop. It needs to standardise.

    I don't plan to buy Vista, simply because it does nothing I need.
    That hasn't stopped me saying some people I know should quit bitching and buy it. After all, since they use Microsoft stuff anyway, they might as well get the next incarnation.
  • by nutznboltz2003 ( 832752 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:15PM (#18609025) Homepage
    I've been using the Business edition of Vista since November. At no time has the system crashed on me, or become overly unstable. When I first started using it, my "Vista Ready" laptop (HP nc6320) only had 512MB of ram, and most of the hardware devices were not recognized and HP did not have Vista drivers either. The first few weeks were a pain, but Vista was usable.

    Slapping in an 1GB XD card that supported Vista Ready Boost really made a difference while I waited for the new memory chip to come in. Got the unit up to 1GB, and disabled non-recognized hardware until Vista drivers were available and I was good to go. Vista recognized the most important things to me, my wireless card and CD burner. It did not recognize my video chip set, but still gave me the option of 1024x768, so I was fine. I don't do gaming on this laptop, as it is a work one, so the features I needed were there. Eventually, sound drivers, proper video drivers, and the annoying finger print reader drivers were released.

    Now, I will state that Vista should really be run with at least 2GB of ram, as it will use every bit it can get, but even with 1GB, my system has been very stable. Sure, I don't get the fancy Aero features, but I would likely turn them off anyways. On my work system, I like to run as much on the lean side as possible.

    As for TFA, I'm not sure what to think. It's obvious that he has some hardware issues on his machine that he needs to look into, and he should have known better than running software like QuickTime that had known issues. I really wonder how much of his problems were caused by Vista, and how much were caused by trying to run legacy/non-updated software.

    Normally, I'm all for bashing Microsoft, being a Linux/Mac OS X user normally, but even I can't agree with this article.
  • My Vistaring (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMspad.co.uk> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:16PM (#18609045) Homepage
    I had Vista installed on my PC at work for about a month, but in the end I had to go back to XP. It wasn't a performance issue - the PC wouldn't do Aero but it ran pretty well even with the default Vista interface - it wasn't even UAC (which was switched off on day one). The biggest problem I had by far was that nothing would run: Exchange 2003 tools won't install. The Landesk Management console won't install. The ELM management console won't install. NT User/Computer manager won't run (Yes, I know). Even our call logging software (Sunrise) had serious install issues that could only be resolved by installing it as a Domain Admin. Put bluntly, it got to the point where I couldn't do my job properly because none of the tools I use on a daily basis would install or run under Vista.

    Now, some of this is down to the software manufacturers for not being on the ball, some of it is due to things like MS moving all the IIS stuff so that older apps can no longer find it. Not to mention the fact that the Exchange 2003 tools are a Microsoft Product and they're not intending to provide an installation method under Vista *at all*. Even the Exchange 2007 tools have been looking a bit flaky where Vista is concerned.
  • by bogie ( 31020 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:23PM (#18609189) Journal
    "What do you mean by resource intensive?"

    How about needing >1GB to basically do nothing but sit there? How about it being on average 10-30% slower than XP on the same hardware? Some of that will improve over time, some of that won't.

    We all accept that new OS=you need to upgrade your system. It's not that Vista is so slow on fast hardware, it is btw, its that it is so slow while offering so little above XP. Sadly there just isn't any payoff for even having hardware that is fast enough to make Vista perform as well as XP. Here's to hoping SP1 is one hell of a service pack...
  • by vena ( 318873 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:26PM (#18609247)
    it was ATI's latest driver (release, not beta). i've had three confirmed reports of BSOD from this release. and it's not just ATI, Nvidia's drivers have been seriously lacking. what the hell is going on at ATI/Nvidia? the OS was in PUBLIC beta forever, and now it's two months in release, and the drivers are still screwed.
  • Re:Yeah whatever (Score:2, Interesting)

    by moo083 ( 716213 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:26PM (#18609251)
    I wasn't comparing Windows to anything else. In my opinion, Linux isn't really ready for mass adoption, so, don't worry, I agree. Linux may have a way better base and a better ideology, but its not easy to use. Maybe one day it will be, but not now. Personally, I use Mac OS X because I feel it takes the best of both worlds. A *NIX base for stability and openness, and an interface that is easy to use (really).
  • by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:26PM (#18609265)
    At this very moment, my primary workstation is in the middle of a Spinrite recovery cycle, because Vista keeps corrupting my SATA Raid, and cause it to disapear.

    This computer dual boots XP, where this never happens. The RAID driver is exactly the same on both OS's so I blame Vista.

  • Re:Yeah whatever (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:26PM (#18609267)
    it's habit of all the people to complain about everything, it's like an ice-breaker for social involvement. If people at the office or geeks don't complain about windows, they will complain about the traffic, of not, the politics, if not, a sports team. If not... well there will be anything else to blame.

    It's human nature! If we have nothing to complain about, and we live in a perfect world, it would be just boring. In the ideal future, when everyone uses Linux... people will complain because of something is wrong with it.

    I worked on a Vista computer, and I found it as much as XP, a bit slower. If you think about an office person, using an office suite, they look all alike, if you put solitaire, hearts, etc, in MacOS, Linux and even SCO... they will look all the same. So if I can keep downloading "free" software for my windows XP and easily install it (no compilation required)... I'm happy.
  • Re:Yawn (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xerxesnine ( 1078469 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:30PM (#18609323)

    Go back and you'll see the exact same comments when Windows 2000 came out, when Windows XP was released, when the first Xbox was released and when the Xbox 360 was released.

    The installed base of Windows NT was relatively small compared to the other DOS-ish Windows versions (Win95, Win98, etc). Windows 2000 was a refinement of Windows NT, and it still had a smaller user base (mostly non-Joe Sixpack users). Windows XP was a refinement of Windows 2000, at which point it was pitched to Joe Sixpacks.

    I hope I have spelled out how inappropriate your analogy is. Years of refinement for XP verses a one-shot gamble for Vista.
  • by multisync ( 218450 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:37PM (#18609477) Journal
    Same here. And the very next thing I do is change Explorer to not hide file extensions and display hidden/system files and - most importantly - I run a registry hack that turns off all those annoying pop-ups Windows likes to throw at users every few seconds.
  • Searches (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:37PM (#18609479) Homepage
    I'm quoting this article a lot today...

    "WinFS, advertised as a way to make searching work by making the file system be a relational database, ignores the fact that the real way to make searching work is by making searching work. Don't make me type metadata for all my files that I can search using a query language. Just do me a favor and search the damned hard drive, quickly, for the string I typed, using full-text indexes and other technologies that were boring in 1973."

    http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/APIWar.html [joelonsoftware.com]
  • by mungtor ( 306258 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:40PM (#18609543)
    Is something merely intuitive if things are where you expect them to be? If so, then intuitive is simply a synonym for "familiar" and progress stops in the name of keeping things "intuitive". There has to be some measure of usability that takes out the abstract human factor of previous experience. Has a test ever been done where you take 2 computer illiterate people and give them a task to determine which can figure it out faster?

    I think a better measure of the effectiveness of the UI would be that given 2-3 weeks to familiarize yourself with the interface, can you perform the same tasks you used to in less time. ie, is it efficient once you overcome the learning curve?

    (On a tangent, I think the Gnome dev team has been wrestling with this problem. Trying to follow a design process which they believe is more efficient once you commit to using in the way they intended instead of allowing rampant customization. Obviously, that attitude doesn't work for everybody.)
  • Superfetch (Score:2, Interesting)

    by postmortem ( 906676 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:46PM (#18609649) Journal
    ..is alone reason to use Vista. In nutshell, superfetch pre-fetches to RAM commonly used data from disk at idle time, so response is stellar for commonly used applications. It is a shame that Microsoft hasn't implemented such feature earlier. Yeah, there was some bland effort in XP that was limited to small executable files.

    Because 1GB of app/user data (assuming you have more than 1GB of RAM) is always ready in RAM, is being read from disk just once; the Vista does feel faster.
  • by ericrost ( 1049312 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:49PM (#18609705) Homepage Journal
    I agree that the wireless thing is a bit of a pain, but I've heard great things about the improvement on Feisty. The only reason I had to move away from Feisty is a break (its a beta folks) in a 32 bit compatibility library in a large update push. I would encourage you to give it a try when Feisty goes gold (sometime this month).

    The big focus in feisty seems to have been on drivers working out of the box. I still had to install ndiswrapper, but at least I only had to use the package out of synaptic instead of (as I can tell from your command line example) the package direct from source.

    Once you get ndiswrapper going, they've included network-manager-gnome by default, which handles all of the connecting for you (ie no iwconfig, ifup, etc).

    You hit on the biggest pain (as the competing faq's will show you) in the Ubuntu world. This, however, is not particular to Ubuntu, and is also BY DESIGN of the hardware manufacturers. The cards are designed such that the have to have the firmware to run them loaded runtime. That built in wifi card has no idea what its supposed to do except for wait for firmware. They then do not release any details to folks willing to do driver development for linux FOR FREE!

    So, the fact that we get them working at all under Edgy (which, if you take a careful step, by step approach, there's a hell of a success rate) and that its *almost* automagic under Feisty, is actually a pretty impressive feat.
  • by midnighttoadstool ( 703941 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:51PM (#18609731)
    I think Microsoft need a bit of bashing every now and then, particularly as they got away with something close to murder in their anti-trust case. But let it be intelligent.

    OS instability is almost always a case of drivers, and in anycase can be expected shortly after a major release. In that context this review is being really quite unfair. He's found himself a nice little excuse to be negative about Vista that really isn't inherent to Vista but to any OS that is open to 3rd party drivers, nor will it be true for more than a little while.

    Even if one points to win32 'event' based synchronization objects as a source of instability Microsoft have introduced support for condition variables, effectively addressing that problem. So the longer term looks quite a bit brighter for windows developers: especially server developers. Windows server software could now actually become dangerous to other manufacturers (IBM/Sun etc)

    Ironically the only OS that I know of that is genuinely unstable - independent of drivers and 3rd party causes - is Linux 2.6 (at least until recently), and has been for several years. That perhaps explains why webhosts have been so reluctant to upgrade from 2.4 even despite the scalability advantages which should be a big advantage to shared hosts. Even my recent taiwanese adsl-router is based on a 2.4 kernel. And no amount of moaning from the masses seems to have changed that situation possibly indicating a flaw in the open-source model.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @02:56PM (#18609791)
    No, he's not contradicting himself at all. He's saying that the user interface is more responsive, and multitasking is better, at the cost of slower performance when running only one resource-intensive application, and he's saying that he thinks this is a good tradeoff. This is pretty consistent with my experience with Vista when I ran it for a couple of weeks. I'd say that you're the smartass.
  • by misleb ( 129952 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @03:09PM (#18609973)

    The driver is part of the hardware, so I count BSODs due to driver issues in the same bucket as "faulty hardware." (Making exceptions for drivers that ship with the OS, of course.) Since drivers are going to be required with every modern OS, you really can't count some seedy driver from Taiwan crashing against Microsoft-- especially when Microsoft makes every effort to get companies to thoroughly test and digitally sign drivers.

    You can hold it against "Windows" when there are alternatives like OS X where drivers are rarely an issue. If you are just looking for someone to blame or bitch at, then maybe it doesn't make much sense to blame Microsoft for driver problems. But if you're are looking at Windows as a whole, that is a different story. Lets say you were to put together a pro/con list of using Windows vs. Mac (No, i don't want to go into the actual list here). Wouldn't it make sense to put "flaky Taiwanese drivers" as a con against Windows? Does it really matter what specific company is to blame? The fact that a video driver or sound driver is causing your computer to crash is all that matters. Unless you're one of those PHB's who gets some vague satisfaction out of merely having someone to point a finger at.


  • by infiniphonic ( 657188 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @03:14PM (#18610059) Homepage
    has been no trouble at all. I have been running it on an older Toshiba A10-S169 laptop. It installed all drivers without the slightest problem. Out of a gig, it runs with about 350 to 400 megs of ram used by the OS. Some old software has not worked at all and some has worked flawlessly. I run it in basic due to integrated 3 year old crappy graphics. It has locked up a few times. It has not totally crashed once. It seems to come back from errors much quicker than XP ever has. It works very well for a new OS. I can not say the same for XP in it's first six months. I might start recomending it to friends and customers soon. I have yet to encounter the DRM boogyman. I am using it to type this post. If you haven't tried it yet, don't discount it because you really don't know what you are talking about. Some problems are bound to occur with some hardware this early in it's life. Thats how it is with something new. Not everything in the world will work perfectly, but many problems that people are having now will be worked out in the next year. It's probably not for everyone and thats OK. My Vista rant.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @03:24PM (#18610227) Homepage Journal

    The driver is part of the hardware, so I count BSODs due to driver issues in the same bucket as "faulty hardware." (Making exceptions for drivers that ship with the OS, of course.)

    So when the same driver that has been shipped to customers gets bundled with the OS, it goes from a driver problem to a software problem?

    I call shenanigans.

  • Loss of data claim (Score:2, Interesting)

    by infochuck ( 468115 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @03:30PM (#18610333)
    Look, I don't love Vista. I've actually decided they'll have to drag my dead body to a system running Vista before I touch it; nor do I have any love for Mister Softie.

    But his claim of data loss is completely unsupported by even anecdotal evidence. He says the 'stability issues' (two allegedly spontaneous reboots) caused 'loss of data' but doesn't provide (that I saw) any clue as to what is was he was doing. Was 'lost data' a lost Quake match? Was he working in Word? If the latter, I doubt his claims; I think autorecovery would handle that kind of situation. Furthermore, his very claim of unprompted reboots strikes me as suspicious. If it were simply recycling (ala a reset switch), I could buy it, but he claims that the system "went into shutdown mode" without giving him the chance to save his data; I understand this to mean that it was as if the 'Reboot' action were invoked. This seems unlikely to me. Perhaps the auto-updating he mentioned got something that required a reboot, and he simply was too quick on the trigger, hitting 'yes' to a reboot prompt. Perhaps it really did reboot of its own accord and - as a result - lost him some of that thar' data stuff; it is not my intention to cast aspersions on the character of the reviewer. But by leaving out some rather crucial bits of info, he opens himself up to credibility attacks.

    His claims of this happening on both systems could also be explained by possible use of his USB key. He says he lost data: if I were actually working on something (data) and all my 'stuff' was on a USB key (he says this was the case), I'd probably have it plugged into the system I was working on. Maybe it's bad; maybe doing certain things cause the USB subsystem to freak out; maybe it takes the system down with it. Maybe it had an accident and sleeps with the fishes. Uh... what were we talking about?
  • by malfunct ( 120790 ) * on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @03:40PM (#18610481) Homepage
    If you have less than 2gb of ram and don't use ReadyBoost I have found that Vista is heavily bottlenecked paging to the disk. Pop in a readyboost qualified usb flash drive and you will see a near instant and dramatic increase in responsiveness in almost every aspect of the OS. Does this mean that Vista memory management needs to be tweaked? Maybe.
  • Re:Yawn (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Basilius ( 184226 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @03:44PM (#18610533)
    > Go back and you'll see the exact same comments when Windows 2000 came out, when Windows XP was released, when the first Xbox was released and when the Xbox 360 was released.

    So, in other words, Microsoft hasn't learned a single thing about shipping software in 8 years.

    Sounds about right. Me? I'm sitting here on a Win2K machine I built that simply works. I've added loads on to it over time, and it still functions beautifully. Just lately, I've thought about upgrading it to Win XP MCE. I _might_ go the Ubuntu/MythTV route, but that's still problematic to set up. I run Ubuntu full time on my laptop, so it's not like I'm scared of Linux, just not sure I have the time to get things functioning properly.
  • by Sinbios ( 852437 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:00PM (#18610765) Homepage
    I don't think your computer illiterate mother-in-law really cares about how much memory is used for aggressive caching. I don't know what to say about somebody who apparently cares enough about this issue but can't figure it out.
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:11PM (#18610951) Homepage Journal
    The biggest instability issue is that spontaneous rebooting. Since this guy had it on two different computers running the same applications, it's probably an application issue.

    And if it is, Vista is absolutely, unacceptably unstable. It should simply not be possible for an application to cause a spontaneous reboot without prompting the user. And in that context, your more positive experience is pretty meaningless: you don't have any applications that cause this problem now. But Murphy's Law says that you will eventually install a new application, or update an old one, that triggers this problem. Or some other buried problem.

    Here's the bottom line: MS spent two extra years swatting bugs in Vista, and it still has a beta-level product. (Maybe even alpha.) This OS is a nasty, useless failure.
  • by codemachine ( 245871 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:33PM (#18611265)
    That was my first impression of XP as well, or at least some of what you describe applies.

    Of course it isn't quite as bad now that I know how to turn off all the useless crap that supposedly made XP better. By the time that most power users are done tweaking XP, it isn't that far off of Win2K anymore, which by the way, I think you'd like a heck of a lot better than XP.

    The one (only) place I have liked XP more than '98/2K/Linux has been on laptops. Part of that is because the vendor has a lot of Windows specific software, but part of it is just that XP handles the power features and other laptop issues a bit better. Though hibernation is hit and miss - it is great on some models, and useless on others. I think OS X is the best here, but of course that limits you to one hardware vendor.

    If you love Win98 and hate XP/Vista, you may want to consider running something like Linux and then running Win98 in a virtual machine (Win4Lin works great for 98, and there are plenty of other options). Modern hardware is plenty powerful enouth to run the VM and Win98 at good speeds (that is the nice thing about having an OS that doesn't need tons of resources). The other option would be to downgrade to Win2K, but unfortunately vendor support is pretty much done for that OS too. Too bad, because 2K was a great blend of the 98 interface we were used to, with the stability of NT. Unfortunatlely it also had the security of NT...
  • by multisync ( 218450 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @05:00PM (#18611735) Journal

    Would you be willing to post the registry hack, or a link to it?

    This isn't mine, just something I found with a Google search:

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\Explorer\Advanced]

    I carry it on a USB stick, so I can run it whenever I use someone else's machine. I don't know how people use Windows with all those pop-ups (kind of like browsing the web with IE6, I suppose).

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @09:08PM (#18614779)

    Windows 95 does DRAMATICALLY more than Windows 3.1.

    I took a look at the Win95 effort to make MSDOS look pretty and then installed linux - initially because I was too cheap to install OS/2 or buy a Mac. Win95 was a great steaming pile of garbage. NT, Win2k and Server2003 are a completely different story. XP is too resource hungry for my liking with no benefit over Win2k if you have drivers for both (it's very rare not to have drivers for both).

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost