Vista is a horrible piece of software

gmgDesign has an unusually weak post that criticizes technology users for disliking Microsoft Vista. Garrott mentions two valid complaints as valid — Vista’s poor performance and user-hostile interface — before dismissing them, and then says the real reason “geeks hate Vista” is

Because they’re supposed to. Because other Slashdot users loathe it. Because it’s Microsoft, and Microsoft is eeevil.

While “If everyone is doing something else, do the other” is valid in many parts of life, when applied to Vsita apologetics, it’s just embarrasing.

Here’s just five of the problems I’ve had with Vista:

1. The intergration of IE with Vista makes it impossible to downgrade the included Microsoft browser when it breaks
2. Many commonly-used elements, such as Add / Remove Programs and “Display Properties,” require the users to navigate different paths than in previous versions of Vista. This is worse than just throwing away years of experience: familiarity with Windows leads to negative transfer in Vista.
3. Vista’s display model breaks all previous VNC servers. If you don’t know what this is, or how it effectively forces the user to use a properitar, security-risky alternative like Mesh, you have no business defending Vista.
4. Vista’s multilanguage support is incoherently bad.
5. On a laptop, which came with Vista pre-installed, loading Control Panel is a task so processor intensive that it crashes before it renders.

It’s too clever by half to say that people dislike Vista because they dislike Microsoft. People dislike Vista because Vista is awful.

Further, I’ve been impressed after a watching a friend effortlessly install Windows 7 on a netbook, and the general excitement around Windows 7 shows a desire for a new, modern, and functional Operating System from Microsoft. Indeed, Windows XP and Windows 95 were welcomed by the community for just this reason.

But the ability to maek a good operating system (95, XP, etc) does not predict Microsoft from occasionally making clunkers (Me, Vista, etc.) Defending Vista shows not just an ignorance of operating system and user experience fundementals: it tricks both fellow users and even Microsoft employees into spending time and resources in wasteful and potentionally harmful ways, intsead of concentrating on how to use and build the Windows features that we all need.

12 thoughts on “Vista is a horrible piece of software”

  1. Garrett,

    Haha! 🙂 Thanks for the comments!

    Vista is a naming disaster for Microsoft… and MS may realize this. I have heard that the architecture of Windows 7 strongly implies that it it is not a ‘new’ OS at all, but rather a more complete implementation of what MS tried to do in Vista. In other words, the second time is the charm.

    MS tried the radical change approach once before, in the 8-or-so years it took to create the first Windows version of Microsoft Word. But after that MS learned the lesson, and stuck to trying continuous improvement in Word every few years. Let’s hope MS learns the same lesson from the Vista debacle, and goes forward with a Win7 codebase everyone can be happy with!

  2. dan, excellent points on 2 and 5. good summary in last paragraph. you may be too young to remember 3.1, but if MS could bring back “file manager” for me it would heal a lot of wounds, so to speak.

    on your comment on Word, has anyone else had problems w/ transition to 2007 from 2003?

  3. Vista is like a government agency, it will expand to whatever space you give it and eat up more and more of your resources but do only marginally more to aide you in getting your work done.

    If you need a gamer level video card just to make pretty and more hard drive space squandered on higher resolution pretty ,how does that help you in getting your job done.

    MS has always been the company of setting software limits like planned obsolescence to make you upgrade to the next version and not letting you really focus on what your original intent was to start with.

    How many versions of disk storage limits have we had over the years from them?

    OS/2 blew them out of the water for file systems and sizes of supported limits that would work for a decent amount of time.

    Visualized storage is the only future that makes sense. Use local storage capacity act more like a cache than a full independent storage.

    Even small home networks are moving to NAS for most of their storage since it makes more sense to fill drives full of data on your lan than have 20% full drives on each machine. Also it helps for group sharing.

    Nas with automated stand alone backup sure eases those my HD crashed and I forgot to backup mess.

    You don’t need total bit history storage either. As you online capacity reaches limits , archive out the least recently used stuff for freeing space.

    The larger the hard drive the more bits you have that are likely never ever to be referred to again like a packrat in a closet.

    If you have 5000 mp3 files chances are there a 2500 you haven’t listened to in 2 years. Put them in near online storage and recover them if finally called for. Until then why take up hard drive space just to ‘have them there’.

    Tiered storage levels with least recently used migration ends up having your real ‘working set’ of information you need.

    I have it set up here where one a week a couple of NAS racks wake up in the middle of dark thirty and pull out the oldest 20% of the online stuff for migration.

    85% of your access is to only 10% of your data…make use of that concept.

    Everything here stores under zfs and the beauty of that is by adding drives you not only add capacity but you add speed since more of your current working set is right there under the heads of the drives to be worked with.

  4. ASUS is doing something that can cause an earthquake in this industry.

    The boot flash memory has an embedded linux with basic capabilities for near instant on to do most of what you need NOW.

    Email, Browser and such. YouTube Video of concept

    Surf the Internet in 5-second-boot time without entering Windows
    With a fast bootup speed of only 5 seconds, the ASUS Express Gate offers an optional Linux OS bootup that allows you to enjoy instant access to commonly used functions like accessing the Internet, VoIP, and Web emailing without entering the OS.

  5. Dan,

    Spot on. I have just had Vista downgraded to XP Prof on my new LENOVO 12 inch laptop after trying it for a cpl of months. Vista damned near spoiled my new laptop for me.

    Btw NT was my favourite. Did what I wanted it to do. Stable and no bullsh*t which I didn t need anyway slowed it down.


    I use the said laptop mainly for PP presentations. Transition from PowerPoint 03 to 07 was just awful.

    Office 07 was preinstalled for the unit for the buyer to try it out – weeellll, I have done so and will certainly not buy it. I did try Word 07 a bit and didn t like the changes either.

    It is worse with a presentation / lecture (which is what I got the thing for) IMO because you do it in “real time” and if you do not get it right you re wasting the time of 50+ people who have come to learn.


    That s the way to go. Having planned on a downgrade to XP anyway I didn t get LINUX or an Apple this time. Next time I probably will.

    THX for the hint, the clip is singuarly dumbed down though.

    Finally, LENOVO have fully set up SuSe LINUX ThinkPads for professional use on offer in Germany.

  6. Vista seems to do strange things with your hardware. My dad uses a Sprint over-the-air USB modem to access the internet and for some reason Vista decided that IE explorer could do the job better than the connection software Sprint included with the device. It got to the point where he couldn’t get online except with IE (no Firefox – no Safari) because Vista wouldn’t recognize the machine as being connected otherwise. After fighting a loosing battel against Vista for 18 months, he took my advice and went Mac:)

  7. I have some windows machines around just for special needs stuff and just don’t like the big shift to mac..even though they make good stuff, but overpriced.

    I prefer to twiddle by with open Solaris with the ZFS file systems.

    There are better presentations of the Express Gate stuff out there it was just one of the first examples from a search for the over all concept.

    But you can see the power of it…basically you boot from their to windows and make it look like a wedge presentation display than an OS to most non tech types.

    Imagine if you add more flash to the motherboard or an ssd with it and the hard drive might remain asleep except for browser cache stuff etc.

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