An Open Access Peon

11 March 2007

Hmmm Microsoft Windows Vista

I've tried out Vista on my 'leisure' machine but I'm going to have to revert to XP. Which is a shame, as I've found the Flip3D interface a lot nicer than XP's (accelerated windows are great).

My gripes are (in no particular order) ...
  1. Hardware support is patchy: no support for my HP 2600N printer, no support for nForce 4 onboard sound ... not exactly rare or elderly bits of equipment.
  2. Vista is a memory hog: why does it need to gobble 500MB of memory before you do anything? 2GB is now the required amount for a Vista-based gaming platform.
  3. User Account Control spammage: under Unix if you give SUDO your password it'll remember for a period of time. In Vista you want to look in the logs, access Control Panel, access a sub-part of Control Panel, look at what's currently running ... that's a whole lotta 'Continue' clicking. Unless you disable it for a while (but you have to go digging for that).
  4. Save-as no longer defaults to Documents (formerly known as 'My Documents), but to the user's unix-like home directory.
  5. Connecting to VPN is a clickfest - 'Connect to' can't be a menu like XP. Control Panel retains that capability and it can be a menu if you revert to 'classic' start menu.
  6. Medieval Total War doesn't work: ok, minor gripe, but it was the second game I tried running and it didn't work.
  7. Creative X-Fi loses digital out: have to dig into the audio settings to disable/re-enable it to get it to work (audio devices have separate 'Configure' and 'Properties' options - surely you configure the properties of the device?).
  8. Random freezing: I suspect some drivers aren't stable yet.
  9. Changing the hibernate button to shut down is an 8-step process (buried deep inside the Control Panel power settings, nowhere near the button itself). Not exactly green to default to 'sleep'.
  10. Searching the Start Menu: in the beginning there was the command-line, it had auto-complete (unless you were Microsoft). Then there were clickable icons in Windows (3.x). Then there was the Start Menu. Then there was searching the start menu, with auto-complete. Only 20 years to end up where we started. Perhaps it's a different paradigm, but so far it's mostly just annoying.
Vista has much improved auditing facilities (performance manager, logging etc.) for those expert enough to understand them or, at least, to glean the clues given. I disabled Shadow Copy (or at least I think I did) to stop the constant post-install disk thrash.

In conclusion if you don't play games (or at least only play the newest games), have the very latest hardware (<1 year), have oodles of memory (1GB+), want fancy visual effects and have £150 to burn then Vista is for you (NB I accessed Vista through site license).


  • Turns out the bug with the Soundblaster X-Fi digital not getting enabled on reboot/restart is actually a bug in the lastest (v4) drivers and effects XP as well as Vista.

    Gene Goykhman has posted a 3k utility that will flip the digital IO on and off (stick it in Startup) here:

    By Blogger Tim, at 2:33 pm  

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