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Windows Vista: Offal

It took me a while to think of a good word to describe Vista in the title for this post. I went with offal because "the parts of a butchered animal removed in dressing; viscera; refuse; rubbish; garbage" at least approximates the smell of Vista somewhat accurately.

How can Microsoft so consistently make such garbage-quality software? It's not like I'm looking for things to hate. I really wanted Vista to be sort of good. Heck, I had to buy a copy of Vista for work, and I don't like thinking that I wasted my money. I'd love to love Vista. (If not for the fact that spending money on Windows helped me get jobs that more than made up for the price of it, I would definitely consider myself to have lost money.)

But no. Here are the things about Vista that annoyed me, JUST TODAY, during the two hours it took me to backup my files in preparation for installing a dual-boot of Ubuntu on it.

  • The mouse speed when I use my trackpad in Vista is about 800% slower than when I use a USB mouse. I can't figure out why. This problem does not exist in Ubuntu, where both work fine and at the same speed.
  • About once every second, Vista accesses my hard drive. I hear "click"... "click"... "click"... "click"... incessantly forever. I don't know what running process is doing this. I killed everything I could think of. I turned off indexing of my files. I thought it was the Sidebar for a while, but nope. Still it does this. Lo and behold, the laptop doesn't do this in Ubuntu. What the hell is Vista looking for on my hard drive all the time? How much has my HD's lifespan been reduced by this?
  • I tried to burn a DVD to back up my files. A popup bubble near the taskbar told me I had files waiting to be burned. It's a good thing too, because the enormous freaking window where I was dragging and dropping files wasn't enough of a reminder. This reminder bubble kept appearing, disappearing, appearing, over and over and over. I don't know why. When I say "disappear", I don't mean instantly disappear. I mean a slow, sluggish, jittery, gratuitous fade-out animation which clearly left Vista out of breath due to the struggle of the demanding computational feat of displaying a 100x200 pixel transparent rounded window.
  • Vista failed to burn the DVD, without giving any error message other than that "burning failed". Then it told me to insert a new disc. I did. It made some noises, spit it out, and said "No disk inserted, please insert a disc". I tried 3 blank DVDs and all were rejected. I used Roxio in Vista and it worked OK (on the first DVD I tried to begin with), though Roxio itself is trash and was filled with links to get me to "Upgrade" (probably spend money; I didn't click them). (It's been YEARS since I've had a problem burning a disc in K3B. I'm using Gentoo for God's sake. I compile my own kernels and have to pick my device drivers from big lists of things I don't even remotely recognize. Think of how many things I could've done wrong setting up Gentoo that would prevent my DVD burner from working. I'm practically BEGGING it not to work here, and yet it does.)
  • Every time I rebooted, Vista reminded me again that I had files waiting to be burned, until I double clicked the DVD icon in Computer and deleted the ghost-files that appeared there in spite of there being no DVD in the drive. Once the last ghost file was gone, Vista immediately asked me to insert a DVD(????).
  • I used Vista's built in sucky Disk Manager to resize my Vista NTFS partition to make room for Ubuntu. It would only let me reduce the size of a 100GB partition by 30GB, even though 80GB were free in that partition. Googling reveals that this is a well-known limitation of the Disk Manager. Because Vista is a well-known piece of feces. I am actually one of the lucky ones, apparently. For many people, Vista just flat out refuses to resize a partition at all, regardless of how much space is free. If not for the fact that Ubuntu only takes 2.5GB fully-installed (including my boot partition, OpenOffice, Firefox, Gimp, and TONS of needless packages Ubuntu provides by default) I might be in trouble.
  • While trying to make a backup of my files, I noticed that one of my folders had a random empty My Music subfolder in it. This folder didn't appear when I looked in Explorer, but it appeared magically in certain other file selection dialogs. Apparently my laptop is haunted by evil spirit folders, attracted by the pure evil that Vista radiates in all directions.
  • I tried deleting a folder full of music files. As always, this stretched out into a 10-minute operation. Eventually, Vista dramatically warned me about deleting desktop.ini because, as we all know, it's VITAL to the workings of my system. I told it to delete it. Then it warned me that some of my folders were too big to fit in the recycle bin and would have to be deleted immediately instead. Gasp. I told it OK. Then it told me that one of my music folders was shared, and deleting it would stop it from being shared. You don't say! How this folder became shared, I do not know; never have I accessed this folder from another computer. I told it to go ahead and delete it. Then it repeated this warning about sharing, for the next folder. And then again, FOR EVERY SINGLE FOLDER I WAS DELETING, one by one. This is all with User Account Control DISABLED. If I had it enabled I'd be sitting there clicking OK in prompt after prompt until tomorrow morning. Eventually I went to DOS and tried rmdir /s /q *. This didn't work, I believe because it couldn't find a folder called "*". So I had to rmdir /s /q each directory manually. Thankfully Vista's tab-completion is gimped enough to make even that more difficult than it should ever be.
  • All the while, I experienced random lag and slowness and horrible pain. This is such a standard problem in Vista that it's almost possible to forget that the lag exists, until you boot into Linux and see how stupidly fast your computer runs in comparison.

My coworkers report that some people at work who got new laptops and requested Vista are having such problems that the laptops are almost unusable. Apparently 1GB of RAM isn't enough. If my computer is any testament, neither is 2GB.

When I got into Ubuntu for the first time, I immediately noticed that the latpop FLIES. Which is to be expected with a fairly new Core 2 Duo machine with a fairly nice video card etc. etc. Amazing. I even put big fat bloated Compiz on here running on top of big fat bloated Gnome, with all kinds of ridiculous desktop apps and file-indexers and God only knows what else Ubuntu is throwing at me, and it still runs perfectly. Only thing that didn't work out of the box was my wireless card, which took me 15 minutes of googling to find an easy solution for. (For googlers: Dell Vostro 1500 is my laptop. Ubuntu works on it perfectly well.)

In three years when Microsoft releases their next stinker OS, I'm probably going to be forced to buy that one too. The joys of a world where everyone uses Microschloft Office.

March 10, 2008 @ 4:13 PM PDT
Cateogory: Rants

9 Comments

Patrick
Quoth Patrick on March 10, 2008 @ 4:55 PM PDT

Thanks for this, really gave me a good laugh :D

Adam Sloboda
Quoth Adam Sloboda on March 10, 2008 @ 6:33 PM PDT

So, Vista is always clicking? I experience some annoying clicking under Linux from time to time (no idea why) and it resolves by putting it to sleep and starting again :/

glx'r
Quoth glx'r on March 11, 2008 @ 5:23 AM PDT

It might be that application caching feature. Not sure what it's called, as using Linux has greatly dulled my Windows knowledge :/

ph0enix
Quoth ph0enix on March 11, 2008 @ 9:24 AM PDT

I'm not sure if this will be caught by your spam filter but here might be an answer to your "click...click...click" problem.

Don't be so annoyed by vista; on Linux 2.4.x and FreeBSD 4.x I had the same problem. Although unrelated to the above vista problem, Linux and FreeBSD would cache a lot at small intervals to disk (I only had 256 mb of memory back then) causing the same clickety headache.

http://www.vistaheads.com/forums/microsoft-public-windows-vista-performance-maintenance/169833-vista-writing-disk.html

For equivalent performance to a desktop, I would suggest turning off Aero completely. The "Windows 2000" look actually isn't bad as it's been revamped from the 2000 days and is much snappier!

Brian
Quoth Brian on March 11, 2008 @ 9:28 AM PDT

Defrag huh. Who would've thought. I'll have to try that.

Dirk Gently
Quoth Dirk Gently on March 11, 2008 @ 10:19 AM PDT

lol,

I have used linux so much I had forgot about these nightmares. Thanks alot ;P

"How much has my HD's lifespan been reduced by this?"

0 to very little - the HD always spins

Dizzle
Quoth Dizzle on May 26, 2008 @ 2:57 PM PDT

Dood, you rock.

» Brian Carpenter is my new hero i drank the kool-aid: clutching my dixie cup of apple goodness

[...] Carpenter is my new hero Posted in May 27th, 2008 by Dizzle in Windows fanbois (snicker) With this post It took me a while to think of a good word to describe Vista in the title for this post. I went [...]

james
Quoth james on June 06, 2008 @ 6:55 PM PDT

Vista also constantly downloads small amounts of data (I don't know what...). I use a VPN connection at my uni campus to access the higher speed line. In XP when I'm not doing anything the connection is idle, however in Vista it constantly downloads a few bytes/couple of kilobytes every second.