The Vista Experiment is over. Conclusion: Choose Life.

It seems a long long time ago, that I foolishly slung vista on the Blingmaster - a gaming Dell XPS Gen-2 laptop, which scored a miserable 4 out of six on the Vista scores. Still, for a "old" machine (read: more than 12 months old), it handled Vista fairly well.

Vista is far better at:

  • Not Crashing. Much.

  • Looking like a tart.

Now. Whats it's not good at:

  • Anything that requires software more than a few months old. Even so-called "compatibilty mode" sucks.

  • Security. Its *meant* to be more secure. But this means that you - as a user - are prompted at least 50 times a day to switch in and out of administrator mode. Now call me cynical, but if I wanted to hack someplace, I'd turn up the "dialog box" hell, and send out malicious mail that popped up similar dialogs. Because within a few days of running Vista you have two choices - spend HALF your day reading and checking them - or just pressing "Whatever"... This isnt security.

  • Aero Glass. The new "wow" graphics. Rarely worked. "Old" programs may switch the interface into "compatibilty" mode. Programs that did this include Java, and the Lotus Domino http server task. The latter one confused me somewhat as this was a background service task that HAD NO UI.. It was so random, that I didnt even bother going "wow" whenever it decided to pop up. If this is your sole justification for Vista - your in trouble.

  • Anything that used to run as a service. You see the "console" is no longer available to the user. So you can no longer interact with your services. Sucks.

  • Anything that tried by default to write to any directory into which you had little or no permission. Which was pretty much everything.

  • Programs, on startup, that required Administration mode. These might include programs that exposed their API to other programs, but Vista now forces you to run in Administration mode. It doesnt allow administration mode programs to start up.

  • Disk conservation. I figured at any point, my hard drive gave over 30gb of space to Vista. Ouch. I know folks who ONLY have 40gb hard drives. Remember, the *fast* ones - the 7200 rpm ones - which you WILL need with vista, only go up to 100gb. Got a large application? Dont put it on a Vista laptop.

  • DONT for gods sake try and move your user home directory to any other place than Vista dictates. If this means that your user drive is on the same drive as Vista (a previously huge 20gb partition), and you find over a week, that you have less than 10mb to store files - LIVE WITH IT. Because every so often, Vista will decide - by itself - just to yank your home directory references (Documents, Downloads, Links, Desktop, etc) back to where IT wants it to be. Tough. Oh - and this means that you lose all YOUR personalised program defaults. The lot. Disappeared. This is why Vista was finally led out into the garden, and despatched with a bullet to the back of the head.

  • Development environments in particular were a pain. Especially MS Visual Studio 2005. Give yourself a day or so to get that sucker working. Other IDE's that spectacularly failed included the BlackBerry MDS toolkit. I was too scared to even try IBM Rational Rose.

  • Networking. DONT get me started. It has a snazzy new network interface. Very nice. But. Just TRY and tell it that a network is Public when you've marked it private, or vice versa. And its habit of connecting to the network via Wireless, WHEN PLUGGED INTO THE ETHERNET CABLE, and then use that slow wireless network as the default - well, it caught me a few times. Try explaining that to an end user. Oh - and I've lost count of the number of "secure" wireless infrastructures I couldnt log into.

  • Vista does crash sometimes. And I hit a point last week where it'd reset Explorer (not IE, Explorer. The File Manager) every 20-30 minutes - which was quite annoying.

  • Vista can make just about any machine appear sluggish. Its like being back on the old Compaq 386's with windows 2.0. Its something that I'd hoped would never happen again.

I've suffered in the last two months - at least a weeks downtime forcing Vista to work, and another 18 hours wasted today (and here I am in deadline hell!).

My conclusion ? You would have to be insane to recommend Vista as is in a corporate environment. You'd have to be barking mad to even consider it in the next 12 months. Until MS:

  • Get reliable drivers

  • Stop the ridiculous pop-up hell

  • Improve compatibilty mode

  • Make it far faster.

  • Remove the DRM subsystem

  • Make it reliable.

  • Increase compatibilty. I didnt even *TRY* and run Doom 3.

Then I wouldnt touch it with a bargepole. Getting a new PC ? Working out your corporate strategy for the next five years ? Avoid Vista. Get XP. Get Linux. Get a Mac. Because, sure as hell, you wont waste as much time as I did trying to get it to work.

Disclaimer. I've not been paid to write this. Hell, I would *pay* to write this. I dont work for MS, IBM, Linux. I work for me. I'm not a shareholder of MS or Radicati. This is all my own opinion. My next laptop will be a Mac.