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on 1 February 2007
Anyone considering upgrading their existing PC to Windows Vista should wait at least six months before doing so.

Having bought the upgrade on launch day, I am still endeavouring to get it fully functioning. Considering that Vista is over two years late in being released, I am staggered at the number of companies who have yet to provide updated drivers for their hardware components. Creative, HP, Dell and Logitech to name but a few have yet to have finished versions for all but their newest hardware and whilst ATI have released drivers, they appear very basic and have obviously been rushed out as a temporary measure.

Don't think you can install all your existing programs either, many will fall foul of the new User Access Control feature whose sole purpose seems to want to prevent you running anything not written by Microsoft!

I am now seriously considering reinstalling Windows XP until the world's component manufacturers get their act together.

All in all, a very disappointing upgrading experience.
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on 18 August 2007
This is where the Amazon review system really works. If many different customers have so often had the same poor experience it's no coincidence: obviously if you have a good experience with this O/S then you're one of the lucky ones.

I'm a fairly advanced computer user and on the basis of these and reviews I changed my recent choice of a powerful new computer to one with XP Pro and NOT Vista. I'm so grateful: I'm a computer liaison officer at work, and several of my colleagues have got Vista on their home machines and are already clamouring for help with programs not working, infuriating "security" (we don't need our computers securing from OURSELVES!! that's not the point!) and endless hardware problems. They were fooled into thinking that the glossy looks and newness meant that they would be "left behind" if they stuck with the "old" system. This illustrates perfectly how you should always check that the computer is working for you, not the other way around... if it's OK you're just wasting time and money by changing it unnecessarily.

One thing that isn't mentioned much is the sheer waste of so many peripherals being thrown away because of incompatibility with Vista. A rash of small printers, modems and even monitors has appeared at our local tip. And all for what? XP is more customizable in terms of desktop appearance than it's given credit for, and you could have had the "Aero" style transparent looks with a completely free Linux distribution years ago (not an exaggeration: KDE desktop on my old machine runs fantastic transparent effects, handy searches and tabbing etc.).

The only advantage to this power-hungry, space-guzzling, over-"secure" nuisance is if you're desperate to try out new games using Direct X 10... but time soon catches up with DX versions, and better OSs are bound to emerge soon that give the advantages without the drawbacks. Plus, there's no guarantee that DX10-ready hardware will actually work with Vista, some of it's already out of date. Forget what's new: choose what's right for you. A good new Windows O/S should be LESS power-, energy- and space-demanding, not more, and MORE back-compatible, not less. Until we get this, it's XP for gaming & media, and Linux for productivity, security and speed, as far as I'm concerned.
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on 2 April 2007
Ok, here's my issue with Vista. I bought a new PC with Vista Home Premium pre-installed. On first viewing I was fairly impressed with the layout and some of the new features. Then I decided to start installing software and additional hardware, big mistake!

Firstly, the brand new HP printer that came bundled with the PC had no supporting driver for Vista, only XP. The HP support on-line provided no update for Vista (for a brand new printer) with no further indication of doing so. Secondly, I could only manage to install about 5% of my software on Vista with so called "known compatibility issues" but again no updates available. The only items I have been successful with are Office XP and Star Wars Lego II, the force however is fading fast!

I purchased a Buffalo wireless modem/router and USB adaptor which again will not install properly with Vista and took over a week to manually configure. The AOSS security system cannot be installed as the Client Manager is not supported by Vista so owners of these items beware.

Fair enough, this operating system is new in this country, but the severe lack of compatible software and drivers is a total nightmare. It seems that there is more support for George Bush than Vista at the moment which says it all really.

Beware also if you try and re-install Vista after the whole thing goes belly-up as you will be constantly told that your validation key is invalid. After trying to re-activate on-line with no success I rang MS support and travelled the world after each call cut-off as I was typing out the handy 60 million digit security number like an octopus on speed to keep costs from going above the astronomical threshold.

I guess we will all have to wait until the world's technical sector catches up with Bill Gate's cash flow.
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on 11 June 2007
I was once a Microsoft fan. No longer. Windows Vista stinks! It's wrecked my work. Two months ago I bought brand new Dell computer fitted with Windows Vista. This replaced an earlier Dell fitted with Windows XP which worked successfully for four years. I work at my computer for hours each day, seven days a week.

Windows Vista is a disaster. I thought I was buying something better than XP - replacing an upright piano with a concert grand. But Vista is like a clapped-out violin used by a drunken street musician. It handles completely differently from XP - like trying to play a different musical instrument. And it's so SLOW! It takes much longer to start up my computer and close down than before.

Vista fails to do the simplest jobs. The damn computer keeps freezing up solid. I'm processing thousands of black and white photos. Images used to flash up on the screen with XP. Now they take minutes to appear. I used to be able to move rapidly from one image to another like a slide show - something that's essential it you're trying to select the best picture from a sequence of images that are similar. That's now impossible. The computer locks up solid after two or three images have appeared. If you copy a picture to a file and try to open that file too quickly the computer freezes. Often the only way to unfreeze the computer is to shut it down and start all over a gain - a process that takes ten to fifteen minutes. I'm having to do this a dozen times a day - something I never had to do with XP.

If you walk away from the computer for a few minutes and leave it unattended it freezes up! And yes, you have to close it down and start all over again.

If you work on the Internet for a few minutes, then want to process some pictures the computer locks up solid, and vice versa.

I could go on listing Vista faults - how it fails to work with other equipment etc, but I'd fill whole pages. What on earth possessed Microsoft to put this muck on the market? Dell tell me they've received so many complaints they're giving customers the choice of buying Windows XP instead. It's far superior to its modern replacement which has taken computer software back 20 years. I wish I could give it a minus rating - minus 100 stars. In the meantime my advice - avoid Windows Vista at all costs. It stinks!
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on 8 October 2007
Vista came preloaded with an Acer PC I purchased so I had no choice in my purchase...if I had, I'd have stuck with XP SP2.

Why? Because Vista is a shambles. I could forgive that somewhat, but it's also woefully SLOW. And that's a cardinal sin in this day and age.

The number of annoyances rank from just painful to bemused "why didn't they notice this" annoyances in no particular order:

* I created a user for my daughter as a standard login (ie, not an administrator user) thinking that the Parental Control would be useful. But turning on Parental Control clobbered a heap of underlying apps, include the CA Security Centre control panel (is the firewall still running, who can tell), my Internet modem and some of the Acer tools related to performance and security. So as it stands, Vista's Parental Control is a great idea that's useless.

* After downloading Adobe Reader 8 I double clicked to install it. Vista asked whether I wanted to execute the software, 'yes' I do...nothing happens. So I try again and get an error from Adobe telling me a copy of the installer is already running (and it creates a text file to that effect, not sure why). But running where? Look at Task Manager and sure enough, there is an instance of the installer as a process. Now Acrobat Reader 8 is **supposed** to work with Vista. And after some fussing around I found a way to run the .exe in Compatability mode with Windows XP SP 2. It then worked...but that was just luck and years of computing experience to even think of looking. It should have worked right off, not made me poke around trying things.

* My Vodafone GSM USB modem was hard to get working on XP (and that's worth another review in its own right) but once it was working on XP it survived reboots. I have had no end of trouble keeping the modem working between restarts. And if the modem is plugged in when I cold start then the PC just stops booting about half the time. (Which prompts a thought that it **could** be that it's trying to boot off the modem as it appears to be a CDROM drive...if so, that's a tough problem to fix.) Still, what should be a plug and play device is a beast to tame and still causing issues, especially if you log off and log in as another user. Very tedious indeed.

* As an administrator I can't see other users directories...and then I can. This is ultra strange as on one login session I could see my daughters user files, but not my wifes. A reboot later and it's the other way around. And one time I could see all my daughters files except her 'Documents' directory. No idea why this would be, but it was.

* Users who upgrade to Vista would have made a backup in XP and want to extract files from it. I have Vista Home Premium and it does not include a restore app that understands the XP format (and we're talking Microsoft's own software here, not some third party app). You **can** do a restore from XP files but you need to download -- from the Microsoft site no less -- a restore app **and** enable a service (can't recall it's exact name) to make it all hang together. Go figure...

* Vista stops...takes a big, big breath for 30-40 seconds...then starts again. The mouse pointer still moves, but everything else is frozen. And I'm not kidding, it really is tens of seconds. It's done it half a dozen times now in just a few days for no obvious reason and with no obvious trigger and it drives me crazy!! The first couple of times I did a hard power off because I thought it had died. Now I wait it out and it comes back in its own sweet time. Perhaps it's a distributed process calculating the current interest payment on the Microsoft Corporate Account or something but I wish it didn't go bye bye like that.

* A real bugbear is that my Acer did not include any OEM CDROM or DVD with Vista on it so I can't even try a reinstall to tweak the system. I think that's a real con for all sorts of reasons but it's a trend apparently. Of course, Acer have helped out by giving me two DVDs labelled 'Blank recovery DVD'. I kid you not :-)

These are just a few of the quirks that have made coming to Vista really painful and I shudder to think how a new-to-Windows user would cope with it all, especially as it's being loaded on so many new PCs. But I also recall similar issues with XP when it was first released, so I guess it's just computing deja vu.

Now we could get into an esoteric discussion about the real flaw of Vista - it's user interface. I'll just state that I HATE the default theme. It's 100% lipstick on the pig IMHO and just sucks big time. Ugly, clunky, slow, unnecessary, fussy...put your own adjectives here.

In particular, Windows Explorer is rank!! I can't properly describe how it tries to show you the directory structure as a set of discrete names, but it's all so confusing because underneath it still has C:\ etc etc. Which it tries to hide, until you have to scratch a little and then it exposes it. God knows what a newbie will make of how directories work because I'm having trouble discerning why/when/how it decides a transitions from one to the other.

Microsoft et al will fix compatability issues; they will tweak the performance; they will bundle in a few more apps to keep us punters happy...but Microsoft aint Apple and their user design team just don't seem to get it.

Basically, it's really hard work and you fight a very confused and very cluttered screen real estate. If the main criteria for a new release is that it should be easier to use than the last one then Microsoft has completely failed. (I know, the main criteria is that Microsoft needs another O/S release to feed the retail cash cow but I did preface this with 'if...')

So, my summary - Vista is horrible. And did I mention it's slow?? But like death and taxes it's pretty much unavoidable given that every new PC from volume retailers has it preloaded. It is a real pity because Microsoft missed the chance to make something worthwhile.
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on 8 June 2007
Usual Microsoft rubbish - they've had how many years to test, get beta tested, get hardware and software suppliers on board, and still I get BSODs (sadly missed since Win 95, honest..!). Some of my software and hardware work and some of them don't - and some of the ones that don't, I spent a lot of money on buying very recently, so I'm a bit annoyed...

I only bought vista because I lost my XP disk a while back when moving house - for some stupid reason, I figured that I might as well get the latest version when rebuilding the pc. Why, oh why, did I not learn my lesson from XP, and,... come to think of it, why on earth didn't Microsoft...!!!
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on 16 June 2007
I upgraded my HP Pavilion dv6152eu laptop to Windows Vista Home Premium at no cost so i can't say its been a waste of money! Installation was a nightmare - 5 hours of trawling through installshield wizards etc and when prompted during installation to create a user password i did so for the sake of it. Little did i know that the next time i logged on the computer would not accept my correct password (trust me - about 20 attempts of typing the correct one). I had to wait another day to get help from a pc retailer who reinstalled vista for me - didn't create a password this time thank goodness. Once installed everything works well but i had to install countless drivers to get everything to work on vista. My integrated webcam was almost impossible to find on the system and is not as smooth as before. Sure, the Aero interface looks nice but i expected it to be amazing and i'm sort of bored of it already. The big downside to Vista Home Premium is the RAM usage - with just an Internet Explorer page open over 52ish percent of the RAM is being used (i have 1gb RAM). This is after the RAM usage settles down after start-up (it takes a short-while to drop from the 60s and 70s. The least aesthetically appealing function yet the most useful is the Search function in the Start menu - definetely speeds things up. Microsoft say in their various marketing ploys that Vista makes you "more productive" and "safer". But as a student i find the whole experience a distraction from getting on with work and suggest that those who put productivity high on their priority list stick to XP as you won't get distracted so much by fancy visual enhancements. The only way that i can see that Vista is safer is that almost everytime i open an application regarding installation, anti-virus, drivers etc, a message pops up saying - click OK if you chose to open this blah blah. I think i've just convinced myself to go back to XP! However if like me your pc isn't just for work some of the features such as sidebar gadgets will provide some entertainment (i have a gadget where you type in what you want and the computer says the text aloud - some childish fun!)
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on 11 June 2007
I am a writer, using XP which has been excellent. Then, buying a new computer, persuaded by a big name company that it had to have Vista to be 'up-to-date'. It has been nothing but trouble. It is much more complicated to use, is not user-friendly and does not do the job. I have wasted a great deal of money. Dr Jack Angelo, South Wales.
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on 29 August 2007
For those of us who remember how bad ME was, this is the new ME. I've just spent 6 hours rescuing a friend's PC from a failed Vista "upgrade". The upgrade took absolutely ages despite the PC being well over the minimum spec. Endless check boxes and multiple driver problems. Then could not get onto the internet to download new drivers because it clashed with the wireless LAN.

We tried to uninstall but couldn't do that either. System restore didn't work so we eventually reformatted the HDD (having backed up critical files first). Then reinstalled XP and then reinstalled the Vista upgrade. Finally, after 6 hours we got it working tolerably but there were still driver issues.

After all that, it wasn't worth the wait. Too many pretty pretty animations and too slow to actually do any work. Forget the Aero interface, it's pretty but a complete waste of code. If you're the sort of user that has to have a new ringtone for your mobile every week, you'll love Vista. If you are even a semi-serious computer user, you'll stay with XP or even Win 98.

Most of the single star rating reviews on this site are correct in their known problems with Vista and also the comments about use. The big WOW factor is that MS have managed to con so many people into buying this garbage.
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on 30 May 2007
Can't work out how this product can be 5 stars. Have had Vista 24 hours, received untold exception errors and one BSOD already, and that's just from internal functionality, NOT 3rd party apps. Oh, and none of your XP licensed software will run on it, so you'll need to purchase new software!

Just like Pammy, pretty front end, nothing behind it. Don't buy Vista (pre-SP1) unless you're a Sys Admin looking to familiarise yourself with the product.
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