Strange Brouhaha

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Windows Vista

I had to install the latest release candidate of Windows Vista at work today.

Here are my impressions.

The good:

  • The installation time is lightning quick compared to Windows XP. The base install of XP took about 40-45 minutes the last time I did it, and that's not counting two hours worth of downloading updates. Compared to that, the Vista install was a breeze.

  • It actually works well on the low-end hardware that I installed it on. I have no problems using Vista on a P4 2.2 with 512MB of RAM and a video card that was top dog when a TNT2 was the thing to have (that's about 8 years ago). I'm not running the pretty effects, but I wouldn't even if I could because I hate that crap.

  • No more super-annoying "I can't find the driver for your device!" nags, at least not that I saw. I have a few weirdo things in my computer at work, and XP and 2K always complain about them. Vista did not, and I really appreciate that.

The bad/ugly:

(I'm combining the bad and the ugly because, quite frankly, most of these things are both.)

  • By default, you have to verify that you want to run Every. Single. Program. It doesn't sound that annoying when it's part of a product spec, and I guess you get used to it as a QA person, but...OH MY GOD IT SUCKS. When you double-click a program, you have to then click another button that says, basically, "Yes, I really did want to run this program." I understand why they do it, but it's going to get really old, really fast.

  • Continuing the first item, whenever you install a driver, you have to verify that the installation ran. This one I don't get. It's possible that it's because I wasn't installing Vista-specific drivers because there aren't any for most of my hardware. But it was still annoying. Could be that you need to verify every installation, too, not just drivers.

  • (Caveat: I'm complaining about this one mostly because it screwed up my workflow.) It's HUGE. If you're like me and you like to keep the OS on its own partition, watch the disk space. 8GB is no longer enough. I installed the OS and video and audio drivers and I was near 7.5GB. What the hell is in there? XP with complete updates and drivers for every obscure piece of hardware that I have is half that! Vista is as bad as Mac OS X.

  • Did I mention the bit about verifying that you want to run programs? HATE IT.

Basically my objection to Vista is this: it Gets In The Way. It is constantly interrupting you, keeping you from Just Working. The bad here outweighs all of the good. I'm sticking with XP at home for a long time to come.


  • I think what takes up all the space is the multiple, high color/high resolution graphics/icons for everything! You have to admit, the graphics are a lot higher resolution.

    I'd like to add to the "good" part: "Gadgets". I know, Mac has had them for years, but they're still cool and I'm excited to see them in Windows. I'm eager to write a GT Gadget.

    By Blogger Terry, at 10:25 PM  

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