Vista sucks - reality or perception?

Vista sucks - reality or perception?

Summary: Dwight Silverman asks an interesting question - Does Vista suck, or is this just a perception?

SHARE:

Dwight Silverman asks an interesting question - Does Vista suck, or is this just a perception?

Depending on who you talk to, Microsoft's Vista problem has its root in one of two versions of reality:

1. The operating system really does suck.

2. The perception is that the operating system really does suck.

It seems that everyone has an opinion about Vista, from people who have used it extensively since the earliest betas to those who've seen a friend use it, but most will agree on one point - that Vista has a problem. Either the operating system itself is flawed or the way that people view the operating system is flawed.

[poll id=254]

My take on the situation is that there are a huge number of people out there who don't care either way about Vista. Maybe they use it and have had no problems with it, or maybe they use another operating system (an earlier version of Windows, Mac OS, or Linux). But at the fringes of these people who don't care either way are factions that have very strong views. People who run Vista and are overjoyed by it, people who've had a lot of problems, people with a vested interested in promoting the platform, people with an interest in promoting other platforms. Broadly speaking these groups break down into people who feel passionately positive about Vista, and those that feel the opposite.

This issue of how Vista is perceived should really only be an issue to Microsoft, after all, it's got the most to gain or lose from how the operating system (I'm not even going to say "new operating system" any more) is seen by businesses and consumers. I guess OEMs are also a little bit interested in how the buyers see Vista, but while they have the choice of selling both Vista and XP, they're not all that bothered.

Then there are people like myself, Ed Bott, Mary Jo Foley, Dwight Silverman, Chris Pirillo and a whole host of other pundits. I guess we form part of the influencers group. What we add to the collective pool influences, in a small way, whether other people by Vista or not. Personally, I don't care whether you, Constant Reader, run Vista or not (I'd rather you do research and come to your own conclusions - and I'm happy to provide some food for thought). On this blog I've been very candid about my feelings about the OS - I run the OS, it's getting better, but integrating it into an existing hardware or software ecosystem can bring pain, and for gaming XP is still better. Do I think that Vista sucks more than previous versions of Windows? Yes. Do I think Microsoft overpromise and under-deliver? Yes. Does anyone really need Vista? Some people do, but most could chug along with XP for now. Will SP1 change how the hardcore anti-Vista faction feels? Doubtful.

My take on the situation is that the factions will continue fighting until the whole issue becomes a moot point and then move on to something else. If Microsoft is hoping that some marketing and SP1 is going to make all the bad press disappear, then it's going to be disappointed.

Thoughts?

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows

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

Talkback

196 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • So far I haven't had any real issues with Vista...

    Other than the UAC (which I know is a feature but to most people this I believe is where the "Vista sucks" mentality comes in).

    Everyone finds it an annoyance.

    Myself, I'm okay with Vista. Haven't had any major glitches and so far everything seems to be okay. The only really continuous issue I seem to have is viewing pictures in the picture viewer and then a video comes up.. It seems to crash it every single time.
    ju1ce
    • I had that exact problem, but what I found was..

      I had downloaded some kind of corrupt file. Once I found the little turd, and got rid of it, everything went back to normal. The offending file was a music video from England, by an artist by the name of Lady Sovereign. She was featured on Nick and my kids wanted to see her other videos. I found the file on a P2P, and downloaded it. After that, every time I opened Media Player, it would crash. I was infuriated and initially blamed MS, especially since there was no "fix" or solution available. I finally found a suggestion on a message forum, and that set me in the right direction.

      Besides that little glitch, self-inflicted, the ONLY other problem I have had is that hardware manufacturers are slow to get drivers out for things like my GE Webcam. It worked great on my old computer, even running WinMe, but I haven't been able to get a driver that will get it up and running on this rig running Vista.
      daddykevin13
      • Reality Check

        You downloaded a file from using P2P and it caused a problem with Vista. LOLOLOL
        I cant believe you even admitted that.
        P2P is virus infested nightmare.
        That cam is pretty old. If was working in ME and like all hardware, its the manufacturers responsibility to provide drivers for hardware they sell, and not Microsoft's
        ferrit9
    • Millions of Americans didn't have problems with 1970s cars ....

      Vista IS an improvement, but with an unacceptable speed penalty.
      Compared to XP, Vista is like a 1975 Chevy Tuna Boat choked by
      early pollution control devices as compared to a 1968 Camaro with
      a high performance, high compression small block V8.
      Vista has better security like the 75 Chevy had better pollution
      control but is a memory and processor hog like the Chevy was a
      gas hog and a dog for performance.
      XP is fast and reliable but not as secure like the Camaro was fast
      and reliable but the exhaust still brings tears and coughing fits.
      I hope to see the day when we look back and laugh at how primative and ineffecient Vista was.
      kd5auq
      • MEMORY

        Memory is very cheep , up grade your system to the max . If you are running Vista 32 bit install 4 gig , Vista will use 3.6 of that 4 gig to run your programs . I you are running Vista 64 bit , install 8 gig . Your memory problems will go away . If Vista is having to write to disk to run a program there is a big speed penelity while it is waiting on the hard drive to write .
        dsturg63
    • Neither have I...

      I have a thinkpad that came preloaded with Vista Business 32-bit, and it hasn't had any problems that weren't caused by me. It seems a bit less responsive than XP, but I actually prefer using it over XP. My game machines run XP right now, and both (one with technology circa 2005, the other brand new) have their occasional problems. I suspect the new system would have fewer problems, as I spec'd and built it under the premise it would run Vista 64, but I haven't put it to the test yet. All in all, I actually find myself liking Vista. It's a much better OS than XP, or at least it presents itself as more polished. My opinion, of course.
      neoanderthal
    • It seems to crash it every single time.

      So far I haven't had any real issues with Vista...

      Say what!!!
      hbashman
  • I've got to agree with you

    It isn't that Vista is a complete train wreck, but the fact that, for a significant percentage of users, Vista *isn't better* than the previous version of the OS, earns it a high "suckiness" score.

    For many of us, XP is simply better than Vista.

    Vista will get better and 'round about SP2 it will probably be pretty good, that is if XP's history is any guide.
    WiredGuy
    • From a Security Standpoint....

      Vista is far superior. With the Graphics frame of mind, Vista is also better. From actual usage and administration point of view, Vista appears to suck. From my experience using it, Vista also sucks. And from a Gamer's perspective. I basically have to jump through hoops to go from DirectX10 to 9 and back again because of game support. That to me would also suck.

      Then we have supposed backwards compatibility which doesn't suck, but definitely puts a bind on things. Although for reasons of security, I am alright with kicking off a few bad applications.

      The extra hoops that I have to jump around to to get to other options is a pain though.
      nucrash
  • RE: Vista sucks - reality or perception?

    All modern OS's suck, though on a sliding suckiness scale, I have to say Vista is right up there- for reasons you have outlined.
    I mean 5 years and 9 billion dollars to create even more bloat, and leave out things like WinFS, which really would have been advancements in usability.
    On non-computer related forums, people are told to simply disable UAC (?!)
    People have been using WinXP for a while- the computer gets slower and slower, they buy a new, much more powerful computer with a fresh install of Vista, and yeah- it runs faster, but XP vs. Vista both fresh installs, both on the same hardware.... nope- no way..

    Not sucky____________________________sucky
    ^
    bryantrv
    • Formatting

      Um... that should have been:

      Not sucky__________________________________________sucky
      -----------------------------------------------^----
      bryantrv
    • WinFS would have made Vista only worse!

      > like WinFS, which would have been advancements in usability

      Has it occured to you that your advancement in usability would have only added more baggage to an already overloaded OS which demands more resources with every release? MS didn't release WinFS probably because your disk/CPU/memory isn't fast enough to handle it.
      balsover
  • I've been using Vista Home Premium for a while now

    ...and it runs sweet. I've yet to run into a SINGLE problem with Vista, I'm sure I will at some point, but not yet.

    The machine I am running now can easily handle Crysis running at 1280 x 1024 in Vista, so I can't really find fault with any of it.

    The inclusion of media center is a bonus as I am now building an extender for the living room TV as well.
    Scrat
  • RE: Vista sucks - reality or perception?

    Vista does not suck. It's cool! Changing from XP to Vista was easier than moving from 98sp2 to XP. All my hardware works with Vista. Maybe I'm lucky. I like the aero interface a lot. I like the search functionality. I like the picture/dvd handling. I love Windows movie maker and the dvd/movie burner. UAC isn't that big a deal and I know it protects me.
    markseid
    • Then You're the Rare Lucky One, Markseid

      I use Vista on one of my PCs which was (supposedly) built to run Vista - and it's dog-slow, won't recognize thumb drives half the time, and most of my software (even "Optimized for Vista" software!) will ONLY run in Admin Mode! WTF? I use both Ubuntu and OSX on other machines - and never have these kinds of problems....

      Maybe I exaggerate [i][b]slightly[/b][/i] when I say "Vista sucks harder than (insert pr0n star of choice here)!" - but I don't exaggerate by much. Sure I can run e-mail, Web surfing and Office apps on it just fine - but I can run all those just fine on Ubuntu, too, and that OS didn't cost me a cent AND runs as well on a six-year old Athlon box w/256 MB of RAM as my Vista box does with a AMD 5200 64Live processor and 4 GB of RAM.
      drprodny
      • Far more likely, you're horribly unlucky.

        Either you've tweaked and trashed your system, both driver and permissions, you've major hardware issues on your vista machine, or you're just the 1% that has incomprehensible and inexplicable problems.

        Your experiences are definitely not the norm.
        rtk
        • RE: Vista sucks -- reality or perception?

          Or, he could be among the 90% who know absolutely NOTHING about computers.

          If he knew what he was doing, I doubt that he would have any such problems.

          One CAN'T put Vista on a computer which is NOT up-to-snuff.
          One CAN'T weigh Vista down with inadequate memory, CPU, and graphics, and expect it to perform well. It just won't happen. No matter HOW MUCH tweaking one does.

          One CAN'T somehow magically tweak a Gig of memory (or less) to act like 2 or more GB of memory. To think one can is totally idiotic, and juvenile.

          And one CAN'T tweak 128MB of on-card VRAM to act like 320MB or more.

          Donald L McDaniel
          zarathustra2010
      • I must be a "lucky one" too.

        Vista runs great, ultra stable 24/7 except updates, no security threats, games run great, loving search/aero too and WMC. Speed is good, as the OS caches many things into my 2GBs RAM. If your install of Vista can't do that, then you messed it up somehow. I advice leaving the tweakers and registry cleaners alone, possibly the porn dialers as well.
        jamesrayg
      • Yet another lucky one

        In a number of his articles, Ed Bott addresses Vista speed issues, particularly at startup. One of the main reasons for slowness has nothing to do with Vista, but with which Anti-V software you are using. Additionally, he has fielded complaints with the very same issues happening in Leopard and other (earlier) OSs. How many startup programs are running on your computer? Have you got RealPlayer, iTunes, Kaspersky, three IM services and other programs running at startup? If so, you might be running a little slowly.

        The fact of the matter is that no one can expect to maintain an old OS and improve services. I think that's where a lot of these Vista complaints are coming from. "I want an OS that's just the same, requires no changes to my hardware, but is more modern and provides me with more services at a high speed."

        I love the auto metaphor, since that is the easiest parallel that holds common interest. It now costs $40,00 for a decent SUV - it gets better gas mileage (sometimes), provides me with real-time mapping (GPS), emergency locator service, entertainment systems, etc. My '72 Chevy pickup, couldn't hold a candle to this new machine. And would I have problems with that Chevy if I tried to reverse engineer all those improvements into it? You bet I would.

        Stop complaining that your '72 Chevy won't run like a new Escalade. BTW, I am running a three year old AMD 64 X2 Manchester (dual core, 2.0 Gighertz, etc.) with 2 Gigs RAM (DDR) and no problems - homebuilt system. Previously in the same system, I had a single core AMD 64 with one Gig RAM, and was still able to play Half-Life 2 full-screen with no issues.
        WookieFan
    • UAC isn't that big a deal and I know it protects me.

      Yes, of course it does!!
      hbashman