Well, I am completely and totally disgusted with Windows Vista. I really feel very, very sorry for anyone who buys a new desktop or laptop with Vista pre-installed. If they are not tech savvy they are right and truly SCREWED.
There are so many inherent problems with Vista that they can't all be listed. The number of bugs and problems with Vista is like standing on a hill of Fire Ants. You are getting bitten all over your body and for every fire ant you kill there are 10 more popping up. I had to reinstall Vista more than one time because of serious flaws in the operating system that would let incompatible applications or games totally corrupt core files. Imagine if you were a computer novice and bought a new computer with Vista installed. Then you tried installing a game or application you used on Windows XP. During the install Vista goes BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH on you without any warning. So you reboot but during reboot you get the Blue Screen of Death before you can get to the desktop. Let's assume the novice knows about booting in Safe Mode and they try that but the BSoD shows before getting to the desktop again. Don't even think about using System Restore because it will not boot far enough for that to be possible. Imagine the complete and utter frustration. They would probably end up taking the computer back for a refund. Many new laptops don't even come with a recovery disk anymore. They are requiring you to make your own using the software they provide on the laptop as a cost saving measure. They can't afford to spend a few cents on a recovery disk anymore. If you fail to make the recovery disk before the above happens you are completely hosed because you will never have access to the recovery partition on the hard drive. The above happened to me more than once so this isn't a "This might happen" scenario.
Also, NEVER use the Disk Manager in Vista to create partitions. Vista uses its own NON-STANDARD partition format. If you create partitions using the Vista Disk Manager you cannot modify them using anything else. If you do you will usually LOSE partitions. I tried a number of free/shareware/commercial partition management applications and all of them reported partition table problems with any partition created by Vista. Just another one of those "We are going to do it our way and screw standards." things Microsoft is so famous for. Eventually someone will come out with a Vista compatible partitioning program but until then you are out of luck.
As I reported in my last blog I had purchased a new Compaq Laptop with a 1.7 ghz 64 bit Dual Core processor and 1 gig of ram. The laptop came with Vista pre installed. After removing all of the extra pre-installed garbage-ware the laptop was still slow and sluggish. This shouldn't happen on a Dual Core processor.
What I found was Vista was using 700+ meg of hard drive swap file space and 1,000 meg of system ram. There was only 15 meg of FREE RAM after Vista booted and was sitting on the desktop doing nothing. That was totally insane. No wonder the laptop was so slow. It was spending most of it's time moving data to and from the swap file. Anytime I tried to load anything it would take forever because the operating system had to move data from ram to the swapfile before it could actually load the application. No operating system should ever require that much ram to run. And as a side note the Vista filesystem is 16-20% SLOWER than the filesystem in XP. So moving files is considerably slower on Vista.
After trying many things, most of which caused Vista to crash horribly, I finally decided to give up on it. Vista is about as stable as a schizophrenic off their meds. It doesn't take much to set it off.
Now here came the new nightmare. It seems that many of the new model laptops are now being shipped without the ability to use Windows XP. What I mean by this is the laptop manufacturers are not providing ANY XP drivers for their new laptops. If the laptop comes with Vista pre-installed they want you to only use Vista. This smacks of something Microsoft would require of the computer makers if they wanted to offer Vista.
It took me a couple of days of searching though the Compaq/HP site until I found drivers from different laptops that would work under XP on my laptop. It was a complete and total pain in the ass. HP could have made these drivers available but they didn't. I probably don't have the latest drivers for everything but right now I don't care. Though I DO have the latest driver for the video chip. I had to find that on a third party driver site.
This is direct from Nvidia...
"Nvidia is prevented from offering drivers for any chipsets (nforce) or graphics chipsets being used in laptops. Laptop manufacture agreements with Nvidia forbid us from offering generic drivers for laptops. Nvidia provides drivers to the laptop manufacturers and the laptop manufactures modify the drivers and offer them for downloading on their sites."
Now tell me that doesn't suck.
I had to find an XP Geforce Go driver by searching the 3rd Party driver sites because the drivers on the HP site wouldn't work and Nvidia didn't offer one for the chipset used in my laptop. What a pain in the ass.
After all that I was finally able to get Windows XP Pro installed on the laptop along with all drivers to get everything offered by the laptop working except for one minor thing. The HP Button Panel driver that allows you to use the FN key along with Function keys to change things isn't the right version. All of the fn+function key buttons work as they should but my laptop allows you to change volume and mute using the home/page up/page down buttons. So these things are not working on my laptop. That's a minor thing though.
Now here is the really GOOD part of all this.
With Windows XP Pro installed along with Nortons Antivirus and Zonealarm I am using only 240+ meg of swap file and 400 meg of ram. I have 600+ meg of ram FREE!!!
Windows XP Pro - 240+ meg swapfile used - 400+ meg ram used - 600+ meg ram free
Windows Vista Premium - 700+ meg swapfile used - 1000 meg ram used - 15 meg ram free
That is one huge assed difference. And you don't gain anything by going to Vista other than the nicer windows interface. They claim it is more secure but I seriously doubt that as the new Security Center is a complete and flaming joke. So what the hell is using all that extra ram and swapfile space?
After installing XP Pro the laptop has been transformed into a gazelle. It is damned fast now and joy to use. I never thought I would say something like that about any Windows operating system but after the "Nightmare on Vista" I can say it now.
If at all possible when you are buying a new laptop ask if you can get it with Windows XP instead of Vista. If enough people complain to the laptop manufacturers maybe they will force the issue with Microsoft and start offering the choice. Some do offer a choice but most don't, especially on their new laptops.
When I said Vista was like a steaming pile of Dog Shit I meant it. Using Vista is like stepping in a pile of dog shit. It takes awhile to scrape it off your shoe and the smell to go away.
EDIT: I have archived the files for download. Here is the link.
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=7G4Q5BJM - Old Driver Package
This is a large download. It's about 140 meg in size. The files are labeled with what they do. They also have a number prefacing the name. This is the order I found best to install them in after you have installed XP. You should wait until you have finished installing SP2 before installing these files. I found a driver for the FN keys that works with the keyboard so this will enable everything on the laptop.
EDIT: A new driver for the Geforce Go 61xx was released on August 6th so I have updated the driver download file. Be sure to uninstall the old driver before you install the new one.
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=GBEOLZWL - New Driver Package
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=DKG07N5S - Just the Nvidia Forceware 163.15 graphics driver
Entry Edited 6 times - Edited on Aug 7, 2007 - 1:21 am