vista-logo.jpgI am no longer a user of Windows Vista.

It has been nearly a year since Microsoft released Vista. I first wrote about it when I tested the upgrade process from Windows XP to Vista Business Edition. Shortly after that I upgraded my laptop and resolved a few minor issues with the optical drive, the Intel wireless configuration utility, Media Player, Explorer, Small Business Server, and constant system beeps that were starting to drive me nuts.

For most of the year now I’ve used Windows Vista Business Edition on the laptop in my home office and the laptop at my work. Both are about the same hardware spec – dual core CPU with 2Gb RAM. The home office laptop originally ran Windows XP Professional with only 1Gb RAM and was very fast. I later upgraded it to 2Gb RAM after Vista was installed. The laptop at work arrived with Vista pre-installed by Dell (which I stripped right back, removing all the ridiculous apps they ship with) and had 2Gb RAM from the start.

Why have I stopped using Windows Vista?

My primary gripe is the performance of the work laptop. It is just unacceptably slow. When I sit and consider my morning office routine I realise that it is based around how long it takes for Vista to boot and be at a functional desktop with my email and web browser open ready to start work. It takes forever.

My Windows Vista Experience

Usually I power it up as soon as I get to my desk, and am able to logon pretty soon after that. Then I walk away and make my morning coffee, maybe say hello to a few people, and walk back to my desk. By now I can see my desktop background, the taskbar, and maybe the Sidebar has started loading. This is when I fire up Outlook 2007, and turn away from the laptop to drink my coffee and chat with colleagues. There is plenty of time to do this, because Outlook takes an age to finish launching, and the laptop is virtually unresponsive for the duration.

The Windows Vista features I hate the most!

  • Folders that decide to present a view suitable for photos, even when no photos are in the folder. Being able to see the “Date Taken” field is pretty useless on a folder full of Microsoft Word documents.
  • Slow resume from a being locked or in standby mode.
  • Snipping Tool crashes if running Virtual Machines using 512mb of RAM or more.
  • This ridiculous behaviour in Explorer.

The bottom line with Vista is that I might put up with these problems, work on tweaks and fixes, maybe even submit error reports and support requests to get some of it fixed, if any of our customers actually wanted to deploy Vista in the near future. But with no customers asking for it there is really no point in me putting up with these painful issues, or investing a lot of time in learning the ins and outs of how to work around or fix them. Good luck to the desktop specialists when customer uptake starts to accelerate (if it ever does… whats this about Windows 7?).

What I’ll miss now that I don’t use Vista

Snipping Tool – this little utility is fantastic for taking screenshots for documentation. It is unfortunate that it crashes when virtual machines are using 512mb of RAM or more.

The Sidebar – some of the gadgets are really handy. I mentioned the Microsoft Office 2007 Recently Used Documents gadget a while ago. The picture slideshow is also great for a new dad like me.

That is all.

Replacing the things I’ll miss about Vista

Goodbye Snipping Tool, hello SnagIT – you can get a free version of SnagIT by following the instructions here. Its not the latest version but it well and truly meets my needs.

Goodbye Sidebar, hello screen realestate – I think I’m really just glad to have the space back on my screen. There are alternative sidebar apps around but I could also just buy a digital photo frame like the Kodak Easyshare SV-710How and why I stopped using Windows Vista for the baby photos.

Goodbye Windows Vista, welcome back Windows XP.

About the Author

Paul Cunningham

Paul is a former Microsoft MVP for Office Apps and Services. He works as a consultant, writer, and trainer specializing in Office 365 and Exchange Server. Paul no longer writes for Practical365.com.

Comments

  1. Aaron

    I understand SP1 should fix some of those domain related issues.

  2. Paul

    I’ve got no figures or stats for it, but the laptop that was a member of a domain was generally slower than the one that was standalone, even though both ran basically the same software for me.

  3. Aaron

    I’ve got some more testing to do on my latest laptop (Dell Vostro, 4GB RAM, Vista x64 with SP1), I might see if I can get some performance stats on it, mind you though it’s not a domain, so I might see a difference there.

  4. Paul

    Hi Aaron, if more positive reports about SP1 come out then I may go back to Vista in the next 6-12 months. I do recall XP pretty well sucked until SP1a and much more powerful hardware was affordable than at the time of release (those early days trying to run it on Celeron hardware with 256mb of RAM were frustrating).

    That said I’ve also witnessed Vista appearing to run pretty good on 64-bit dual core laptops with 4Gb RAM (the kind most Microsoft dudes run all their VMs on during training workshops).

    But I value the performance of XP too much right now, it is enabling me to be more productive that is for sure. So maybe I’ll come back to it at my next hardware refresh if the general murmur of discontent about Vista has quietened down (a lot).

  5. Paul

    Neja – the DRM was never an issue for me, and I think I resolved any annoying popups in the early days of using it. HP had released a driver for my printer but their download site was playing up for weeks – which I can’t really blame Microsoft for – but eventually was able to install. I’ve tried using Linux for desktops and found it about as frustrating as Windows Vista to be honest.

  6. Aaron

    Most of my quibbles with Vista have been resolved with SP1 and my experiences so far have been pretty good adn I’ve been using it full time since Beta 2. There are a few issues around – perhaps I should pay more attention to them. The two machines I’m running Vista on now – Core 2 Duos, one with 2GB RAM and the other with 4GB of RAM have been pretty good except for some occasional display issues.

  7. Neja

    And you didn’t even mention the integrated DRM and the constant annoying popups that Vista throws at you. I even couldn’t get my scanner and printer to work. It also consumes way to much hard disk space for what it offers. Windows Vista is just a disaster that finally pushed me to check out Linux (Mandriva version). And so far i like a lot in what I see. It does need some getting used to for a long time Windows user like me but it appears it will be worth it.

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