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Monday, August 27, 2007

Why Windows Vista is not Ready for Prime Time

Windows Vista is one of Microsoft's biggest flops. Bob was silly, ME was unreliable, but Windows Vista may be irreparable. Here are a few of the lowlights:

1. The security improvements in Vista are not what they were hyped to be. User Access Control (UAC) is so intrusive that users simply deactivate it. So much for benefits of that feature. Jim Allchin (before he left Microsoft) actually said Vista is so secure that he didn't even have anti-virus software installed on his seven year old sons computer. He is either a fool or a liar. He couldn't possibly have believed that. Most of the additional security features in Vista are available as free downloads for XP. Nearly all are superior to their Vista built in equivalents.

2. There are about 10 or 12 or 15 different versions of Vista. All are overpriced and the low end versions don't offer as many features as XP Home. It's nearly impossible to figure out exactly which Vista version would be right for you. Microsoft went from a plan to integrate all Windows into one version, to breaking out Windows into too many confusing versions with no practical reason for the breakout other than profit maximization.

3. Vista is a resource hog on even high end computers. The fun GUI stuff that makes Vista neat looking, is being disabled by many users to speed things up. If you like the neat GUI look, just use XP and Stardock's Object Desktop Suite. Save time, money, computer resources and avoid all the bizarre baggage of Vista.

4. Vista is still having trouble with VPN's, network drag and drop copies, and even Microsoft's own product: IE7. Give me a break! You may be able to blame some of the hardware issues to poor drivers on the part of third party developers, but IE7 is Microsoft's own product, and they havn't been able to get that right.

More computer manufacturers are allowing buyers to "upgrade" Windows Vista to XP. If you can - do it. Off the shelf computers generally have Vista pre-installed and don't allow the no charge upgrade. In that case it is worth it to budget the purchase of Windows XP Pro and replace it as soon as you setup and install the computer.

I don't know if Vista is even fixable. So many of the problems seem to be fundamental to the design of the OS. I hope I am wrong. XP won't be around a whole lot longer, so users will eventually have no choice in the matter. It may take several Service Packs at best so lets hope Microsoft is taking some staff off the development of the new Windows to get this taken care of. On second thought, perhaps they need to allocate more staff to the new Windows to get it out sooner, rather than wasting time on service packs.

Whatever the solution, Microsoft needs to get it right soon. For the sake of the users, computer manufacturers, the software industry AND Microsoft.