Not such a nice Vista

I’ve got a real problem on my hands. One which I’ve not encountered in eighteen years of purchasing machines. The Windows Vista Operating System is so increadibly not fit for purpose that at a recent management team meeting where I presented my expenditure plans  I was confronted by a group of people that were wishing to switch totally away from Wintel specifically because of the issues presented by Vista (which the laptops we buy may come installed with). The issues which are forcing people into this decision are

1. It doesn’t work with some of our OU applications in particular with my machine SPSS and the MITEL (YourAsssistant VoIP software) both fail to work. Other apps work but need to be ‘fixed’ to work and some just pretend to work then crash after a while with memory leaks (I’m having this problem with Remedy AR). This is reflected by anyone who has upgraded and believe me these are technically savvy users, I wouldn’t let just anyone upgrade so we’ve only provided it for ‘special’ users to try. We’re running Vista Enterprise version.

2. Office 2007 and other recent Microsoft tools have been less, not more easy to use. The switch in thinking that needs to take place when upgrading is not an easy one and the move to shoving things under the windows icon is, in my opinion, a poor one.

3. People have got their hands on both Asus Eee’s and MacBook (Pro’s and non-Pro’s) and they love them.

So in summary Microsoft need to do with Vista what they did with Millenium Edition, forget it ever happened and more forward quickly with something that will constitute a major leap forward in Desktop O.S. provision. I feel let down by the fact that Vista was promising much, in particular to have all the ‘network awareness’ within the O.S. I feel that it’s been rushed out. I also feel that if I was paying for Vista myself then I’d want my money back.

About willwoods
I'm Head of Learning and Teaching Technologies in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University.

2 Responses to Not such a nice Vista

  1. eksith says:

    Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise: I can see the headaches.
    I was asked to recommend systems for a cybercafe not too long ago, and we settled on Home Premium. The extra features for the other versions were either incomplete or too complicated. The rest (Basic, Starter) were too limited.

    The interoperability issues with earlier apps may come from the driver foundation and other abstraction technologies MS seems to have been “encouraging”. The memory leak seems to hint that Vista’s move to abstraction hasn’t been smooth.
    This will be standard on future Windows versions, though. So they better iron out the kinks.

    The problem is that there needs to be some middle ground here so older apps can continue to work as they did in XP. Some apps do need to be “fixed” as you said.
    OS X for example had options to run as OS 9 (I don’t know if they’ve continued that kind of backwards support).

    Some of the cybercafe apps needed to be set as “Run as windows XP”. Others issues were due to security (which is a huge headache) where group permissions in Ultimate were impractical in some cases and outright unusable in others.

    Office 2007, while it looks very pretty, was a bit confusing for a lot of users.
    They’ve sacrificed some usability for a clutter free environment.

  2. willwoods says:

    Thanks for those comments. Yes, I explored the ‘run as windows XP’ option and it did work in all but the one case (YAlite I think but don’t quote me on that). In any case it worked in most cases that I encountered but didn’t stop the momery leak issue which I still have.

    Vista also broke all the admin tools which I found quite annoying as we had some custom MMC stuff for managing our active directory OU’s.

    I agree about Office 2007. It is quite customisable but the UI is not good in my opinion.


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