Geordie World

I've been using Microsoft Windows Vista for less than an hour, probably less than half an hour so far and it's already sucking my will to live.

My Ex-Wife has just got herself a new laptop to replace the one she had that got well and truly trashed. I'm not sure if this is a work issued one or not, it's got the Business Edition of Vista on there, but no Office or anything (hence why she came to me to get it set up with Office and AOL for her).

This is my first experience of Vista, my old PC still has XP Home SP2 on it, and that remains in the cupboard for most of the time as I'm pretty much a Mac person now, but try not to let your preconceptions of that get in the way, I still use Windows a fair bit as most offices are kitted out with XP based networks and I've been intrigued by Vista for a while.

There's a lot of posts online (that usually get flamed to shit by Windows Fanboys) that simply state "Vista Sucks", so far, I'd have to agree, since starting the laptop up and going through a few simple tasks it's been a horrible horrible experience;

StartUp - Took it's time (I didn't time it), then this Welcome to Windows type box appeared, well the box appeared then the contents followed a few minutes later all the while teasing me with a "Open this at startup" checkbox that wouldn't un-check until it had fully loaded.

IE7 - Now IE7 is a hell of a lot better than most previous versions, the button that views all of your open tabs in thumbnail, cheers and I've used it on several XP machines. However it took ages to load, changing the homepage was an overly laborious task, it's got Google and Norton toolbars (not IE's fault but it all adds up), it went "Not Responding" for a bit (as does pretty much everything in Vista it seems) and when I typed in a query into the live search field it took a good few seconds before actually bothering to look.

Control Panel - Took ages to load, I had to wait for the progress bar to fill up before it showed anything, then it was a new fangled 'user friendly categories' view, and when I told it to go to classic view THAT took ages as well even just to load the damn icons!!

A brief look around the folders - or not so brief as each one (documents, Photos, Music), with nothing in took a good few seconds to open and display the nothing in them.

Windows Update - No longer has a handy start menu shortcut (that I've seen), so through the slow control panel again, then before it can run it has to upgrade Windows Update, fair enough, yes please, screen goes dark, dialog appears saying Windows needs my permission, trackpad clicks before I've realised and it's installing shit, oh no password input then?....Control panel dissappears.....I wait a minute or it done?... load Control Panel AGAIN, go to Windows Update, run it again, well it seems to be done, thanks for letting me know, XP was all about those damn speech bubbles, Vista's considerably more cagey, balance anyone?
31 updates (approx 60Mb), started at 13:08, it's now 13:33, it's still going.

So is this Vista's fault? Is Vista really that rubbish that it seems to be at the moment? Well that's clearly not the whole problem.

It's an HP laptop (Compaq nx7300), apparently it's running an Intel Celeron M processor (1.83GHz I think) and by the looks of it is kitted out with about 512Mb RAM, and Vista clearly doesn't like that, I'll be suggesting that she maxes the RAM in it as soon as poss (before madness sets in)

So the hardware is making it sluggish, is that the hardware's fault? Not entirely no, the system should be scaleable, you're gonna notice performance differences between systems obviously but it should be useable for Christ's sake! An the vendors should put an appropriate OS on their hardware, XP would probably be reasonably nippy on this laptop, Vista is a wheezing old man.

Aero - Fresh new Windows look, gone is the 'My First Computer' look of XP in is the 21st century snazz of the Vista desktop, get rid of "Start" in it's place the Windows flag, squash the windows control buttons, make the taskbar dark, change the colour of the windows. Transparency? I think I've already mentioned the performance issues here, plus I think you have to pay extra for that. 

13:52 Windows Update has finished and finally restarted, the clock now reads 04:52. Thanks. Change the TimeZone and we're back again. Oh and yay, I have a speech bubble telling me that updates were installed. Thanks.

Everything has a progress bar - Control Panel has one, Help has one, the cocking folders have one, what do you think that tells you about system performance, the fact that they coded a damn progress bar into the folder views!!!

Norton - Before you go off on one, I know it's not part of Windows, but this machine shipped with it and a shitload of others do. Back in the day (we're talking DOS 5 & 6 here) Norton kicked ass, Norton Commander, cheers! Now Norton sucks ass, I tried a Mac version once (thought about it to clear PC viruses off to save me inadvertently sending anything), it nearly killed my iBook, I took it off, cleaned up the mess and all was good. I used to have it on my PC, I took it off because the negative effects on performance were just ridiculous, and guarenteed this current HP laptop would benefit greatly from not having Norton-cocking-internet-safety-bollocks on it. Engage your windows firewall, don't click links in emails selling you Viagara, don't accept random attachments and steer clear of porn sites.

Another speech bubble asking me to "Help Make Windows Better", maybe Vista's chatty after all.

I'm supposed to be installing some AOL and Office software on here, if I'm honest, I'm a little concerned and not at all looking forward to that particular process. I'm typing this on my MacBook btw, mainly cos I was running Windows Update so just left it alone, also because I feel much better typing it on here (despite Safari 3's annoying little quirks)

OK, I need her AOL username/password to d/l the latest version and Office can wait. One final niggle (for now), clicking the big 'power button' in the start menu, doesn't shut the computer down, I think it hibernates it, maybe they should've had a sleeping bear icon instead.

Kevin Smith

His films may be a tad hit n miss, but his Q&A's are top!

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