10 annoying problems with Vista and working around them

April 3, 2007

10 annoying things about Vista and working around themVista is one of those operating systems that was “good enough” for release.  Some users are finding that it does not work like XP, icons have been changed, menus have been rearranged and some features are harder to find. I can see how the average home user (most of you) out there could be confused by this. This post might help you sort some of those out.

The first thing is there is no more BOOT.INI file available in msconfig. So? This file was used to change your boot if you had multiple operating systems installed. Vista has something called BCEDIT which is not user friendly; I do not recommend using it. What can you do? what can you do? download Vista Boot Pro, this freeware program offers an easy to use interface, click the options you want, select the OS to Boot first and click Apply. How did the big guns at ZDNet manage to miss that? Problem number one, solved.

Next on the list is the buried display settings problem. Burying and hiding settings from users is not a good thing but I don’t really feel that this is what they have done. Sure, you have to right click on your desktop and go down to Display Settings but if you have a sufficiently large display with a resolution of at least 1024 x 768 you won’t have to scroll to find it. Yeah, it could be annoying but if you think about it, it is more logically organized.

The Control Panel is hard to navigate. It is, in its default view mode. The “Control Panel Home” function is just annoying; you don’t know where any one feature is going to be. Everything has a name or heading and under that you will find the various functions, I want to know who thought this was a GOOD idea. It’s the same in XP, just switch to the Classic View. I know of no one who uses the default views in XP or Vista, they are just confusing. I agree on this one but only if you haven’t switched to the classic view.

Vista has more shut down options. More is good, isn’t it? That’s how us power users think, the more options and customizability, the better. And then, there are those that aren’t power users where more options just usually end up adding to the mess and confusion. Depending on the version of Vista installed, there will be up to nine shut down options. But it’s not that confusing.

Vista Home Premium has seven so let’s go with that. It has: Switch User, Log Off, Lock, Restart, Sleep, Hibernate and Shut Down. I don’t see anything confusing here. All of them are named by exactly what they do. Sleep has the same function as Standby in XP, Hibernate does the same thing it did in XP and Shut Down, well, shuts the PC down. There is nothing confusing here.

Poor application support, this shouldn’t come as any surprise. Vista doesn’t like old applications but it doesn’t like specific kinds of applications. Programs that have to integrate themselves deeply into the operating system like Firewalls and AntiVirus will usually fail to install or function properly under Vista. But, a select few do, McAfee, Norton, Avast and AVG are some I can name off the top of my head that have Vista versions ready. As far as Firewalls go, only the PC Tools Firewall is currently working on Vista, please don’t rely on the Vista firewall, a third party firewall is a necessity if you are not behind a router.

Office 2000 does not run under Vista, only Office 2003 to Office 2007 are supported. Oh well, hopefully you are a student or government employee and can get awesome discounts on Microsoft products, if not, I feel for you.

Hardware requirements. Ever since Vista (then Longhorn) was announced; people were complaining about the hardware requirements. Being in the technology field and doing my fare share of gaming, video editing, audio editing, photo editing and so on, I’ve always had high-end computers and so do my circle of friends, but recently I came to realize not everyone lives that way (I shutter to think what that is like).

To run Aero Glass you will be best served by having 1GB of memory, a sufficiently fast processor of 1.8GHz of the Pentium 4, Pentium D, Athlon XP, Athlon 64 or Athlon 64×2 lines and a dedicated DirectX 9, Shader Model 2.0 compliant video card with 128MB of memory. Considering an okay video card can be had for $54, it’s not a huge investment.

These are not robust requirements considering the level of today’s hardware and if you don’t have at least that, I’d say it’s time to get a new computer but if you aren’t interested in running Vista then it doesn’t matter. We are on the cusp of DirectX 10 and Shader Model 4.0, I hope you can see exactly how ancient those requirements are.

Another issue I agree on, too many product options. Vista comes in several versions, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate. Adding insult to injury is the fact that if you buy the OEM discs you have to choose between 64-bit and 32-bit editions essentially doubling the options.

For most home users, Vista Home Premium is the best choice. Business and Enterprise have encryption features that most home users would never touch. These are the versions that corporations should buy. So that leaves three versions for the rest of us, Home Basic, Premium and Ultimate.

Home Basic lacks just about everything so it’s useless, don’t even consider it. This leaves Home Premium and Ultimate. Home Premium has just about all the features you will need, it’s the version I suggest to most people. Ultimate has all the features of Home Premium, Business and Enterprise and it comes with a price to go with those features.

If you are in doubt and do not run a business, you can’t go wrong with Home Premium and if that’s not the version you want, use the Any Time upgrade feature to upgrade your Vista Edition, you can only go up, you cannot downgrade from, say Home Premium to Home Basic.

Love them or hate them, UAC prompts are there to protect you. I suggest leaving this on if you can live with them. They are not nearly as bad as they were in the Longhorn and RC versions of Vista. Even administrators in Vista are running with reduced privilege levels so if something needs more you must grant it permission. The advantage to an Admin account is you don’t need to enter a password; standard account users will either have to know the password or will have to get in touch with someone who does to proceed with a process that needs UAC permission.

This also causes problems with some programs. If you turn off the UAC feature, Adobe Reader 8.0 for Vista will fail to install properly. UAC must be on for some programs to function properly under Vista. Turn it off if you wish but be warned you may encounter issues by doing so.

Vista is expensive but not if you buy the OEM versions which is a good way to save a few bucks. The full version of Vista Home Premium OEM will cost about $120, which is about the same price as Windows XP Home was at retail. I’m considering this busted because if you know where to look, Vista is not that expensive. You don’t get phone-in support from Microsoft or any documentation with OEM versions so be aware of that.

It’s partly broken. Yeah and what new operating system isn’t. There are already tons of updates for Vista with another on its way out to patch the ANI flaw. This is to be expected, remember when XP first came out, yeah, it was much worse. As far as I am concerned Microsoft has done a better job with Vista than with XP when it first came out. It has problems but eventually they will be fixed but all operating systems will always have a security hole or flaw that may or may not be patched.

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49 Responses to “10 annoying problems with Vista and working around them”

  1. Anon:

    “We are on the cusp of DirectX 10 and Shader Model 4.0, I hope you can see exactly how ancient those requirements are.”

    What a ridiculous statement! Most PCs sold are used for Web Browsing, eMail and Word Processing. What benefits will DX10 or PS4 provide that user? — None. You’re on M$’ upgrade treadmill, baby. Crack open that wallet, cause you’re gonna pay your PC taxes to fatten M$.

  2. Jonathan Schlaffer:

    And those PCs are useless to me. Mainly I will need shader model 4.0 and DirectX 10 for gaming, as for the rest, video/audio editing and gaming. Simple web browsing PCs are not enough for me so that’s where I’m coming from, remember, this is written from my perspective.

    I had a whole paragraph about the hardware I have, need and use everyday, I deleted it because it was almost a rant, maybe I should have left it in.

  3. Michael Bright:

    I am an IT manager 10 years experience and have configured many wireless networks in the last few years. I had a very frustrating few hours trying to connect a new Dell Vista Ultimate Inspiron laptop to a Speedstream 128 bit HEX WEP network. When attempting to configure the network there was a Credentials Dialog box that appeared asking for Username Password and Domain. I was able to connect a Latitude XP Laptop with no problems – just a prompt for the passphrase.. So frustrated was I that I took the Vista laptop home to try to connect it to my DLINK 64 bit WEP network. Surprise – it worked without a hitch, just requiring the passphrase. One other factor that may point toi Speedstream rather than Vista is that I could not connect to the Speedstream network on my MacBook Pro – I have no such problems on my home DLINK network. So it seems to be a combination of Speedstream and VBista.

  4. Jonathan Schlaffer:

    Now that’s strange. I would say in this case the problem lies with Speedstream but strange… I wish I had an answer for you…

    I’ve used Vista on 128-bit WEP, WPA and WPA2 networks and not once did it reject me, all this was done on either D-Link or Netgear hardware. Looks like I’ll do some digging to find some more information about this.

  5. Yee Wong:

    I was using WEP 128bit on Windows XP with no problems.
    I ‘upgraded’ to Vista and I had constant reduced or wireless drop out problems.
    I changed to WPA and it all works fine now.

  6. Marco:

    Another post on why Vista is annoying. Yeah. I should have stuck to XP.

  7. Types Of Computer Viruses:

    Types Of Computer Viruses

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article, but it sounds interesting

  8. MC:

    I’d stick with WPA… even though that doesn’t answer your problem. Without knowing the network chipset, OS configuration, and driver version, it’s really anyone’s guess. Myself being an IT manager for 16 years, I’m quite happy with Vista’s ability to adapt to the many hardware configurations that anyone can throw at it at their fancy, and just work… versus the XP experience, which seemed to treat wireless connections as an afterthought. Not to be smug, or pushy… maybe WPA is a better choice anyway? I know… what about other devices that don’t support it?… well, i guess i have no answer to that. Good luck!

  9. Randy:

    I don’t seem to be able to respond to or forward e-mails on Vista. Any quick Fix?

  10. Drew:

    Ok so with someone that has 10 years as a I.T. Manager why are you using WEP still?

  11. SACHIN:

    Hi,
    I can undestand everyone’s felling that spending money and getting nothing as per your satisfaction.
    But trust me it’s a new OS and give some time to and learn as much as you can and if face any issues I call HP(Manufacturer)
    Thank You.

  12. Rob:

    i seem to have problems installing files and they become corupt mising or just dont work, i cant seem to installer my usb network adapters and some games say the computer doesnt hae the hardware wen it clearly does!

  13. wes:

    zone alarm firewall has worked fine also avg anti-virus sp1 rc helped tremendously

  14. presario:

    Im supprised that people are so stupid that they cant learn for themselves.

  15. changing icons in vista:

    [...] menus have been rearranged and some features are harder to find. I can see how the average homehttp://vista.blorge.com/2007/04/03/10-annoying-things-about-vista-and-working-around-them/Vista Icons – Introducing Vista Icons – How to create Vista IconsMicrosoft vista comes with a new [...]

  16. Paradimn:

    I don’t mind the changes and learning new ways to get things done. I do mind that many things in VISTA don’t work and that Microsoft lacks the abilty to fix them. I wasted time and money getting a new machine and VISTA. Now I spend more time on my old machine. It might be slow but a least it works.

  17. vista problems:

    [...] If you turn off the UAC feature, Adobe Reader 8.0 for vista will fail to install properly. …http://vista.blorge.com/2007/04/03/10-annoying-things-about-vista-and-working-around-them/Vista Problems Vista RewiredYour resource for Windows vista Tweaks, Tips, Tricks and tutorials. [...]

  18. Jess:

    Everytime I use vista, if the net doesnt drop out and make me restart the whole computer, The whole screen goes white and I can hear msn beeps and the games running in the back grounds, but I cant do anything. so in the end I have to hold down the power button to turn it off, which cant be good for the computer. This will happen to me 10-15 times in 1 hour, sometimes even 10 times in 20 minutes. I cant figure out whats going on, but if anyone has an idea on how to help me, please send me an email to Something-in-the-mist@hotmail.com

  19. Inusa sani Maijama'a:

    I like vista, I love vista but I cannot help to say vista is not properly done.
    Atleast, microsoft should learn from the lessons they encounter from Xp sp1 for doing Xp sp2, by doing so, Vista should be stable and comfortable,but unfortunately Vista don’t support 70% of today softwares.Wht a pity situation?

  20. GeePig:

    I have not switched to the Classic view, nor did I on XP. Having been using computers since about 1980 I do not have a problem when a new system has a different way of doing things. Over the years the thought behind how to find things on a computer have improved, and XP and Vista have taken the next logical steps. Now I get annoyed with my XP at work because the file access is so much clearer on Vista.
    I remember digging through a pile of cassettes when using my brother’s TRS-80, looking for the current saved game I wanted, not so great days. I expect some problems with Vista, but I do get tired of listening to people go on and on about ‘how things were better in the ‘XP’ old days. They weren’t.

  21. mahesh:

    The biggest problem with vista is compatibility.
    in lots of trading platform auto update feature is not working.
    i know a broking office had to get rid of vista and embrace xp, just to run their trading platform.

  22. RossBoyy:

    Lite version ov windows vista
    only 100mb yet fully working try it out
    http://tinyurl.com/vista-lite

  23. RossBoyy:

    Lite version ov windows vista
    only 100mb yet fully working try it out
    http://tinyurl.com/vista-lite

  24. CraigM:

    What an appalling piece of software. Took delivery of my new Dell laptop with Vista Business Edition and it it crashing around 6 times and day. All updates installed and the today it frustrated me so much that it almost ended up in the bin. I am typing this on my Macbook Pro and have never had to reboot it once. Whoever took the decision to release this half finished pile of crap at MS should be shot!!

  25. Troy:

    I’ve never been concerned about Microsoft Office since I’ve been using OpenOffice since I heard of it a while back.

    It’s stable, you can run it on any platform, and it’s never going to say, “Hey, we decided we want some more money”

  26. Reason Tutorial:

    Good little review of vista annoyances. I really wish I had never installed it on my machine but I’m making do for now. But my next machine is definitely going to be a Mac. Gates et all have really screwed up on this on. I had always been happy with XP and never saw the advantages of a Mac before, now after investigating the mac platform I cant wait to change over.

  27. mrgaijinsan:

    Another problem with Vista: CDs and DVDs (photos) burned on a Vista box are unreadable on an OS X MacIntosh, i.e. they will not mount! some are (partially) recoverable with a file salvage app, but original file names are lost. I am the Mac user (thank God) and I am speaking of CDs/DVDs burned by three separate (unfortunate) Vista users. It matters to me because I can’t see their photos and it matters to them because it has finally destroyed their (misplaced) faith in Microsoft. It is also embarrassing for them. Emailing thousands of large jpg files is not an option. CDs and DVDs burned on XP (or earlier) are all fine.

    MacIntoshes have always been able to open PC disks (until Vista) but never the other way around. This PC chauvinism is curious and stupid.

    I live in the Seattle area and know, through multiple sources, that Microsoft never beta tests anything, but rather inflicts that on the public. Each new OS is huger and slower. I also know that their corporate culture rewards mismanagement, incompetence, ignorance and back-stabbing mendacity. I like Bill, and don’t want to believe he would approve of what his company has become, but I could be wrong. Anyway, his charities absolve him of sin in my book. Still, a thorough house cleaning would make Microsoft better and more profitable. They could easily fire most middle management. Their customers should be happy, not beset by a never ending assault of viruses, spyware, patches, pop-ups and things that crash, as my poor friends have had to endure.

  28. onewerld:

    I have a new computer which came with Vista, to my dismay. Currently I cannot seem to do a scan disc(check and correct disc errors) after clicking on “schedule scan”. Also I cannot set up a low battery warning even though I have set it up in the power program. I have even clicked on Windows audible warning for low battery but still the computer simply goes to sleep (as I have requested) when the battery is critical. I had no such problem with XP. Does anyone have a solution to these 2 problems I am having?

  29. Jan:

    When I go too start help and support I only get red x in the windows i do not see pictures
    I see the icons at the top above search but for the rest all x . Anyone know a way around that

  30. KMaC:

    Prompt after prompt after prompt. It interrupts programs, asks for permission to do ANYTHING and has all the attraction of a smack in the face with a wet fish.

    I’m no computer expert but people like me are in the majority and if it’s user friendly for us, it’s good.

    I bow down to you guys & gals who know their bits to their bytes, but I can’t help but wish for XP’s resurrection.

  31. Mike Clements:

    What about the infuriating ‘feature’ in Vista, where a shortcut or program etc is selected just by the cursor hovering over the icon. I’m pulling my hair out.

  32. Nick:

    VistaBoot Pro is no longer a freeware. They are charging for personal liscenses now.

  33. Cam:

    How can I make my PC (with Vista) show me all my pictures. It seems to just show the first 140 or so and then all I get is a white screen.

  34. Natasha:

    Vista is crap. I wish it would die.

    We bought a new computer about 4 months ago because our old one was finished. In buying a new computer now, Vista is automatically installed. We asked the retailer if we could get XP installed instead, but he said it would cost us extra, where Vista was free to install through them. We should have paid the extra.

    We have had numerous problems, and seeing as we are not computer geniuses (spending less than 2 or 3 hours a day in front of it), we are not sure how to fix any of them. Here are a few examples of our issues:

    HDMI HP flatscreen monitor, which was sold as the packaged deal, causes problems with Vista. When we connect the tower to another screen, Windows Media Player will actually play CDs and DVDs. When we connect it to this screen, we get a prompt saying that there is a problem with the digital copy protection and that we need to update our driver for our video card. I’ve been told to download codex stuff (the ones that vista will ALLOW me to download and start) but none of it seems to work!

    Other problems like getting the right plug-in stuff to listen to online radios, or to play games or online videos. It tells us what we need, and tells us how to get it, but then gives us problems in installation. Or says its installed, but then prompts us to install again…

    Sorry this was so long. But like I wrote at the beginning. I want Vista to die. I really want XP back, its easier to use for us non-computer genius types.

  35. SA:

    Forget Windows. I did for my business and home, and I couldn’t be happier. I run Red Hat and Fedora 10 Linux, and it’s rock solid, can run on older hardware, is completely backwards compatible, and doesn’t have the many maintenance woes of Windows. And, no COSTS! I’ve documented additional reasons of why I made this move and recommend that others at least assess the move to Linux:

    http://members.apex-internet.com/sa/windowslinux

  36. Hugh:

    “Vista is one of those operating systems that was “good enough” for release.”

    Here we are, nearly two years after this article was posted. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that Vista was not “good enough” for release at all – it should never have been allowed to see the light of day.

    Microsoft have made themselves irrelevant, and Linux is the way of the future.

  37. hdtv antenna:

    If those people in the Mojave Project commercials were legitimate, then I don’t know where Microsoft found them. For them to enjoy Vista so much astounds me.

  38. Collin Zeng:

    You don’t know what Vista was built for. MS expected 4-6 ghz processors, 2 to 4 gb of memory, and 1 tb hard drives standard on each computer by 2006.

    Unfortunatly, no. 120 or 160 GB was the norm. Core Duos and Athlons at around 2ghz was the norm. 1 to 2 gb of memory was the norm.

    Hindsight is always 20/20, and MS is not going to bump up system requirments for Windows 7.

  39. Linda:

    I loved vista for the first year, and now it crashes at least 6 times per day. Just shuts right down no warning, just gone. Especially burning DVD’s which by the way I can’t do. I run a business, and right in the middle of work, down she goes. Pain in the you know what. Next time it’s macintosh.

  40. Just being picky:

    Just so you know… It’s “Shudder”, not “shutter” WHOOP WHOOP!!!

  41. pcmemoirs:

    That’s why I will wait for Windows 7. I can skip Vista. Too many problems…

  42. Ed:

    “Jonathan Schlaffer:
    April 4th, 2007

    And those PCs are useless to me. Mainly I will need shader model 4.0 and DirectX 10 for gaming, as for the rest, video/audio editing and gaming. Simple web browsing PCs are not enough for me so that’s where I’m coming from, remember, this is written from my perspective.”

    A very late reaction: If that is your perspective, you should write exclusively in a gamers’ magazine, not here where normal users are.

  43. JK:

    I have Vista Home Premium. I have a Dell Inspiron 531, about 2 years old and a Dell flat screen monitor 17″ about 7/8 yrs. old. I was trying to adjust the pixels and the screen went black saying no signal. I can get in on safe mode & change the display but it won’t save it. I can only get in on safe mode. My guess this is Vista creating the problem but can it be the video card or the monitor or what? Besides throwing it out, what can I do to reset the display and save it so I can get on normally again.

  44. terryvee:

    I have several machines running = XP Vista and Windows 7 (which I have not yet evaluated)
    The “file permissions” feature on Vista is the most annoying and unworkable apsect I have ever encountered in my life!
    THANK GOD I DID NOT BUY THIS CRAP it was a free upgrade.
    I am using various forms of linux to see which one suits me!
    !!! Linux has never crashed yet it is totally free
    DO NOT BUY Microsoft products!

  45. allan t stacey:

    it is fucking bull shit never had any problemes of any kind until i whent leagel and bought this peice of shit program called vista aultimit worst thing i ever did and will never trust windows micrsoft again please reply if you have the nerve als electonics says you are the biggest fraud there ever is and i would not recomend to any one not even my enemies

  46. Henry:

    Like almost everyone I didn’t want to try vista. I bought an acer laptop that came with Vista Home Premium. I must say that in the beginning it was not easy to navigate…I was still stuck in XP mode.

    Took 2 weeks to master Vista, and I can say I find the OS way better than XP. It is more secure and more stable. I have disabled the search index feature. I use a little free utility called ‘Search Everything’ it is blazingly fast.

    I like vista’s arrangement of the control panel. The grouping is logical. To me the classic view is like looking at a bowl of alphabet soup.

    Lastly Comodo firewall (free) does work quite well with Vista.

    In short, I love Vista…please don’t throw rotten apples at me :-).

  47. Ash Simpson:

    It Makes me laugh, I think back to when XP was released People where say thing alot worse things. I love Vista and its features sure it still has a few bugs but nothing that wont be fixed in time.

  48. nnm:

    please please i am begging my internet always crushes freezes the whole lot…i have internet explorer and firefox. i have an acer laptop which came with windows vista home premium..what should i do????upgrade? upgrade to what? have had this laptop for 2weeks and it cost me a fortune please people i need your help

  49. cocoly:

    I had also faced the same trouble, Try to Remember. Or you will reset your Windows Vista password.
    Your computer installed WIN7 or XP?
    I succeed in reseting my Windows XP Password using Windows Password Unlocker Tools.
    Solve all your problem within a few minutes. Importantly, without data loss or reinstalling!

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