Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vista Revisited

I've written from time to time here about my struggles with Vista on both JennySlash's laptop and the desktop I bought for Mom and I managed to purge Vista from our house this summer, opting for Windows XP as well as an Ubuntu-based desktop to play around with.

That changed in early October when I was able to get what was essentially a free laptop. I got a Dell XPS that naturally came with Vista (with SP1) along with a Blu-Ray player, 4GB RAM and a kick-ass video card. I have to admit that I've had none of the hangs, interruptions, slowdowns, etc. that everyone else has reported. Of course the interface is still wonky and I still don't see any reason in the world that they moved some of the controls around the way they did (there was a logical progression from Win95 to Win98 to WinXP that got blown away with Vista). But on the whole, I've had no real problems with Vista this time. Now, I have no doubt that this is due to a) having SP1 from the get-go and b) having 4GB of RAM and a video card that doesn't steal memory from the mobo. I'd like to complain (you know me - I REALLY would) but I really haven't had anything to bitch about. Yet.

To be on the safe side, I've repurposed the Ubuntu box as a Vista test box so I can install stuff on it before putting it on the laptop. Ubuntu worked fine for the most part, with the exception of flash-based websites causing the box to crash, regardless of what browser I was using. That's a more than minor annoyance - I found a number of purported fixes for it but none seemed to do the trick. I've got a partition set aside to install Linux but I might try Fedora for a couple of months next.



At 3:15 PM, Blogger Special K said...

(putting on my microsoft support hat)
You are mostly correct. Having the bigger, better hardware (mostly the RAM) makes the experience smoother. The hang, interruptions and slowdows on your old system were also almost certainly due to drivers for the old hardware that were poor attempts to port to Vista instead of writting them from the groud up. At one point, 25% of the support calls for Vista were caused by bad video drivers from one manufacturer. Newer hardware also means newer drivers.

I'm glad your experence is better this time around. Your previous comments were forwarded on and heard because I'm not the only one here that cares about our products and customers (though I care a lot more about SQL Server than Vista). Afterall, we are a software company. We should act like it.

Yea, I'm a PC.

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TP has kind things to say about Vista? Geez, next he's going to tell me N.C. has turned blue.

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a PC longer than anyone, but Bill Gates still won't give me any royalties.

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Tony Plutonium said...

SK - thanks for the comments. I'd partially agree, but would note that J's laptop was a brand new Dell. I've felt that there was some culpability on the part of BOTH MS and the OEMs for the lack of readiness for prime time but I've come to think that the real bottom line is that despite the published minimum requirements, 2GB of RAM with part of it siphoned off for video memory ain't gonna cut it with Vista, yet there are a lot of new machines out there being sold that way. That's certainly not directly MS's fault by any means, but MS has enough clout with Dell, Acer, HP, etc. that I would have thought they could have circumvented some of this.

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Tony Plutonium said...

One other note - there were clearly a lot of bugs fixed in SP1 as the consensus is that Vista is almost unusable without it. Given the extensive beta and alpha testing that was done for Vista, how was so much of that missed? That's not meant as a criticism - it's a real question about how a million beta testers could have not turned up some of the problems that so many people have experienced? Were only geeks with high-end machines interested in testing? Were the problems not seen as critical? Didn't Dell and the other OEMs or Nvidia or Creative run into some of these problems while they were writing drivers? I'm truly puzzled as to how more of these problems weren't caught before release.

I should also have mentioned that I'm running 64-bit Vista on the laptop but I'm running 32-bit on the cheapy Gateway refurb test box and still with no problems (I did up the RAM to 3GB).


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