Monday, February 11, 2008

Windows Vista Week One

I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about Windows Vista, so you could imagine that when I started in a new position and received a shiny new laptop loaded with Windows Vista Business, the first time I’ve run Vista on something that mattered, I was worried. From the stories I’ve heard, Vista crashes all the time, and any program you run will crash. I’m happy to say that I have yet to experience a single problem with Vista or any applications I’ve run on it. The computer was configured by the IT department and included only the operating system and Microsoft Office 2007, I’ve added Windows Messenger, Adobe Acrobat reader, Flash Player, Silverlight, Powershell, and several active X controls for web sites, and I still haven’t had a problem.

I suspect that those who bought new computers with a bunch of software already loaded are having the most problems. Computer manufactures get paid for including a lot of trial versions and demo software, so the more the better. The financial incentive is great, so I’d expect the demand is to get as much software on as possible without thorough thought of the problems it may cause. Others who might have problems are those who have upgraded existing installations of Windows XP. Computers are like cars, they need maintained, and most, including my own rarely get the computer version of an oil change. Upgrading any operating system is asking for trouble. In either case, it is always best to format the hard drive and install Vista from scratch.

As for Vista in a big company or government agency, the problem will most likely be incompatible applications that have been installed on thousands of computers. Vista changes a lot of things, and some programs simply won’t work right, especially ones that were not well coded for Windows to begin with. Before a Vista deployment is attempted, application compatibility must be verified and Microsoft makes that pretty easy these days, and offers several solutions for getting around application compatibility issues.

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