Windows Vista pros and cons

Summary:What you'll love and hate about Windows Vista.

Introduction | Windows Vista pros | Windows Vista cons

Windows Vista cons: What I hate about Windows Vista
On this page, you'll learn about the new features within the Windows Vista operating system that I think you won't like. If you're mainly interested in what's good with the new operating system, move to the previous page, where you can learn more about features I can't live without.

1. Your current hardware won't fully run Vista
Get ready for the media blitz. Get ready for the frustration. While many computers in use today will be able to update and run the new operating system, they'll be able to run it only in what Microsoft slyly calls Windows Vista Basic. That means while you'll have the ability to search files, you won't have 3D Aero graphics, live animation along the Taskbar, or smooth streaming graphics on your desktop.

Unless you buy a new PC sometime in 2007, or add a high-end video card and some extra memory to your current PC, you probably won't get the full visual Vista experience.

2. Vista's Aero graphics gobble up laptop battery power
If you're used to your laptop lasting on a long, cross-country flight, you might want to reconsider upgrading to Windows Vista -- that is, if you want the new Aero graphics features turned on.

In our tests, a laptop running Windows Vista Aero had significantly reduced battery life compared to one running in what Microsoft calls Windows Vista Basic. You'll sacrifice the 3D and smooth streaming of video, but you'll make it to your destination with some battery power to spare. Unfortunately, changing from Aero to Basic is harder than it should be.

3. User Account Protection
The User Account Protection feature has already gotten a ton of negative press. While I understand what Microsoft is trying to do -- protect the user from rogue software installs -- I don't think the company has figured it out yet.

In order to perform basic tasks, such as install or remove an application, even administrator account users must answer a series of pop-up messages, adding time to the process. Worse, whenever you are prompted to respond, the whole Vista desktop goes dark while the pop-up message remains on the screen, preventing you from doing anything else. While this feature can be valuable if rogue spyware attempts to install without your permission, good Internet behaviour will do as much. For most of us, the frequent appearance of User Account Protection on common tasks will be security overkill.

4. Missing drivers and incompatible apps
Not having all the necessary drivers or not having software compliant with a new operating system is to be expected in the beta of a new operating system, but even after several months of developer testing, I was surprised to see a number of common drivers still missing from the public beta for Windows Vista. For example, I had to manually import several Acer TravelMate 8200 drivers from a Windows XP partition on the same drive.

5. Troubled sleep
Microsoft claims that it has addressed the complicated issue of whether to put your laptop to sleep or have it hibernate when it is not in use. Instant Off, a new option on the Start menu, allows Windows Vista to take a quick snapshot of your system, then shut down completely, thus eliminating the occurrence of a hot laptop inside your backpack.

Vista images

After experiencing several false starts -- literally, I was unable to resume my Windows Vista session as I'd left it -- I discovered through Vista's Performance Ratings and Tools report that several legacy drivers, some installed by Vista during installation, were preventing the new Instant Off feature from performing correctly. Vista politely asked that I find updated drivers to replace those on my machine or remove them. I suspect a lot of people will encounter this problem in the months immediately following Vista's full release.

Topics: Windows, Operating Systems, Reviews

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.