Sunday, November 9, 2008

Vista = Blows. Windows 7 = ?

I'm disappointed, but I'm not sure exactly where the full extent of the disappointment lies. It's kinda all over the map on this one...

I'm (continuously) disappointed in Windows Vista, and have been ever since it officially launched. That I actually bought it willingly, in Japan, for many yen is disappointing. I was disappointed in hardware manufacturers for pretending to be caught off guard by Vista's release, when I personally had the beta a year before it ever launched. More disappointing is the fact that my Vista install disc just sits in my software binder, doing ... nothing. For a long time, I had my main rig set to dual boot it and XP, but I gave up ever deciding which I'd boot into during a power cycle; and had, in fact, shortened the time allotted to making that decision to a mere 5 seconds so my computer just get on with loading XP that much faster.

Game performance in XP versus Vista is night and day (or afternoon and evening at the very least), and there is precisely ZERO reason to ever boot into Vista, given the choice between the two operating systems. A cuter start menu and shinier version of Windows Media Player do not a "revolutionary breakthrough in Windows" make. Directx 10 was supposed to be some big deal, and ... uhh... that sentence doesn't even really require a proper ending.

I'm disappointed in the 18 versions of Vista they tried to shove down everyone's throats (Ultimate, Regular, Uber Duber, That Version With the Bagel Toaster, The One You Can't Do Shit With), was disappointed that my laptop came preinstalled with Vista on it, and was extremely disappointed when Toshiba tried to pretend XP drivers for my laptop didn't exist. The biggest disappointment had to be the Big Fucking Screaming Orc Sticker plastered on my laptop that proclaimed it to be a 'gaming system', and how miserably it failed at gaming until a full year later when they released the second (and probably final) graphics driver that addressed the following...

Corrected issues from previous versions

  1. When installed on Satellite P100/P105 computers with BIOS 4.20, display driver improves "video stuttering" during game play, and 3D performance.
...especially after they denied there was a problem for a good 12 months (and, no, vanilla geforce drivers didn't work, because they didn't recognize the proprietary Toshiba cooling system, and would just overheat the card if used). Toshiba finally allowed you to install XP over Vista, then call Microsoft and tell them you bought a laptop with Vista preinstalled, and wished to downgrade your license to XP. When asked were I was supposed to come up with an XP CD and serial for the install, Toshiba actually 'wished me luck with that' on the phone. I suppose Toshiba can't just come right out and say 'torrent that fucker, and grab a keygen while you're at it' over the phone, but I'm pretty sure that it was implied.

On top of all of this, I was disappointed to find recently that Microsoft has already given up on Vista and moved on to the newer (and shinier) "Windows 7" ...nevermind the fact that this isn't the seventh version of Windows by any stretch of the imagination. To think how foolish I was buying the original Vista, and thinking 'well, at least I'll be good on this one for a while, and can stop calling Microsoft support to activate each time I reinstall XP'. Haha! Got me on that one; I called Microsoft just the other day when I fucked up my system, and decided it would probably just be for the better to reinstall and wipe the drives anyway. I actually tried to just install Vista from scratch, but was told the installer wouldn't run from a clean drive, I had to launch it from inside XP, since I purchased a lol-grade.

Here's how upgrading to Vista works: You put the disc in your drive (in XP), point the installer to your hard drive, and it formats the drive after a reboot. That's the clean way to do it. Otherwise you can overwrite your old install, and you end up with a bunch of shit on your drive like a "Windows.OLD" folder that serves no purpose, and a fucked up registry that just laughs at you when you try to launch previously installed applications. God forbid your drive is already formatted. You'd have to install XP, then erase the install. I installed it previously to a D: partition, and while that worked (C: was still XP), every app I'd install would try and install to the C drive, and it was just a pain in the ass. Hmm, here's an idea: how about I just install XP, and then just use that instead of fucking around with Vista at all? Sound good?

But here's the biggest disappointment of all: I downloaded this mysterious new Windows 7 beta off a torrent on a whim, and installed it over my old Vista partition, since after installing XP last time it destroyed my dual boot menu system anyway, and there was a free partition doing nothing on my system. Imagine my surprise when it not only installed from boot to the second partition, but went ahead and called that partition C as well! It even did a neat trick where it doesn't even mount the XP drive while Windows 7 is active, to prevent novice users from seeing two drives with \windows folders, and getting them confused on where to install things. There's an honest to god difference in the taskbar layout, and a general feeling of 'this is different than XP'. I didn't bother reading up on all the new features, but have just stumbled across many on my own, without being told how to use them.

I'm not retarded, and know that ridiculously intelligent people work at Microsoft. You don't get to be Microsoft by just hamfisting shit into a box and hoping it sells, which is why Vista threw me for a loop. Just when XP finally became solid and functional (I remember XP's launch too, it wasn't exactly lollipops and sunshine), along comes Vista to fuck it all up again. There wasn't anything drastically radical about Vista, though, I just figured it was time for a new OS. Windows 7 feels different, though... I mean, really... how different can something be, and still be Windows? Remember how the sidebar was supposed to be this awesome thing that was going to replace the taskbar? It was one of the first things most people disabled. Remember how UAC was going to revolutionize security? I love reading articles where they still insist that having it enabled is a good thing. It's such a huge pain in the ass that it's the second thing I disable. I also use Linux as root, so sue me. Having a retarded dialog box pop up asking "HEY IS THIS OK?" and then having an OK button right fucking there to push isn't going to rescue anyone from ruining their system, in the same way that making me enter the root password every time I want to do something useful in Linux isn't going to make me change my mind about whatever I was going to do in the first place.

7, while not earth shattering, has a few cool little features. There's one where you can pin items directly to the taskbar, and when you hover over them, you see any instances open, and clicking and dragging upwards (I have no idea how I even came across this, I think it was just accident) pulls up a handy menu showing honest to god useful shortcuts for that item... here's the shortcut menu for explorer shown to the right... it's not really showcasing what I'm talking about, but maybe you get the idea. It's not just making a shortcut to launch the item, it's creating a mini version of the program that offers simple uses that you can access without having to launch a full instance of it. I'm writing this on my laptop, so I can't just pop off some screenshots, but the interface for Windows 7 actually feels like it makes sense in a new way, instead of just being a more shiny (and slower) version of XP.

OH BUT IXO! I THOUGHT YOU WERE DISAPPOINTED IN WINDOWS 7! That's the thing... I'm actually disappointed in myself for seriously liking it. I've been so dismally upset about dealing with Vista, that I'm ashamed of myself for having any kind of faith that this will somehow be different. I'm sure I'll still be chugging along on XP in 2012, playing WoW 3, and downloading ancient MP3 files to listen to west coast gangster rap albums from 1993.

If Vista has had one redeeming moment, it would be the fact that my Vista RC1 key that I receieved from Microsoft oh so long ago (June 9th, 2006 says gmail) actually works for the Windows 7 betas floating around, and allow me to legitimately activate my copy, letting Windows 7 work for a year instead of only 30 days. It's pretty sad that I'll probably get more use out of a release candidate for Windows 7 than I will from the final retail copy of Vista I purchased.



Anonymous said...

I got Vista (business version, whatever that means) about a year ago for free through my school. I still have my XP install and I still have that 30 second timer, but only because I'm too lazy to change it. I've not once had any reason to boot to XP, and have had no problems with Vista. I guess its really a hit or miss depending on your system specs. For me, there is basically zero difference on games running Vista vs XP.

I don't really have a preference, but Vista is shiny, so I'll stick with it.

Anonymous said...

Early vista adopters are the ones with bad tastes in their mouths. the hardware manufactures dropped the ball pretty badly too.
"Vista Capable" haha not really.

i use vista on 3 recent computers every day. xp and linux on others. i have no problems what so ever with vista. even my home 64bit ultimatzor that i was sure was going to bite me in the ass at some point with weird 64bit restrictions.
even my vista buisness laptop runs fine. it even runs warhammer decently. (window mode, with most of the graphics still turned on)

it has to be hit or miss somewhere though. i remember setting up someones off the shelf pc and wanting to throw it across the room. between vista nagging and hp nagging it was a pretty awful experience.

7 looks pretty good, i havn't gotten a beta copy yet because i dont care that much. it should be vista sp2. not go out and drop another 100+

oh and it is technically the 7th. vista is 6.

Anonymous said...

You bought a Toshiba that is an instant +4 fail points.

That being said I have already decided to never own Vista. If I ever hear a solid reason to do so I might go on and make the purchase but rants like these appear far too often for me to drop my much loved XP.

Anonymous said...

Yeah... I just use a Mac and leave my gaming up to the 360. It's like having Microsoft and Apple in the same house without either of them ending up sleeping on the couch. However, since my iMac is the latest and greatest one, it has some pretty good specs on it, so I've set up Boot Camp to dual-boot XP.

I've been a Windows guy till recently anyway (Vista pushed me over the edge to the Mac) and while I don't think I'll ever switch again (once you go Mac, you don't go black... or back... or er... awkward :-\), I'm kinda looking forward to some of the new features in 7. Great "first impressions" article!

Melf_Himself said...

Vista is the purest example of the great conspiracy between Microsoft and PC manufacturers to drive up system requirements needlessly so that we have to forever upgrade our PC's.

I say purest because it hogs more resources without offering any additional functionality.

Down with Vista. What is the resource consumption like with Windows 7 I wonder?

Rich said...

I should point out (for the sake of fairness) that I don't hate hate hate vista like I used to (when I early-adopted), but like i said: given the choices between it or XP on startup, i always choose XP on my main rig.

The laptop, now that the driver issue is worked out, is actually a decent gaming machine (finally). I game with it on vista, and it works, but it worked better when i rigged it up with XP. eventually, though, I ended up reformatting it, and didn't want to deal with the hassle of explaining the whole "toshiba said i could downgrade my license" shit on the phone with MS, so i just did the factory restore disk thing and have run with vista on it ever since.

Actually, now that I think about it, this might be the best system to actually install 7 on, because I'll be forced to play around with it in a pretty non demanding environment. The laptop is just for making files for my classes, and I'm sure 7 could handle acrobat and word without too much of a strain, even if it is just RC-whatever.

I may do that actually, now that I think about it. If it ends up being a hassle, I could just factory disk it back to vista ultimate at the drop of a hat.

Anonymous said...

In my short time working at MS (I'm in commercial support-Dynamics) I have developed a strange take on Vista, which I had not used prior to my employment on August 18. It seems as if MS tried to continue to make an OS for enthusiasts, while continuing on the path of idiot-proofing machines. What we ended up making was something that didn't work for either. From everything I have heard from those actually participating in the beta the new OS has made base level functionality easy for the idiot, while focusing on compatibility issues for enthusiasts. My friends in the beta are very excited about it, and are more nerd-ragey about Vista than most. Just don't tar and feather me if it sucks when it comes out, though I will be unemployed if that occurs anyway.

Unknown said...

To all of you Vista lovers and haters, get a Mac. You won't regret it!