Minimal IT logo and link to home page
Research, training, consultancy and software to reduce IT costs
Home | About | Newsletter | Contact
Previous | Next Printer friendly
13 February 2007

I love Vista, I hate Vista

By Andrew Clifford

Vista is a great improvement on earlier Windows versions, but it does little to protect your investment in learning, in software, and in data.

Last week I bought a Windows Vista laptop. Setting up the new laptop reminded me why I love Windows, and why I hate Windows.

The new Windows Vista interface is lovely. It just works. The new security features give some reassurance that, at last, Microsoft has produced a reasonably secure OS.

Some of the newer features are great fun. I managed some basic photo editing using only the voice recognition (that would make a great party game). The new Windows explorer is superb. Little things, like renaming a file without accidentally changing its extension, are done much better in Vista.

That's what I love about Windows. It's easy to use, packed full of features, and gets better with every version.

But I hit problems setting up the new laptop, which reminded me why I hate Windows. I had some problems because I am not a Windows expert. That's the first reason I hate Windows. Many years ago I was an expert in Windows 3.1. But then everything changed for Windows 95. And then Windows 98, then NT, then XP, and now Vista. Even though I use Windows every day, the investment of my time in learning Windows is undermined.

I had a problem migrating contacts from Outlook 2000. In the end, I had to install the Mozilla Thunderbird email client, and use that to import from Outlook and export to a format that Windows Mail would read. I am sure that there is a way to migrate directly from Outlook, but it is a damming indictment of Microsoft that it was easier to use competing open source products.

Most software installations worked without a hitch. Vista has a very sensible feature that stops you making global changes to configuration files, and invisibly applies changes to a separate virtual store so that the changes apply only to your account. This is just what you need, most of the time. But it took me hours to configure a Windows service that does not run under my personal account. Vista warned me twice that I was updating an important file, but it did not tell me my updates might be ignored. And I could not find anything about it in Windows help.

Finally, my backups stopped working. I use the file synchronisation utility rsync to maintain a copy of important files on a separate Linux computer. But my usually simple backup routine stopped working because file permissions have changed.

I love Windows because it's easy to use and works really well. But I hate Windows because it does not respect the effort I put in to learning, or the investment I have made in setting up software and maintaining data. Every new version introduces subtle new incompatibilities.

From my one week's experience of Vista, I would recommend it wholeheartedly. But I am still wary of Microsoft. If you want to keep the value of your investments in learning, in software, and in data, Vista does little for you.

Next: The limits of IT process management

Subscription

To subscribe to the newlsetter, simply send an email to newsletter-subscribe@minimalit.com.
Privacy policy

Subscribe to RSS feed

Latest newsletter:
Magical metadata

We use the term "metadata-driven" to describe IT solutions in which functionality is defined in data. Taking this to the extreme can provide unparalleled levels of speed, simplicity and versatility.
Read full newsletter

System governance

System governance helps you implement high-quality systems, manage existing systems proactively, and improve failing systems.

Try it for free!

Find out more