Thursday, May 22, 2008

Vista Still Sucks

This post is a brief rant about Microsoft and their latest attempt to provide an "operating system" for regular PC users. It's the opinion of one semi-technical user - read it at your own risk.

Vista has been out for over a year and a half now. One major update later (Service pack 1), nothing has changed on my system. Nothing. Every original complaint is still there. I have found workarounds for some, but not all. I don't have the performance problems that so many others complain about for some reason - but then again I have never made the exact comparison by loading XP or Ubuntu on this speedy new home-built hardware. It boots up in seconds. I chose Vista Ultimate 64 because it supports 64-bit addressing, allowing more RAM memory, which (as always) is the future of computing. But that's the best I can say for Vista.

Microsoft has always been a paragon of mediocrity in the technical arena. I have not been exposed to anything that they have done with excellence, ever, except marketing. They have, of course, applied their marketing muscle with skill, arrogance, and disdain to force their inferior products into markets where excellent products already existed, to the detriment of the customer and certainly to the companies offering the superior products. Vista may yet be another Microsoft marketing success but, so far, it's a technical flop.

A few of my specific complaints:
  • Vista forgets folder settings. This is a well-documented bug which doesn't seem to appear on all systems, but I sure have it. Just now, for example, I opened my Contacts folder to find that it had been reset to a folder type of "all items," (the default) rather than a folder type of "contacts." Because of this, the contacts were not sorted in any useful way. This happens to all folders, even the recycle bin. I set things back as they should be, but I know that they won't be that way after the next reboot. Here is a web site that offers a fix, but in my experience the fix lasts for only a few days to a few weeks.
  • Vista is unstable. Several times now Vista has failed catastrophically, something that never happened on Windows XP. Most recently I had almost finished a fairly complex email, and suddenly the create-mail window froze. I could still perform a few windows functions, but every application which was dependent on explorer.exe was stuck. That's a lot of applications, and apparently the "create mail" function in Windows Mail is one of them. Reason enough to use a different mail client, I guess. I lost my work.
  • HELP is AWFUL!!! What on earth are they thinking? If you ask for help from within an application, you will get an unordered list of things that might help. But if you try to change or narrow the search you will get Google-like results from the entire universe of Microsoft products, most having little or nothing to do with the application you are using. It's useless. Actually, Google on the web is much better! What happened to an application-specific help facilitiy with a table of contents, index, and word search? The new help must save cost for Microsoft, but it's very little help and another example of technical mediocrity, in this case very deliberate.
There is so much more, but this will do for now. What's the point of complaining - I don't get any warm feelings that Microsoft ever listens.

I wish I had the courage (and time) to just switch to Linux.

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