Windows optimize

10 things you'll miss when you upgrade to Vista (and how to get some of them back)

Most of us expect a learning curve when we adopt a new OS--it comes with the territory. But Windows Vista may throw you a few curves, too. Along with its visual dazzle and assorted new features, Vista has jettisoned a lot of familiar functionality. Here's Deb Shinder's list of what she misses the most and the workarounds she's devised to close some of the gaps.

This article is also available as a PDF download.

Windows Vista has lots of cool new features, eye candy, and security enhancements we didn't have with Windows XP. But as with any software upgrade, there are also some missing pieces--features or capabilities you may find yourself wishing for after the upgrade. Luckily, in many cases you can get back what's missing with a simple download, a registry edit, or an "undocumented" technique.

After I switched to Vista fulltime as my primary operating system, I missed several things. Here's how I got some of them back and worked around others.

#1: Why can't I separate my toolbars anymore?

One of the first things I do when I set up a new operating system for daily use is configure the desktop to suit my working habits. For years, that has included dragging the Quick Launch bar off of the main taskbar and docking it vertically on one side of my screen. That gives me more room for the open program icons on the taskbar and more room to place program icons on the Quick Launch bar for easy and fast access.

In the first few Vista betas, I found that I was unable to move the taskbar or separate its sections, even after unlocking it. I figured it was a "beta thing" and would be fixed in the final version. Imagine my surprise to discover, after installing the RTM, that I could now move the entire taskbar to the side of the screen, but there was no way to detach the Quick Launch bar, no matter how hard I tried. A little research revealed that this was no oversight, but instead is a new "feature" designed to prevent the problem of people inadvertently separating the toolbars. Ouch! Apparently the thinking at Microsoft is that the Start Menu Search box substitutes for the QL bar. Well, not for me.

Thank goodness I found a way to get my Quick Launch bar back where it's supposed to be:

  1. In Windows Explorer, browse to the Quick Launch folder (typically Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer). Vista's Start menu search feature makes it easy to find: Just type Quick Launch in the box.
  2. Drag the Quick Launch folder to the edge of your desktop. It creates a toolbar there. You'll probably want to right-click and select View | Small Icons to make it look better.

You can do this with any folder to create a toolbar of its contents. Figure A shows my Vista desktop, with the detached QL bar holding shortcuts to my favorite programs. I closed the QL bar on the Vista taskbar and created a custom toolbar there for accessing frequently used folders and drives.

Figure A

You can create a separate Quick Launch toolbar by dragging the folder to the edge of the desktop.

#2: Text-based Setup is gone

Okay, this isn't something anyone's likely to spend a lot of time mourning, but for those of us who have been installing Windows operating systems for years, the lack of "part one" of the Setup process, featuring white text on a blue background, is definitely a difference. The Vista installation program is graphical from the very beginning--and it's pretty, in keeping with the visual "wow" factor that Microsoft was aiming for with Vista.

#3: What's happened to my favorite third-party programs?

I created the custom toolbar for my folders and drives because I found I wasn't able to use the PowerDesk 5.0 toolbar I'd been using in Windows XP, which had a section for such shortcuts. PowerDesk itself installed on Vista and worked fine, but when I tried to create or open a toolbar, I got the error message shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Some programs, or parts of programs, such as the PowerDesk toolbar, don't work in Vista.

Older versions of many programs won't work in Vista, but many software vendors are bringing out new versions that do, or releasing updates to make their programs Vista-capable.

In some cases, you can get the old programs to install or run by running the installation file or the installed program in Compatibility mode. To do so:

  1. In Windows Explorer, navigate to the installation file or the program executable.
  2. Right-click and select Properties.
  3. Click the Compatibility tab.
  4. Select the Run This Program In Compatibility Mode For check box and choose the operating system you were previously running it on from the drop-down list (for example, Windows XP (Service Pack 2).
  5. You may also need to check the box to run the program as an administrator.

If it still doesn't work, you can try adjusting the settings for running the program (color depth and resolution) or disable visual themes, desktop composition, and/or display scaling.

Another program you might have been running in XP that has problems with Vista is the Diskeeper defragmentation software. This brings us to the next MIA feature, which is the reason some of you might want to run a third-party defrag utility.

#4: Where did the Defrag progress bars go?

The Vista Defrag utility now has a scheduler feature, something users have been asking for, but not everyone likes the simplicity of the new Defragmenter interface and the fact that there are no progress indicators. (See the view of a defragmentation in progress in Figure C.)

Figure C

The new Disk Defragmenter GUI does away with the progress indicators.

Figure D shows the old XP Defragmenter interface, which some folks are longing for.

Figure D

The XP Defragmentation interface graphically indicates the progress of the process.

The good news is that for those who want to use a third-party defrag utility, there's now a free update for Diskeeper 2007 that's compatible with Vista. See the January 22 post on the Diskeeper Weblog for information about how to get it. Other third-party defragmenters also work with Vista. Raxco's PerfectDisk has a free trial of its Vista-compatible beta (version 8).

#5: Why is it so much harder to use multiple monitors?

It took me longer than it otherwise would have to embrace Vista wholeheartedly because of problems I had with multiple monitor support. I started using multiple monitors regularly back with Windows 2000, although it was sometimes a bit of a hassle to get it configured on a new computer.

Windows XP perfected multi-monitor support. It became truly plug and play; I could throw two or three video cards into a computer's PCI slots, plug in my monitors, and XP recognized them almost every time.

Then along came Vista. When I installed it on my XP machine that was running four monitors, two off an ATI x600 PCIe card and two off a Matrox 450G PCI card, I got the Aero Glass interface on the first two (ATI), and nothing--black screen--on the second pair (Matrox). Research showed the Matrox card wasn't Vista capable, so I bought a card that, according to advertising, was: a GeForce 5200. Still no joy; still no third screen.

Finally, documentation became available on the Microsoft site indicating that to run Aero Glass on multiple video cards, they must use the same WDDM driver. If you have two Aero-capable cards that use different WDDM drivers (e.g., an ATI card and an nVidia card), Vista will disable one of them. It turns out that it is possible to use the cards together with the older XPDM drivers, but you don't get the Glass interface and associated Vista eye candy. Now I have three monitors working fine on my Vista machine, with a GeForce 7900 card paired up with the GeForce 5200. Figure E shows my setup.

Figure E

Vista still supports multiple monitors, but it's not the no brainer it was in XP.

Multiple monitor support still isn't as stable in Vista as it was in XP. Even with the RTM, I occasionally turn on my system to find that my monitors have mysteriously "switched places" in the operating system's eyes. That is, my taskbar and sidebar have moved from my middle monitor to the right side monitor, which now thinks it's the primary monitor. It's a quick fix in the Display Properties dialog box, shown in Figure F, but it's an annoyance. I miss XP's user-transparent support of multiple monitors.

Figure F

Vista occasionally "forgets" which monitor I've designated as the main monitor.

#6: Where's Windows Messenger?

XP came with Windows Messenger installed. Vista doesn't--but the Start menu does contain a link to the download page for Windows Live Messenger. Some folks may be annoyed at having to download and install the program (especially those who are restricted from installing programs), but this is probably a good idea for a couple of reasons:

  • It makes it easier for network administrators to keep users from chatting online, if your company's policies don't allow that.
  • It ensures that you'll get the most updated version of the Messenger program no matter when you install the operating system.

#7: Why is the new security system nagging me all the time?

Probably the most-missed characteristic of XP is its more demure behavior. If you were logged on as an administrator and you decided to install a program or perform some other administrative task, XP didn't question your decision. Vista's security is more in your face--even admins will encounter the User Account Control "nag box," shown in Figure G.

Figure G

XP didn't argue when you wanted to install a program.

Vista's best-kept secret: It's possible to turn off the User Account Control feature--but it's not recommended. UAC takes some of the risk out of logging on with an administrative account, and if you regularly do so, you should let Vista protect you. That said, if you really want to get rid of those nag screens, here's how:

  1. In the Administrative Tools menu of Control Panel, select Local Security Policy.
  2. When prompted, click Continue.
  3. In the left pane, expand Local Policies and click Security Options.
  4. In the right pane, scroll down to User Account Control: Behavior Of The Elevation Prompt For Administrators In Admin Approval Mode and double-click it.
  5. In the drop-down box on the Local Security Settings tab, select Elevate Without Prompting, as shown in Figure H.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Figure H

    You can configure Vista not to prompt administrators for permission when performing admin tasks.

    Tip

    You can modify a number of security behaviors via the Local Security Settings console. For example, I had to disable the policy User Account Control: Switch To The Secure Desktop When Prompting For Elevation to get a screenshot of the elevation prompt dialog box shown in Figure G. By default, the secure desktop prevents any other programs from interacting when this dialog box is being displayed.


    #8: Windows Explorer looks different

    The first time you open Windows Explorer, you may be a little disconcerted by the new look. In particular, you're likely to miss the old familiar menu bar, the one that says File, Edit, View, Favorites, Tools, Help. In fact, you may find it a little difficult to get around without it. Figure I shows the new Explorer.

    Figure I

    The top menu bar in Windows Explorer appears to have gone missing.

    This one is an easy fix: Just click the down arrow on the Organize button, select Layout, and then click Menu Bar. A check mark there means your old friend the menu bar is back at the top of the window, right where it belongs, as shown in Figure J.

    Figure J

    You can get the menu bar back with a few quick clicks of your mouse.

    #9: What's up with the Up button?

    Another difference in Windows Explorer is the missing Up button. This has been replaced by the Back button--but that takes you back to where you started, not necessarily to the top level of the path you're in. It would have been nice to have both.

    In most cases, you can work around this by using the new clickable folder path. Now you can click at any level of the path shown in the top address/navigation bar. You can also click the down arrows beside each level and see a clickable list of all the files and folders contained at that level.

    In addition, you can use the Recent Pages button, which is a small down arrow located between the back and forward buttons and the address bar, to display locations to or through which you've recently navigated. This is a great help in finding your way around the file system.

    #10: Vista requires too many clicks

    Many new Vista users have complained that some operations now require more clicks to complete than they did in XP. For example, in XP you could right-click the Network icon on the desktop and select Properties to see a list of your network connections.

    In Vista, that same right-click selection displays the Network And Sharing Center, shown in Figure K. An extra click is required to get to the list of network connections. You must select Manage Network Connections in the left Tasks pane.

    Figure K

    Some users miss being able to access the list of network connections with two clicks.

    If getting to the network connections list quickly is an issue, you can easily create a shortcut to it by dragging its icon to the desktop (Figure L) or Quick Launch bar, giving you access with one click instead of two.

    Figure L

    To work around the extra click requirement, just make a shortcut on the desktop.

About

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

217 comments
chris_southworth
chris_southworth

how do you do this, is it a simple case of just trying the normal install of the secondary monitor drivers using the xp drivers, do these have to be the x64 bit version too?

ramuvr
ramuvr

EveryOne : Deny ?? Is it default behaviour with folders???

dhamilt01
dhamilt01

Where's the damn button tool bar in Windows Explorer? In XP I had all the buttons I needed setup so 1-click did the trick. Now with Vista, 2 or 3 or 4 damn clicks to get done what ya need. Hope someone creates a hack to bring back the button bar.

cabaker
cabaker

Whenever I try to send email, OWA still crashes my Internet Explorer under Vista. We've applied patches to our Exchange servers, and installed the latest MIME controls on the client machines.

Ayars
Ayars

In XP you can drag a file from Explorer to a command window to save having to type the full path, Vista does not have this feature. :'-(

Shaun.G
Shaun.G

I have used: Win 3.1 Win 3.11 Win NT 3.5 Win 95 Win 98 Win NT 4 Win ME Win 2k Win XP Win 2k looked good, but still kinda Win NT4 look. Win XP, I didnt like, and still dont, however, I use it... it does do more than Win 2k, but like everything, it has drawbacks, which I wont detail or go into, that is not my point. I have grown used to Win XP and how it works. No doubt, I wont like Vista but will grow to accept it. For me, the biggest issue with XP or Vista (should I get to use it) is IE7... and its constant crashing and not closing when I close it, and the other things that start to occur since it installed. Why not use another browser... I use a specific tool for uni, and it only works with IE... so I am limited in browser choice.

paul
paul

XP is at the point where it is as good as an OS release will get. There are thousands of free tools for it, UNIX command line tools (which tickles me pink) and best of all, it just works. Now Vista. In a few years, it'll be at the same place. My argument is, that will things like sudo (they call it UAC don't they) and tighter control over the OS, maybe its time to ditch Windows, stump up for that MacBook and have a pretty UI, good compatability with popular protocols and a Unix kernel at the heart of it all. Then, I can stick to Microsoft for Office and office alone. That is, at the end of the day, the only reason I run Windows anyway.

MikeBlane
MikeBlane

The new Desktop Personalize window takes what used to be a simple tabbed sheet interface and complicates it. Several more clicks are needed to perform many of the familiar updates. I wish there was a fix for that.

Grubenstein INC TechZone
Grubenstein INC TechZone

I personally like Windows Vista and how it looks and feels. I have beta tested it since it first came out and now I own Windows Vista Ultimate myself. Yes, there are programs that still don't run on the new OS but soon more software packages should be Vista Compatible or have patches for you to download so they can be run on the new OS.

ycab
ycab

vista is missing the internet games such as checkers, hearts, reversi, spades and backgammon. can anyone tell me how to install them from the window xp cd or download them. if you upgrade from window xp the games stay. thx

jusovsky
jusovsky

Once comfortable in an environment there are always growing pains when moving to a new one. Face the natural discomfort head-on and give the changes a shot before trying to turn Vista into XP/2000/95. Microsoft did not make these changes just for the hell of it or to piss off end users. Considerable time, effort, and money were invested in usability studies to create something better with the end user in mind. Take that with a grain of salt, naturally, but at least give the changes a try for a while. Chances are that once you're accustomed to them, you will actually LIKE them. When I see a user's desktop littered with one-hundred-fifty shortcuts to programs that are also in the start menu, I just have to shake my head and sigh. Windows 3.1 hasn't been around for years, and yet some people (and installation programs should be blamed for this!) still use their desktop like the old Program Manager. Check out the start menu, Sassafrass! You can even organize it however you want. Before you bemoan a loss of features and go to great lengths to "get some of them back," resist the urge and try living differently for a couple weeks. You'll probably find yourself getting along just fine and maybe even find that the changes are improvements.

bblackmoor
bblackmoor

You know what I think about Vista? I think I am tired of hearing about it. Vista is Defective By Design, it's not an "upgrade" by any measure, and I wish the trade press would stop working as an extension of the Microsoft marketing department. If it's from Microsoft or Apple, it's not news: both companies long ago abandoned technological innovation in favor of marketing blitzes and legal bullying. The trade press should show them both nothing but contempt, and focus instead on the real innovators, and on products that are genuine upgrades. So shut up about Vista, already. It's not news.

gurugeekster
gurugeekster

More power for the illiterate! Menus you don?t have to read, just remember what the icon looked like! Run your mouse around the screen and click until the right action happens, just like a video game! How Fun! Never have t o read anything again!! This new thinking, if you want to call it that, is dumbing down the computer user to the point that it is no longer a ?professional? tool. The problem is you can change the menus all you want, but as soon as a new version comes out, they like to change the pictures on the icons. What the heck do they mean now? I like the idea of making the computer usable for everyone, but come on! The professional has long gone from the software, don?t call it that any more.

jpr75
jpr75

I do the same thing in XP with my Desktop toolbar. I hide the Desktop then drag the Desktop Toolbar to the Desktop. It's just more compact, cleaner looking. However, I can't do this in Vista (Ultimate). Doesn't work anymore :( I did try your tip, but that did not work. I right then left clicked dragged the Quick Launch folder from the Start menu Search results (and tried the Desktop folder too) to the edge of my desktop (and all around the desktop)but neither turned into Toolbars. Just the option to Move, Copy or Create a Shortcut. What did I do wrong?

thumbknuckle
thumbknuckle

And so Microsoft continues its historic drive towards protecting yourself from yourself. Every iteration of the NT kernel adds layers to administrative access, sets more restrictive defaults and compounds the insult of presuming that I'm a software pirate. You're right about the learning curve. Rather than continue with the absurdity that is Windows, I'll be spending my time learning the ins and outs of Ubunto. So far, I haven't found anything to complain about there.

yaneurabeya
yaneurabeya

XP and Vista drivers have different interfaces, so you can't install one version on the other OS platform and expect them to work 100% of the time. This is especially true for x64 anything, vs x86 anything, as your drivers were compiled for a 64-bit architecture instead of a 32-bit architecture (and your kernel is operating in terms of 64-bits -- don't understand what I said, then you should take a computer architectures course and learn about instruction and memory bit width).

DoylePIrish
DoylePIrish

I have been using OWA with Vista 64 Ultimate without any problems. I hope you get everything worked out.

kattoon
kattoon

As much as I do like Vista..some of the "easy" tasks have been changed and made a little "quirky" to say the least. I can still right click on the desktop to change my background picture, but instead of clicking on a tab, I have to choose an option from a list. It's basically the same thing, just laid out in a different format. I guess you can just think of the list of options in the same way you used to use tabs. Oh, and by the way...I just tested it. It takes 3 clicks to access the Desktop background in both Vista and WinXP. To accept your changes, there is one extra click to close the final window in vista.

TheTinker
TheTinker

. . .is that you think too much. Did Bill tell you to think for yourself? Of course not. Bad people! Bad, bad people! See Grub, he's a good people. "I like it. It's pretty. It will work one day, Bill said so. All I had to do is buy new software. Oh, the old stuff was still working fine, but Bill said it had expired." I agree with a few other posts. It doesn't matter what you think. Bill, in his infinite wisdom will take administrative rights away because we are to simple minded to manage our own boxes. Just think of the revenue streams for M$$upport when we have to call them to do any administrative task on our box. After all, we don't own our copy of M$$oftware, we payed for the right to use it. M$ still owns it.

ttocsmij
ttocsmij

sharing your expense account so the rest of us can afford to update our hardware / software / peripherals, etc. to work with the latest version of M$ware we'll eventually be forced to "upgrade" to? Be a pal. Do I sound a little negative? Perhaps it comes from having to shell out a couple thousand bucks every couple years so Bill can afford $2,000 door knobs. And that is just my personal computers. Heaven knows how much money the company had to shell out for hundreds of systems (which might explain the lack of bonuses this year)!

BOB.DEMIDIO
BOB.DEMIDIO

Just installed Vista Ult. & for the most part it's running ok. But I also miss the clasic win XP2 internet checkers (Zone.com) app. that I had in xp. I did a clean install so I need a way to get the app. off the old xp disk or a web link to find help on getting this app. back. I thought this site might be the answer ( by the main posts title) but it seems it's just MS bashing with little help or direction to it. Thanks to anyone that can help.

ttocsmij
ttocsmij

Isn't it just so wonderful how M$ foresees the needs of it's important users beforehand? M$ is saving the IT folk's valuable time (normally wasted removing games from the system). And I am sure that an "enhancement package" will be made available at a modest cost for the rest of the rabble.

The Computer Doctor
The Computer Doctor

I am a network administrator. What new features have they incorporated to make my duties easier? As I see it, what they have called improved security is only going to cause me more headaches to get legitimate software running again. I appreciate innovative, productive changes. That's not what many of these comments have been complaining about. A memory intensive new UI doesn't fit my description of innovative or productive. It only makes our computers run slower so we buy new ones. But to be perfectly honest these aren't even the things that bother me the most. MS has assumed the only use for audio/video outputs is for duplication so everyone who uses these outputs must therefore be a thief. I use these outputs to make my computer my entertainment system. But I can only do that with Vista if I put up with lower quality output. Do you really think I should think this is an improvement that I will come to like after I get used to it? What happens when "they" decide that every pen sold will be used for forgery? How about making every hammer out of rubber because we "assume" they will be used for bashing in someone's skull? What if every printer is forced to print an identifying mark on everything it prints so it can be traced back to the creator? You never know, the person could be printer ransom notes, or printing forged IDs. The simple solution is to create the best tool you can. Then you punish/prosecute people who abuse those tools. You don't assume everyone is a criminal and disable some of the functionality of the tool. But this is exactly what MS and others are doing when it comes to audio and video equipment. It's a really sad world when they assume everyone is bad.

ttocsmij
ttocsmij

M$ makes changes only to make money. That is the function of business. Changes lead to new requirements in hardware and software ... and the upgrade train moves on. And frankly, what is really "new"? Transparency and fancy graphics? Transparency has been standard equipment on nVidia-equipped H-P systems for at least a year. The rest is just new pretty pictures and icons (ie, new pretty pictures for the PSP crowd that will shortly be replacing you). Enhanced security? If you call locking the user down tighter and tighter "enhanced security", then I guess you're correct. It is true that younger workers are a wee bit stupider (preferring pretty pictures to words like my kindergartener does) but is that any reason to cater to them? I wonder. Functionality? Hard to buy into this since the level of backwards INcompatibility reaches an all-time new high on this account. Not only will most people have to buy new software (oops, I mean upgrade ... and that is assuming the software company even bothers*), but even their hardware will likely require replacement as the memory reqirements exceed 1GB RAM for reasonable operation; and that is assuming the video card will work and the hard drive will be large enough ... not very good assumptions. *one tiny example: I have used Borland's Reflex database since before Gates even saw windows running at the Xerox research center. And it was so well-written that it has worked on every M$ OS right up through XP Pro. Guess what? M$ changed a system file somewhere and now when Reflex starts up, it displays the wrong characters (ie, nonsense characters). The program still works. I can load files and print reports (yes, the menus are memorized after all these years) without any problem. Progress and innovation? I think not. Yet another attempt to make me upgrade to Office Professional to use Access? Ah, yes. Now we have the true picure.

footlessRabbit
footlessRabbit

It's not so much that we( or maybe just me) regard the changes as ill conceived but, for my part, the level of training that we will have to dispence to the user communitity to get them up to speed. I work in a distribution center where things change slower then anywhere else I can imagine. My end user group is not the most computer-literate. Having finally, recently, got them up to speed on win2k( yes, finally...go ahead an laugh!!!) to have to skip a generation of evolution in the 'Look-and-Feel' of an OS is going to be time consuming for this 3 person department. Can we pay for training on the new UI? Sure, that would be nice. But, as I've said, we're a DC and getting groups of people to take training with out over burdening a department would be a tad difficult. Not to say anything about convincing individuals( or managers) of the necessity. I like the analogy given somewhere in the prior posts about the hammer. The computer is just that - a hammer or tool to work with. We've had the claw hammer for generations and has the hammer maker changed it? Well, in minute ways - yes. But an overhaul like Vista from XP? The new hammer, for what ever it's improvements might be, would not sell. That argument, of course, opens the door to why this market is so different from the other markets. Because, unlike most other markets there is just one hammer maker from the laman-worker bee perspective. Be that as it may( and an argument for another thread of the hundreds ) I don't like what I've heard, read, or seen for myself so far about the modifications to the OS. I would rather they fix the kernel and secure the current OS rather dump it for, from what I can tell so far, primarily UI changes. Give an example of the above. Xp to Vista is not like going from 2k to XP. XP had so many improvements in areas that 2K lacked it was, by my reckoning, a much needed change. Now, XP is stable, functional, understandable, and most of all, a 'little' more secure then 2k was. What does Vista have that XP doesn't? Or that XP can't get with third party products? Nothing that I can tell.

ttocsmij
ttocsmij

finally ... a voice of reason ...

RegularITStudent
RegularITStudent

Just wondering, do you have your keyboard and mouse labeled so you know what they are? Or your phone, pens, rulers, calculator and fridge? Or do you know what they look like and you are able to recognise variations to them? Item (or icon) recognition is an essential skill, and in many cases far more useful than being able to read. Providing IT support in a Public Library, I see my fair share of computers set up in languages other than English. I've managed to troubleshoot wireless network problems with most of these thanks to my knowledge of what each icon looks like and means. Far easier for me than learning how to read 12 different languages.

jclleung
jclleung

I was able to create the QL toolbar, but next time I opened the Windows, it had disappeared. How do I make it permanent?

NiklausPfirsig
NiklausPfirsig

10 things you'll misss when you switch to linux.... or maybe not 1 Internet Explorer. Unless you already use firefox, or Opera or Mozilla... 2 V.I.S. (Virus Installation Subsystem) All those handy functions that allow the latest macro virus to read you address book and mail copies of itself to all you contacts. 3 Most malware ( because the linux security model keeps the various services running under unpriviledged user ids, most security threats are trivial.) 4 the registry. With few exceptions, linux uses plain text configuration files. In most cases application failure due to configuration errors can be solved by renaming or removing the user's personalized configuration for the application. 5 defragging the hard drive. Linux "sees" the hard drive as a random access device, not a circular piece of tape. 6 Microsoft support ( hours of scouring the microsoft KB site in search of useful answers that are not circular references? 7 ever increasing minimum hardware requirements 8 The globally unique ID 9 invasive product registration procedures 10 The Microsoft tax

ang2006
ang2006

To many hoops and changes and my XP works great. No reason to fix what is not broken. We are not talking 98 or 2000 here but XP, a very stable system. Change for the sake of change is not logical.

slipperywhale
slipperywhale

There is a very important dimension to all of this. Who is to suppose that within a few iterations of MS Windows we will have any access to any features at all. Admin rights may be revoked except to MS Professionals, or we may find it so hard to access anything that we don't have the knowledge anymore, or gradually lose it. At that point we really are in the muck. It seems enormously important to have open source systems that we all understand enough to be able to obtain the same level of functionality as MS products. I'm not being funny, but most distopian visions (including huxley, orwell and even terminator!) plausibly describe access to advanced technology and information in the hands of a protected group/elite. I bet this could happen faster than we imagine. And finally, comparatively less important, it seems that we just aren't the ones deciding what should happen with our computer systems. Perhaps nothing new, but it's still not ideal, is it. We reduce ourselves to dogs slavering and whimpering as the master approaches with another pan-full of nameless matter for our pleasure. I don't like this cage.

jfowler
jfowler

Your first paragraph hit the nail squarely on the head. Microsoft condescends to it's customers and presumes them to be thieves. I for one have been, and continue to be, insulted, and more than a little annoyed. This weekend I installed Vista Ultimate (bought and paid for) on some brand new hardware. I foolishly activated too soon (before changing the clock setting), and then, since there was over a years difference in clock time (The OS thought it was January of 2006 - WTF?), I had to REactivate. That's twice Being in a rush also kept me from updating my new systems BIOS before installing Vista, but doing so afterwards FORCED a third activation, and this time I got the THIRD DEGREE. "How many computers have you installed the software on?" came the accusing question. Ehh.. "ONE ?!!!". It seems that updating one's BIOS forces Vista to reinstall all of the drivers, thereby convincing this new wonder OS that it is now running on a completely different machine. This has NEVER been an issue before. And that is merely the beginning of the issues I have thus far discovered. (Anybody else out there HATE "Access Denied" messages?!?) Vista is certainly slick, but it's a long way from user friendly. It's also overpriced, especially in light of all of the legacy software it refuses to run, and the lack of sufficient driver support for existing hardware. My opinion? Wait. Maybe forever.

jusovsky
jusovsky

Your administrative rights have not been taken away- you are still an admin by default. It just asks you if you if everything's kosher before initiating something that could change and possibly damage the system. The feature can be easily switched off, too, for users that feel it's too invasive. If you're "simple-minded" enough to need to call "M$$upport," then you probably need to have this feature on.

CaptMorgan
CaptMorgan

But, I don't think MS assumed anything, I think they actually spent the time and money to research these problems and ran many, many surveys and have a lot of hard data to backup why they felt security was such a big issue and that it was better to lock a system down too much than not enough. After all the last few years all I've seen on the media was how insecure Windows was, there were TV commercials on it, and every other article in the geek (and non-geek)magazines mentioned all these security problems. Maybe we created this monster ourselves? Maybe if everyone was saying how much they loved XP as they seem to be doing now, MS would have taken another path? You get what you ask for.

ang2006
ang2006

messing with the DVD quality is outrageous---Microsoft is not my big brother and they never will be! Go to this extreme and there are other options.

jusovsky
jusovsky

You seem to have a something against younger people. It's funny you say that the "younger workers are a wee bit stupider[sic]," but I would be willing to bet that it's probably more likely that there are more people in your generation that punch-the-monkey, install twelve browser toolbars, buy herbal v1AgrA and breast augmentation pills from spam e-mail, send money to 419-scam artists in Africa, click that 'yes' button when asked to install adware, and then tell the clerk at the computer store that they think they have a virus and bitch about how Microsoft made Windows shitty. To suggest that the graphical changes made in Vista are just transparent window borders and in any way similar to the nVidia parlor tricks you're referring to is ignorant. Take a deeper look into what's under the hood- that's where the real changes lie. These changes might not make your DOS emulation run any faster, but they open new doors for developers to create more evocative and exciting software for everyone else in the world. Transparent window borders are not even the tip of the iceberg. While you've been using Reflex and waving that flat file database banner so proudly, the rest of the world has moved on to more efficient and powerful DBMSes (even free ones!). It blows my mind that someone could expect *obsolete* software from the 1980s to still work in an OS several generations later. There comes a point where you just have to let it go. The fact that Reflex still runs is NOT a testament to the quality of the software. Lots of things will still run in the DOS emulator (command prompt)! Yes, I am sure that someone at Microsoft is intentionally trying to get you and the rest of the cavalcade of Reflex users to ?upgrade to Office Professional to use Access? by making changes in Vista so that garbage characters are displayed. I bet that will generate *millions* of conversions to Office. You know what else still works after all these years? Horses! Ford and GM just come out with new vehicles every year to try to force people into getting rid of their horses when they are perfectly adequate for getting us to work and back. Have any other insight on insidious business practices or conspiracy theories? Maybe Vista just isn't for you. You have all the freedom in the world to upgrade or not. Just as you have held on to Reflex all these years, why not stick with DOS 6 or Windows 3.1 or 95? If it meets your needs, use it. You won?t even need to upgrade hardware. As for innovation, I don?t think anyone hell bent on using software from twenty years ago is qualified to make any assertions regarding ?progress and innovation.? So while you?re busy pissing on Microsoft?s parade, dust off and peek outside your Hobbit-hole.

dawgit
dawgit

and very true, as an English Speeker in Germany who has just done some repair work on a sys in Hungarian. Yup, I know exactly what your talking about. -d

yaneurabeya
yaneurabeya

> 1 Internet Explorer. Unless you already use firefox, or Opera or Mozilla... Unfortunately many apps and websites require M$IE still. Then again they need to get their butts out of the 20th century and evolve a bit... > 3 Most malware ( because the linux security model keeps the various services running under unpriviledged user ids, most security threats are trivial.) Not true. Some rootkits and other exploits at the kernel level, or with core services can result in privilege escalation, which can result in remote exploitation. By-and-large this isn't the case though because of more intelligent systems like operating under unprivileged UID's/GID's, chrooted environments, and my favorite the FreeBSD jail (where you can run AS root, but you're stuck in a prison so the exploit can't get out ;)..). NetBSD and OpenBSD has something different with chroot, Solaris has zones and Linux has something else, but none of the systems apart from Net and OpenBSD have come close to FreeBSD's jail system. Vista doesn't suffer as much of these problems, but that's because someone at M$ finally grew up and realized that giving someone the Admin keys to a computer to run everything, all the time, wasn't really a good idea. Only took them 15 years to realize the design choice that Unix made a long time ago... > 4 the registry. With few exceptions, linux uses plain text configuration files. In most cases application failure due to configuration errors can be solved by renaming or removing the user's personalized configuration for the application. Yes, this is indeed nice, but file locking and other fun junk can become a pain, especially when not all OS platform designers decide on a common hier(7)'archy for the files... > 5 defragging the hard drive. Linux "sees" the hard drive as a random access device, not a circular piece of tape. Well, that's not the only catch. File block and data fragmentation still exists on Linux -- it's just that most filesystems beyond ext[23] are smarter than your average filesystem. Oh yeah, and there's the reserved space for superusers too that kind of delays fragmentation.. > 6 Microsoft support ( hours of scouring the microsoft KB site in search of useful answers that are not circular references? No kidding. Microsoft - documentation - sucks. No other way to slice it and dice it. That's what you get for paying interns to write documentation -- bad documentation. > 7 ever increasing minimum hardware requirements No kidding... > 9 invasive product registration procedures Well, that's all part of 10, and the fact that people at M$ don't trust users with purchasing software legally (maybe if it was higher quality at a more decent price people wouldn't pirate it as much? business 101?)... > 10 The Microsoft tax Hah. Just wait until M$ turns into a subscription based OS... then the tax will grow even higher 8-)..

RegularITStudent
RegularITStudent

This isn't really a comeback - but I'm sick of people touting Linux as the be-all and end-all solution to every computer problem. Yes, some Linux distros are fantastic. Most still need a lot of work and I look forward to the day that they are a feasible replacement to Windows for the average, everyday user. 1.) An entirely graphic system, no code or text based configuration required. 2.) Being able to turn to your friend and say "How did you work around this..." because they still use Windows or a Mac. 3.) Logical menu setup (Fedora, in particular, is all over the place) 4.) Powerful, easy to use Office software (As nice as OpenOffice.Org is, it is nowhere near Microsoft Office yet. Mind you, I do really like their Writer package) 5.) A powerful graphics program (As with Ooo, Gimp really doesn't cut it yet.) 6.) Warantees and a physical place you can take your computer to when you have troubles. 7.) Good games 8.) Instant compatibility with the majority of computers provided and used in workspaces, at internet cafes etc. 9.) Having your software pre-installed and ready to go when you buy your computer from a retailer. 10.) The ability to get software at a store, dealing face-to-face with people, as opposed to downloading over the internet (which many average users cannot afford to do). However, at the rate at which it's advancing, I say give it a few years - less than five - and my list will be cut down to seven. Five years and it will be less than that. Ten years? My list might be the same, but comparing Windows' shortcomings to Linux. :)

kennethestewart
kennethestewart

Agree. Just ourchased a new notebook. Yes the eye candy is different, but I don't see any noticeable difference in speed or functionality. Frankly, it seems harder to find the functions I easily had on XP.

dleifker
dleifker

I installed Vista on my home PC this weekend. It broke my scanner, iTunes (video portion), and all my software that recorded streaming audio. The new GUI is slick, but all that motion is making me seasick. I spent $160 for a new GUI and a system that gives me less than what I had under XP? Very depressing.

jfowler
jfowler

I agree with you completely. On the UP side however, is the fact that we all still have access to, and the use of, ALL previous MS systems. (Supported or otherwise.) The machine I updated this past weekend was my secondary computer. I still run, and will continue to run XP Pro on my main computer. Given my 'druthers, I'd much prefer the look, professionalism and non-condescension of Windows 2000, mixed with the reliability of XP Pro. Vistas completely scalable non-raster graphics are beautiful to look at, but looks alone do not an OS make. (edited for clarity)

ttocsmij
ttocsmij

that they actually thought a pirate would be calling them in the first place ... much less three times in a row! That is how stupid this whole process is. Not only do they assume the average user is a thief, they designed the system so sloppily that even typical, normal processes like adjusting the clock or BIOS trigger a reinstallation?!?!? How bad is that, eh? This kind of assininity (sp?) almost guarantees a huge black-market opportunity for pirates and work-around artists. When things work properly (ie, transparently to the user) do you get on the phone and complain about this and that and the other?? No! You get on with your business. But when you are hounded and/or blocked at every turn what do you do? You start looking around for someone to help you get your system working so you CAN get back to your business. This whole piracy issue is smoke and mirrors. Every system sold comes with an OS. Why would anyone want to buy a second OS when they already received one with the system? The present multi-digit registration system is more than adequate to deter 99% of casual piracy. And the professional thieves, if indeed there are any [that speak English natively], would only be highly amused by these shenanigans anyhow. More likely, the real truth of the matter is that, in order to continue the insane profits, Micro$oft has to find ways to force everyone to buy something from them every few years and Vista is clearly proof of this. In fact the next step is already out ... renting the operating system and the applications (ie, Office) on a daily or monthly basis. This practice is already in place in several undeveloped countries where it is being tested and refined before unleashing it on the rest of the world.

Salmanassar
Salmanassar

Yes I am also running that way (and lots of people are) Why? Because there are enough problems to solve with Vista and compatibility to have a machine behaving as you want it and be able to find everything again without these (not wanting to start another pro-con...) security settings//major nuisances take your pick. When I finally get all my programs working and can tell my users where and how to find everything I will start using it as it was shipped. But running this way seriously narrows down my "Why doesn't it work" search path. I may have to do some work again when back in UAC mode but that is my choice. Example? Current issue: Error coming up about a program not able to load it's help file. I would have thought "access to folder" without my setting.

jfowler
jfowler

Vista Ultimate edition - Bought and paid for, running on a purposely designed for Vista, self-built, high end box. And this after running RC1 on another machine for a couple of months. But NOT with UAC shut down. Try it yourself; FROM THE DEFAULT USER CONFIGURATION - click on "Documents & Settings" in the Explorer tree, and then tell me what YOU see.

TG2
TG2

Were you being sarcastic? If not, and you are running vista as administrator and without UAC, then you've defeated one of the major reasons for upgrading to Vista. While it gets you to what you want, its hardly the same as running like everyone else's default experience, and so you can't be party sympathizer to the problems others are having.

kattoon
kattoon

or are you just spouting what you've heard others say? I can get to the root of the C:\ drive without any problems. I've yet to receive an ACCESS DENIED message for ANYTHING I've tried to do in Vista. Of course, I'm running as an administrator and I've turned off the User Account Control messages.

jfowler
jfowler

you've yet to see the "access Denied" messages boxes... Just try getting into the root of the C: drive.

ttocsmij
ttocsmij

Just happened by and found the "Vista not developed for you alone, your majesty" thread. Silly serfs. Of course it was developed just for me. M$ hopes to entice me to abandon my nice speedy stable XP computers with the prospect of pretty pictures (AeroDoh!) and abbreviated functionality (missing the explorer menu bar anyone?). Pretty pictures, like Trix, are for kids. You are excused. You may now return to your game box. :-) P.S. hmcm, few graphics-based DOS business programs even exist much less run from the current DOS prompt. And your poor client did not HAVE to re-key the recipes. Even today there are database programs that read the PRC format; and failing that, there are several Basic programs to convert any DB data file to ASCII or dBase. And mainframes impress me even less. My first "personal" computer was an IBM 360/155 with a whopping 8KB core! My first programming language was APL (with Ken Iverson's kind assistance). Ah. Those were the days.

hmcm
hmcm

>>>It blows my mind that someone could expect *obsolete* software from the 1980s to still work in an OS several generations later. There comes a point where you just have to let it go. The fact that Reflex still runs is NOT a testament to the quality of the software. Lots of things will still run in the DOS emulator (command prompt)! You need to rethink why people have computers. It's supposed to be a time-saver. I had a client who had hundreds of recipes in an old Tandy data base. When support for this DB went away, she had to retype everything to port it over. Many, many wasted hours. On the other hand, I worked on Unisys mainframes for a Navy project. We ran code that the new programmers just could not understand. It had been designed for a Burroughs Corp punch card system in 1968 before Unisys was even formed. It used a special set of codes to recognize overpunches that were used in those systems to save one byte of memory by placing the negative sign in one of the columns in a numeric field. Crucial back in 1968, not needed now, but still preserved in the EBCDIC character set used by IBM and Unisys mainframes. Why change a character set? It worked fine in 1968 and also worked fine 25 years later when we upgraded the software.

kattoon
kattoon

Bravo! and Well Stated.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

"Take a deeper look into what's under the hood- that's where the real changes lie. These changes might not make your DOS emulation run any faster, but they open new doors for developers to create more evocative and exciting software for everyone else in the world. Transparent window borders are not even the tip of the iceberg." What kind of new doors are opened for developers that aren't in XP? DirectX10 doesn't count as it isn't out yet and the release date is highly mobile. What "evocative" software can't be made in XP?

yaneurabeya
yaneurabeya

> 1.) An entirely graphic system, no code or text based configuration required. You like dealing with setup dialogs? I hated them when I had to work as student IT at my school, because frankly I discovered all of the `automated' means of installing things to be too much of a PITA and all over the place to actually help IT pro's. > 2.) Being able to turn to your friend and say "How did you work around this..." because they still use Windows or a Mac. ???? Obviously you need to read through documentation or ask others for help. That's how _real_ people get stuff done with opensource software -- not hole themselves up in a box and wait for their friends to come by and then ask them for help (esp when the help may be a YMMV type of thing), but instead ask someone who actually might know how to use the system for help. > 3.) Logical menu setup (Fedora, in particular, is all over the place) That's Gnome and Fedora, both of which are pieces of trash. Try PCBSD with their custom KDE menus, or XFCE4 with its cleanliness, etc, etc -- you may be surprised. Oh -- did I mention you have choices on Unix? > 4.) Powerful, easy to use Office software (As nice as OpenOffice.Org is, it is nowhere near Microsoft Office yet. Mind you, I do really like their Writer package) True, this is lacking. If you really need M$ Office, Mac OSX or Wine be thine path. Or maybe grow up and use a real documentation language like TeTeX (I don't know how many times I wanted to shoot myself because M$ Word corrupted my ~2MB document and I had to go back and start from scratch because it was toast). > 5.) A powerful graphics program (As with Ooo, Gimp really doesn't cut it yet.) Gimp does many things that Photoshop does too -- the interface is just a bit wonky. Oh, and Disney was nice enough to help ensure that Photoshop and other Adobe products worked well with Wine, so guess what? You got it -- Wine works well with Adobe stuff. > 6.) Warantees and a physical place you can take your computer to when you have troubles. HAHAHAHAHAH. It's called manufacturer's warranties which DO NOT COVER SOFTWARE. Most decent professionals do NOT need a particular operating system preinstalled on a machine in order to troubleshoot or assist with an issue. If they don't have the proper tools, they shouldn't deserve your business. Besides, do you really want to turn in your PC to Geeksquad for help :)? > 7.) Good games Define `good'. Oh yeah, Wine + CEDEGA does games too, and a lot are already ported to Unix.. > 8.) Instant compatibility with the majority of computers provided and used in workspaces, at internet cafes etc. Define `compatibility'. The Internet doesn't require a particular configuration, apart from Windows domain junk (which is just masked LDAP capability, which is stupid to have if you want other machines to be capable of connecting to your hotspot, cafe, etc), and besides Unix does a better job at networking than Windows does. Hence, that's why Unix PC's and Unix based appliances are running the a lot of the Internet backbone and are acting as gateway servers into corporations. The only other means that competes with Unix in this regard is Cisco, Juniper, etc with their network appliances -- and guess what? JunOS runs FreeBSD, and Cisco is going to be running Linux soon. Surprised? I think not... Oh, and as for hardware compatibility -- many hardware products that are still functional from operating system to operating system on Windows are deprecated on purpose because companies refuse to support drivers and apps for their devices. Well, guess what folks? If it's supported on Unix, the EOL for the device is much higher because people are expected to use devices for a much longer period of time than with Windows. Cool, eh? Saves you $50~$300+ on purchasing new hardware for fully functional printers, scanners, USB devices, etc. > 9.) Having your software pre-installed and ready to go when you buy your computer from a retailer. Oh, I love having bloat preinstalled when I buy a PC. Norton, games, Nero, blah -- wewt -- bloat for the lose as they say. > 10.) The ability to get software at a store, dealing face-to-face with people, as opposed to downloading over the internet (which many average users cannot afford to do). Packaging and installation is a shortcoming of Unix, but it's a shortcoming that Windows suffers as well. As least I can do... yum install `blah' apt-get install `blah' pkg_add `blah' ... instead of having to hunt through a bunch of websites looking for software that I *think* works for my operating system, that is indeed safe for use because no one piggybacked a trojan or spyware into the app in the downloaded copy I get. YAY! > However, at the rate at which it's advancing, I say give it a few years - less than five - and my list will be cut down to seven. Five years and it will be less than that. Ten years? My list might be the same, but comparing Windows' shortcomings to Linux. :) Your list wreaks of lack of experience and knowledge. Please try some more things before writing things off as impossible.

yaneurabeya
yaneurabeya

Gee? Maybe it's the graphics bloat pulling down the system that needs to be restarted all the time? Maybe it's a dumb filesystem interface that forces us to reboot the machine because `a file is still in use' or `a service needs to be shut down', etc? One thing that Windows seriously needs to do in order to be worthwhile is dump the garbage user interfaces and go for uptime, so that once people remove a lot of bugs from their code, or memory leaks aren't as big of a deal, Windows won't have to be rebooted nigh weekly for trivial updates and garbage. Hmmm... maybe doing this will make other things like viruses be easier to unroot too, ya think?

fonestarrunner
fonestarrunner

You wrote: "An entirely graphic system, no code or text based configuration required." This sounds kind of like the person who drives the Porche 911 who has never changed a spark plug. Or the person who tells you hunting is barbaric and then orders a double Big Mac. Are you proposing a GUI to do the simplest damn things out there? Besides that being able to edit and modify things at the kernel level is one of the differences between the closed/open source models. Not everything can have a GUI and that is a good thing. Same lazy attitude regarding your buying a computer with pre-installed OS. And who can't afford to download a free .iso file from the web that can afford a new computer with pre-installed OS???

jfowler
jfowler

My understanding is that Microsoft KNOWS that the average user is not the problem. The major portion of that problem lies off-shore, and NOTHING that Redmond has done in the area of "Activation" is going to prevent it from continuing to happen. Why then, you have to ask yourself, would this corporate giant insist on continuing to inflame it's customer base? Why persist in creating active hostility towards itself? When you figure that one out, please let me know. I'd also be interested in knowing just who it was that appointed MS the keeper of digital rights, who gave them the authority to override the Supreme Court's "Fair Use" decisions, and why is no one standing up for the RIGHTS of the little guy (thee and me)? Obviously Bill Gates is not starving, nor are there too many Hollywood Stars on the breadline, or in the soup kitchen. If you ask me, it's all very strange indeed.