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Windows Vista: One Year Later

For many in the IT profession, January 30, 2007 was a day that will live in infamy. If you've blocked it from your memory, that's the day that Windows Vista was launched and available for purchase in stores and in new PC systems. And there was much rejoicing. Not!

For many in the IT profession, January 30, 2007 was a day that will live in infamy. If you’ve blocked it from your memory, that’s the day that Windows Vista was launched and available for purchase in stores and in new PC systems. And there was much rejoicing.

Not!

Of course, with every new major release of Windows, there has been the usual kvetching and moaning about how much more memory it will suck up, what programs are going to become incompatible, what hardware will stop working, et cetera. We saw it when we made the 16-bit to 32-bit transition from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95, the NT platform migration from Windows 95/98/ME to Windows XP, and now finally with Vista.

With the consumer Windows operating systems it was always a personal ordeal– because unlike IT shops who have the luxury of playing” wait and see” and thoroughly test desktop Windows releases to see how they impact their environments, most end-users are either stuck with whatever gets installed on newly purchased systems, or get to undergo painful upgrade processes if they want to move to the latest and greatest release.

But the more I talk to end users that have been living with Vista, and large customers who have been testing Vista to see if it will fit the needs of corporate IT, it seems like the Vista migration has been more painful and far less successful than other similar Windows migrations before it. And this has not just been as the casual observer, I have also had serious issues in getting Vista to work correctly.

I installed Vista recently on a fresh system that I wanted to use on my HDTV-connected multimedia PC with an ASUS motherboard with a new AMD Athlon 64 FX2 5000+ chip, an ATI Radeon 2400 HD PCI-E graphics card, Silicon Image SATA controller, nVidia NFORCE network chipset, HD-DVD drive, and a NETGEAR Wireless N USB adapter. (In my opinion, Linux can’t fulfill the multimedia PC role yet. More on that later.)

That’s all pretty standard stuff these days as it relates to both Windows XP MCE 2005 SP2 and Linux distros (with the exception of the USB N wireless and HD-DVD on Linux) and I had major functional and driver issues. If a computer expert can have these kinds of problems with a Windows release and is unable to resolve them, then it doesn’t say much for your average end-user.

I swapped out several USB wireless cards from different vendors to no avail dealing with my WPA2-AES encrypted WLAN (word to the wise, when choosing high-speed wireless-N adapters, go Belkin, not NETGEAR) the ATI Radeon drivers blew up in my face several times before I got them to install, the NFORCE drivers caused a bunch of stability issues. I also encountered a critical and bizarre problem– one that others appear to have encountered with no obvious resolution. No matter what third party software program I downloaded, be it Firefox, Avast! Antivirus, VNC, whatever– it just plain refused to install and bombed out with an error.

I tried turning off User Account Control, disabling driver signing, reciting incantations and performing ritual sacrifices to Lord Ba’al and all kinds of black magic voodoo Vista stuff I learned on the various hobbyist forum sites. No go. And before you ask, yes, I also tried it with the latest pre-patched SP1 release candidate version in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions from MSDN. No dice.

Just to make sure I wasn’t having some sort of hardware issue, I swapped out the SATA hard disk with two of the same model and installed both Windows XP 2005 MCE rollup 2 and Ubuntu Gutsy 64-Bit without any issues at all.

Mind you, XP needed about 2 hours worth of patches (90 to be exact) to download from Microsoft Update once I got the network drivers installed, but it’s now running my HD videos– Blade Runner never looked any better– and doing hi-speed N 270Mbps wireless networking smooth as silk. And Gutsy is running great, despite the fact it needs gigabit Ethernet instead of wireless-N, and I can’t play HD-DVDs or Blue Rays on it yet due to the lack of necessary codecs.

Yes, its a bizarre thing when the latest consumer version of Windows is less compatible with modern hardware than either Linux or the previous version of Windows, one year after its release.

Comments on "Windows Vista: One Year Later"

ddelv

Two remarks: Vista(tm) is the best thing that ever happened to Linux (and OS X)!
And, never, never spend money on NetGear!

rgb@phy.duke.edu

Oh, am I tempted to recount my own Vista horror stories. Even my sons, Windows lovers all because of course all of their games run under Windows and things like multimedia accessed via the web work transparently almost without exception — THEY couldn’t stand it. It won’t run their games as well as Linux with e.g. Cedega does, and doesn’t come close to XP.

I myself “have” to be able to run Windows XP from time to time, which I generally do inside a VMware partition. This in turn requires XP Pro (and/or Vista business or better) because MS refuses to license the home versions for use in VMs for absolutely no reason but a desire to pump an extra $100 or so out of you to permit you to use their software the way you would like to use it on hardware that you own and that is otherwise properly licensed for Windows. I have downgraded two systems to XP from Vista because Vista is all but unusable.

I am starting to think Microsoft has a death wish. Vista sucks, to the point where even people who’ve never used anything but Windows are thinking twice or even three times about it — converting to Linux is starting to look like it might be less work and actually work better for folks who wouldn’t have dreamed of it under XP (which is actually pretty good — easily the best Windows ever, and I say this as a longtime Windows hater Linux lover, fair is fair). Then they go and try a hostile takeover of yahoo. Is alienating the world about to become a way of life with them? Do they love the pain of antitrust suits as they seek to buy out all of Google’s competition so that they don’t have to actually compete to win?

Time will tell…

rgb

floridasage1

Since January of 2007, I have migrated many times more computers and home,education, business users to GNU/Linux each week as I have experienced in the past ten years+ (since 1997).

Multimedia works in GNU/Linux, and even Microsoft’s restrictive WMV codec embedded videos and movies run smoother in GNU/Linux, than on the Vista platform!

I am a Veteran and just finished running the WMV encoded MyHealtheVet introductory film staring Bo Derek… on my SimplyMepis7.0 (32bit version) system.

GNU/Linux IS multimedia! Witness TIVO, and many Cellphones that play videos, and other consumer gadgets for MM display!

None of the million Microsoft virus/Worms/Trojans/Malwares/spybots even exist in GNU/Linux.

I do agree VISTA is horrible, (as is the DRM crummy junk, mandatory registration, WGA shutdowns of legit owners), and so do more than 500 individuals and business owners and educators, whom I have helped switch over to GNU/Linux in the past year!

Some even run Fedora based VIXTA! (google it!)

You damage your credibility as a journalist when
the facts are misrepresented or you spread FUD.

edupalacio

I am migrating from good old W2K to Linux (Ubuntu)
Easy, beautifull, refreshing, not a hardware eater and guess what!! it’s FREE
I took this decision after looking at several of my friend suffering Vista inadequacy.

randrews

(In my opinion, Linux can’t fulfill the multimedia PC role yet. More on that later.)

It is true that getting initial release driver support for bleeding edge stuff like HD DVD etc for linux is a real issue. You can always try running the windows driver in a wrapper.

I can’t see that paying extra $ for XP pro or Vista premium to get media center is truely a “multi-media” aware system either and if I have to take two bad choices then I will take the cheaper bad choice everytime.

I have nothing against your ATI, but most people have a lot less hassles with Nividia graphics cards for linux mulit-media projects due to the much better driver support.

anthonyarrigo

I suffered with Vista on a new Dell Laptop I purchased in April. Every day was a painful adventure. I finally loaded Ubuntu on the laptop this fall and system crashes are now a thing of the past. Sure, Ubuntu isn’t quite as polished as windows, but it performs much better and was able to meet all of my day to day needs.
FYI: I purchased a new 24″ iMac in late December and am fully converted. Ubuntu and OSX play nicely together and I can’t imagine ever going back to the old windows garbage I grew up on.
Live and learn….

serge-nn

[[[ No matter what third party software program I downloaded, be it Firefox, Avast! Antivirus, VNC, whatever-- it just plain refused to install and bombed out with an error.

Yes, its a bizarre thing when the latest consumer version of Windows is less compatible with modern hardware than either Linux or the previous version of Windows, one year after its release. ]]]

Before, compatibility was a religion for Microsoft (see Raymond Chen’s “The Old New Thing” book and blog). Too bad they dropped it lately and pay more attention to fancy-looking UIs and horrible DRM schemes. I still think that a lot of blame for compatibility issues can be laid on drivers and applications developers. Microsoft can’t take care of every bug and API misuse for everybody else (Chen’s book has many funny examples).

indigo196

Odd.

I installed Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit last April and have not had any of the issues you mention… though I refuse to buy DRM HD/BLUERAY content so that could be the cause.

I play games — no issues.
I program — no issues.

I am moving to Linux anyway for other reasons, but Vista is just fine in my book. You want to turn UAC off? I assume you must run your Linux box as root full time then; right?

sharmag77

Why don’t you focus on Linux and stop blathering about WinVista? Given that this article appears in Linux mag makes this article truly junk-worthy. It is clear that you will kvetch about MS and Vista no matter what. Linux folks first berated MS about not having a UAC, now they can’t get over the fact that it has a better UAC mechanism than Linux. MS was bad because it tried hard to maintain compatibility, now it is bad because it broke compatibility. Too bad MS exposed lots of internals, now too bad that it doesn’t.

Methinks this author and similar ostriches need to get a life and quit being whiners. I read this magazine because I want to hear about Linux. Not some stupid dude whining about Windows.

michaelhodgins

We’ve had Vista on the laptop for a few months and it’s no worse than XP. Equally bad, I would say.

drarem

You want to turn UAC off? I assume you must run your Linux box as root full time then; right?

Actually, I run everything I can recover easily under my home folder.. everything else like system stuff is root-protected. I can secure an individual file down, don’t know bout windows unless they copied it too. But the system files are always protected unless you turn ‘UAC’ off, in vista terms..

What else.. oh yea, no defragging required for linux and with a standard desktop edition, you may want to run antivirus to protect your windows friends or network. I haven’t had to run an antivirus on my ubuntu for the past 1.5 years I’ve been playing around with.

The only downsides are minor web annoyances (slight incompatibility with proprietary stuff), UT3 not released for linux yet grrrr and ms flightsim x and crysis requires windows.

climacs

I’m a open source guy, i work mostly on Unix/Linux environment when it comes to servers, but my desktop/laptop are all dual boot in windows and Linux, right now i’m using my laptop as dual boot Vista Home Premium and Fedora Core 8, i don’t have the same problem as you guys having with Vista, it runs perfectly in my laptop, core2 duo 2.0, 2gig ram.

fightclub

yeah cool. now I need to upgrade 150 pcs of computer unit from pentium 4 to core2 duo, 2gig… nyahahahahahahahaha I LOVE YOU guyes… Any good advice for me?

iateadonut

no more windows articles in linux mag.

dhurst

One thing that really strikes me about this article is the purposing of the system Jason is talking about. Linux led the way in purposing systems since it is affordable, runs on anything, and makes any running piece of hardware useful. In most of the world people are not blessed with cutting edge hardware so Linux is salvation for them. It’s probably very few instances where a system like Jason’s is even needed. It is just expensive keys to unlock entertainment that drove the project, that ‘s all. Not criticizing really, just making an observation that DRM does put money in certain people’s pockets, at least for a short while.

jeffsilverm

Has any body done some serious benchmarking comparisons of software performance under Windows/XP, Windows/Vista, and Linux? Use identical hardware, just change the OS.

jasonperlow

At Linux Magazine we like to differentiate ourselves between the other publications that cover Linux — we consider ourselves an Open Standards and Open Systems publication above all else. Linux is simply a kernel by which many open components sit, and as we are more geared towards enterprise computing, it is inevitable that we have to deal with cross platform and interoperability issues, which is why we frequently have articles that cover Open Source applications on Windows and virtualization technologies that permit Linux and Windows to exist heterogeneously, which is how the real world of IT actually works.

Additionally, as Windows is currently the dominant desktop platform and Linux is competing with it for market share, it is also important that we point out why Linux is eclipsing Windows in terms of hardware compatibility, performance and ease of use, so that IT shops as well as consumers can make educated choices.

dfsixstring

I work for a software company that develops products that enable interoperability between Windows and Linux. Our servers are Linux – our Office components (obviously) install on Windows desktops. Windows compatibility is one of the most difficult parts of our existence. As soon as we figure out how they do something – they change it with the next version. It is the name of the game. Vista is arguably the most difficult platform we’ve ever tried to develop for. After working around it I have decided to stay away from it on any of my home systems – at least for another year. Do you remember when XP came out – when it first came out? It was horrible. I delayed – stayed with W2K Pro for any Windows-based system until XP SP2 came out. What was that – two years later? XP SP2, IMHO – is stable and usable. It required a whole lot more to run it than did W2K – but I eventually migrated all of my desktops to it – no regrets. As a closer – I just wanted to share this – my Linux test server (CentOS 4) is an old Intel P3 550 Coppermine – 384MB of RAM – running day in and day out. I build on it – pound on it, etc – keeps on running. Strange – isn’t it?

modjohn

I feel that the occasional report on other OSs is needed in a Linux magazine. As a Linux system administrator I still need to be kept uptodate with other OSs in order to be a well rounded computer engineer

prague14

I wonder why everyone who bashes Windows, does so because it doesn’t do what Linux does. Do you really want it to? Windows and GNU/Linux are two different operating systems, targeted to different markets, and designed to do different things.

Additionally, all the groups trying to make Linux a “desktop OS” are all just trying to get Linux to work more like Windows, to attract the existing customer base. The first group to do this, let’s say it’s Ubuntu for example, is going to hear the same whining from the hardcore nix-nerds that Microsoft does. They’ll all complain about the security risks by running as the default user, viruses will start to target vulnerabilities, etc.

If any of you are worth a crap when it comes to doing whatever it is you do with a computer, you’d stop complaining and adapt like the rest of us…

By the way, the dumbest Vista gripe I’ve heard is the memory gripe. Yes, it requires more memory because of the changes to the user interface. If you want to continue to cry about it, you’ll look as stupid as someone crying about why they have to trade in their Toyota Camry to get speed, style, and performance like a Corvette

drcruch01

I generally like to hear a good Kvetch about MS software, I’d hate to think that I am the only one that hates when redesign the wheels. I use a lot of software and support anything from watercooled slayer systems for gaming through antique SCO Unix boxes. But through all of the machinations of the OSs it is only Mr Softie that scares the crap out of me when it comes to change, and that is usually due to the draconian way that it is forced upon me (then end of XP Pro looms ahead gentlemen and ladies)when it is not ready for prime time. And understand, I have had difficulties with version of Linux before, though on the whole, they tend to be screw ups on my part, and they can usually be fixed with a Web search. When I get MS bugs, or features, they usually are very hard to overcome, even within software package conflicts.
I will wait for Vista to mature a great deal more before I invest in very expensive hardware that may or may not work at all, much less work with the speed that I am used to on legacy systems.

rafamari

After reading all comments, I think the best way to go is to get the best out of both worlds, since now you can, and stay on the concept that “the best tool is the one you understand the most”.
One issue remains:
With windows a given OS does not have support after some years, and the files you once loved dissapear forever.
With Linux most users (Like me), do not ever need or ask for support, we test, we have fun trying, and eventually get things going, and the files you once loved never dissapear from the web.

If you ask me I go Linux in the end.

pillingm

A basic issue not covered here is stability vs forced upgrades. I maintain that it is a basic right of a software user/purchaser to have a stable system. If you have software that works for you, you should not be forced to abandon it because your operating system is being upgraded, sidegraded, or bloat degraded. Nor should you be forced to get a whole new operating system because your hardware has finally died and you can’t obtain a legal licence for your old operating system on the new hardware. I realise that new types of hardware requries new OS code but the new operating system should be able to run the old software, perhaps in emulation mode.

Over the past few years I’ve been entrapped by more and more software that installs web checkers to constantly check for updates, “upgrades” my software to a new, unknown and untested version without my concent and says “restart now or later?”. Really antisocial software disables the current version if it hasn’t been recently upgraded.

My point is that there are now so many of these mutating by upgrade programes in the software ecosphere that it is becoming almost impossible to have a stable system to do the few things that you want to use the machine for at the application level.

I remember the days when software came with Rev-locks listing which versions of software it was dependent on were compatible. This was much better , if you had no application need to upgrade, you didn’t have to. Your system was stable.

Vista is only the supreme example of enforced bloatgrades that for the majority of users provides no application improvement but destabilises their system.

autohaulersupply

I foolishly purchased system with home premium, and then was horrified to discover that Windows does not include remote desktop on this.

plus, the ability to save video files and photo files and manipulate them has been severely bowdlerized. When resizing pics for web, I have to select “email” which makes email client pop up.

I’ve always been optimistic about problems with technology, but Vista should have the folks at Redmond hanging their heads in shame.

travisn000

I was upgraded to vista at work a few months ago, and for the apps I use there, I have had no problems.

Having said that, the PCLinuxOS virtual machine I installed inside vista runs faster than vista runs nativly using the some of the exact same applications.

mcarson

Windows Vista for me was a savior. Simply put, on my Athlon X2 4200+ with 2gb of ram, it simply works. For my gaming needs, for my multimedia needs, for my programming needs (Visual Studio 2008). It all works. Simply put.

I do enjoy Linux. I use it daily. I do most of my network programming in Linux. However, that’s just because I do not know WinSock. I am teaching myself, but this is what happens when you have a standard system (Linux as servers for most of the time).

M$ does not have a death wish. M$ is realizing that most computers come with some really nice hardware, and for the common home user, the one that checks their email and surfs the web, utilizing that hardware is not a big problem. The problem lies with the new interface, in which people don’t want to learn anything new.

This is why Linux never made it as a desktop OS. People do not want to learn something new. Now, they are forced to learn something new, and because most office computers are so old, many Admins are deploying Linux as a replacement.

IMO, Windows Vista will become better than XP. If you all remember, EVERYONE said the same horror stories about Windows XP. Like I said, people don’t like change….

matador

I have not tried Vista on my desktop, but preinstalled on my newer Dell laptop. It blows XP out of the water. It’s just as fast and has way more built-in convenience features. Oh, and it looks much better. As I said, I can’t speak for desktops, but using a laptop without Vista is a waste of my time.

thembinkosi

I think all those hining and crying about Vista simply do not know how to configure/run the OS. I did it with CentOS and told anyone who cared to listen that “It is a horrible piece of shit”. I was wrong; I simply did not know how to… Same with the windows haters. I work fine with windows vista cause i know how. Get real. Don’t blame anyone for your ignorance.

luisguer

Just installed Vista today at my office desktop. It took very long (4 CD’s, then downloading dozens if not a hundred patches, etc.).

Then I downloaded an evaluation version of WinRar, which worked OK save that the Help file, designed for older Windows systems, did not work with Vista! (talking about back compatibility ….).

OpenOffice and Thunderbird were downloaded and installed with no problems.

Finding a Time Zone patch for Vista took me at least an hour, as the help in MS site doesn’t help much ….

In any case, the evaluation Vista made of my computer was “2.0″, that is, that the computer was in the limits of being capable of using Vista. And it is a Pentium 4 over 3GHz with 2GB RAM and an 80GB HD.

As a result of this experience I am really considering going to Linux when I replace other old OS’s in our small office (1 server now running NT4, some 10 computers running Win 98, ME, XP and now Vista).

Which distribution would be the best for the work stations (common office work, most of it can be done with OpenOffice, which is being used by some of our employees in the Windows environment)?

And which distribution would be recommended for the “server” (must run a mail server program and a fax server program, of the type that converts the faxes in images and distributes them via email)?

Tks 4 any comment.

calagan

Vista SP1, which just got RTM, was supposed to be Vista’s savior -ridding us of all this sluggishness and annoyances- was a big disappointment for me. I haven’t noticed any performance improvement at all and my wireless got broken.

Thanks to VMWare’s greatness, you can use Linux (I’m a big fan of Kubuntu) as a main environment and use XP in a VM for those remaining few task you cannot do in Linux.

As far as media watching, I reckon that Vista’s Media Center is the best looking, but there are excellent alternatives: I’m quite happy with my Mac mini with Front Row and the PS3′s media center capabilities are getting better and better, especially with PlayTV coming this spring.

poet57

As I mentioned in my reader letter a year ago, Vista is a bless for GNU/Linux. Anyone who is still at Microsoft’s O.S. is a fool.
I am not agree that linux is not a multimedia tool. The guy who wrote this never have seen a movie since titanic nor the many Penguins who apear from nowhere on the screen nowadays. All hints that it is made with the help of Linux.
Any movie is now made with Linux. Your home movie can also being made under Linux. Sometimes you need to search for the appropriate drivers. But it isn’t impossible and this with a remarkable quality. Thanks to the absence of copy-protection.
Vista dissappoints on every level. The first service pack is already there. A second will follow. And our former applications need all to be rewritten…or you can better stay with XP.
No, give me Linux and my games from Loki software are still running on the latest release of Linux.
Something I cannot say from Windows 95 OR LATER on VISTA…

chromeronin

Upgrade and compatibility:
Comes down to the software you want to run. I’m a senior systems engineer, I need secure consoles, virus free operating environments, good tools for Web development and network monitoring. For me Linux fits the bill and I’ve even got some of the Windows junkies at work hooked (one is now sitting exams for sco)
However, my Father-In-Law wanted to edit HD videos shot on his pro-sumer video gear and make DVD’s. He wasn’t really familiar with any particular OS, so I could have set him up with anything. In the end the PC I built for him had some devices that were not supported under XP, so I wnet with Vista Home Premium for him. Vista istelf is runing really well, but it has takent nearly a year for all of the video editing suites he uses to work properly because of compatibility with the firewire drivers and DVD burner etc. However all of the video editing software is much easier to use than anything I could find in Linux.
So in the end horses for courses.
I still haven’t had to deal with a single Vista machine for work though, none of the corporate clients I have are even interested in evaluating it on their desktops yet.

longhairjnr

Vista All Round,
From what i can see there are a few different views on Vista, there are the people who got coned into buying one of those “Vista Compatible” PC’s, Those who spent a little more money and got the 64bit PC’s and the linux Crowed.
The ones who got coned well your stuffed, Vista is going to be the worst thing out for you, I’ld say downgrade to XP,
The ones with 64bit PC’s Vista still won’t be a shinning hourse but it will be the same for you as what XP was,
Then the linux crowed, well there will be those who accept Microsoft as the compitition and those who will do anything to bewittle Microsoft. Now for my personal experence. I have two Vista pc’s one is a 64bit laptop, the other is a 3ghz desktop with 512mb ram. The laptop does the basic things, Surf the net, run word ect. it won’t run my games from my Win98 pc but nore with xp. Then the desktop, well, this wont network (i have tryed every thing) ok it will but straingly only for the last week, it struggles with IE, Word well good luck and media player that’s just random. overall the laptop outperforms the desktop but it’s much more powerfull and is desiged for vista. if your cheap go xp if you want fand dangle things go vista. And get back to linux guy’s. Yes it’s much easyer to use. but then you guys know how linux works, some dont.

rabiuls

Hello,
How is the quality of windows (any version) if it were free of cost?

morten.gulbrandsen

For AMD 64 it is difficult to get Vista up and running. I prfer the server versions, or XP. In this case the hardware support could have been better, but Vista is supposed to have higher security. And probably does not swallow every driver as easy as usual. Still there exists major security and privacy concerns. Take a look at

badVista.org
http://badvista.fsf.org

We have the server edition windows 2003 server or server 2008 as an option.

empcrono

Windows Vista = the newest product of a software government that is completely against freedom.

Microsoft = anti freedom. There are those who say they are not “religious” about software. To the contrary what are they really saying? They certainly do not mean to reconnect to the source. Which is what the real definition stands for. They do not mean to be moral, which is implied in the real definition? or do they do they mean they are not moral? They certainly mean that they are pro government of software… in paticular they are willing to play ball with a government that is anti freedom.

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