Windows

Top 10 Windows Vista annoyances

If you've been working with Vista for awhile, it's reasonable to assume that you've gotten used to the changes. Anything that still bothers you isn't about adjusting to something new... it's just annoying.

This article is also available as a PDF download.

With most new software releases, there's usually something missing or different from the previous version that annoys at least one user. You can eliminate some annoyances with a few simple changes. Others you have to live with.

During the past year of working with Windows Vista, I have run into several features and changes that get on my nerves. Based on that experience, I've come up with my list of top 10 annoyances in Windows Vista.

#1: No more Boot.ini

Customizing the boot menu was much simpler in Windows XP. If you ran multiple operating systems, all you had to do was open the Boot.ini and make your changes. For example, you might change the names of the installed operating systems to make them more recognizable.

It's much more complicated in Windows Vista. You no longer edit the Boot.ini file. Instead, you use a program called bcedit, which is not user-friendly, even for experienced users. A quick glance at this program and you will likely not want to see it again.

#2: Buried display settings

Why change something for the sake of change? That was my thought when I went to modify my display settings for the first time in Vista. It used to be that changing display settings was as simple as a right-click on the desktop.

There is now an added level of complexity. You still right-click on the desktop, but when you select Personalize, a new window appears with a slew of Appearance and Personalization options. You have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the window to find the Display Settings option.

As you start using Vista, you'll see that this is not the only instance where it seems there are unnecessary changes.

#3: Control Panel clutter

The Control Panel in Windows Vista, shown in Figure A, is cluttered and more difficult to maneuver. It seems to take more clicks to reach your destination. Going back to Windows XP, I now appreciate the simplicity of its Control Panel.

Figure A

It takes several clicks in the Control Panel to reach your destination in Vista.

You can eliminate this annoyance by switching back to the old style Control Panel. When you open the Control Panel, select the Classic View option.

#4: Shutdown options

Performing a shutdown in Windows Vista is overly complicated. There are at least nine shutdown choices on the Start Menu—from Switch User to Hibernate to Sleep. Power users will have no problem choosing the appropriate option. However, try explaining how to shut down a laptop or desktop to new users when they're facing nine choices. This is where the real annoyance comes into play.

#5: Application support (or lack thereof)

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming that the applications you run under Windows XP will run under Windows Vista. In fact, there's a good chance that they will not. This is a big reason why I haven't upgraded my working computer to Windows Vista. I've had problems with Paint Shop Pro, McAfee Virus Scan, AutoCAD, and Adobe applications. For testing purposes, I tried installing Office 2000, but it didn't work. And my line of business apps also won't run properly.

Not being able to perform necessary tasks because an application doesn't run right under Vista is frustrating. In all fairness, it is the responsibility of the software vendors to provide support for Vista—not vice versa. However, it is still an annoyance.

#6: Aero hardware requirements

Windows Vista's new Aero user interface is absolutely beautiful—if you have the hardware to support it. Aero Glass is the high-end interface that's available only with the right video card. To enable Aero Glass, your computer must be equipped with a 3D video card that supports DirectX 9 and has a Longhorn Display Driver Model (LDDM) driver. If you don't have that, you're out of luck and must fork out even more money to upgrade your hardware. Also, remember that this feature is not available in the Home Basic edition.

#7: Too many flavors

Having too many options to choose from annoys and confuses many people. Purchasing an operating system used to be simple because your choices were so limited. You could choose between this or that. With Windows XP, we saw four versions of the operating system. Now, with Windows Vista, things get even more complicated. The latest release of the Microsoft Windows family comes in five versions: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate.

So which one do you choose? It all depends on what you plan to use it for or what type of environment you work in. You need to do some research and find out what Vista features you need (or want). This will definitely help to narrow down your choices. Who knew choosing an operating system was so much work?

#8: UAC prompts

The new Vista feature that people are grumbling about the most is User Account Control, or UAC. Each time you attempt to perform a task that requires administrative rights, a window appears prompting you for permission (Figure B). In other words, you tell Vista you want to perform a task, but it needs to ask for your permission before doing so. Although the intention is good (it prevents unauthorized changes to your computer), the window that continuously pops up is annoying.

Figure B

Windows Vista constantly prompts for permission to perform tasks.

If you can live with the constant prompting for permission, hats off to you. Otherwise, you can eliminate this annoyance by disabling UAC through User Accounts And Family Safety within the Control Panel.

#9: Budget breaker

If you don't like rising prices, you will certainly be annoyed when you go to purchase Windows Vista. Although you can buy Vista for as low as $100, all you're getting for this price is Windows Vista Home Basic. This version is so basic that most people will not want it. It does not even support the Aero interface (see annoyance #5: Aero hardware requirements). As a result, most people will move to at least Windows Vista Home Premium, which costs $239 retail for the full package. The price only goes up—topping off at a whopping $399 for the full package of Windows Vista Ultimate.

#10: Usability issues

Finally, this one relates back to some of the previous annoyances I have discussed. Windows Vista has managed to make what used to be simple tasks too complex. Tasks that should take one-step now take four or five steps. I am a fan of simplicity and this is something Windows Vista lacks.

138 comments
Slayer_
Slayer_

Grave digging aside, this article seems whiny when compared to windows 8 annoyances.

escher7
escher7

"Tweak UAC" allows UAC in quiet mode for Admins. Safe but no pop-ups.

thebatty1
thebatty1

Top one Million Annoyance FOLDER settings

georgecatling1932
georgecatling1932

Another one for the hit list! Can anyone explain this?:- The application has failed to start because its side by side configuration is incorrect.Please see application log for more details. Microsoft and windows have failed to come up with an answer Has anyone?

phugger
phugger

This is simply a rehash of what every other self-proclaimed pundit has been saying. Some half truths and missing a lot of significant issues. Have you actually used the product or did you research this on Digg? There are plenty of things that could be improved in Vista and you mentioned none of them. Here are a few that you missed - 1. Search doesn't work as expected It will only search known types Sometimes it doesn't find things that it should 2. Folders default to the wrong type and they don't stay as set Can't we have other preset types? Can they be customizable? They need to be easier to set 3. Windows Mobile Device Center Still no Wifi Sync Maybe they can ask the Zune Team for help 4. Clicking on the wrong spot in the bread crumb trail makes it disappear

Spiritusindomit
Spiritusindomit

1. zomg msconfig, still right where it was and even more useful. Lost points on that one. 2. OMG two more clicks! or... use the card manufacturer's control panel which is generally better for system performance. 3. 'Professional who doesn't use classic mode? 4. System resource and energy management. Look into it, 'it pro' 5. Too many holes here to list. Boils down to you didn't read the manual. I run application from 15 different localizations, many through applocale and have not had a single problem. I also run the full adobe creative suite 3, technical communications suite, maya, rhino, and *shock* autocad. No problems. Look into that little 'run in compatability mode' feature if your 'problems' persist. 6. You want os x pretty on a commodore 64? Sorry, doesn't work that way... 7. That's something the market dictates, and an area you have no experience in, and thus, no right to comment on. Just to note, linux comes in 9000 flavours, as does unix. 8. >_> *Obviously* not a programmer if you don't understand the fundamental security enhancement a stop call and forced manual click bring to an application. 9. Where are you shopping? I could sell it to you at 50% of that and still make 200% profit. Please correct your numbers. 10. I'm sure anything is difficult if you don't read the manual. ---------------- Now for my two questions. In what world are *you* an it professional, and how can I delete the stargate address?

gaaryg
gaaryg

I think the version of Vista makes a difference as to whether or not a program will run. The Geek Squad guys at Best Buy screwed up my laptop, they could not repair it and replaced it with a Toshiba laptop running Windows Vista Basic. All of my old software (including Office 2000), works on it just fine as well as an older version of Adobe Photoshop (Ver 5.5). In fact I've not had any problem with loading any of my older software and getting it to run. There is just one exception, Adobe Acrobat Ver 6 would not install.

wrocnrob
wrocnrob

Excellent Review, right on the money. Most of the problems can be overcome, but why? I'll add: Aeroglass is cool,nice and all that; if Mr Jobs didn't get a cut he should be pissed. Your happiness is not a primary concern of M$. Think about it. I just hope I live long enough to see them go under.

gwd
gwd

Hmmm... UAC - Union Aerospace Corporation. Messed with things they didn't understand and should have left well alone. Nearly brought about the end of humanity. UAC - User Access Control. Stops users from messing with things they don't understand and should leave well alone... coincidence? :p

cr1s
cr1s

I miss using keyboard to shutdown Unless I'm missing an option somewhere to change it back, the only thing that I'm having a hard time gettin over is hitting the Start key on the keyboard, then "U" to get to shutdown options. Now when you hit the Start key, anything you type goes into the Search box!

bytlan
bytlan

I had a PC crash. No choice had to get Vista. There is supposed to be methods to install software as emulating XP Pro Svc2. Every piece of software loaded failed. I even loaded VS 2005 Express thinking maybe the patches would work there. After 35 days the box was in for service warranty due to around 140 reported errors. I got the box back. I won't load a piece of software into it as I have already seen other OS hangs. The OS does not support Email that is web based. I will never down load my email into this OS since it crashed out in 30 days, got it back and still finding other pieces of crap in it. I would loose my entire history of email in a box that is not at all useful. I have not had 1 piece of software work in it yet. All USB printers have failed. No software I own runs on it. I will not buy any more just to have a useful something run on this box. Dual Booting a MAC sounds like a better way to go...

bfreed
bfreed

In general I agree with these comments, but some are not correct. McAfee Anti-Virus 8.5.i works with Vista. Office 2003 and Office 2007 work fine on Vista. I have not tried Office 2k and I don't expect vista to support it (software has to die at some point). I agree that some of the control panel changes are annoying, but use the classic control panel and it really isn't that different. UAC will always be annoying, but that can be shut off. One thing that I believe should be on this list are Vista's new memory management model seems to really slow some applications down along with general system performace. Even with 2GB of Ram, the system gobbles RAM, caching the majority of RAM instead of leaving it free.

djed
djed

"In all fairness, it is the responsibility of the software vendors to provide support for Vista?not vice versa." I disagree. The main function of an OS is to run apps. Any new OS should be able to run software that was written for the last two versions, at a minimum. I've got stuff to do besides play with a pretty new interface.

william
william

they are not only annoying but frustrating. i used to be a fun for Vista in it beta releases since August 2006. it somehow did the trick of stabblizing my bumpy HP nx9010 with 1GB RAM and 80Gb hdd. before it, it was hanging once every week. after upgrading to final product, i now wish i to ask for a refund. THE "THING" DOES NOT WORK. copying 10mb file takes ages, my quickbooks 2002/2003 does not function properly and a lot more. i have come to a conclusion, in Africa, where computer hardware is still out of rich to the majority, Windows Vista is an OS for 2010. get me right, i applaude the effort those guys put in Vista but it power hungry for hardware makes it a wilwish to many people. i now recommend to my clients the 2 gb ram as the bear minimum otherwise you will not enjoy the experience. out there in my country, Botswana, there hundreds of users that will find it difficult to upgrade, let alone purchase 2 gb ram PC. i admire Vista but for the now, it is a no go area.

jonathandsolis
jonathandsolis

I installed Vista as soon they gave it to me for testing and in matter of a week I was back on XP professional. I will not install Vista neither on my personal computer nor on any of the 100 computers on my company.

big-b
big-b

People that confused and who can't read about the different flavors of Vista probably shouldn't own a computer. You mentioned XP had four, one more from Vista will really throw everyone off. Also, the retail pricing between Vista and XP are the same. It has not gone up one penny. Feature for feature XP Home is comparible to Vista Home Basic, both at $199. Windows XP Pro is comparible to Vista Business, both at $299.

cabanossi-21666366011136960807907799337173
cabanossi-21666366011136960807907799337173

skype 3 microphone does not work orbicam does not work lots of things bring up "has stopped working" slow file copies very slow boot very slow shutdown no or bad drivers vendors, not Microsoft, are to blame for everything which does not work With VISTA around who needs LINUX?

tcorbett
tcorbett

I work at Community College and we have been unsucessfully with Vista and IE working with our wireless network. It does however work with Firefox..???? Any ideas

gettinoriginal2
gettinoriginal2

I have a 10 year old computer with Windows XP, My complaint is that my hardware is extinct, I want a new computer, but guess what!! To get a new computer, I AM FORCED GET VISTA !!!! Sure, I can wipe the hard drive and install XP, but that voids the warranty (oh, yes it does), as now I have not maintained the OME !! (Yes, I know, there are computers out there with no OS installed, but not with the hardware I want and require.)

verd
verd

My Paint shop pro 8 works fine in Vista Ultimate, I use it a lot and have not had any problems. If they kept everything the same what would happen to keep the computer business from being boring?? Give it a chance...heard same kind of moaning when XP came out

saved2serve
saved2serve

With my Dell E520, Windows key and the number 4 key shuts down, while Windows and 3 goes into Hibernation. Or download poweroff or similar and use that.

normhaga
normhaga

Vista does support web based Email, else I am better with a new OS than I believed. I have no problem reaching my university based Exchange server, nor my hotmail account. I do agree that Vista is a challenge, but not the way you think it is. I have had to reload the OS with applications for backup images 6 times. Mostly this occurs from my misunderstanding of what are junk files or registry entries where I crash the OS by applying XP hacks that fail. Twice I had to re-image the drive before I discovered that a new box had a bad BIOS, and this would crash anything. The OS has some problems but in time when programmers learn the particularities of Vista, the problems will be corrected.

madcow9597
madcow9597

I 've recently noticed another huge problem. Blue Screens. Not sure what the hell MS is thinking but they stuck us IT guys out in the cold. Has anyone got a BSOD yet. I have more than a few times. The problem with the blue screen is they went from gving us error codes to now it's just a blank blue screen. How do I troubleshoot a BSOD now? It was hard enough with error codes. Bring back the error codes!!! That is a huge blunder by MS.

jmoody76
jmoody76

Change is inevitable and that is how all of the software and hardware vendors make money. If things did not change then no one would buy new computers or software and that would put a lot of people out of work. Not a good thing! If you don?t like change or like to learn new things, I suggest you find a new line of work. I for one don?t find UAC very annoying. It is only one or two clicks. If you can?t handle moving the mouse that far how do you even get out of bed. I wish us ?techs? would stop telling people to turn it off. It is meant to be a good thing and if people will leave it on we will soon find out if it is worth it or not. Instead of griping about Windows Vista shouldn?t we be looking for answers and helping each other out on these issues or maybe sending Microsoft and other software vendors our constructive criticisms? I have found that Vista is very slow at starting up and shutting down and extremely slow copying large chucks of data. Is it just me or is anyone else experiencing this. I have found myself going back to using the command line utility xcopy to copy because it is much faster.

georgeou
georgeou

In fairness, almost every application runs on Vista unless it's something like QuickBooks 2006 or before which was never certified to even run on Windows 2000 or XP. Intuit was forced to stop their nasty coding habbit for Vista and this will help all of us in the long wrong. Vista tries its best to maintain backward compatibility but things that endanger us to malware should be broken.

conradpafford
conradpafford

That my friend is wrong! - Linux is Open Source and freely modifiable by you -- to make things that don't work the way you want them to WORK -- try that with windows~ All for the price of 0.00 dollars out of your pocket! Long live Linux - Ubuntu/ Kubuntu rules!

p.delacey
p.delacey

Had my first run in with Vista when I had to set up our Busiiness Manager's machine. Don't like it at all. Couldn't install some software (it recommended I upgrade the OS to Win2k or XP) and I know that's the software's fault but it's vital software. I ended up installing a virtual machine and putting XP on that. I agree with all 10 annoyances listed in the article. It takes longer to do simple things, and there's no need for MS to have done that. Also I had great trouble getting it to connect to the www. (Still have problems.) But my main concern once set up was that slooow startup and shutdown. On a new, fast machine, it was much slower than XP or Linux on my 3-year-old machine running at 1/3 of the speed and without the benefit of dual core. "With LINUX around, who needs VISTA?"

jphillip51
jphillip51

Just bought some new laptops with Visa Business and the wireless worked great. Assigned an IP and put in password for network and logged right in. opened Internet explorer and surfed away.

stevethehawk
stevethehawk

As of this point in time, you can still get XP. I just ordered a business notebook from Gateway and it's coming with XP Pro on it.

conradpafford
conradpafford

You are kidding right! It is closed-source and proprietary. No elite programmer will mess with the junk!

bytlan
bytlan

The OS does not support it as a default application link. In XP I can select if I want to use Outlook or another application or to have the OS configure to your web based email as the default email account so that when you click an icon to send to email as attached or ... too it does start the email account or software of my choice. What you are doing is going to the web and going to the site of your choice and reading email. That is not what Microsoft is supporting any longer. The OS will not allow you to select the web base site as the email service. I use 5 different web based email sites but I can not do a click with in an application on the "send to" button and start my web based email accounts. That is not supported. I pay for the email storage on some of my web based accounts so I don't have to download the emails on my pc and then manage both email accounts on the web and the pc. I keep it off the PC also since I have had crashes and lost critical information that was not retrievable off a back up since the back up never took place and the crash did. Also using the properties selection before installing any software into the Vista to select the emulation operation has been the method I have been using to install software. I selected XP Pro svc2 emulation and the installed software does not operate correctly as it did on XP. 1 example is a laser print install will never do a test page print no matter what I do. So that is yet another glitch in the OS, it does not emulate correctly. Additional to that is the PC went in for a complete check up and rebuild as the OS locked the box. (back to the OEM Mfg) I got it back and some of the same errors continued to happen. I had 33 errors on the original build to do a back up on the OS - that is the Master disks before the crash. After the crash I had 20 more crashes and I still do not have a viable back up that I can restore, rebuild or recover the OS from. It also still hangs and basically stops operating till when ever it decides to say OK I am ready now to try and do something new. The Tech people of the box build (mfg) say it is in the OS that is where the problems are. Also I wish you would have spent the hours online dealing with these issues of this faulty and failing OS because the stability of it is not there from the get go on a NEW box. And that is not forgetting the call time on the phone with people they hire as speaking english but I can't understand as a born american with and IQ of greater then 170...

mibarra
mibarra

I get a black screen with either a red line or yellow line to the right of it. i hate it. i just wait and wait... and vista takes FOREVER to load. Its like seriously!!!

julio
julio

Hi jmoddy, I too am having the same issue with copying large chunks of files over the network. Vista is extremely slow at this and that calculating feature makes things slower as well. There are a lot of forums out there complaining about the time vista takes to copy large chunks of data over the network. But a resolution for this I have not seen as of yet.

themaestroofemail
themaestroofemail

The only application that has given me the "Quack Of Death" is a game called Word Zen. It installs fine, but when you run it, the first thing that happens is Vista says "This Program Has Stopped Working". Funny thing, works like a charm on XP (the long blank screen is my KVM switch).

djed
djed

George, I've seen posts about at least two dozen programs that have been problems. I'm not the guy who has to install and keep the OS running. I'm the guy who has to have certain apps working to get his job done. How pretty the screen is means nothing.

jonathandsolis
jonathandsolis

Antivirus, cd burning programs, music programs, graphic applications, netwoik management programs, application and programing apps. Man there are way to many that don't work, and you have to bye the next version

colin.hempsey
colin.hempsey

Clean install (not upgrade) on a brand new laptop. Wireless picked up straight away, entered my encryption code, opened IE 7 and it worked perfectly.

tags66
tags66

I think you are missint the point. It's the hardware requirement that gettinoriginal is after not the Vista OS.

normhaga
normhaga

>"You are kidding right! It is closed-source and proprietary. No elite programmer will mess with the junk!" So was XP, ME, 98SE, 98, 95, DOS 6.22, 6.2, 6.0, 5, 4.2, 4.0, 3.0, 2.0, 1.0, CP/M, Unix, VAX, & VMS. Please note, open source was not around for most of the listed OS's. Linux grew from Minux which was featured in one of my textbooks on OS's, "Operating Systems", in the 80's. Minux grew from Unix which was closed source until the L.O.D. hacked A.T.&T's computers at Bell Labratory in, if I remember correctly, New Jersey. Programmers learned the paticularities on all of those system in spite of the OS's being closed source. So, are we talking about lazy and disengenuous programmers? Sorry about the late response.

stewagd
stewagd

...install Linux, download VMWare Server 1.01 for free and run WinXP, BSD, and/or Vista as VMs. Something goes snafu? Just revert to the last good snapshot. ;)

j-mccurdy
j-mccurdy

Anyone on this site should know how to put together a good computer.And install xp with no problem.that would give you time for windows v to get there crap together.I built one with no computer training.and it runs perfect.if you are an it pro why would you buy some peice of crap from best buy or dell.Hell George ou built one with a pair of linesman plyers.which was the most hillbilly thing I ever saw by the way.so if you guys are really computer pros.throw together an xp box and quit bitching

big-b
big-b

You have a crappy machine, take it back. If you are having this trouble on all machines with Vista, stop messing with Vista then and go back to your Mac. People have different experiences with different things. This crappy experience you are having doesn't mean the OS is bad. I've had no problems getting almost everything that I through at it to work (old usb printer, older software, etc...). The only thing I can't get to work is an old Pocket PC 2002 PDA. Before you reply and flame me, understand that I may not know what I'm talking about because what do I know, my IQ's only 150.

jonp5667
jonp5667

You have to install them in compatibility mode for them to install properly. I had only one application that would not install but all the others did install and ran just fine. It's just Vista is so bloated and was always using up 1.5 of my 3 gigs of ram even with all programs closed.

normhaga
normhaga

Programs I had to replace with new versions to obtain functionality with Vista Ultimate x64 on new laptop with 2 gigs ram, tl-60 cpu, 160 gig Sata 150 HD, make/model: HP Pavillion/dv9225us (made for Vista): O&O Defrag, Vista Manager, Tweaknow Powerpack, Paragon Drive Backup server, SecureCrt, WinSPC, & VNC Viewer. Tools lost or that have reduced functionality: Visual Studio 2005 (Team even with vista updates [reduced to using Visual Studio 2007 Beta]), PowerISO - while waiting for Vista release. Vista, according to the statistics I have read, breaks 50 percent of the current applications.

Kiltie
Kiltie

Quote: "In fairness, almost every application runs on Vista" Unquote In fairness now, be objective

GaCooley
GaCooley

Why would you get a new program and not consider the fact that you would be upgrading to a new OS?

djed
djed

I looked back over the postings and couldn't find anyone who said "most" apps don't work. My point is that you've already paid for an app, maybe as recently as a month ago, and now you have to upgrade? Do you know of any other business where this would be acceptable?

georgeou
georgeou

I'm talking percentage wise. It's not right to claim *most* don't work. That's a blatently false statement.

georgeou
georgeou

A lot of them do work, they just warn you they don't to get more money. Take Nero burning rom for example. I got version 6.x working just fine just by ignoring the warning. It's funny how they always warn you it doesn't work and then forward you to their shopping page. There are free Antivirus apps like AVG which runs much faster than other AV applications and I recommend AVG. It's fast and free, can't complain about that. I used Group Policy to do my network management. Not everything works, but most things do work. Some things you'll have to update, but you have to upgrade at some point. If you're the kind of person that never upgrades anything, then stick with what you have. But at some point, most people have to upgrade. The last version of Windows lasted 6 years with a free upgrade to XP SP2. At some point Microsoft has to charge for a new OS to stay in business.

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