December 1, 2006

751 words 4 mins read

To Vista, Or not to Vista?

No, this is not an “internal” debate being externalized just so I can post. I install Vista, weeks ago. In fact I installed it Nov 17th, the day it was released to MSDN (Along with Office 2007 which I installed). This is a quick “review” for those debating on installing.

Short Review: DON’T DO IT.

Long Version: At this point in time, if you are a casual user, Vista is fine. The User Access Control system is a pain and will quickly teach you to click “Yes” to everything (Which is bad). There aren’t many drivers out (read: near none), but if your not playing any games or have any fancy hardware, you’ll be ok. The graphics are nice, with the transparency and all (if your computer can support them, and you buy the “right” version of Vista with Areo) but they are just eye candy and really aren’t that handy.

Now… If you are a power user. For the love of god, save yourself the trouble and don’t install Vista. I waited very very patiently for Vista to be released to MSDN when I heard it hit RTM (read: I was bitching and moaning about MS not releasing it sooner), but now I realize thats a mistake. As I said previously, there are next to no drivers out. I managed to get new graphics drivers installed on my Dell Latitude D620 (with a Quadro NVS 110M) thanks to a hacked nVidia driver from LaptopVideo2Go. It shows up as a 7300, but it works fine, enough. I didn’t really need to install drivers for anything else, which is good because nothing is out.

Some of you that switched early from Win 2000 to XP may remember that you could use just about every 2K driver on XP, well thats definitely not the case for Vista. Any driver you install that wasn’t re-worked for Vista will either be blocked from install, muck up your machine, or plain not work. Also, any software thats reasonably advanced, is hardware related, or makes a decent amount of changed to your system probably won’t work. Again, this is a problem for Power Users such as myself.

Now I’m not saying never run vista (though the login & shutdown times are KILLER for me), I’m just suggesting you wait… a few months. Probably at least 6 months after the public release. Now, After the break (yes, I’m actually writing into the “extended body”) I’ll run down software I installed and how well it worked (and if I used the emulation).

There is no particular order, rhyme, reason, or methodology. I wasn’t specifically testing any software. I can tell you what I found out from my experience trying to run the software though. I’m not including if I run the item in “compatibility mode” (which I will admit worked like a charm a number of times) because I really don’t remember. A number of times I ran the installer using compatibility mode to get something installed (hey, it worked)

-OpenVPN — While newer versions do install their drivers properly, there is a security issue with adding routes (read: they don’t work). This can be “hacked” around by manually adding routes, but its a PITA.

-Rise of Legends — Oh god, the graphics are sooo badly screwed up. I know its not my laptop because my co-worker brought over his machine (identical) and we played together.

-Putty — Does work! Yay!

-Wireshark & NMap — Both rely on WinPcap and didn’t work for me (even their new alpha/beta drivers).

-Limewire — seemed to install/run fine

-Yahoo MSG — seemed to install/run fine.

-Skype — Ran fine.

-KeePass — Ran fine.

-Firefox — Ran fine.

-Daemon Tools — Ran Fine. Which surprised me since its driver heavy.

-Office 2007 — Ran Fine. Which is better!

-FileZilla — Ran fine.

-Gaim — Ran fine.

-PDFCamp — Install threw an error, crashed a service, but it does work. Might require some finesse.

-Picasa2 — Ran fine.

-Nero 6.X — Don’t bother.

-Age of Empires 2 — Ran fine.

-C&C Generals — Ran fine

-Adobe PDF — Ran fine.

-Norton Corporate 10 — No Dice. Apparently there is a new beta version which might work, but I lost my license number so I couldn’t download it.

-Combined Community Codec Pack — Installed fine, and the codec’s seem to work just fine with WMP11, but MPC did not work (I got a black screen w/ audio).

-Windows PowerShell — Wouldn’t install. Kinda funny actually.