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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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The Problem with Windows Vista Durable Link to this BLOG
The Thing With Vista

Of course, there's all this news about Windows Vista. From the Mohavo Experiment to Hiring of Seinfield. But the truth remains that Vista is very painful to use for complex tasks, for the simple reason that instead of building on top of prior user acquired expertise, it recreates the rules of usability. IMO, this is the fundamental flaw with Vista, much more than the perception.

FYI: I run a software company and computer company. So I know the pains of Vista first hand. Some notes.

  • When Vista came out, I asked the Microsoft evangelist what I could develop for Vista that I could not develop for XP. They all said it was a great question, but had no answer, because the underlying .NET development platform was common to both. In other words, there is no one Vista application that is also not available for Windows XP.
  • A number of consumer models came with Vista 64. To give you the dearth of 64 bit applications, I will give you a simple example -- there is not even a good 64 bit browser available. Lots of applications simply won't work. Even with 64Bit IE, the MSN toolbar won't work. I know of so many customers who had to void their warranty and downgrade to Windows XP.
  • About the UAC (User Access Control) the less said the better. If you study the Unix operating system, this same problem is handled by the kernel, extremely elegantly through a process ownership transition. A process starts as a user process, temporarily and sparingly becomes admin (root) to execute a critical task and reverts to user mode.
  • If you go to Microsoft website to see which software systems are incompatible with Vista, the list shows no items. This is laughable.
  • The search doesn't work properly when finding non-indexed items. I give a failing grade for Search in Vista.
  • All these ads and paid bloggers rave about how easy it is to create backups and make DVDs with Vista. I am a extremely heavy use of the personal computer. Do you know how many DVDs I have made in my life? Zero. The out-of-the-box backup is welcome, but have you tried to customize it? Like change the name of the backup with a date stamp? Good luck?!

I really don't understand Microsoft. With Vista, they  had this opportunity to strengthen the desktop, put anti-virus companies out of business, and compete hard with Google.

How To Make Vista Better

  • In a future service pack, provide XP Shell as a User Interface. People already knew where to unhide file extensions with XP, now they don't.
  • Ban other applications from installing automatic updates. It has become unbearable -- from HP Printer Drivers, to Adobe reader to Java to every Tom-Dick-Harry wants to update their software as if my computer is their  playground. I want the security updates to flow through the OS vendor (Microsoft).
  • Since a long time people have asked for better built-in apps. Notepad is still the same, so poorly written and so slow.
  • I asked the Microsoft guys why they didn't strengthen the desktop? Like add stuff you can't do online. I asked them why they didn't implement more double-click, triple-click, right-double-click and other functionality. They sure could have improved printing -- a predominantly desktop activity, something Google cannot touch.  You know what they told me? "Oh, there is a group within Microsoft who thinks like you do, but there is another group which wants to compete with Google; and in this case the latter prevailed".

I end with my favorite gripe. To launch Windows Explorer, I click on the Start button, type "explorer" in the "Start Search Box" and type Enter. Instead of Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer launches each time. WTF.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, May 10, 2009
Last Modified: 5/10/2009 6:52:51 PM
Tags: windows vista, microsoft

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