Bashing Vista

There are some people out there that really do not like Microsoft or the Windows Operating system. These are the Mac and Linux users out there and sometimes I wonder if these people have lives! While I am not impressed or happy with everything that Microsoft does, I think that their last couple Operating Systems have been good. Who could live without Windows XP today or would want to continue running Windows 98?

I was looking through some forums last night trying to find out if there was a Vista version of one of the applications I use. It was amazing reading some of the threads where someone said they had purchased a new computer with Windows Vista or was upgrading, and the treatment that these people got. They were being called stupid and how they should never upgrade until Microsoft releases the first service pack for it. I really want to know what makes these people qualified to judge Vista.

If they point to Beta experiences well that is not a legitimate argument. Beta software version are test versions of software. Yes they are buggy, yes they are unstable at times and yes they break. That is the purpose of beta testing. Vista being delayed as long as it was is arguably one of the most tested software platforms that have ever come out. And even with all the beta testing there are still combinations of hardware, software and configurations that can never ever be duplicated. Are there going to be problems with released software? Yes and they will be fixed. Is Vista stable? Yes! I have been using it for a month and a half on my laptop and it has been fine. Are there going to be problems? Yes, I have some applications that don’t like Vista and I have hardware that doesn’t yet, or won’t have drivers for it. For most of these problems I actually blame the software developers and Hardware manufacturers that have not yet released drivers fully functioning drivers. They also point the finger at Microsoft, but here we are almost a month and a half after release and there are several pieces of hardware that are still not ready.

As for security and interesting thing happened last week. Microsoft sent out their monthly security bulletin for patch Tuesday and there was no critical security patches, both for XP and for Vista… Some folks on IT based newsgroups joked that DST must be the end of the world. But my thought is that this shows how secure Vista is. I am sure there are hackers out there that are trying really hard to break and find security holes in Vista. The fact that in about a month and a half since its public release I have seen no Critical Security patches for it. Vista has been out since Mid November to Volume clients) and in that time there have been no critical security patches needed (I just confirmed this myself as my laptop does not have 1).

I am more likely to believe that some of these people that are Vista bashing have also been using illegal copies of Vista. These are versions that bypass the activation process by using old beta code or some other hack that is out there. Again I would not trust this software as you can’t know what else has been bundled on it.

I am still advising clients that if they wish to upgrade to Vista they should do 2 things. Run the Vista upgrade advisor to check hardware and software compatibility first. Then yes wait a month or two to ensure that there are proper drivers for most of their software. If they are willing to risk it there are usually a few work a rounds as well. For example one of my scanners indicated it wasn’t compatible, I still downloaded the XP driver and installed it. Clicked OK on the warning, but it still worked after the install. For software, I am running the really problematic programs in a Virtualized XP Pro machine using MS Virtual PC 2007.

If you are planning on purchasing a new system with Windows Vista, go ahead and run the upgrade advisor on your existing PC to see if there are recognized hardware and software issues. This way you know ahead of time if you have to buy new hardware or software and you can do it at the same time as you purchase your machine!

Added 03/15/2007
I wrote the above post earlier this week while sitting in Vancouver Airport waiting to get on a flight. Since then I have read a few more forums about Vista and upgrading. There are loads of people out there that are blaming Microsoft because their 5 year old version of software doesn’t work and the company that originally published the software has no plans of upgrading that version to Vista compatibility (let alone support the program any more period)… To these people I say tough luck, I guess you will have to continue to use Windows XP and can’t upgrade to a new computer (soon they will only sell with Vista)!

People seem to forget that we went through virtually the same problems and complaints with the introduction of Windows 95 from Windows 3.1, with the transition to Windows XP from the Win 9x OS’ and we will have to go through it again. So far I am happy and have found some solutions or workarounds to most of the problems I had. Yes I even went out and bought an refurbished Dell Laptop (no bells and whistles) that had Windows XP Home on it just so that I could use a couple of pieces of specialized hardware that is not (and apparently won’t be supported on Windows Vista! I will use this machine for a while and when I am done either give it to the kids or sell it.

Yesterday there was another application compatibility patch released for Windows Vista. These patches are as a result of people sending the problems to Microsoft after having a crash. There are quite a few programs that have been fixed in this release. Remember that before you click no to sending information to Microsoft regarding an application patch. If you do you are helping with these application compatibility patches that could help some of your software run better.


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