Vista Experience: 16 days later

Sixteen days ago, I upgraded my desktop machine to Windows Vista, and so far, so good.  Let me put it this way: I haven’t been driven to uninstall the machine yet.  I’m not necessarily happy with Vista, rather just content with the OS upgrade.

My original motive to install Vista was based on my purchase of an Xbox 360.  I would like to use the Media Center capabilities to stream video over to the Xbox, and my version of XP Home wasn’t cutting it.  While I do have XP Media Center available to me, I decided to bite the bullet and do the install.  My desktop is a decently powerful machine, purchased about 18 months ago.  It’s a duel-core AMD box with 3GB of RAM.  After the initial install performance has been pretty decent.  It wasn’t as fast as a brand new install of XP, but it’s speed hasn’t diminished after loading all of my software (note to self: post list of computer-setup software), as it has on my laptop.  I also have a mid-range nVidia graphics card, so the Aero Glass features weren’t a problem as well.

For the most part I’m satisfied with my machine, but there are definitely a few quirks.  Originally when I installed the beta, I was frustrated with the changing of the keyboard commands, especially with the start menu.  I think this still may be an issue, but it’s been mitigated with my use of Launchy.  I used to use VNC for remote administration, but it runs horrible on Vista, basically being unable to filter out the Aero effects (despite my “low-resolution” settings, etc).  I still have VNC running, but am primarily using MS Remote Desktop to remotely administer the machine.  That runs really well, but has no web client the way VNC does.

Speaking of Remote Desktop, the other gripe I would have is that after logging in remotely and logging out, the next time I log in locally it resolves a blank screen.  My only workaround has been to press WindowsKey + L to lock the machine, Ctl+Alt+Delete to start the unlock, enter my password and be done.  I’m not sure if this is a glitch with my graphics card (although I have a mouse cursor on the blank screen), but it could be a Vista bug.  It’s definitely an annoyance and if I wasn’t so keyboard savvy I’d probably be screwed.

The local desktop experience is beautiful, and I do notice that I’m enjoying working on things in that environment.  I haven’t had any software issues the same way I had when the beta was out.  As for hardware, I had a little trouble with my printers, and I haven’t plugged in the scanner – I need to do that soon.

So far over two weeks in, I’m sticking with Vista.  We’ll see how it is at the end of the month, but it’s definitely not as bad of an experience as I was fearing.

And they wonder why people hate Vista?!?

As part of getting a new Xbox 360, I am in the process of upgrading my desktop to Windows Vista. I’ve been meaning to rebuild my desktop for sometime, and used this as a good excuse to try out the new OS. However, stuff is happening to me that makes me scratching my head wondering how stuff like this can happen almost after a year in the wild.

I realized that one of my file copies didn’t succeed, so I wanted to restore from a back-up. No problem – I have the files backed up from last Friday (in XP), but apparently I cannot access XP backup files from Vista without downloading a utility. I make my way to Microsoft’s web site and am prompted to install the Genuine Advantage installation utility. I right click that stupid information bar in IE and get a message that my computers settings don’t allow ActiveX applications installed on my computer to run from a web site.

Fair enough Microsoft, I understand why you want to run the “Genuine” check (although I disagree with your “guilty until proven innocent” mentality). I also understand you want to keep a computer secure and ActiveX scripts are definitely a concern. But when your OS doesn’t allow me to run your utility on your web site, then that’s unacceptable! Then they wonder why people think Vista is such a nightmare.

Since I’m at my family’s house I’ve done virtually all of the installation remotely through Remote Desktop and VNC (which sucks on Vista by the way). This means I haven’t physically sat in front of my Vista computer and experienced the OS – so I’m holding off judgment. However, headaches like these are tilting the scales in a big way for me.