I’ve had Windows Vista Home Basic on my computer for about a week now and I’ve got to say it’s the worst piece of crap I’ve ever installed on this machine. I’ve actually verbally apologized to my computer for tainting it with this version of Windows. I have no clue what Microsoft was thinking and I’ve struggled with using it from the very first time it booted up. Even the installation wasn’t all that easy compared to other versions, Windows 2000 Professional was actually easier to get along with.
Here’s a small list of problems I’ve had:
- Internet Explorer 7 is not compatible with Windows Vista apparently. That’s right, the version of Internet Explorer that comes in the box actually conflicts somewhat with Vista itself. It keeps giving me the dialog box asking if I want to send information to Microsoft. Actually it doesn’t ask me, it just does it then closes the program. It’s pretty stupid, and it seems to do it when I close Internet Explorer. I have no clue why it does this, it didn’t when I first installed Vista, but it does now. Might be an addon I’ve put on it, not sure.
- Solution: Installed FireFox. Problem is, I loved the organizational capabilities IE7 and Vista have. I tried disabling any recent add-ons but that didn’t help.
- Vista Home Basic Upgrade will not perform a clean hard drive install even though I have a valid copy of Windows XP Pro x64 Edition, as well as a valid copy or two of XP Home. It used to be on most versions of Windows if you wanted to install Windows to a blank hard drive, and all you had was an upgrade disk it would ask you for a CD or floppy disk containing a valid copy of Windows. Put it in, it’d read it, format your disk, and then install a clean copy of Windows. If you’re a computer tech or just really computer literate, you know that a clean copy of Windows is usually a lot more stable then one when you upgrade it. It alluded to this on the box, but still it’s retarded. Of course OEM’s these days actually cost less then upgrades in most cases.
- Solution: Had it format my hard drive and I didn’t put the activation key in. It’ll only work for 30 days, but I’m so tired of it who cares right? Vista sucks. At least it let me try out Vista.
- There are various annoyances with screen savers and graphics cards. I happen to have a decent (not great) Graphics Card. It’s a BFGTech nVidia 5500 FX, on a PCI card. nVidia doesn’t make Vista drivers for it yet, and may not ever. The Windows XP drivers won’t install either actually. Now I do not know if this is actually the problem, but the screensaver actually lags. If I check the little box that makes the welcome screen come back on after the screen saver, it actually takes 5+ minutes to get to the welcome screen, and a long time before it even lets me type anything. In fact several times I’ve had the screen saver come back on before I was actually able to type anything in.
- Solution: Uncheck the log in screen box. Also I set my screen saver to only come on after about thirty five minutes.
- Those Mac vs PC commercials don’t lie about Vista, it really does ask you if you want to do every little thing. I swear every installation program that I run it asks me if I really want to. Now this is a great feature, but it is very annoying, and if you turn it off it won’t warn you about potentially dangerous software at all, plus IE7 and Firefox generally have their own warnings too. In fact it’s actually warned me about a warning if that makes any sense at all. Remember how above I said the computer basically locks up on the welcome screen? Well it tends to do the same thing with that too. Sometimes it is a long time before it will actually let you click the “Continue” button. I swear I thought it was gonna ask me if I just wanted to order a Mac after the third time it happened!
- Solution: Either turn the warnings off or live with it. I did install new drivers for my Microsoft Wireless Mouse and Keyboard and that helped. Note that both my keyboard AND mouse are both made by Microsoft. I replaced the batteries in the keyboard and that fixed up a few problems too.
- Vista is slow. My computer is well above the minimum system requirements and even above the reccomended requirements in most areas, and at least equal to in the rest. I have the graphics settings set at normal, which should be fine, but it won’t allow me to type at random times. It seems pretty unresponsive sometimes, especially after closing World of Warcraft, or some other similar game or high demand program. I realize that’s normal but I never had much of a problem with XP Pro x64 or any other version. It could be I need more RAM, but considering I have quite a bit more then required, I don’t see why it does that. I have noticed though that it does a bunch of stuff you don’t tell it to do in the background, and that really irritates me.
- Solution: Again this is a deal with it thing. It’s possible the Pro (business or ultimate) or Premium (Home Premium) versions would be better, but I have my doubts.
That all being said Vista has some great features, even though their execution is somewhat lacking. Thing is though that at least in my opinion, the above problems are enough to make it nearly unusable. There are other problems I’ve had that I didn’t even have with the 64 bit edition of XP that ran everything I had in emulation mode. Some of these problems might be attributed to other things then Vista, but I have a suspicion they aren’t. Here are some of the things I like:
- Gadgets. The gadgets that you can install on the “Windows Sidebar” are pretty cool, I’ve got an analog clock, a weather monitor and news headlines right now. They don’t seem to slow anything down much. It’s actually pretty cool.
- Anytime Upgrades. You can upgrade from one version of Vista to another online by paying the difference between the two versions (more or less) to me that’s a good deal. You don’t have to go out and buy another box because you picked the wrong one up at the store.
- Calendar, Mail, Contacts, Photo Gallery, etc. It comes with some great stuff preinstalled I think. Where used to Outlook was the only real option for an integrated Calendar/E-Mail solution, Vista actually comes with all that pre-installed. Of course Outlook is still better but not actually required.
- Comes with way more stuff then the box says. Home Basic’s box says it’s pretty minimal in what it comes with (It basically indicates it comes with nothing at all except IE, Windows Firewall, Windows Defender, Media Player, Photo Gallery and Parental Controls), but I found it had a lot of stuff on it already that Home Premium/Ultimate supposedly only had. So you get more for your money really. Now I might’ve messed up the installation, but I don’t think so. That’s a really good deal. Now I suspect those programs are not full featured like they are in the more expensive versions, but they definitely work at any rate.
- It looks cool. It’s very pretty, and easy to figure out where things are.
- Organizes your stuff automatically. It actually organizes your files for you. I find that really cool. It seperates things into an appropriate folder in what used to be your “My Documents” folder. I like that.
There’s some more stuff I like about it but that pretty well sums up the basics. It’s just too bad the flaws overwhelm what’s really good about it. I’d recomend not upgrading until they’ve released some major updates. Waiting for the first Service Pack might be a bit unrealistic if you have to have the newest and greatest stuff. Honestly unless there is something Vista provides that you absolutely can’t get from XP or some third party software, there’s no real reason to upgrade. I’ve seen nothing that really qualifies as that except the stuff I mentioned above, and except for Anytime Upgrades, you can get all that stuff for free or really cheap for XP.
You will pay more for Outlook then the included Calendar, Mail, and Contacts that are in Home Basic. Outlook 2007 by itself is about $95 from Newegg.com, Office 2007 Home and Student is $128, Windows Vista Home Basic retails around $98-$100 most places, you can probably get an OEM version from Newegg for cheaper though. Office 2007 will run on XP anyway, and there’s a 60 day trial you can get from Microsoft for the price of your e-mail address. Then you can activate it, probably for around the same price as it’d cost at Office Depot (or you could just order a copy from somewhere cheaper and enter the key I think). Of course you could petition Open Office.org to create a program like Outlook and solve the whole expense thing.
Here are some links, I’m not linking to specific products on the retailers so you’ll have to figure it out yourself:
Buy Hardware and Software Online – www.newegg.com
Office Trial – http://office.microsoft.com
Free Office Software Suite – www.openoffice.org – it’s as good if not better then Microsoft Office, and it still reads Microsoft files.
Windows – www.microsoft.com
Have fun poking around.