Vista would be better if it didn’t suck

I have been running Windows Vista Ultimate on my laptop for a week or so now, and I am of two minds. I like the pretty. I like the usability improvements. I don’t like that things that worked fine in XP crash all the time, or that the CPU is maxed (maxxed?) almost always. The apps that crash most are Media Player and Messenger. Outlook 2007 crashes sometimes. DivX, XviD thumbnail creation makes Windows sad (even after uninstalling DivX).

I expected teething problems. That is why they call it the bleeding edge. Windows XP has had five years to mature into the very good and stable platform that it is, and Vista is new.

I know that SpongBo, Microsoft fanboy, is reading this and saying “but! under the hood! programming stuff!”. I don’t care about that (well I do, but not right now). I am a user, and this post is from a user’s point of view.

Things that are better:

  • It is prettier. Things have shadows.
  • The sounds are nicer.
  • Many of the balloon help things that popup from the tray go away quicker than they did in XP.
  • When explorer crashes, I get to keep my icons in the system tray.

Things that are worse:

  • Media Center – I use MCE as a way of playing video files, I don’t use it for TV or music. In MCE 2005 I just chose My Videos in the main menu (up, up) and then I could pick a video to watch. Now I have to go up, up, RIGHT, RIGHT to get to the same place. When I get there I cannot see the names of the files, just a square thumbnail. I have to hover over a thumbnail for the name to appear, in tiny little writing, down the bottom of the screen. Too bad if you have a hundred files in there and want to find something to watch. Then Media Center crashes.
  • I hate the stupid swirling blue doughnut. It means that whatever I am doing has stopped, and I need to wait. It is my constant companion.
  • Windows Media Player. They must have brought in a special team of programmers with a simple brief: make the Library slower and crashier. Mission accomplished. If I didn’t have most of my CDs ripped to WMA I would be using iTunes.
  • I had a “calculating time remaining” dialog stuck on my desktop for two days, then suddenly it took focus and asked me a question. I said “No”.
  • Armadillo Run is unplayable.
  • I don’t know what a COM SURROGATE is, but it crashes all the time and I don’t like it.


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