Windows

Windows Vista -- Borg technology -- prepare to be assimilated

Suffering the upgrade blues? Windows Vista is sure to make you feel worse, at least for a while.

If you want to discuss upgrades with me, be sure to wear a raincoat. Simply hearing the word makes me want to spit on the ground. It use to mean new toys and dead bugs. Now it means bend over while we introduce a few new problems! Yes, I admit that I’m suffering from upgradaphobia. I’m sick of it. Enough already!Unfortunately, it’s just going to get worse. Vista, Microsoft’s latest and greatest operating system is now appearing in our collective nightmare. If you haven’t seen it, you’ve heard about it. Everyone hates it, but we’re all going to buy it, run it, support it, and eventually, pay tribute to it.

Now, there’s a lot I could say about Vista. I could try to convince you that you’ll love it. At least, that’s what Microsoft promises. All that marketing hype is already out there and easy enough to find. Instead, I’m going to give you the skinny on this one -- you’re going to support Vista whether you want to or not:

  • It is almost impossible to buy a new pc that’s running traditional Windows. They’re all running Vista. Now, if you have the buying power, you might be able to work a deal with someone. It’s worth a try and good luck with that. I know a few people who have downgraded after purchasing their new Vista systems, but it wasn't easy.
  • There will be no more upgrades to Windows.

Whether you have new PC’s in this year’s budget or the head honcho wants a new laptop, you’re going to have to support Vista.

Traditional Windows isn’t dead, but it’s time to call in Hospice. When you upgrade to Vista is up to you, but you are going to -- how Borg of Microsoft.

 

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

44 comments
alpho07
alpho07

Does anyone know how to enable the windows vista full screen especially with an application launch?

LeonBA
LeonBA

When I do have to upgrade my computer, I'm planning to go with one of the small vendors out there that ships with a Linux distro. And I'll make the commitment to Linux full-time. It's about time I got away from the Microsoft world anyhow. If the user interface has to change on me anyway, I might as well make the switch--and most of the software I use (including games) runs in WINE or has a Linux equivalent.

bratwizard
bratwizard

Assimilated my @$$. Screw Microsoft. Run Linux. Need windows apps? Run Windows under VirtualBox or VMWare. If Microsoft doesn't want to give its customers what they want-- they're irrelevant. They'll be ignored.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Microsoft can put it where the sun doesn't shine. Vista is a pig, I won't use it and I an smart enough to learn Linux and use a Mac. Ha, Ha, Ha.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...which is wonderful if you charge by the hour and have to reboot it frequently. But for those of us with better things to do with our time, that is agony. Also, some of my friends who do more with media files than I do are convinced that Vista is really just a DRM mechanism to make their lives miserable. I'm not a fan of code that exists only to make sure that things do not run as a user wishes. It's hard enough just to get things stable when everything is perfect.

1bn0
1bn0

From the "No more XP link" Did you know? *Windows Vista now supports 77,000 printers, cameras, speakers and other devices. "WIndows Vista now supports" more unused legacy hardware than every before *Over 2,700 software programs are now certified to work on Windows Vista, including 98 of the top 100 consumer applications. What about my Business applications? *62% of small business said Windows Vista saves them time, and 70% said that it makes them more productive, according to an independent survey. 10% of my business cutomers say Vista doesn't make them any less productive than they already were using XP, or 2K or 9X.. 90% have switched back or are still using XP. *More than 140 million copies of Windows Vista have already sold, making it the fastest selling operating system in Microsoft history. How many of the machines still run Vista???? Of all the Vista mchines I have worked on, only one was still running Vista. *71% of Windows Vista customers liked it better than their last operating system. The RTM was MUCH better than the beta version they were running. *"People who are familiar with Windows Vista" are two to three times more likely to have a favorable impression. "People who are familiar with Windows Vista" are more likely to be employed in Redmond or one of their subsidiaries.

eric
eric

The problems I have noticed with Vista are relatively minor so far: 1.) iTune's Bonjour service has been known to break ethernet network connections. I have particularly seen this on HP laptops. The solution was to simply disable the Bonjour service. 2.) I just purchased a new laptop with Vista Home Premium. I have run into a problem with leaky memory by the Windows Side Bar program. Most likely I have a faulty widget that I have downloaded. I haven't really looked into this problem yet. 3.) On rare occasion, Firfox will crash on me. I think this is a problem with a particular web page I have visited. So far, I haven't come across any MAJOR problems with my Vista. Early on, there were problems getting compatible printer drivers for Vista. It looks like this has been resolved for the most part. What really bugs me is the multiple flavors to choose from and their not-so-apparent limitations. For example, I am missing the gpedit.msc ability on Home Premium. I don't think you get that as an option unless you are running Home Ultimate or Business. That's just kind of a rip off taking that functionality out of Windows, I know you can accomplish the same thing by editing registry keys manually, but who wants to do that?

it_jde
it_jde

You are incorrect. Any of the major vendors will happily sell your boss a business laptop with a Vista downgrade license and XP Pro installed on the hard drive. Bump it to SP3 as soon as you get it and settle back to wait for Windows 7. And if Microsoft gets that one wrong, call your broker and go long on Apple! I am having no problem supplying my clients with new machines with XP Pro on them.

nuklearkrisis
nuklearkrisis

I ran Vista for a about 5 minutes, popped my XP cd back in the computer and rebooted. The article is right though; I will eventaully have no choice but to run Vista; cause the mighty XP does not support DirectX 10. I havent looked into any hacks yet cause I dont have a new gaming rig. When I do get my rig..I will be forced to run Vista if there is no hack. (DirectX 10 on XP) The main point of this thread is...I dont understand getting a copy of XP is really easy...

itpro_z
itpro_z

We began experimenting with Vista last year, testing it on our network and running our apps. Now, we have about 20% of our users on Vista and have come to the following conclusions: 1) Yes, it is different, but if properly set up our users see little difference. All of the talk about retraining users has not panned out. Many are already running Vista at home anyway. 2) Performance has been excellent on our new systems. Yes, we have installed Vista and XP on the same hardware, and Vista runs at least as well as XP, if not better. 3) Support has been a plus for Vista. I get calls every week to clean malware off of our XP machines, but not once on Vista. So far, Vista has been stable and secure, with very few support issues. While I would not be so naive to suggest that everyone would have the same experience that we have had, I will say that if the IT department does their homework, any problems associated with the transition to Vista/Win7 will be minimized. The differences in Vista's UI are no more than we saw with XP or 2K, and are more than outweighed by the improvements in security, stability, memory management, and multitasking. Sometimes change is good.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I have no complaints with Vista, but we have no business reason to adopt it (yet). We have several dozen systems on order from Dell right now, and both desktops and laptops will come with XP installation media, including driver CDs. Until we can't get drivers, or until we have an application that requires Vista, we will remain an XP shop. Just because Microsoft is selling it doesn't mean Corporate America has to buy it.

non-sequitur
non-sequitur

With SP1 out now, what are your specific gripes about Vista? We have a few Vista machines on our network now and do not have any issues. I like many of the changes that MS has made to make setup and self discovery simpler. So, I'm wondering if a lot of folks misgivings about Vista is that it is *different*. It is a change, and people just don't like change. If that is the mentality of the vast number of Windows users and admins then it is no wonder that the pace of innovation on the Windows platform has been so slow. So, again, what are your specific gripes about Vista (sp1)?

ssharkins
ssharkins

I know more than just a few professional developers who have made the switch because they're tired of MS's shinangans.

hujorgen
hujorgen

I know change is inevitable in life and of course in the technology we use and depend on. My gripes with Vista are the changes that were made, IMHO, "just to change for no good reason". What's up with the "This command has to be elevated" message with NO explanation what the heck it means. I am the administrator for a reason so I can change, fix, etc. this darn computer. Do I have to be SupremeCommanderAdministrator or what? Most of the computing world is used to the basic GUI so let's crap on that and move things around for no reason!!! Let's remove basic troubleshooting tools, Telnet, Hyperterminal, etc. because -??? How many services are needed to run the system - NOT how many can we get to start and run before smoke pours out of the computer case. My god 60+ processes running just because I booted up? Don't get me started on the "Network and Sharing Center" (It may not be called exactly that but you know what I mean) Can you spell "kluge" I shouldn't hate Vista so much as it has increased the number of service calls for my computer repair company. Many of them just because users couldn't intuitively do much of anything with Vista. As of now I have dual rate structure for service calls. One rate for real break/fix/cleanup and a lower rate for Vista questions about basic usability. I can't justify the regular rate to myself and my customers for just showing them where to click and disabling the UAC. (User Account Control er, uh nanny) I should send the bill to whomever said Vista was the hot ticket. How many printers were obsolete when Vista rolled out? I know there are now drivers, upgrades for some but a lot of end users have already bought new printers and have thrown out the perfectly good but were not compatible with early Vista. How hard is it write a OS to be compatible with a printer that has been running on a Windows platform for 5 to 6 years. I guess it is rocket surgery or lack of brain science. I could go on but Vista has already taken up too much of my time. I know it will improve and become the "Most popular OS since sliced bread" but IMHO it was a poor way to introduce a product. Fix the bad things with XP and add some usable tools and application and speed it up A LOT. That would be the hottest ticket in town. Hu said that

david.tredinnick
david.tredinnick

Ten years ago I had to spend time on EVERY box to remove the crapware from the startup/systray/registryand chase drivers on the net for newer/older hardware. All this just to get the machine to operate somewhere near its potential!! A decade on, same old .... sigh.

ki5han_kerai
ki5han_kerai

just download windows ervive pack 1 ND IT SHOULD WORK

itpro_z
itpro_z

Are you really surprised that Apple software doesn't play nice on Vista? On our network, I remove any software from Apple or Google on sight, and always find that the machines will run better after doing so. Apple will have to do far better before I will even consider looking at the iPhone for my users. Regarding the side bar, I played with it for awhile, then decided that it was cute, but served little purpose. I now kill it on all of our Vista installs. I, too, agree that there are too many versions of Vista, but XP was the same way. Perhaps you remember XP Home, XP Pro, XP MCE, and XP Tablet, not to mention the 64 bit versions. With Vista, I only use two versions: Premium at home and Business at work.

ssharkins
ssharkins

You don't have to downgrade yourself then -- it's coming with XP Pro installed? That is good to hear.

1bn0
1bn0

Buy one! XBOX, Wii, PS3.... Windows started out as a business application plateform and with Vista is being turned into a DRM Content Delivery System.

ebsfrmr
ebsfrmr

I completely agree. My new tower computer shipped ahead of my new monitor. So, I simply plugged in my old monitor. At first, I was worried I was going to have to send the new computer with Vista back, there were quite a few unacceptable lag times. After I plugged in the new monitor, all has been great. Not sure if I could have simply updated the old monitor drivers to achieve a similar effect, or if the new monitor has components which help Vista run as intended... Perhaps it would be best if you are planning to use older hardware components, to see about sticking with XP. Vista is definitely more stable, and very easy to learn. I am really enjoying the way I can navigate through my files and folders, in particular.

jromanko
jromanko

The company I support just upgraded their desktops to 512 MB of RAM in October 2007. There is NO WAY I would put Windows Vista on box with only 512 MB. My mother-in-laws' new Vista desktop with 1 GB of MB runs like a turtle.

ssharkins
ssharkins

I'm glad you were able to get XP -- I know many who haven't been able to swing such a deal.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Our company is flatly refusing to do so. There is no business or financial reason to do so.

rhomp2002
rhomp2002

My reading on it is that a lot of the change was just to move something where different with no improvement in usability. If it does not improve the product, then why make the change. Just because you can? Just to keep the flunkies in line? Make the change to improve the product. Get rid of the bloat that is not needed. Improve the security. Make the product faster. Make the product more secure. Make the product cleaner and more streamlined. Make the product more logical. But just making change for the sake of change is the sign of a demagogue.

StephenInScotland
StephenInScotland

Why should I buy Vista. I have an operating system which already does everything I need it to do. OK - Vista may be able to do things better, but I live in the UK and I sure as hell am not going to pay twice as much for the same software you folk get in the States. I will never support extortion by companies and I'm sorry, but the improvements in Vista are simply not cost effective.

willcomp
willcomp

Dell Vostro and Optiplex PCs can be purchased with Vista Business or Ultimate as the licensed OS but with XP Pro installed (downgrade option). Prices are reasonable and quantity purchase is not required (can buy a single PC). XP is still being sold at NewEgg.com and other on-line vendors.

ssharkins
ssharkins

My first gripe is that they broke one of their promises right out of the box -- the promise of less frequent updates and then along comes SP1 -- but wait... didn't MS promise us that wasn't going to happen? From an IT perspective, Vista does look promising with its tighter security and especially its lockdown tools that mean IT folks control desktops and not users. Your point about change is right on too -- but why must we change is the point I'm trying to make. We have to change because MS is forcing us to. Our shop might be running just fine, but if we need one new pc or a laptop, we're going to run into trouble because suddenly we're thrown into the Vista world, whether we like it or not. This isn't change by market, this is change by brute force. Why would I like that? It's going to happen, but I don't have to like it.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...and each reboot takes 5+ minutes. After a dozen "uninstalls" and a few "re-installs", you've booked 2 hours.

eric
eric

No surprises here about Apple's 'bugs' when it comes to a Windows OS, unfortunately I could not remove the software since my clients would simply freak out if I deleted their iTunes, luckily disabling that needless (for the most part) service was all that needed to be done. Which brings me to another issue I have discovered regarding QuickTime and Vista 64-bit OS's. On my new laptop, I needed to install QuickTime (shivers in disgust) in order for some embedded media to display on a web site, therefore I go to the website and download the setup. I'm presented with the message during the install process that suggests, if not out-right requires you to download the 64-bit version of the program. Well, I scoured the pages at Apple in an attempt to find the 64-bit version... Nowhere to be found. Maybe I'm just blind. I agree with you on the sidebar issue, it's been denied from startup for about a week now.

itpro_z
itpro_z

I would never dream of installing Vista on older hardware. I learned that lesson long ago with Win95. New OSs are designed for new hardware. Our older computers are running a mix of Win2K and XP, and they will continue to do so until they are replaced. That said, our new computers are all coming with a minimum of 2 GB standard, C2D processors and onboard video. With that config, Vista runs very well. I just finished prepping 7 new machines with XP that are going to a department that still runs an app that isn't compatible with Vista, but we ordered the machines with the same spec as our Vista computers. XP does run well on those new machines, but doesn't feel as snappy as you would think. Vista, on the same hardware, boots faster and loads apps faster. I don't recommend Vista with less than 2 GB, but I have ran it with 1 GB and it doesn't run that bad. If your MIL's computer "runs like a turtle" and is a modern machine, then I would bet that it has something slowing it down. Common culprits are Google Desktop and other crapware, anti-virus suites, add-on firewalls, etc. Those same programs will make an XP machine run dog slow as well (interesting that no one seems to mention that). Remove the junk and clean up the startup and the machine should run much better. I would also kill the gadget bar. It may be cute, but can be a resource hog. I would add RAM, but only after following the above steps.

ssharkins
ssharkins

As a user, I admit, I hate Vista. I felt paralyzed the first time I tried to use it. Just getting it online via cable internet was difficult. For the first two weeks every time I booted, I got an error message and "Would you like Vista to fix this...???" Well, I don't know... if you fix it what are you going to break in the process? Yes, it's also about change, but I'm usually pretty adaptable and I actually like learning new things -- but my Vista experience was just drudgery. When everybody hated Office 2007, I thought it was kind of cool. From an IT perspective, MS promises many advantages. What's rubbing me the wrong way is my own buying power -- my own inability to coax a new XP system out of somebody because I'm not buying multiple systems. It has truly pissed me off! For those of you purchasing XP systems, it might be helpful to the reading audience if you posted the non-confidential details. I'm not opposed to sending business to folks who listen and accommodate.

AppSupSpec
AppSupSpec

My company gets XP still from Dell on all of our new PCs.

eM DuBYaH
eM DuBYaH

I just bought a new EeePC, and guess what? It came installed with Windows XP!

rbuyaky
rbuyaky

Not change for change's sake, but MS responding to market demand. If you don't see it, it's because you don't want to see it. Go back and read blogs from before Vista and you'll see complaints about XP's lack of security, BSODs, cryptic error messages, etc. Vista attempts to address these issues and you think they're forcing it down your throat? Maybe you should go back do DOS 3.1 to avoid Windows problems altogether. For the record, I recently upgraded to Vista SP1 and had fewer issues than when I applied XP's SP3. OBTW, SP1 didn't appear until well after Vista's anniversary, so I don't know how you think they broke their promise of "fewer upgrades," Once a year doesn't seem excessive to me.

ebsfrmr
ebsfrmr

I remember back in the early days of personal computers, Apple was a top leader and thought they were pretty great. Talk about brute force in demanding their loyal customers had to upgrade their machines overnight to MACs, and at an exhorbant price to boot. I was personally very upset about the arrogance in the way it was all handled. Thank heavens for Microsoft and all the third party developers for creating systems and software that have been easier, for those who do not have unrealistic IT budgets, to still carry on with their old systems and hardware for a few more years. Nothing is perfect. The very nature of computing is so different from the days when a company could purchase an expensive piece of equipment for their factory and expect to use it for 40 years. The Internet has been great, but the risks from those who will exploit our machines for their own amusement and financial gain is appaling. Customer demands for protection, has created one aspect of our vicious cycle of upgrading and updates. Plus, our ever growing thirst for faster and more powerful systems naturally means competitive companies must stay ahead. Yet, balance how much they can continue to support aging systems. I don't know if it can ever slow down enough for us all to get the ROI we would all like to see out of our investments. If we don't want to get on the Internet with our machines, it seems to me we could all stick with our computers for many more years than is currently feasible. Then the supporting software and hardware component industries could more easily afford to run status quo businesses of old...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If you've got a generic XP CD, you can legally install it on a machine with a Vista license. The part that may (or may not) be difficult is getting XP drivers for the hardware. At this point many vendors make those available on their web sites, although it's anybody's guess how long that will continue. Obviously, trying this with many vendors' system restore CDs is a waste of time. Most of them are system-specific and won't boot in models other than the ones they shipped with.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

After you remove it, you have to manually reset the default application for every single graphic and multimedia file type it hijacked during installation. Personally I think it's worse than Java, Flash, or SilveryMoon.

rdrainer
rdrainer

The Samsung drive in a year-old HP died and I replaced it, and got paranoid that I was going to have to build it up again with Vista, which, I am told, would also require replacing most of my software (worth far more than the box by a factor of 20-30?) with newer Vista-ready stuff, and this sent me into a fetal position in the corner for a while. Happily, the restore disks that I had made worked beautifully and afters a couple of months of reloads and restores, I'm back up to sub-normal, but the lesson took and I feel safe with XP even through another system if such is required. All I know of Vista is that the three people who have acquired through new PC purchases hate it immensely, and one even went to a Mac, with which she has no problems. Of the other two, one plans to downgrade to XP and the other is just tuffing it out. Linux never looked so good.

1bn0
1bn0

Aa another post mentioned, you can buy new computers wiht XP. I am waiting for the arrival of 2 Dell Vostro desktops, from Dell Canada. The Vostro is a business desktop. The Windows license is Vista BUSINESS. XP comes pre-installed with a factory restore CDROM. It also include a Vista Business CD tha can be used to upgrade to Vista when you are ready XP pre-installed is a $140.00 cdn "Upgrade" from Vista Home Basic. I need to order another today.

GSG
GSG

I went to www.pcconnection.com and checked. There's a whole slew of search criteria, one of which is OS. I bought a laptop for home from there not long ago, and got XP.

ssharkins
ssharkins

Exactly -- I just deplore what they're doing.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Sheer corporate leverage. I don't know a way for a private individual to legally purchase an XP system, media, or license through normal retail methods. An employer may agree to buy extras and sell them to employees, but that's hardly a retail outlet. Even then the system is going to arrive with Vista and the buyer will have to use the XP media to do a system restore.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

While true it is only XP Home so if you need to add it to the Business Domain it's useless. In a case like that you would be better off opting for the Linux Alternative instead of XP. Col