My Dimming Vista

With all the controversy on Microsoft Vista, here is my contribution to the pile.

Four weeks ago I was going to write a post entitled something like Despite Almost Universal Opprobrium, Windows Vista Works Just Fine for Me or something similar. Sure, I had spent a lot of time futzing with the betas almost two years ago. By the time I installed the first RTM version in November of 2006 with bad results I decided to give up for awhile. But recent first experience of a production copy seemed to belie all of bad press and complaints that I heard from the pundocracy. Examples:

1. Friend buys inexpensive Acer laptop. Comes with Vista Home. Works flawlessly with everything we could throw at it.
2. I installed a copy of Vista Business on my MacBook in a virtual machine provided by Parallels. Works fine, so far. Even with only 512K allotted for the virtual machine.
3. Additional Windows Vista Business licenses installed on our Mini-ITX boxes seemed to work pretty well. There were occasional crashes, but no detectable or replicable pattern.

Then we installed Enterprise on our boxes through a site license and all hell broke loose. What I can’t figure out is how much of a difference there is between Enterprise and Business and Home, other than things that are left out. Perhaps it is the footprint? (We’re running only in 1 meg of RAM).

So after spending, no kidding, over a hundred hours on this, we’ve decided to go back to XP. And there everything is solid as a rock again.

We have said it before, and we’ll say it again. In a production situation, i.e. your network, use the available time to upgrade everyone to Windows XP service pack 2. Microsoft may not make XP available forever, although it keeps pushing out the end-of-life phase for XP as Vista fails to gain traction.

More specifically, our main problem is a driver crash or incompatibility between our application, and a hardware driver on both Vista Business and Vista Enterprise.

However, I may get shot for saying this, but I prefer the Vista look and feel (even without Aero Glass over the Macintosh OSX’s “east-European-behind-the-iron-curtain” look. And Vista is a vast improvement over the XP cartoon look.

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