Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Book Reviews Books Media

Windows Vista Annoyances 399

stoolpigeon writes "It has been well documented that the reception for Microsoft's Windows Vista has not been all that warm. Yet, visiting the web site of many PC manufacturers or visiting a retail outlet selling computers will show that most new hardware is being offered with Vista as the primary if not only option. O'Reilly's newest in their Annoyances series, "Windows Vista Annoyances", by David A. Karp, seeks to alleviate some of the pain for new Vista users. For the Vista owner who is able to put the book's suggestion into place, the edge should be taken off. For the individual considering a purchase of Vista and wondering if it can really be that bad, this book seems to indicate that yes, it is that bad." Read below for the rest of JR's review.
Windows Vista Annoyances
author David A. Karp
pages 641
publisher O'Reilly Media, Inc.
rating 8
reviewer JR Peck
ISBN 0-596-52762-4
summary Tips, Secrets and Solutions.
I've read a decent number of O'Reilly titles over the years. My bookshelf for technical books is a rainbow of the various volumes, each with their wood carving style cover. I don't think in all those years I've ever read an introduction like the one in annoyances. O'Reilly authors tend to be enthusiastic about their topic and are often well known proponents of the technology discussed. I can only guess that Karp is not a huge fan of Vista. The preface begins with a section labeled "Why am I annoyed?" and that section concludes with the question, "Would Microsoft be making decisions like these if it had to compete fairly for your business?" The first sentence of the first chapter is, "Windows Vista is like a papaya: sleek on the outside, but a big mess on the inside." And Karp never lets up. Throughout the book, from start to finish, he never tries to gloss over the ugliness of Vista. This book may be hazardous to the health of Microsoft fanboys. I would imagine that too much time reading would lead to high blood pressure at the very least.

In view of the mess that is Vista, Karp informs the reader that, "Whether it goes down smoothly or gives you heartburn is up to you." The point of the book is to give the reader the information that they need to make Vista palatable. This may sound simple but it brings up what I thought was the most difficult issue for Karp. Vista Annoyances is written with a level of detail and explanation that marks it clearly for the user with casual knowledge of personal computers and how they work. Karp takes the time to explain things like what it means to zip a file, what happens when defrag is run on a hard drive, networking basics and so on. This is great for someone like me, who is sure to start getting a slew of calls from friends and family as some of them move to Vista. The problem is, many of the solutions revolve around steps that are not necessarily a good idea for the pc novice. A large portion of the solutions revolve around editing the registry. The third chapter of the book deals solely with the registry. How it works, how to navigate within it and how to alter it. For some people this could be a great route to take, for many it could lead to much more serious problems than they had in the first place.

For the technically proficient, this book will seem a bit bloated. They don't need all the explanation given for the beginner. Many of the books solutions are not just Vista specific. They give information and work arounds for Windows issues that have existed in XP and possibly back to 98. The saving grace is a thorough index. The person who buys this as a reference to help out others, or deal with some specific issue will find that the extensive index helps to not waste time working through what could feel like a lot of extra material.

I don't think this issue of complexity is necessarily the author's fault. Many of the changes users will want to make to Vista just can't be made any other way than through the registry. Where it is possible to use a programitic interface (gui or command line) Karp gives thorough and detailed instructions, with screen shots on how to do so. But for many options those tools don't exist or have been removed, leaving direct editing of the registry as the only solution left. Another issue, that is somewhat similar, is that for most home users, some of the better solutions wont be available as they wont have access to tools available in Vista Ultimate and Business editions. This isn't Karps fault again, but it means for many the book will have a lot of information that they just can't use.

Dealing with the various editions and their features is handled immediately in the first chapter. That chapter, "Get Started with Windows Vista", also covers installation. Karp goes over the various types of installs and gives tips on how to deal with failed installs, how to best set up prior to an install and how to deal with licensing. Throughout the book, Karp makes note when he is talking about a feature, choice or tool that is limited to a subset of the Vista family. Keeping track of it all can be a bit confusing. Once again, I don't really see this as a shortcoming on the part of the author. It's just the nature of the beast.

The title of the second chapter threw me at first. It is, "Shell Tweaks." When I hear the word shell my mind immediately brings up bash or ksh. In this case Karp is talking about Windows Explorer. As this is the primary interface for users working with the Vista file system, the chapter holds some vital information for attaining a sane and consistent user experience. Karp points out that many of the defaults are not going to endear themselves to many users and in many cases do not make much sense. When Karp discusses explorer he explains how to modify it when opened to various folders and also in the context of the desktop and taskbar.

Karp points out many third party tools that he feels will help the user. Many are free, some are not. The tools mentioned more than any other are Creative Element's Powertools. Powertools can be downloaded for a free 45 day trial period but costs $18 to license beyond that time frame. This is important as many of Karps solutions can be managed without this software but would be very cumbersome. This is especially true of all the editing done in the registry.

The registry chapter is thorough and offers a detailed explanation of what the registry is and how it works. This material could be useful for anyone using any version of windows. The issue of trying to make Vista useful for non-technical users rears its head here quite a bit, as I mentioned. I found myself reading explanations of hex and binary as well as reading how to create a patch file for the registry. This could be useful information for me, in helping others with Windows issues. But when I consider my parents, there is no way I would want them trying out half of what is in this chapter. They would in all likelihood need a complete reinstall in no time. What reading this said to me, more than anything was that most people are going to just have to settle for Vista the way Microsoft gives it to them.

The chapter on dealing with multimedia was interesting and could prove helpful for users with less experience. There are solid explanations on codecs, players and how to get the most out of media, especially video. There is very little said about Vista and DRM. There is no mention of possible problems with hardware due to DRM. In fact the discussion on DRM was primarily limited to a short mention of Tunebite and MyFair Tunes for DRM removal. I assume that this is because finding and explaining such issues would have required a lot more time, research and hardware. Vista annoyances pretty much sticks to the basics of media use.

I had to chuckle a bit as I read the chapter on performance as many of the recommendations involve turning off much of what differentiates Vista from XP. It is useful though, as Karp explains what the configurable options are and how much one can expect in gains. He does make it clear that the initial defaults are less than ideal and it is worth the time to dig in and make adjustments. The same can be said for security and in that regard the chapters on networking and users are indispensable. Once again, getting all the tools will involve having Ultimate/Business and installing third party tools to bring Vista into line.

I've rated the book 8 out of 10. This is due to two issues. The first negative I have explained quite a bit and that is the book speaks to the novice but requires someone with more experience in many cases. While this is may not be the fault of the author and a necessity brought on by the subject matter, it still makes the book less useful. The second is that quite often I found the author bringing up points only to say that he would explain more later in the same chapter or in another chapter. This is because the chapters themselves are built around topics like performance and troubleshooting. But when Karp is working his way through each option of a menu it branches out into other topics, as many options in Vista are spread all over the place. Once again, this seems to be more of a Vista issue, but hinders learning none the less.

After finishing this book, my first thought was that I am going to do all I can to make sure that no family or friends buy a machine with Vista if possible. Service Pack 1 will address just a few of the issues that Vista brings to the table. From what I've read about it fixing activation 'loopholes' it could make some things worse. Should I find myself approached by someone who already has Vista and wants help, I would recommend this book if they have some idea of what they are doing or can learn without getting into too much trouble. For that classic parent or grandparent always brought up as an example, I think I would just tell them Visa is the way it is and hope that they adjust. If I like them enough, I'll pull this book off the shelf and head on over to help them out.

You can purchase Windows Vista Annoyances from Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Windows Vista Annoyances

Comments Filter:
  • Meh (Score:5, Informative)

    by rwven ( 663186 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:26PM (#22237478)
    If you want to alleviate Vista annoyances, and you MUST use Vista, use vLite [] and make a custom Vista install image with ONLY the stuff you want on it. I just did this yesterday and it works wonders. Vista doesn't feel like a slug anymore.
    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Informative)

      by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:32PM (#22237566) Homepage Journal
      Oh, sure. Provided you don't want to install any Service Packs now or in the future, I'm sure it's fine. From the link in your post:

      It came to my attention that some of you expected to install Service Pack on the lite Vista, without some components.
      Unfortunatelly that is not possible, nor it was ever expected to be because Service Pack is meant to update the whole installation, if it detects that something is missing it aborts.

      So the only way to use vLite on SP1 is to use it on the preintegrated version, meaning you can configure the Vista DVD or ISO which already has SP1 in it.
      Until Microsoft releases one you can try making your own by following this guide.
      But be careful, it's not official nor easy method so it is recommended only for the experienced users.
      • by rwven ( 663186 )
        It depends on what you remove. Certain things like Mail and Calendar, if removed, will keep SP's from installing. My install is strictly a gaming machine. I dual boot XP and Vista. When SP1 comes out officially, I'll slipstream it into a new image, vLite that image, format, reinstall, and put my games back on. Not a huge deal depending on the person.

        Obviously this book, as well as vLite, are not for everyone.
        • by vux984 ( 928602 )
          Doing that much work seems ridiculous. I just stop the programs and services I don't want running. What do I care if I'm wasting a few GB on the hard drive? It doesn't offend me that Mail or Calendar are physically present on the disk.
    • by blair1q ( 305137 )
      A better way is to get a new computer. People are clearly installing this operating system that is sized for the next 4-5 years of computing on machines they've had for the past 4-5 years, or bought cheap recently (because they contain subsystems that go back several years).

      This is a fairly expensive rig now (cost me $2400 or so in parts, a day in labor, over the past month), but it runs Vista clean and fast, and within the year will probably be in the $1000-1500 retail segment:

      Intel QX9650 3 GHz quad-core
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        But you should *never* need a quad-core CPU and 2 Gigs of RAM to make an OS run decently. Linux/OS X are newer than Vista and require far less resources to run decently with more eye-candy even. Sloppy coding/DRM make for a system that requires a $1000 computer to run it. I for one will be just as happy saving $700 on a $300 PC that can run Linux just fine while running XP in a VM for Windows apps.
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:27PM (#22237492)

    A large portion of the solutions revolve around editing the registry. The third chapter of the book deals solely with the registry. How it works, how to navigate within it and how to alter it. For some people this could be a great route to take, for many it could lead to much more serious problems than they had in the first place.

    There are really only two options.

    #1. Run a utility that makes the Registry changes for you. Where are you going to find that?

    #2. Edit the Registry by hand. At least the option is there.
  • At least someone will be making some money from Vista.

    Even if it's not Microsoft, memory chip makers or OEMs.
  • by Stone316 ( 629009 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:27PM (#22237504) Journal
    My only Vista complaint is that it 'forgets' about my printer. Every now and then, usually when I need to print something asap, I sent a document to my printer and nada. I take a look and it thinks my printer is offline. The only solution I have found so far is to delete the printer and re-add it. I have a dual core system and at times i'll notice 1 core 100% busy with spoolv.exe (or some such).

    Other than that, there are a few things that annoy me but nothing that royally ticks me off like the printer issue. I should say, i'm a casual user. I use the system to read email, browse the web, play around with a few vmware images and burn home videos. Since I got my xbox 360 at xmas, I rarely play games, so even tho vista is a resource hog, I haven't noticed much.

    • by rcamera ( 517595 )
      i've read a number of complaints like this on newegg reviews for network printers lately. if you have a network printer, give it a static ip and your problem will be solved. if you don't have a network printer, then sorry for wasting your time.
  • by Cy Sperling ( 960158 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:28PM (#22237510)
    I had to replace my home laptop a few months back and Vista was the only OS offered by Dell. Since it is our wireless 'internet and email only' computer, I opted for a not-so-powerful build. My experience w/ XP led me to believe that I could fairly quickly tune the machine how I wanted and get by just fine for the low impact tasks I wanted to achieve.

    So, now my wife and I both say "I hate this f*cking computer" on a daily basis. First boot of the day often takes 5-10 minutes to simply stabilize and remain consistantly responsive with nothing but Firefox running. I am completely clueless as to what the hell this machine is doing on it's own that takes up all of its processing power that it can't handle simultaneously opening Additionally, the security package keeps annoying me over and over that my computer is not fully protected!!! because I turned off features that don't apply to our usage of it.

    I would love to know a good resource to consult on how to tune the OS to get better performance w/o having to get into non-novice registry tweaks. I doubt this book could help me. Can anyone recommend a good resource for some more basic level Vista tweak advice?

    • Did you uninstall the OEM software such as anti virus products? Also Vista defrags hard drives slowly unless you force it to do so.

      I disabled and uninstalled all the software include the games from WildTangent which is a known spyware maker. THen I ran the disk defrag utility. Now its fine.

      You can disable indexing and windows search and turning off volume shadow copy and especially restore point. This would help with random disk access.

      If you need anti virus capabilities there are free ones like clamWin whi
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by roguetrick ( 1147853 )
      Best use for linux in my experience is the wireless "internet and email only" laptop. Only potential tripping point is which wireless card you decided on. Take my word for it however, I and my friends all became linux fans because that is all we use on our laptops, even if we use windows on our desktops for gaming.
    • by sepluv ( 641107 )

      In the US, Dell offer the Inspiron 1420 and the XPS M1330 laptops with Ubuntu on and the Inspiron 1501, Inspiron 1520 and XPS M1730 laptops with MSW XP on.

      In the UK, they offer the XPSTM M1710 laptop with MSW XP on and the InspironTM 6400 and XPSTM M1330 laptops with Ubuntu on.

      Having said that, last time I checked they had cleverly made their Ubuntu PCs look cheaper than their MSW Vista equivalent ones until one got to finally pay when they turned out to be more expensive thanks for the clever use of spe

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, hidden away on Dell's website is a way to purchase laptops with XP installed on them [].
  • In this particular case, how does the book, Vista Annoyances, not just duplicate the full contents of the equivalent title in the publisher's equally popular The Missing Manual series (also reviewed by Slashdot []) which according to its official webpage [] "offers complete and comprehensive coverage of all five versions of Vista."
  • by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:33PM (#22237582) Homepage Journal
    That a book like this would be written and actually published seems more evidence that Windows Vista is the next incarnation of Windows Me which proved to be a nasty little speed bump on the way to the next "good" version of Windows. It's a real shame to do this to the users. Microsoft is full of talented, bright people to whom Vista is giving a bad name. It's almost never a good idea to push an incomplete product out into the market.
    • by IntruderII ( 963018 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:53PM (#22237814)
      I hope you realize O'Reilly also wrote a book, "Fixing Windows XP Annoyances." [] Also, Vista has very little to no resemblance of Windows ME. I can't help but think people who make this analogy haven't used both of them.
      • by Otter ( 3800 )
        They also have Linux Annoyances for Geeks [] and Mac Annoyances [] book. What that says about Linux that specifically geeks are annoyed is unclear.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Chris Burke ( 6130 )
          They also have Linux Annoyances for Geeks and Mac Annoyances book. What that says about Linux that specifically geeks are annoyed is unclear.

          I don't know, but I imagine it's things like "Annoyance #373: Mail application uses a GUI config wizard anyone can understand instead of an opaque text file!" :)
    • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @04:26PM (#22238218) Homepage Journal
      I don't usually chime in with the following opinion, but I want to throw it out there and see how people react...
      At the time, when Windows ME was a product being sold, I admit, it was garbage. They removed access to underlying DOS, compatibility issues arose where they absolutely shouldn't have, and honestly, it didn't offer me anything over Windows 98.
      As a programmer, I do, however, have a handful of clients that use win9x, for whatever exotic reason, so I dug up my install CDs, found an unused Pentium III 800, and made a tri-boot system, with Windows 95C, Windows 98SE, and Windows ME, all with whatever updates were available.
      This is, of course, years after 9x was dead, and probably no one cared, but seeing all three of these OS's run on the exact same machine, I have to say, I prefer Windows ME out of all of them. I will give you a few reasons why:
      People seem to have forgotten how readily Win9x bluescreened. Sure, we all still joke about it, but there is a slight amnesia to how it really was. Windows 95 most specifically would bluescreen out of nowhere... just sitting there, doing nothing. And every so many bluescreens, something in the system directory would get corrupted, and you would have to reinstall... and did you ever notice that bringing up a DOS window, or running a native DOS app started your system on the downward spiral to hell? I have. But really, I am just talking about Windows 95 and 98... not ME. I have yet to have ME bluescreen on the described system. And if something happened to your system files? There was the Windows File Protection people now take for granted in Windows, so reinstalling wasn't necessary like it was on ME as it was with it's older brothers
      Nextly, something you can only notice in the kind of setup I have... the GUI was flat out more responsive... both under load and not. I know that sounds kind of funny, but on Windows 98 especially, clicking a button took about 100ms to register... something you don't really notice, until you use Windows ME and see that clicking on everything causes a reaction more readily. Also, for whatever reason, my network throughput when booted into Windows ME is much much better. Under Windows 95/98, playing Quake2 over a cable modem, my lowest ping was practically the same as Windows ME, but the consistency on Windows ME was so prevalent, that if I play such on that machine, it HAS to be booted into Windows ME.
      Honestly, I could drum up a multitude of things that I see NOW, that make ME better... but then, I agree, it wasn't. It is almost like it hit its peak abilities well after the market was gone.
    • by blair1q ( 305137 )
      No, it's evidence that people pay good money for Vista. The reason there are no "Suse Linux Annoyances" isn't that Linux isn't annoying, it's that there's no money in evaluating and documenting its annoyances for a user base that's 1/1000th that of Windows and who got their OS for free anyway.
  • 1. The classic login is gone - No more drop down allowing you to choose local or domain login
    2. The spreading around of data that was generally kept in Documents and Settings

    Thankfully I only have a limited number of machines to support, and my work is not going to migrate to Vista for the foreseable future.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mia'cova ( 691309 )
      You can instead type machinename_or_domain\username. Not the same thing but it's not as if you're blocked from logging in as a specific user. Depending on taste, it's nice to just having to type that instead of going "oups, I have the wrong dropdown." But totally a fair criticism.

      As for 2, I'm not sure what you mean. They've moved some things out of My Documents but it's all still in the "documents and settings" (now Users) area. They've also exposed more of that to the user by a creating a link to your use
  • Two things (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:34PM (#22237592) Homepage

    The two things I find annoying are UAC and enforced DRM. Yes, you can be affected by DRM even without buying any DRMed media--just try to load an unsigned driver in 64-bit.

    Everything else is more disappointment than annoyance. With how much time they had to bake it, Vista could have come out amazing and full of great features. It was disappointing that it didn't live up to the hype.

    It may not have been revolutionary, but it is still a solid improvement on XP. In my opinion.

    • Re:Two things (Score:4, Informative)

      by RightSaidFred99 ( 874576 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:52PM (#22237808)
      Zzzz... The signed driver requirement isn't in Vista-64 for DRM reasons. The PMP code allows the applications to basically ask "show me all unsigned drivers", so they're covered there wiht or without restricting drivers to be signed. It's there so you know exactly who released a given driver, and for reasons of quality control and certification of drivers. In case you aren't aware, most of the stability problems in recent years with Windows are due to shoddy drivers.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        most of the stability problems in recent years with Windows are due to shoddy drivers.

        if a shoddy driver is affecting stability beyond the device in question it's not the driver that's to blame. You may as well also subscribe to the BS microsoft spewed about old file formats being insecure rather than the program that reads them.
        • Re:Two things (Score:5, Informative)

          by EvanED ( 569694 ) <evaned@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @04:19PM (#22238154)
          "if a shoddy driver is affecting stability beyond the device in question it's not the driver that's to blame. You may as well also subscribe to the BS microsoft spewed about old file formats being insecure rather than the program that reads them."

          I mostly disagree with this on a number of points.

          (1) Every other remotely common OS -- the various Unixes, Linux, OS X -- is just as susceptible as Windows is. They all use the same architecture: the driver runs in the kernel. Once you have that, an unstable driver can easily crash the system. Guess what: there are rootkits for Linux too, and they use the exact same principles as Windows ones: once you are installed as a driver, you are God.

          (2) The main reason that this has been done is that it's hard to do well another way. Until relatively recently, the only mechanism that provided protection against a badly behaved driver was to run it in its own protection domain. This means a context switch whenever the kernel wants to call the driver, and a system call when the driver wants to call the kernel or return. For many drivers, the overhead here has been unacceptable. In the last several years there have been a couple new ideas for how to provide protection with lower overhead, but (1) they remain in the research state and haven't made it to real-world products, and (2) they too have overheads that are not trivial.

          (3) MS is actually doing MORE to move drivers out of the kernel than the other mainstream OSes. Linux has some examples, for instance FUSE, but Vista introduces a new driver model that strongly encourages user mode drivers. (For instance, sound drivers are often written with the UMDF.) Performance critical drivers, such as parts of video card drivers, still run in the kernel.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ADRA ( 37398 )
            Mod this guy up. You took the words out of my mouth.

            Considering that Daemon tools still runs on Vista, I don't think that anti-piracy measures was the main point of the driver signing.
      • If it was there to help, there would be a way to turn it off other than hitting F8 every time you boot. They wouldn't have disabled the DDISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS boot option, so that knowledgable people and developers wouldn't have a big hassle. They wouldn't suddenly enforce it on 32-bit whenever you try to load up certain DRMed media.
        • That's my point. They don't enforce it in 32-bit when you load up certain DRMed media. The application does that. It can basically say "OK, is this guy running wierd drivers?" and decide what to do based on that information.
  • by Purity Of Essence ( 1007601 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:34PM (#22237600)
    Seriously, I'm surprised the book length is finite.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:36PM (#22237622)
    I am a first time Mac buyer. I'm a big Linux fan, and use it for my home machine. At work, I'm stuck with Windows. My wife had a Windows XP box as well, but she wanted a laptop to use for scrapbooking. Over the years I have tried many times to deploy various Linux distros on laptops, with mixed results. I suppose I could lock down an exact configuration that someone else has already declared to be trouble-free and go buy the same thing. But as far as taking any old machine and putting Ubuntu on it, then educating my wife on the use of Linux, that's more time than I want to spend. Getting stuck with Vista is a non-option, so I bought her a Macbook.

    I mention all of this because the Apple store was PACKED. I had never even visited an Apple store, but in past years I would walk by and see lots of empty space. Not anymore. When I see the pain of Vista (not even our MS-loving IT dept. will touch it), I can't imagine Steve Jobs scripting it any better. "Gee, I would like the market leader to squander their advantage by breaking compatibility with old hardware and software. Make things more complicated, add in some DRM, slow it all down, and let the poor customer sort out the mess." MS strategy with Vista is beyond Steve Jobs' wildest dreams.

    If Linux can't make serious progress on desktop market share in this market, then it will never happen. Opportunities like Vista don't come along every day of the week.
    • by blair1q ( 305137 )
      I've never seen a non-packed Apple store, except the one right across the street from Apple in Cupertino...
  • by dtolman ( 688781 ) <> on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:43PM (#22237706) Homepage
    I'm just getting annoyed at Vista Whiners.

    Seriously - did I get the magic copy of Vista that works just fine or something? It runs smooth, starts up OK, I like the default sleep feature, the added security (oh no - i get a popup everytime I install something - the horror), the photo gallery, the built in firewall, etc.

    Its not a giant leap forward or anything - but then again - I didn't think XP was a big advance over Win2K client either. Just another incremental advance of the NT Client OS.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)


      ITs not an unstable crappy mess such as WindowsME ever was despite what the naysayers tell everyone about it.

      I am typing this on a machine with Vista and yes for people who do not like change it can be a hair pulling experience for the first month. Toshiba did not have any XP drivers for my notebook as I wanted to downgrade fast.

      However Vista works, areo takes a while to get used and after I discoved how to put the file menu's back into windows explorer a few weeks of being fustrated I felt alot bette
      • -1 Shill (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Stoutlimb ( 143245 )
        Slashdot needs a moderating system to identify possible paid shills. This guy hits way too many marketing points to be a real user. Vista has SPEECH RECOGNITION? He must have gotten that from the glossy brochure. Nobody uses speech recognition but it's a great advertising gimmick.
    • It took them +-5 years to rewrite the whole OS and it's only an incremental advance over the last release? I've never worked at a software company where something like that wouldn't get a few teams fired. At least if they argued that the changes were necessary to make future versions more stable, secure, and easier to add new functionality to then I could see it as a justification for only incremental advancement. But they're writing a new version of Windows for the next release too (MinWin or WinMin or
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Osty ( 16825 )

        It took them +-5 years to rewrite the whole OS and it's only an incremental advance over the last release?

        The notion that Vista took ~5 years is a fallacy. During those first few years, much of the Windows team was focused on the security push and XP SP2. What few teams were left on Longhorn (as it was called at the time) were mostly without direction. Once XP SP2 shipped and teams started focusing back on Longhorn, it was clear that things had gotten out of hand and they implemented the famous Longhorn []

    • Seriously - did I get the magic copy of Vista that works just fine or something?

      Not at all. My wife needed a laptop to run a certain industry-specific application, so we bought a Compaq that we later discovered to be XP-incompatible. That is, there are no XP drivers for the chipset or graphics card, so unless we want to give up USB, Wi-Fi, DMA, and resolutions above 800x600, we pretty much have to leave Vista on it.

      Know what? You're right. It's a nice OS that boots quickly and smoothly with plenty of nice eye candy. Never mind that none of our printers worked any more, or that

    • I dunno - there's at least three magic copies, then, because I'm running a pain-free one at home (Ultimate), and at work (Business), which I use heavily, and I haven't run into any big annoyances at all.

      Oh, and to all you UAC haters, I actually like it. You all probably surfed the net with admin privileges on XP and thought you were secure because you use firefox. Not so, pineapple man! UAC works well, and is not intrusive. I only get prompts with (un)installs and serious configuration changes, but not in
    • I'm not griping about Vista just to gripe, the proof is right in front of me.

      I have a laptop with an AMD 64 dual core processor, and 2 gigs of ram. It takes Vista at least 2 full minutes to boot from the time I type my password to the time I get a usable desktop. This is out of the box. With major tweaks, I was able to improve this, but it is just sloppy to have this kind of performance by default. Vista is geared towards your average joe who won't/can't tinker with the OS.

      The shiny stuff is nice, I lik
    • No, I got the magic working copy too. As do some other people I know. The only things they have in common are that they all have the 64 bit version with recent hardware that has had driver updates.

      Nothing breaks Vista faster then crappy drivers, and when it first came out there were tons of those around.

      (The 32 bit version should never have existed, IMO. Microsoft should have used that as the dividing line. "Want a computer with less resources? Use XP. Want to use 4GB of RAM? Use Vista." Its not like Vista
      • by dtolman ( 688781 )
        hmmm... I'm running it in 32 bit mode (I don't see any major benefit going to 64 bit yet), with 2 gigs of ram. But it is brand spanking new hardware/drivers (with a few exceptions - I have an old printer/scanner that I hooked up).
    • Seriously - did I get the magic copy of Vista that works just fine or something?

      Well, based on my own experience and reports from others, you do seem to be a statistical outlier. Our machine (Dell C510 upgraded to 1GB RAM) was unbearably slow with Vista Home Basic (no Aero), even with several CPU and RAM-hungry options disabled. It couldn't even play its own boot-up sound without skipping. I put XP on there and it's actually usable now.

      Perhaps with a higher-end machine Vista runs better, but for just ru

    • by ranton ( 36917 )
      Seriously - did I get the magic copy of Vista that works just fine or something?

      Well, only about a third of Europe died as a result of the Bubonic Plague. And only about 60%-75% of the Jews who lived in territories controlled by the Nazis died in the Holocaust.

      So I guess no matter how horrifying something is, there are always going to be people who dont see what the big deal is.

      (I am not saying that Vista is as horrible as the Holocaust, I am saying that just because a few hundred thousand people might lik
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dtolman ( 688781 )
        So you're saying I _did_ get the magic copy of Vista.

        How much d'you think I can get for it on ebay? There's gotta be a ton of folks who want Vista with the hidden "Work OK" setting enabled by default.

        • by ranton ( 36917 )
          So you're saying I _did_ get the magic copy of Vista.

          How much d'you think I can get for it on ebay? There's gotta be a ton of folks who want Vista with the hidden "Work OK" setting enabled by default.

          Yep, I guess so. But you will also probably have to sell your computer so they have the exact same hardware that worked well for you. You will also have to sell your computer usage tendencies since your computer needs must align perfectly with what actually works in Vista. You will probably have to make sure
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dtolman ( 688781 )

            You will probably have to make sure that the buyer has a similar level of patience as you do when all those pop ups start going off. (you might know what they are asking, but my dad thinks he has done something wrong every time it happens)

            See - thats EXACTLY why I must have the magic copy of Vista. I never get any popups - and I have UAC fully enabled. I run plenty of legacy software that predate XP, let alone Vista, so before I installed it I figured I'd see it all the time. About the only time I ever see the popup is when I launch Visual Studio...

    • In the words of Basil Fawlty, "A satisfied customer- we should have him bronzed."

      Food for thought: Firewalls on the box are a bit like putting the moat inside the castle walls.
    • by mandelbr0t ( 1015855 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @11:23PM (#22242424) Journal

      Seriously - did I get the magic copy of Vista that works just fine or something?

      Apparently you did. Not a single application compatibility problem? Lucky you. Lack of decent Anti-Virus/Firewall solutions available. Turn off a single "security" feature and the system nags you non-stop. UAC is retarded. I'm quite capable of using my system without it, but I can't turn it off without the nagging. It's simply not able to be configured at a fine-grained level, and the system complains if you turn it off outright.

      It runs smooth,

      As does every other modern OS on the planet. This one will only run smoothly if you either a) have a very modern system, which many can't afford yet, or b) change back to the Windows 2000 look and turn off all the bells and whistles (why would you do that?)

      starts up OK,

      Yeah, the hard drive only grinds needlessly for 5 minutes before allowing me to use it. This on a Core-Duo with SATA drives. What the hell is it doing?

      I like the default sleep feature,

      ...which some random update causes it to remain asleep. Again, no exotic hardware, just a standard ASUS motherboard with a Core-Duo.

      the added security

      which explains that even with AVG professional I got no less than 5 adware registry entries within 3 months? (no, not browsing pr0n) My Windows XP box has never received even 1 (same AV engine). Oh yes, and making you click "Confirm"/"Deny" is really security? Why the hell did you execute the program, etc. if you didn't intend to? Idiot-proofing != security. You're stuck with Windows Firewall (which sucks) as opposed to being able to install (say) AVG Professional Firewall, which works well. There's no default AV program, and no free solutions were/are available, so there's another $60 to the price tag.

      the photo gallery

      So you bought a $500 OS and a $60 Anti-Virus program to get a photo gallery? Either you've got money to burn or you just bought the most expensive slide-show program on Earth? Apparently you need Vista's idiot-proofing features...

      Maybe the fact that you don't actually use your computer explains why it works for you. As a desktop ornament it's great and has lots of eye-candy. So does Ubuntu, and I can do stuff with it too.

  • by Tom ( 822 )
    So you pay a few hundred bucks for a shitty OS, and then you have to pay more for a book to get rid of at least the worst problems?

    That's a weird business model, assuming that we're talking about the world outside the BDSM area.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mugenjou ( 912908 )
      Ever heard of those "Anti Virus" that slow down your system by scanning everything you read or write, third-party "personal/desktop firewalls", and other spyware/malware cleaners? Products like "Norton 360" ?
  • Screen Flicker (Score:2, Informative)

    by jb1z ( 1099055 ) *
    My biggest annoyance is the screen flickering when unlocking a laptop that has an external monitor plugged in. I found a way to get it to stop, but that disables the auto-detection of external monitors ( []).

    If you do disable TMM, you will need to remember to disable the 2nd monitor before suspending your laptop to go somewhere. If you don't, you'll go to unlock your machine and be staring at a black screen. You'll then need to hit CTL-ALT-DEL, and select
  • by headkase ( 533448 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:57PM (#22237862)
    I'm addressing all the posts that go along the lines of "Windows Suxxors" here. Linux can be technically superior to Windows in every way and that is still not enough. It's a Windows world and it's going to stay that way for the forseeable future. The reason for this - and pointing out that comparing Windows to Linux alone is myopic - is that people don't really buy Windows, they buy compatibility with software. Or what Ballmer refers to as the "ecosystem". Linux is great but I can't walk into a BestBuy and buy anything software wise for it. How to go about getting around this feedback loop? Well, virtualization at the application level is the single approach that can actually break the loop. Things like Thinstall [] which was just purchased by VMWare or the ubiquitous Wine project. Weaning people off of the Windows dependence does not begin with Windows, it begins with it's applications.
  • But when Karp is working his way through each option of a menu it branches out into other topics, as many options in Vista are spread all over the place. Once again, this seems to be more of a Vista issue, but hinders learning none the less.

    it's sad when an operating system is so horrible it severely hinders even writing about it.
  • If you have specific annoyances, you search for them on the Internet and find solutions. That's like having a giant constantly-updated index at your fingertips.

    Microsoft will have released a new operating system, with new flaws and workarounds and fixes, before such a paper book becomes worn.

    So why spend the money, unless you are a collector of books?

  • by MrJynxx ( 902913 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @04:25PM (#22238206)
    Personally I've been an OS junkie since the DOS 6.0 days / slackware 1.0 (can't even remember how long ago that was) and I've more or less tried every OS for the x86 platform (hell I even tried OS/2 and BeOS!!)

    The one thing about Vista that has been DRIVING ME INSANE, is the fact my vista clock keeps going forward by 4 - 6hrs (it's random but at a minimum of 4hrs). I've tried everything to correct this issue and have even come across users who have the same issue and still no avail. fix. I've tried new drivers, confirmed the time zone, checked in other OS's, etc etc but Vista will not remember the time for the life of it. It's a huge nuissance and is about to force me to go back to XP. I can't believe I've lived with Vista this long (bought it on the day it came out. . . yes I paid real $$$ for it). There is a bunch of other random issues but I won't bore anyone with the details as I'm sure it's already been beaten to death with the "I hate Vista stick"

    When I find the time to reinstall all of the windows apps on XP I'm throwing Vista out.
  • by penguin_dance ( 536599 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @04:28PM (#22238240)
    When I bought my laptop last summer, I was dreading having to deal with Vista. To the point I was researching how to wipe Vista and install XP. (What I found is the newer hard drives do not have driver on XP natively so XP might not recognize the drive and so you have to load those first []....) Anyway, I decided to try Vista first to see if it was really worth going through a major headache of wiping the drive and starting over.

    I was, in fact, pleasantly surprised...mostly. I don't know if it was the manufacturer (HP) doing a great install configuration or the version (Home Premium) or the fact it was built for Vista vs. just slapping an upgrade on a current computer, but I've had very few problems. Only thing I've done was upgrade the memory from 1 to 2 GB. I also turned off UAC which I found beyond annoying. The computer is used mostly at home and behind a firewall--not to mention that UAC can be foiled--and chances are most people are going to automatically approve something when they're installing a program (which is usually when a person gets a virus), so the UAC becomes useless.

    If you're into voice recognition, the voice recognition that comes with Vista works surprisingly well--better than Dragon Naturally Speaking and with less training. (Just be sure and have a good microphone.) However you won't be able to use it with Open Office--you'll have to stick with MS Office, notepad, etc. Also I'm able to play even ancient DOS games with DOSBox and I've found very few programs I've had a problem running. Networking with my wireless router was a breeze.

    Vista IS a Mac rip-off with eye candy--stick a few new screensavers and Yahoo! Widgets on your XP and you're 2/3s there. The most annoying thing is once again having to FIND where they hid the settings again--almost none of it is helpful or makes things smoother--especially if you want to just view ALL the programs. It's not as great as the fan boys praise, but it's not as horrible as the nay Sayers make out either. Personally I wouldn't upgrade from XP as long as possible, but if you're getting a computer with it installed, you might find it isn't as bad as you think.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller