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Windows Operating Systems Software

Working Around Vista Apps' Incompatibilities 349

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft says there are over 1,000 applications you can run on Windows Vista with few, if any, issues. However, Windows apps number in the tens of thousands. Add to that the facts that x64 Vista versions don't support legacy 16-bit code, and that the Windows Resource Protection in Vista breaks some apps, and you've got a big issue. InformationWeek lists a host of workarounds in How To Manage Windows Vista Application Compatibility. Among the tips discussed are Vista's compatibility mode, its Program Compatibility Assistant wizard, and a little-known form of file and registry virtualization that's built into the OS. What problems have you encountered with incompatible apps, and are any issues you've encountered deal-breakers that could further roil the already muddied adoption picture for Vista?"
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Working Around Vista Apps' Incompatibilities

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:05PM (#18742285)
    Port WINE to Vista.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, port wine does come from places with nice views...
    • by pizzach ( 1011925 ) <pizzach.gmail@com> on Sunday April 15, 2007 @02:17PM (#18742853) Homepage
      Yes, this is the perfect chance for wine to become mainstream [humorix.org] and pick up loads of developers to hack those rare apps into working.
    • by skadacl ( 199126 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:11PM (#18743667) Homepage
      You know, it's a funny thing. With a linux box, the first thing you do is install everything and tweak it till it purrs like a kitten. With every windows box though, including the new laptop I bought pre-loaded with vista, I literally spend hours uninstalling programs and disabling pretty much everything.

      Makes you think: One hour perfecting a linux install... versus nine hours hacking (think machete) away at vista (in the hope that it will take less than five minutes to boot up).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sqrt(2) ( 786011 )
        My experience has been the opposite. All my attempts with Linux have been a constant uphill fight to get anything to work correctly (or even acceptably). I recieved a free copy of Vista Ultimate, loaded it onto one of my laptops and EVERYTHING worked right away. Even XP didn't recognize all the hardware by default with a fresh SP2 installation. The last distro I tried was Ubuntu on that same laptop--this was just a couple weeks ago. I had problems with the display, sound, and network (the last two were enti
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Grashnak ( 1003791 )
        If by "Tweak it until it purrs like a kitten" you mean search the internet for someone to tell you how to get it to recognize your hard drive so you can install it, and then spend two days trying to get Wi-Fi working, then I agree. However, what I think you mean is absolutely the exact opposite of the experience of everyone I know who has tried Linux and isn't a programmer/developer/fanboy. Linux won't be ready for prime time until joe blow can install it effortlessly.

        The time I've spent tweaking Vista
  • Simple solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:09PM (#18742311)
    Don't bother with Vista at the moment. Let some other muppet sort out the pain.

    • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:13PM (#18742349)

      Damn, beaten to it... :-)

      Seriously, why would any organisation upgrade to Windows Vista if it wasn't pretty sure all of its key software would work? It's amazing how many people seem to think there's some sort of obligation on people to upgrade. In fact, if you look at recent history, the big corporations are usually the last people to move on major upgrades like XP->Vista, often taking several years to do it. This is why.

      • From a business prospective there is zero reason to plan any moves to Vista in the near future. What gains will they get? NONE. What problems will they have? They can start with hardware and software incompatibilities and go from there. Vista offers nothing compelling and could be considered a minor upgrade with major problems. Home users could make a case I suppose, but businesses have none right now.
        • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:39PM (#18742529)

          The irony is that I'm not even sure why home users would move.

          I've been following Vista developments for years, since back when there were going to be three big pillars underlying it. As far as I can see, from a technical perspective, the only remaining major functional improvement over XP is that Vista supports DirectX 10, and Microsoft are pretty much guaranteed to restrict that artificially to Vista-only.

          Of course, going by the history, that won't even start to affect any games except Microsoft's own for at least a couple of years, since most games software isn't using everything DX9 offers yet. Similarly, DX10-supporting hardware won't be even close to mainstream for at least a year or two. Given that PC games now represent only a quarter or so of the market (the consoles are well and truly in charge today) and the majority of home users still aren't going to have Vista for a while, games companies may be hesitant to tread those waters even as they reach the point where the extra goodies in DX10 may be genuinely useful.

          Apart from that, what possible reason is there for a home user to upgrade? There's been a lot of negative press for Vista, not just about DRM but also all the hardware and software compatibility problems. The UI is different, which for many users means "bad" by default, even if with time they might come to prefer it. If home users were really serious about security, the world wouldn't be full of botnets. And the list goes on...

          I can understand businesses with professional IT people placing some value on improved security or networking features, so if and when the compatibility is sorted out and the trust issues with phoning home and being activated/disabled/whatever remotely are irrevocably fixed, businesses might move. But home users? Not for years, except for the people who just get it with new PCs. (And even the rate of buying those isn't what it used to be.)

        • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Planesdragon ( 210349 ) <slashdot@cPERIOD ... e.us minus punct> on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:55PM (#18743991) Homepage Journal
          From a business prospective there is zero reason to plan any moves to Vista in the near future. What gains will they get? NONE.

          You mis-use that word. Vista has a modest slew of bits and pieces that really are worthwhile. When I was using the beta, I went through a two-week period when every tech problem I ran into immediately made me think of a vista feature that would make it easier.

          Vista really does do things that Windows did not do previously -- if it didn't, there wouldn't be the incompatibilities that are so rampant. Saying that there is NO benefit is just plain old FUD, and lets a proprietary-software shill get the client to dismiss OSS out of hand.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by speculatrix ( 678524 )
        why would any organisation upgrade to Windows Vista...the big corporations are usually the last people to move on major upgrades like XP->Vista

        I'm currently contracting at one of the larger international banks (HQ in Scotland) and they only just started migrating off NT4 to XP as their certified desktop environment, missing out Win2kpro altogether! It is sad and funny to see people with top specification laptops running NT4 and unable to use half the hardware on their machines!
      • Re:Simple solution (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lennier ( 44736 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @06:37PM (#18744769) Homepage
        "It's amazing how many people seem to think there's some sort of obligation on people to upgrade."

        There's no obligation to upgrade to the latest version of Windows in much the same way that there's no obligation to pay any money to the nice gentleman visiting who would very much like your store to not accidentally burn down next weekend.

        You can hold out from upgrading, and in return you can be guaranteed the following services:
        * your documents will slowly stop being able to be read by other people since you don't have a current MS Office
        * the software you use will slowly not be supported by the manufacturer since you don't have a current OS
        * your OS will stop getting security patches and thus will become infested by worms and trojans, possibly making you criminally liable
        * your hardware, when it fails and needs replacing (and the warranty probably only lasts for three years) quite possibly won't work on your current OS - and if it does, OEM licensing may make it illegal for you to continue to run your current OS

        Yep, absolutely zero obligation.

        Nice merchandise you have here, by the way. Shame if bit-rot were to set in, ain't it?
    • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JebusIsLord ( 566856 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:20PM (#18742399)
      You mean like the muppet who wrote this article?

      I picked up Vista because i'm an upgrade whore, and after running it for a month or so, I'm generally disappointed. I gained some flashy visual effects (my Macbook is still prettier) but I'm really sick of all the incompatibilities. I'd tend to blame the 3rd parties, but hell; even Visual Studio 2005 had issues that were only recently fixed. I'm still waiting for my logitech keyboard app to stop tanking on bootup (new drivers due end of April? WTF?).

      Basically I'm using it now as a media center host for my 360... which media center 2005 was doing just fine. I think this whole experience is just pushing me farther towards dumping windows altogether when I'm at home.
    • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by omeomi ( 675045 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @02:06PM (#18742775) Homepage
      Don't bother with Vista at the moment. Let some other muppet sort out the pain.

      One problem is for software developers, even hobbyest software developers. Without Vista, it's difficult to make sure an application works properly on Vista...so we're eventually forced to upgrade to Vista because users will have Vista, and as the number of Vista users grows, that will become more and more of a problem...
      • It's easy to say 'ignore' Vista, but if you have software currently on the market, trying to split resources to maintain a version for older versions of windows, and ALSO develop a 'vista compatible' version is a major issue...

        This is particularly difficult for smaller developers such as us...and since we're game developers, we have the whole 'DirectX10 versus OpenGL / DirectX9' issue to deal with on top of everything else...

        Oh, and then there's the whole new 'Games for Windows' issues that are thrown into
    • With all the problems VISTA seems to have, and expensive upgrade needed, better buy a mac. VISTA seems to be as bad as Windows Millennium was.
    • http://apcmag.com/5835/vendors_in_no_rush_to_ditch _xp_for_vista [apcmag.com]

      If MS stops XP sales and forces a Vista change over then just waiting for other muppets to sort things is not a workable strategy.

      These incompatabilities run deep. Even some Microsoft stuff does not work with Vista. eg. Platform Builder (used for Windows CE development) is XP only.

  • Here's an idea... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bwd234 ( 806660 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:14PM (#18742355)
    Don't get Vista!

    I have been using Windows 2000 for years now and have found it to be the best and most stable Windows OS so far. 95 and 98 were a constant headache with the BSOD and XP is just 2000 with a ton of useless eye candy, not to mention the PITA of product activation everytime you want to change the hardware.

    Vista has proven itself to be as big a mistake as Windows ME. Nothing works with it, it is full of DRM crap that keeps you from doing anything and there is really no reason to "upgrade" to it anyway.

    Sales are far below what MS thought they would be because no one really wants it anyway, witennesed by many government and corporate organizations even refusing to allow their systems to be switched over to it.

    In a word, it's a disaster!

    • Exactly (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HalAtWork ( 926717 )
      Exactly, don't buy Vista at all, and maybe it'll send the message to Microsoft that this is not what people want in an operating system. Maybe now they're trying to force people off Windows 2000 and XP, but they may have to provide longer support if enough people send the message that they're not going to buy the new product. Will MS really only support 10-25% of their customers and leave the rest in the cold if it came to that?
    • If I wanted to mess around with getting Windows apps working, I would be installing them on Linux with WINE or running them on Windows in virtualization (Virtualbox).

      Oh wait, I do that already:) Should I have some schadenfreude that Window users get to join the fun or be more sympathetic? In any case, I suppose this won't prompt any developers of normal apps to develop them in a way to become platform independent (Firefox seem to do just fine as a large project...)
    • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gcnaddict ( 841664 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:40PM (#18742539)
      "Vista has proven itself to be as big a mistake as Windows ME. Nothing works with it, it is full of DRM crap that keeps you from doing anything and there is really no reason to "upgrade" to it anyway."

      1) How did it prove itself to be as big a mistake as Windows ME? No one knew how bad ME was until a year after it when Microsoft was already almost done with XP. ME was an intermediate OS, which was why it sucked. Vista is far more stable than XP or even 2000 on a machine meeting its recommended specs with hardware on the HCL. 3 machines in my house run Vista without a problem, and two of them have the dreaded "Vista Capable" logo.
      2) DRM crap? I bet you don't even have a bluray or HDDVD drive in the first place. Hell, I bet you torrent all of your movies, so you shouldn't be complaining. Vista doesn't DRM everything. You can still watch your torrented movies (it's the only way to get decent HD rips anyhow)
      3) no real reason to upgrade. Right, well I found BitLocker to be a perfect reason. To each his own; I can see where you're coming from but there are people that disagree with you.
      • Re:What? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Wordsmith ( 183749 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:54PM (#18742675) Homepage
        AS far as number 2 - Vista sure makes it a lot harder to do those HD rips in the first place. So yes, he could still illegally get things over torrents. But Vista makes it harder for a person with legitimate access to the HD content to back it up or shift it to another form of media. Not sure that's a step forward for anyone.
      • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
        Yep. Just try to install OpenSource driver on Vista x64.
      • 3) no real reason to upgrade. Right, well I found BitLocker to be a perfect reason. To each his own; I can see where you're coming from but there are people that disagree with you.

        Wow, one of the three people on Earth who have a genuine reason to use BitLocker, and he's posting right here on slashdot! This is an exciting.

      • Re:What? (Score:4, Funny)

        by Ant P. ( 974313 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @03:33PM (#18743417) Homepage

        2) DRM crap? I bet you don't even have a bluray or HDDVD drive in the first place. Hell, I bet you torrent all of your movies, so you shouldn't be complaining. Vista doesn't DRM everything. You can still watch your torrented movies (it's the only way to get decent HD rips anyhow)

        Perhaps he owns an nVidia or ATi graphics card, and plays games. Absurd as it seems, he might even own a sound card newer than a SoundBlaster16 that can play 2 sounds in hardware!!

        Not any more with Vista.
      • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @06:08PM (#18744519) Homepage
        Then I read:

        How did it prove itself to be as big a mistake as Windows ME? No one knew how bad ME was until a year after it when Microsoft was already almost done with XP. ME was an intermediate OS, which was why it sucked.

        Windows ME? Even the people I knew who couldn't know how bad it was knew how bad it was. It didn't take a rocket scientist. From there you devolve into pirate hysteria/name-calling and finish with the flourish on your one provided reason for the upgrade (wow, thank GOD MS provided encryption...I don't know what I would have...).

        I'm all for counter-points. I brought the first Vista system into our workplace. I disabled UAC and aside from some of the old/trollish employees not liking it (I did make them use it, they just like to complain) its been pretty good. Lots of non-supported software has worked just as I'd have expected it to. The UI isn't really impressing me, but this is Microsoft and that kind of design isn't something they are known for.

        A good reason to have upgraded to it? Not yet. Bitlocker could be done just as well or better with any number of applications. Maybe after the large scale public beta ends at SP1 they have enough quirks worked out that people will start discovering some of the benifits. Maybe not. But no matter how you dice it, right now the biggest benefit to Vista is Microsoft's dominance and decision to push this operating system so aggressively.

        In the future please don't formulate arguments based on the assumption someone doesn't like something because their pirates. We hear more then enough of that kind of corporate dribble already. A lot of people won't like X for a lot of legitimate reasons. Claiming Y randomly doesn't provide a logical argument. Just hyperbole.

        Have a great Sunday. Just had to speak my piece. :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by TSDMK ( 979550 )

      Vista has proven itself to be as big a mistake as Windows ME.

      It's still early days for Vista - no need to jump to such conclusions yet. I remember looking at a computer running XP when it was first released and thinking "ugh, that's horrible". I eventually put it on a dual boot with Windows 2000 and slowly but surely XP improved (ignoring WGA for a minute) with better driver support, new software for XP and bugfixes. SP2 is stable and well supported now it's been around for a while. Something which is on the back of my mind though is that if MS do bring out Vienna

    • XP is just 2000 with a ton of useless eye candy, not to mention the PITA of product activation everytime you want to change the hardware.

      XP is about 20,000 times better with regard to wireless support, and I found it had better performance on the gaming side of things. That said, I preferred the look and feel of Windows 2000 (and thought XP's pale imitation of it looked terrible...but hey).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sponga ( 739683 )
      what is up with your fear mongers and your constant DRM raving how it is limiting me so much in Windows; only DRM I come across are some porn .WMV files.

      I can do everything that I did in Vista like I did with XP before; I can run Nero to convert all my movies or I can use the 'DVD authoring' tool provided by MS to create all my pirated movies to which it automatically adds chapters for me, just copied over my original MP3 collection from XP that I have had for the last 8 years and continue to game and play/

    • I have been using Windows 2000 for years now and have found it to be the best and most stable Windows OS so far.

      I too was happy with XP, until such time as there came alone one adobe application which "needed" xp. The next version resolved this resultion by requiring an intel processor.

      I must admit I liked the game support in XP. I could actually run redneck rampage somewhat, a game when released was too much for my lame machine.

      The problem is joe user, who firmly believes vista is the way things are goin
    • Sir, you remind me of myself a year and a half ago.

      I always thought 2000 was the cream of the crop, and that XP was just nasty useless eyecandy that slowed things down.

      I can't remember how, but I screwed up my 2000. I ended up upgrading to XP, something I was hugely worried about. Well, it took me about a week to get all the service packs, etc, but I had my custom shell up in a few minutes and it does run a lot faster than 2000. You just disable all the blue slime.

      And when I say it runs faster than
  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:14PM (#18742357) Journal
    ...one big fat Microsoft Fanboy/Salesman argument isn't true for Vista: "Windows has more applications..."



  • Broken Apps (Score:4, Informative)

    by memojuez ( 910304 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:15PM (#18742371)
    Vista won't even recognize older Microsoft Apps, like Office 2000, as a legitimate application. After finally getting installed, after a hundred Cancel or Allow pop-up boxes, Outlook was still broken. The fix offered at the MSDN Tech board [microsoft.com] didn't work, Vista wouldn't allow me to do it.

    Even if it did, every time Outlook was started, it wanted to do its final install and first run configuration. Same with the other Office Apps as well.

    Vista = Forced Obsolescence.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Fred_A ( 10934 )
      Maybe you can install Wine under Vista ? Just a thought...

      (runs away)
    • by cliffski ( 65094 )
      I find that my ancient office 97 install still works perfectly under Vista. If that helps.
    • by dexomn ( 147950 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:47PM (#18742603)
      The list of 'Over 1000 Applications...' begins like this:

      1.) Notepad.exe
      2.) Sol.exe
      3.) Winmine.exe
      4.) Pbrush.exe
      5.) Write.exe

      And so on...
    • Your full of crap (Score:2, Informative)

      by Dan_Bercell ( 826965 )
      I have installed Office 2000 on at least 2 dozen Vista boxes. I have yet to have any issues with them. Either you are trying to use 3rd party applications with Office or you don't know how to install office (always copy the files to the hard drive before installing or install from a network share).
  • From my albeit limited experience with Vista my opinion is that many of the standard set of application that I ALWAYS INSTALL (you know the sort of thing, the sort of app that you take with you everywhere) is going to be a replication of the old problems we had with DLL Hell back in the old days.
    This sort of problem even exhibits itself on Server 2003 SBS. For example, it regards Hypersnap 6 as a threat to OS security. I have to specifivally allow it to run. Duh, I'm installing the frigging thing so natural
    • by cliffski ( 65094 )
      "have to specifivally allow it to run. Duh, I'm installing the frigging thing so naturally, I want it to run"

      if microsoft did take that attitude to security, they would be hassled constantly by people on here about writing an insecure O/S. People are tricked every day into installing spyware and trojans. I'm glad about any additional protection that stops people installing that stuff, even if the side effect is a slight PITA when installing legit software.
      • Yeah,
        And it all goes back to M$ wanting to control exactly what I can or can't run on my PC.
        All it needs is for Microsoft to let the small app vendors register their apps and then Windows can chack to see it the app you are trying to install is listed and has something like an MD5SUM on the main executable that matches that held in the M$ Database.
        Let me set myself up as the Ugber Geek/SuperUser/Smart Alec who knows all and then as long as I am installing from this account then it bypasses these c
      • People are tricked every day into installing spyware and trojans. I'm glad about any additional protection that stops people installing that stuff, even if the side effect is a slight PITA when installing legit software.

        Proper user permissions makes it both easy to install software and stop trojans. People complain because M$ has yet to implement the simple read write execute and user flags common and effective in Unix since the 1970s. Instead they use annoying warnings that cry wolf and make the user

    • by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @06:53PM (#18744883) Homepage
      I personally don't have a problem with the idea that you have to be administrator to write to anywhere other than c:\users\$username\. It is radical idea for Windows, but other operating systems have done that for a lot longer. Slashdotters criticised MS for not having this policy. Now it appears they are criticising them for listening to their complaints.
  • In general (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Cisco Kid ( 31490 ) * on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:21PM (#18742415)
    I dont touch MS software with a ten foot pole, but for Vista I've ordered a 100 foot pole.

    Even the MS fanb^H^H^H^Hapol^H^H^H^Hafficionados are saying to stay away from it, it must be bad.

    Of course, one of the problems of using MS is that eventually, MS is going to force you to, either directly or indirectly. For the gamers, eventually new games wont run on anything but Vista, and for business folk, once a few businesses are conned into upgrading to it (and of course new versions of Word/etc, which will of course not open in earlier versions, that any business that interacts with them (that is stupid enough to consider MS-Word a good format to exchange data in) will have to ugprade too, and so on. And they call GPL software viral.

    And of course, with Vista's build in 'calling home', when and if MS wants you to move to something else, they will just slowly tell every Vista that 'calls home' thats its obsolete, and it will slowly begin to lose functionaility, and eventually you'll be forced to upgrade again.

    Just like the drug pusher, MS cannot make money unless you keep buying more. To borrow a phrase from another war: 'Just say No' to MS. Now is the time to get off their drugs.
    • by Exatron ( 124633 )
      So, basically you're saying upgrading to Vista is like sex with Kobe Bryant.
    • I'm curious; isn't there any piece of MS software that you use? Looking at your nick, you're probably a network admin, but what do you use on the desktop? Also, lots of companies force use of Outlook or IE for internal websites, isn't that the case at your workplace?
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:28PM (#18742463) Homepage
    The application should strive to achieve compatibility with the OS, not the other way around. Microsoft has been wasting boatloads of resources on just maintaining backward compatibility with bugs and misbehaving applications (or so sayeth the leaked commented Windows OS code). This is the shortest possible explanation for how the Windows OS family has become the mess that it is today.

    If they feel they need to expend the resources to get compatibility in order, here's what I think Microsoft should do:

    PATCH THE APPS. Distribute or make downloadable the patches and upgrades necessary to make it happen. Hell, it could be a quality way for Microsoft to improve their relationship with vendors of all types. They'll spend the money anyway.
    • I disagree (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:44PM (#18742563)
      You can go ahead and say that, but the end result is that if Microsoft chose to apply that logic wholesale, they would get trashed big time. They spent a shitload of effort trying their best to be compatible with older software, and they did far from a perfect job. And look at the reception that Windows Vista got on Slashdot - that reaction should be regarded as proof that any version of Windows without virtually perfect compatibility will get trashed big time, and that people don't seem to care that its because program XYZ sent the wrong parameter to Win32 API DoSomething(). You should read the The Old New Thing [msdn.com], a blog by one of the main people at Microsoft that work on backwards compatibility. Specifically read these entries:

      The purist in me would love to take the Linux route and force anybody doing weird stuff to fix their software, but in the long run, Microsoft is a business and their customers want compatibility with shitty software. Reading Raymond Chen's stuff changed my views on Windows backwards compatibility 100%.
      • The purist in me would love to take the Linux route and force anybody doing weird stuff to fix their software, but in the long run, Microsoft is a business and their customers want compatibility with shitty software.

        The thing is, the changes required in Linux world to be compatible with new versions of key libraries are generally minor, well-documented, reasonable, and relatively quick to implement.

        In Windows world, that isn't the case, because Windows development is a mess. That is mostly Microsoft's

    • The application should strive to achieve compatibility with the OS, not the other way around.

      When I worked support for a Softwre developer, I would get into arguments over this with them. They wrote an app that basically would try to force its own DLL's into the System directory and require a reboot.

      I explain, that if you have to reboot and put things into the Windows\system directory then it is going to give us nightmares on the support end.

      Low and behold we actually had someone with a WinNT server install
    • But the thing that we are striving to be compatible with is CLOSED.

      Which means?

      That once an application works, it IS compatible. There is no other reference implementation to try it against.

      If there are multiple implementations (in Windows case, 98, 2000, XP, Vista), once it works on the platforms that are feature compatible, the application works, and again it IS compatible. There is no reference authority OTHER THAN THE IMPLEMENTATION. (and look at the Microsoft Word submissions for additional hedges).

    • The problem is that most of the commercial software companies won't do this for a lot of their existing products. Instead, they'll tell you to pay an assload of money and upgrade to the new version of the software, which doesn't do anything except add compatibility with Vista, instead of actually fixing their existing software.
    • Yes, MSFT can take the stand that it is the job of application to keep up with the OS as you say. Then the millions of users with applications already installed have to buy updated versions from their vendors, costing money, or they will choose not to upgrade the OS costing MS money. If in one stroke MSFT makes millions of instances of installed applications useless, then suddenly people might get the idea to try other OSs. MSFT does not want such things to happen. The OS upgrade could be very painful but s
    • Microsoft is going to reverse-engineer and patch my old copy of Paintshop Pro 5? Proxomitron? Winamp 2.7? Thousands of other "good, old" programs that are no longer maintained or supported, yet you'll have to pry from peoples' cold, dead hands?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wwahammy ( 765566 )
      I agree on this. For example, Nvidia had literally a year and a half with a stable driver API and they are still working on getting a decent driver for Vista. We knew this thing was coming, some companies just didn't feel customer satisfaction was a good enough reason to put in the work. Don't give me the crap that its because Vista is so different/hard that no one can they shouldn't need to make drivers for it. It's just an issue of business not prioritizing customer satisfaction.
  • I've been running the Business version of Vista 32-bit since January and I've only had a couple apps not work properly. All the games I've tried have worked (some with a crash here and there, but that's nothing out of the ordinary), most of the productivity software I've used is just fine, and the random other stuff hasn't been a problem.

    All the people that keep saying "wait 6 months for it to be fixed" forget something: 5 years after the release of XP, they were still fixing it. If you're not going to ado
  • WIndows x64 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheThiefMaster ( 992038 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:39PM (#18742533)
    There's only two things I can think of that don't work in Windows XP x64 that weren't bad practice in Windows XP x86 or even Windows 2000:
    1: Device Drivers
    2: Kernel hooks (e.g. Anti-virus software)

    Any software that doesn't use either of these, doesn't work on Windows x64 edition, and is less than 5 years old, was obviously not very well written.

    Would you trust a program to be secure and bug-free if it doesn't even adhere to the OS's guidelines?
  • Gag. I have two boxes I run XP on (dual boot with Linux) and that's as far as it is ever going to get. I'm off the Microsoft treadmill and doubt I will ever get back on. I can do everything I need to do under XP or Linux - with more and more that I can do under Linux all the time. I don't think I've booted into Windows in a couple of months now - literally.

    Adios, Microsoft.
  • Switched to Vista (Score:5, Interesting)

    by anss123 ( 985305 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @01:44PM (#18742571)
    I installed Vista alongside XP thinking I'd stay with XP a while yet, but I have not booted XP once since bringing up Vista. Vista application compability wasn't as bad as I'd been lead to believe. Sure I had to scratch my head a bit to get Pixel Shaders working in Media Player Classic (I used them to correct some corrupt videos I have), and some games needed a few XP files from the System32 directory, but the only piece of software I've yet to get running is 3D Mark 99 Max.

    This reminds me a little about the Windows 2000 switchover. There was a lot of talk about compatibility issues with various games and apps, but the only thing that affected me was the wonky Sound Blaster Live drivers. Come to think of it, Vista actually supports all my hardware, although I had to slack my memory timings bellow specs. Tip, if you get a BSOD with Win32.sys as the culprit then run memtest86, hell run memtest86 anyway.
  • 16bit installers don't all work on the x64 version of XP (and I'm assuming Vista). XP doesn't 'convert' the 16bit installer to 32bit as the article says... it actually has 32bit versions of several common installers with it. When you try running the 16bit one it recognises it and runs the 32bit replacement instead.

    Of course that means only the recognised ones work. There are plenty of installers I've come across which won't work (mostly for games... Dungeon Keeper & Dune 2000 come to mind).

    My 'solution'
  • Microsoft seriously need to start work on a "Windows Neo" or something that is redesigned from the core and will break compatibility with _everything_ unless they can create some "Classic" thing like Apple did for OSX.

    I see this as the only way to "fix" the Windows codebase which must look like a complete, utter mess after a decade of hacks.
    • by laffer1 ( 701823 )
      Ok. What OSes are up for sale then? Apple bought NeXT to make OS X. They spent most of the time modernizing it, slapping on a "Mac" gui, and adding classic support.
      • they could just use one of the BSDs, and use WINE to get their "Classic" mode.

        or they could buy the BeOS code base (i think i just threw up in my mouth a little).
      • by maharg ( 182366 )
        Why limit it to OSes that are for sale ?

        With linux getting better and better with hardware support (Ubuntu Dapper fixed even some paperweight webcams and printers gifted by well meaning relatives..), could we eventually see a MS gui/userland running on top of linux ? Will MS *ever* opensource their stuff ? Windows Neo... 5-10 years out maybe ??

        Let's have a sweepstake on when that might happen, just for the kudos, you understand. I'll kick off with 2013 - lucky for some !

        Actually it would be *very* cool to h
  • its so simple to solve all your windows problems: just upgrade for free to windows vista ultimate plus! service pack 1 [ubuntu.com]
  • Things have mostly worked on my brand new Vista box (old box died). One annoyance that I encountered is that Photoshop CS2 would nag me to register each time I launched it, even though I had "successfully" (?) registered a couple of times. Adobe's response was that it was "a known issue". I then reset the compatibility mode so that it would run as administrator. That brought even more complaints from Vista and CS2. However, when I reset CS2 to run as a normal user the problem mysteriously went away. Hope th
  • ... how far would WINE have to go to get ahead of MSWinVista64 on backward compatibility?
  • by TSDMK ( 979550 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @02:22PM (#18742897)
    My experience of Vista is limited, but from what I can tell a lot of the incompatibilities come from developers getting used to the slack security and expecting things like Administrator priviledges, write access in to \Windows, acccess to HK_Local_Machine etc. There was some breakage going from Windows XP SP1 to SP2 as well, and since I use a User account on XP, it's sometimes been a struggle to get some apps (and some parts of XP itself) to work right. While I suppose MS could have made compatability better by having real virtualization of an older Windows or what have you, if this makes apps behave better overall then maybe it's for the best.
    • No, not the developers are the problem, the users are.

      YOu cannot run a program that never had Virutlisation in mind uder different users. (And the "U no Adminstrator Chrash" makes it even more complicated to explain to user ho to hand things you need administrator rights for.

      Of course this can be fixed by using some API calls that are only available on vista.... making you applicaltion not runnign on win98 (!)
  • Games.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Maquis196 ( 535256 )
    I tried Vista so I could get my own opinion of it (as a Linux and xp fan). Tbh, I found it cumbersome even with aero off although I am pointing my fingers at the nvidia drivers, I like to play football manager in a window and that was slower then under wine! but wait for it... it does allow me to play Dungeon Keeper II!! I have not been able to play that since I switched from 2000 years ago. I have tried under everything including vmware to no avail, for this reason alone vista will stay on my hard drive.
  • My son's computer was set so that his login was a "Limited" user. Lots of pre-2002 (i.e. written for Win9x, therefore pre user account level and permissions,) games had major issues. They insisted on running as an Administrator. Which meant either changing his login to Administrator (not likely,) or me coming in and typing in my password every time he wanted to run Microsoft's own "Midtown Madness".

    Vista, on the other hand, appears to let old games work just fine on a Limited account. Obviously, REALLY old games don't work at all, but Win98-era games work just fine again.
  • Final Thoughts (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "In the end, though, you should seriously consider moving to software virtualization during your Vista migration. Software virtualization allows you to package applications once and only once to deploy them to your PCs. Virtualized applications do not touch the operating system so your systems stay pristine at all times."

    If the problems that Vista faces; I am not sure why they didn't take a play from Apples book (no pun intended). They should have:
    1) Designed the OS from scratch.
    2) Provided a virt
  • by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @02:41PM (#18743007)
    I don't mean this as a flame, but I'm sure it will be mod'ed as such, but this needs to be said.

    I used to really worry about trusting business, especially MY business, on Linux. "Who" would support me? What about my data? What if it breaks, etc.

    After spending more than a decade using Linux as my OS of choice, my worries about Linux are almost gone, but I have realized that there are bigger worries that people don't even realize they have to deal with with Windows.

    Microsoft is a single company, and if not an out right monopoly, certainly a virtual one. They are in the position to make autocratic decisions regardless of customer demands. DRM? Discontinuing Windows XP? If my company had a product that people wanted, I wouldn't be able to, responsibly, stop shipping it.

    The average office is held hostage to Microsoft's whims. Vista is a perfect example. It breaks existing applications, it needs far more resources to run. It has a much more draconian set of licensing restrictions and obligations. Yet, Microsoft can STILL stop Windows XP regardless of the customer need.

    Linux is better. If the company you have decides to change and break your applications, you don't have to upgrade. You can, more or less, add the "cool" new features of the new release without breaking your system.

    The average home user goes it alone, they either do it themselves, have a nerd-buddy, or use something like geek squad. Medium to large size offices typically have IT management services, and the Linux model is typically better for them, if it were not for vendor.

    If ODF takes off enough to the point where "Microsoft Office" is optional, you'll see a lot of companies switching users to Linux just for the TCO. (M$ TCO FUD not withstanding)
  • This is really simple... don't use Vista. I didn't switch from Win98 to XP until years after the fact. And I still am sorry I installed XP64 - it's not ready for prime time either. I'm not going to be one of Microsoft's monkeys. They can iron out the kinks using someone else's gray hairs.

  • First we bought a low-end Everex which was perfectly sufficient for email, IM, web browsing, and accounting software. Vista kept the processor at 80% on average, at idle. I installed XP and it was just fine, but we couldn't get XP drivers for the wifi adapter. Apparently Vista has a few high-demand services that you can disable to work around the problem, but you lose various features as a result.

    So we returned that model for an Acer, and it handles Vista nicely. Sims 2 works, Aero works, it's all very p
  • by cheros ( 223479 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:04PM (#18743603)
    I love the fact (in a sarcastic sort of way) that they break compatibility with the tools you need for everyday use, but on the other hand keep "edlin" as part of the code base. I kid you not - go to the command line and type 'edlin'. Incredible..
  • by spywhere ( 824072 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:16PM (#18743709)
    I fix Windows PCs for a living, and I run my company on QuickBooks 2006. When Vista came out, I stuck a new drive in my main laptop, built it out with Vista Ultimate, and installed all the applications I need... including QuickBooks. QB worked fine, but I unfortunately failed to disable its Automatic Update feature.

    About a month later, QuickBooks downloaded an update that included this splash screen [imageshack.us], with its dire warnings about application incompatibility and system instability.

    I resent the fact that Intuit is trying to frighten QuickBooks users into upgrading, and I will never buy any of their products again... even if I'm forced to keep my books in, um, actual books. I also turned off Automatic Updates, because I'm afraid Intuit will deliberately destabilize the software if they don't sell enough copies of the 2007 & 2008 versions.
  • by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @06:09PM (#18744537) Journal
    I've been running Windows Vista since beta. When the release came out on MSDN, I ran the upgrade from XP to business edition on one of our client computers (we have approximately 100 apps that we support for users, all installed). The only thing that broke was McAfee and one other very minor app. I was extremely impressed. The problems with Vista are highly exaggerated. I bet that less than 5% of the posters to this thread have ever run Vista.
  • Why vista (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikShapi ( 681808 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:30PM (#18745163) Journal
    (UNinformed, I daresay) People here keep saying things along the lines of "The irony is that I'm not even sure why home users would move"

    One acronym, three letters.


    Corps (already serious about their desktop security, using access-regulated policies and usually domains) gain almost nothing from the new User Access Control model in Vista. It's all for the home user who doesn't have a sysadmin to disallow him to touch anything in C:\WINDOWS and C:\PROGRAM FILES. The underlying ability to have user access policies on the computer has been there since NT4, effectively since forever.

    It's the bolting it into a homeuser-centric UI and turning it into what is, for all intents and purposes, "sudo", integrated into every nook and cranny that requires straying into privileged space that's new.

    For an /informed/ (not neccesarily geek, could be joe-average, just informed) home-user, this is a HUGE advantage. Yes, it has a learning curve, yes, he will need to get a simple explanation of what the greyout means and to "Just Say NO" when he's not sure (or ALWAYS SAY NO, if he's a dumbass, and let his neighbourhood tech do the adminning), and it will save him mountains of time, money and pain paying said tech even more to clean out the malware from his computer every 3 months.
    For all of you who are overfed with FUD, or haven't bothered looking at anything since you've looked an the unfinished (RC) product:
    NO, YOU DO NOT NEED TO HANDLE ANNOYING POPUPS WHEN BROWSING ALL THE TIME. I keep getting that a lot, and it just doesn't happen anywhere except in people's anti-MS imaginations.
    You need to handle annoying popups when you go to places you shouldn't be. Routine tasks VERY RARELY involve doing that (and if you're one of the elite few who do need open access to the system, just disable UAC altogether, it's got a big ON/OFF switch).

    We've all been beating M$ with a stick for 20 years about the inherent lack of security of all OS's up to XP where the user effectively works as root. IMHO, we were RIGHT. Well, they finally fixed it. I am NOT saying windows and/or UAC is unhackable or unexploitable or mature or some such. IT IS NONE OF THESE.
    However, they finally introduced a seatbelt, and when lining it up against pre-vista seatbeltless windows where the user belongs to Administrators - just about 99.99999% of the world's home installbase - (in an otherwise seatbelt-equipped world - macos, linux, etc), that's a fundamentally major change WHICH IS A GOOD REASON TO NOT RESIST CHANGING OVER (if, say, you get a new computer, or are reinstalling an old one anyway and don't mind forking out some coin - say, 100$, for some RAM if you're sub-1GB).

    UAC is a major homeuser-targeted change that I think non-fanboy professionals should embrace. It'll annoy people at first (seatbelts annoyed people at first too), until they get into the habit of using the system the way it's meant (minimal straying outside userspace), at which point annoyance factor becomes minimal and people accept the extra hassle, because it's a hell of a lot better than what they had before.

    In other news, some UI improvements are more than welcome, and as a poweruser, I put value on intuitive UI that makes my work more efficient. Enter Katapult-on-steroids - a SEARCH integrated into the start menu that searches the start menu and the program files. Sidebar is also a welcome UI improvement, as is a revised resource-monitor that breaks down diskIO etc. by process.

    In yet other news, compatibility suffers. My vista lappie can't connect to the office Wifi network, something between its 802.11x and the radius goes bust. Same config exactly on XP works like charm.

    Still, I run a LOT of stuff on it, including a cygwin environment, retro DOS games, productivity software etc, and this would be the only compatibility issue I've encountered. Had I not, I'd be sitting here saying compatibility at all.

    Bottom line: Security-wise, big step up. Maturity-wise, probbably still crap, bu
  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @09:50PM (#18746153)
    Anyone notice the article was about how Vista 'automatically' works around most incompatibilities even for badly written software?

    Instead everyone here replying is going from the out of context pull quote or not even reading the article.

    Almost everything mentioned in the article talks about what is different in Vista, and then goes on to explain how Vista tries to work around 99% of these incompatibilities - AUTOMATICALLY.

    Sure Vista changed a lot in comparison to XP, so the fact that people think Vista isn't different than XP or applications run as well as they is quite remarkable.

    Just a short list of major rewritten portions: Video subsystem, Printing subsystem, inter process communications, new intelligent audio stack, network stack, xaml based language from application to screen to printer, etc etc..

    In our labs we have very few applications that break under Vista or require Admin Rights to run at all. And this is a number like 10 out of a few thousand we have tested.

    Out of the thousands of applications we run and have tested for our environments, half of the ones that did have compatibility problems MS itself released Vista updates to allow the 3rd party applications to run properly, even though they were coded improperly, had bugs, or have no concept of security.

    I dare any OS to support as many applications as Vista and not break a few bad applications along the way from the XP upgrade. When facing this challenge, remember Vista has a full BSD subsystem and can run 99% of all the *nix apps in addition to the DOS and Windows base.

    XP allowed applications to do stuff MS should never have allowed that created performance and security risks, and Vista finally draws the line in the sand for developers so they have to learn about security and writing applications properly.

    For every broken application, I give MS a kudos for finally stopping crap from doing stuff it shouldn't.

    PS - Anyone running Windows, run a free anti-virus application, Norton and McAfee cause more performance problems and dig into the OS in areas they should never touch. If your XP or Vista installation on a computer made in the last 5 years takes more than 30secs to boot, you have hardware problems or crap like Norton or McAfee installed.

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