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PC World calls out Microsoft on Windows Vista

The hatred for Windows Vista has been well documented on DailyTech and by millions of Vista users around the web. From the very beginning, many consumers took issue with Microsoft's multi-tiered approach to Vista.

Microsoft currently has four versions of Windows Vista aimed at the consumer market: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate. Vista Home Basic is the cheapest and has the least features, while Vista Ultimate is the most expensive and most feature-filled version.

Many felt that Microsoft should simply take Apple's approach with OS X and just include a single SKU for everyone and charge everyone the same price. Many also championed Apple's 5-user license policy with OS X versus Microsoft's "reduced" pricing efforts with Windows Vista Family Discount -- a program that ended on June 30.

In addition to pricing, licensing and marketing, many people consumers simply are disappointed with Vista's performance. Many users have claimed that Vista simply is slower than Windows XP for many operations with pesky trouble spots including networking and gaming.

Microsoft plans to address many performance-related problems/bugs with Service Pack 1, but Windows XP is getting a speed boost of its own with Service Pack 3.

All of the controversies and disappointments related to Vista were enough for PC World to label Windows Vista the #1 Biggest Tech Disappointment of 2007.

"The user account controls that were supposed to make users feel safer just made them feel irritated. And at $399 ($299 upgrade) for Windows Ultimate, we couldn't help feeling more than a little gouged," remarked PC World's Dan Tynan.

"No wonder so many users are clinging to XP like shipwrecked sailors to a life raft, while others who made the upgrade are switching back. And when the fastest Vista notebook PC World has ever tested is an Apple MacBook Pro, there's something deeply wrong with the universe."

For me personally, I'm rather indifferent to Vista -- I don't hate it, but I also don't love it. I currently own two PCs: a HP desktop with Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 RC1 installed and an Eee PC 4G with Windows XP Home SP2 (nLite’d of course). I don't game on either machine and I mainly use both for Internet, email and productivity (Office 2007 on the desktop, OpenOffice Portable on the Eee PC).

I routinely go back and forth between both machines during the day and don't miss anything in particular from either machine (feature wise) with regards to the operating system. In other words, given my usage model, I could use my Eee PC all day and not really long to be on my Vista-equipped desktop.

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I wish
By blackseed on 12/17/2007 12:27:34 PM , Rating: 2
You know, I wish MS would make their OS smaller not bigger. Like knoppix, or tinylinux with little gui in them.

Back in the days, MS Windows 3.1 used to be like 5 HD floppies. Linux was like 3 HD floppies.

I don't know what the size of IE7 is but Firefox 2.11 that I downloaded 2 days ago was close to 5.5 Megs. It does everything I wanted to do.

RE: I wish
By Xerio on 12/17/07, Rating: -1
RE: I wish
By 16nm on 12/17/2007 8:12:04 PM , Rating: 5
At least the retail boxes are pretty. Microsoft really nailed the packaging perfectly.

RE: I wish
By MrTeal on 12/17/2007 10:40:53 PM , Rating: 5
That's funny, I was cursing them today for the lack of legacy support. Not including winhlp32.exe and basically rendering every application help program of the last 10 years unuseable is a pretty crappy move, IMO.

RE: I wish
By TomZ on 12/18/2007 9:35:09 AM , Rating: 3
It's easy to add back in:

But WinHelp is an ancient help file format, and I think Microsoft wanted to create a little pain for application developers that are still using it even though there are much better alternatives around. Otherwise Microsoft would have to support it for another couple of decades.

RE: I wish
By 16nm on 12/19/2007 12:53:23 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry to hear that. I must confess, I'm learning to like Vista. I do like the more refined interface. It's pretty. The best thing about Vista is that you can load Virtual PC and run Windows XP and Windows 2000 right on your Vista install. This way you can get the Vista A.E.R.O. eye candy without losing the productivity of earlier Windows. Flip3D is nice. I wish it was activated with the more familiar Alt-Tab key combination instead. Alt-Tab are always the most worn keys on my keyboards.

RE: I wish
By bdewong on 12/17/2007 12:56:13 PM , Rating: 5
Well the next OS Microsoft builds should be quite a bit smaller as it is based off of the min-win kernel. The code name right now is Windows 7.

I think that, as with most OS's, they are trying to add more features rather than keep the size down.

My wish is for the next version to have a lot of install options so you can get the small size with less features ranging to large size and lots of features. But i still believe it should default to the latter options to keep everything there for people who don't know better. That way supporting such users would be easier.

RE: I wish
By TomZ on 12/17/07, Rating: 0
RE: I wish
By Spivonious on 12/17/2007 1:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
According to Thurrot, Windows 7 is based on the Min-Win kernel.

RE: I wish
By TomZ on 12/17/2007 1:56:58 PM , Rating: 1
Yes and no. If you define MinWin = NTOS kernel, then of course Windows 7 will be based off that, just like Vista and previous versions of Windows were. But when most people talk about MinWin, they are alluding to some highly minimal text-mode core OS that people could use separately, as Eric Traut described in his talk. I don't see any information anywhere (including from Thurrot) that indicates this will be a separable part of Windows 7. It's all about semantics really.

And a lot of ignorant tech websites have extrapolated that Microsoft is working on a super-lean OS based on MinWin, which is completely incorrect.


RE: I wish
By SoCalBoomer on 12/17/2007 6:00:06 PM , Rating: 4
Which, strangely, is exactly what Thurrott said.

3. Its all semantics. People use the word "kernel" to mean different things, which confuses matters. "When I say kernel/MinWin, what I'm saying is that the kernel is NTOS kernel, the core of Windows that runs in kernel mode,"

So, you use Thurrott to debunk something that Thurrott, in that same article, is saying is likely to happen.

Or are you calling Thurrott's site "an ignorant tech website" - because I don't see why you'd do that or what cred you have in order to do that.

RE: I wish
By BMFPitt on 12/17/2007 2:41:03 PM , Rating: 2
My wish is for the next version to have a lot of install options so you can get the small size with less features ranging to large size and lots of features.
What ever happened to that, anyway? I shouldn't need a 3rd party app (nLite/vLite) to get rid of useless (to me) features in my OS.

RE: I wish
By TomZ on 12/17/2007 3:02:30 PM , Rating: 2
I personally prefer to, for an OS or an app, just install everything up-front, so that (a) I don't have to learn about all the possible optional features at install time, and (b) so that I don't have to hassle with updating the installation later to add features that I didn't know I needed.

In the meantime, features I don't need just sit dormant on the HDD until I need them. The benefit of this simplicity far exceeds the value of the HDD savings, since HDD space typically costs $0.25-0.50/GB at the moment.

RE: I wish
By BMFPitt on 12/17/2007 3:22:16 PM , Rating: 5
It's not about the hard drive space, it's about the waste of (CPU/RAM) resources and the sheer annoyance of some features. Though each successive Windows release since Win95 has gotten better with the random junk (remember that stupid Disney sidebar?) that they installed on your desktop by default.

I'd be fine keeping these features sitting on the drive as long as Windows didn't run them.

RE: I wish
By TomZ on 12/17/2007 3:40:04 PM , Rating: 2
What things in Vista are wasting CPU/RAM resources, specifically?

I can recognize that Vista runs better with more RAM than XP, however, RAM is probably 1/4 the cost it was when XP came out, so I don't see that as a big issue.

RE: I wish
By StevoLincolnite on 12/17/2007 3:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
The price of ram never really fluctuates much its basically the Price per Mb that fluctuates. - Except back in 2001 when Memory prices increased dramatically, which was one of the reasons 3dfx went out of business.
For Instance a 64mb stick years ago could cost as much as a 1gb stick these days.

RE: I wish
By TomZ on 12/17/07, Rating: -1
RE: I wish
By kamel5547 on 12/17/2007 4:07:53 PM , Rating: 1
Ok... that makes no sense IMO.

The price of soda never really fluctuates much its basically the Price per fluid oz. that fluctuates.

Plus, if you were to compare the price of 1GB of ram to the price years ago the price would have 'fluctuated'.

RE: I wish
By StevoLincolnite on 12/18/2007 5:21:48 AM , Rating: 2
Yes it would have, but 1gb is relatively small these days and for the price back then you would have gotten a 256mb stick for the "same price" the price really never changes much, just sizes and features increase.

RE: I wish
By glitchc on 12/18/2007 10:25:09 PM , Rating: 2

Yes it would have, but 1gb is relatively small these days and for the price back then you would have gotten a 256mb stick for the "same price" the price really never changes much, just sizes and features increase.

I think what you are trying to say is that the minimum required for each new OS generation costs the same as it did for the previous generation. As in 256 MB was minimum for XP, and it cost just as much then as 1GB, being the minimum for Vista, does today.

Now that the point is clarified, it can be properly debunked since 1) 256MB of RAM was more expensive back then than 1GB is now, by at least twice as much actually 2) the dollar's purchasing power has not been adjusted for inflation, so the dollar is actually worth less now than it was 5 years ago.

Phrasing it better helps, doesn't it?

RE: I wish
By StevoLincolnite on 12/19/2007 3:28:24 AM , Rating: 3
Minimum for XP was 64mb, Vista 512mb. (Although double/Quad-druple that for best results).

RE: I wish
By TomZ on 12/19/2007 8:58:12 AM , Rating: 2
XP doesn't run well on 64MB - never did. While theoretically possible, performance would be so terrible that it is not practical.

RE: I wish
By StevoLincolnite on 12/21/2007 1:20:11 AM , Rating: 2
Depends on how much tweaking you did to you're XP install, And you just proved my point, it does run on 64mb systems and the minimum is not 512mb.

RE: I wish
By bangmal on 12/23/2007 3:14:40 PM , Rating: 1
I throw you a bone. The min ram requirement for xp is 640KB, and vista is 32GB.

RE: I wish
By Xerio on 12/17/2007 3:41:05 PM , Rating: 2
Amen. It is a sad thing that I have to use an nLite CD now for all my Windows installations.

RE: I wish
By The0ne on 12/21/2007 6:20:43 PM , Rating: 2
It happened because many users including some magazines editors (PC Magizne) wanted a more simple non-interactive install process. You click install and walk away type of requirement. Granted Win95 didn't have much to select/deselect during installation but could have been expanded on.

As for legacy drivers well, what would you do if you were in MS position and had millions of users with various configurations. And they you have companies that refuse to support the products with drivers and updated drivers and so forth. Yes, it's bloated and all but it does solve the issue of compatibility to some extent.

I'm like the author. I don't hate Vista but I don't like it any better than XP. So given the choice when I do want to play games, work with audio and video, and work on long documents I end up going back to Vista for stability, compatability and most importantly ease of mind that I know XP isn't going to do strange things to me. Vista is still a learning curve.

RE: I wish
By TomZ on 12/17/2007 1:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
You know, I wish MS would make their OS smaller not bigger.

I disagree, I don't understand, nor do I share your desire for minimalism in the OS. These days it is easy to afford lots of memory, huge HDDs, and fast processors - I'd like the OS to take advantage of those resources by providing richer APIs for applications, better self-diagnosis, a richer GUI experience, support for more types of hardware devices, etc.

RE: I wish
By arazok on 12/17/2007 2:33:42 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. The time for making the OS more efficient will be when Moore's law runs out in ~10 years. Until then, recourses are better spent adding capabilities to the OS.

This isn't to say that MS shouldn't attempt to do things efficiently, just that they don't need to bend over backwards trying.

RE: I wish
By TomZ on 12/17/2007 2:52:32 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you, and so far, I have seen no evidence that Vista does anything inefficiently.

RE: I wish
By arazok on 12/17/2007 4:13:16 PM , Rating: 2
Not true. One of MS recent hot fixes (I can find out which one if you like), which will be in SP1 is something that will extend the battery life on laptops. They did this by improving the way graphics are drawn to the screen. In a nutshell, unless something changes on a given pixel, they don't tell the graphics card to redraw it, causing less power draw.

There are certanly thousands of areas where MS could reinvent the wheel to do the same things better. It's such a complex system that it's impossible for there not to be.

RE: I wish
By TomZ on 12/17/2007 4:24:00 PM , Rating: 2
Vista is doing more work with Aero enabled, compared to XP, so it is not surprising that it is consuming a little more power to do so. And just because Microsoft is optimizing the code to reduce power consumption doesn't mean the original implementation was "inefficient."

Here's a little background on this issue:,1000000091,3928...

RE: I wish
By OblivionMage on 12/17/2007 3:57:50 PM , Rating: 5
People have this odd desire for smaller OS's that run faster and faster with more and more features.

RE: I wish
By ThePooBurner on 12/21/2007 8:18:19 AM , Rating: 2
If i may put a small spin on a popular phrase on these forums to demonstrate why people have this desire

"New Computer, New OS, Food. Choose any 2."

In this example, no matter which 2 choices are made there should be an improvement gained. If you cannot gain improvement from a choice then there is no reason to make it and you should stick to what you have. Currently selecting options 2 and 3 give no improvement. In some cases 1 and 2 give no impovement :) (and might cause death to boot!)

A more efficient OS is better for everyone. Something with as little bloatware as possible is better because it allows for better, faster testing and fewer holes. When you have as much crap as is put into windows as part of the core OS instead of being an addon/modular type deal it the list of things that can go wrong increases greatly. Kind of like adding more drives to a RAID0 setup without redundancy. Plus when all those things are loaded from boot, whether being used or not, it just adds to the chance of things messing up, not working right, or steals preformance from the things you actually want to do. This is why I'll be sticking to XP pro for quite a while. And as soon as i can i'll be making myself a CD with nlite.

RE: I wish
By mindless1 on 12/21/2007 9:07:19 PM , Rating: 2
You choose not to understand. You have to pay for a new OS, huge HDD, and faster processor just to compensate.

Hundreds of dollars later all you can say is then "it seems to do as well as XP now". What a waste of resources, money, time.

The hardware should be put towards the application, not merely the OS to run the app. If/when someone has an app that needs Vista, by all means then they have a requirement to make these concessions. Otherwise by conceding you need all this hardware changed you have already made the point you were trying to argue against.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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