XP is the past and present...
Vista is the present and future.... I installed Vista Ultimate on one
good desktop system and 9 months later I'm still wrestling with
issues. Two months ago I bought a $399 Toshiba laptop with Vista Home
Basic and haven't experienced a problem with
should have a good reason to upgrade from XP to Vista... and simply because
Vista is the latest and greatest operating system isn't a good reason.
time to buy a new computer, you should have a good reason to not get one
...it looks and
aeroglass works on
my desktop system, but not the whiz bang dynamic slide shows... my video card
work on my laptop... but it's still good looking and feeling
My normal is to
startup 4 systems in the morning. The Vista laptop is the last one I
turn the switch on, but the first to be ready to go.
When I plug a
USB external drive in, it's not good at working with it. Sometimes I
can coax it by giving it a dozen permissions, but it
often withdraws and refuses to work with it.
I just took what's an unusual step for me, turning off a feature
meant to help and protect... User Account Control... it might help
those with a bunch of teenagers in the house, but I'm the only user of my
computers, so I don't need to give myself permissions every time I decide
to do something... worse yet, being told too often that I don't have sufficient
permission to do something, even though I pay the bills and provide
the IT support in my home.
Someone wrote and
asked where to get the manual for his new Vista computer. Mine didn't come
with one either.
Built-in and online
help has advanced over the years, and the Narrator feature has
also come a long way. It's actually pleasant to listen to. Open the
help files and have Microsoft Anna or the nameless Toshiba male adult
(US) with his neat accent read to you.
Windows is still
fishing for what to call things... is it a subdirectory or a folder?
is what you're doing with your camcorder 'capturing' or 'importing'?
With Vista coming
in so many different languages, I wonder if the terminology has settled
out in a non-English language pack.
In the world of
digital zeros and ones, counting is a computer's strong suite. But I've run into
two cases of my Vista system not doing it right.
My laptop came with
1/2 GB of RAM and I purchased two 1 GB chips to bump it up to 2 GB. Try as I
might, I can put either of the new chips in and run at 1 GB total, put either of
the new chips in with the original 1/2 GB chip and run at 1-1/2 GB. But putting
both 1 GB chips in gives a checksum error message.
event I put in this category was, during a game of Spider Solitaire,
the system said I didn't have any more moves... but I did and kept playing. It
would have been right if it limited it's comment to me going to lose
itself routinely and automatically...
I have automatic
updating turned on for all my computers. It seems they download in the
background and often install as I'm closing down.
when packing to go to Barnes & Noble, my XP laptop said it needed
to install 12 updates, and cautioned me as usual to not turn the
system off... just wait. Not knowing how long it needed, I turned to
the Vista laptop, which didn't have any updates to do. The only
issue I have with all those closing down updates is not having a
forecast of how long they'll all take, so I can plan accordingly. A
dozen updates could take a few minutes or tens of minutes.
It catches me at
Barnes & Noble also... as I close my laptop as the store closes,
it's a bit embarrassing to stand there watching my laptop doing updates as
the store manager is breathing heavily with her hand on the door to help me
Belarc reports are great to
review hardware and software features of a system. Here's part of the
report for my Vista laptop, telling me there are no missing
Microsoft security hot fixes, which ones are installed, and
with a link for each that takes you to the Microsoft website page
about the KB article.
... Microsoft provides a new security update on
the second Tuesday of each month and publishes a bulletin to announce the
update. Occasionally, updates are released more often.
Selecting one of the security related hot
fixes (those tagged with a little lock)... KB933566... the Belarc reports
show it was installed on my XP laptop and Vista desktop on June 13th,
and on my Vista laptop a week later on June 21. Not all computers are
updated the same day.
alternating laptops, one XP and the other Vista, I've gotten into the pattern
of maintaining my website and other projects on a 120 GB
SimpleTech external USB drive that moves back and forth between the two
well when I only used the XP, but two months of
easing Vista into the same role turned into an extremely frustrating
experience... apparently due to being helped and protected by
User Account Control, a new feature in Vista that is turned on
by default. I stopped trying to work with it, and turned it
Now I can work
on the projects on my external drive using either
itself on reliability. It's very reliable as an operating system,
and Movie Maker hasn't crashed on the laptop since July
In June I
reviewed 3 audio editing apps, which involved a number of app failures
that drove the index down. You can see the steady climb
in stability since then.
The index starts at
a perfect 10 when new. I drove it down in June as I crashed apps right
and left during my audio editing app reviews. It hit a low of 3.21 on June
28th and climbed all the way back to 9.32
You get to this
chart by right clicking My Computer > Manage > Reliability and
Performance > Reliability Monitor. In addition to scoring your crashes
an other issues, it gives you a nice easy way to see what
software installations and removals you've done each
The XP Movie Maker newsgroup has a bit more than 5,000 posts
so far this year... add to that 2.600 for the photos newsgroup and
1,800 for the video one... and you have 9,400 XP multimedia-related
For Vista the music_pictures_video newsgroup has 8,300
posts. Post activity in the Vista multimedia newsgroup will
soon pass those for XP... newsgroups appear to be the
best place to go to for support.
Posts about XP continue to be much more than those about Vista... time
will change it, but for today there is more and better support on the
All of the KB
Articles tagged as security related are installed...
I'd much rather read about security issues than be personally involved in
them... so far so good.
As my McAfee startup subscription has come to an end on the
laptop, and I use Norton on all my other computers, I'm either going
to switch to Norton or rely on Windows Defender.
and DVD Maker... B
zealousness to trim the fat from XP, some Vista trimming went too far such
as the name of the open project being displayed, and the icon
under the monitor to quickly take a snapshot of the current frame.
back frame by frame previewing, not seen since the days of MM1, and added
A great feature is
the ability to go right from a Movie Maker project to DVD Maker, without needing
to render the movie... this feature alone made me change my whole approach to
writing my recent article about Vista for MaximumPC.
Much of the needed
tech support is about file conversions needed to get files into Movie Maker.
GSpot is the tool to use. What little info is provided about codecs in
XP has almost fully evaporated in Vista.
codec packs and conversion utilities are rolling out to meet the needs.
It's a shame they sometimes introduce more problems than they
is great... at least for asking for and getting it from another Vista or
haven't initiated a support session yet when providing it from a Vista
system to an XP one.
The help files you have it
read must be in the newer formats, as an .hlp file can't be opened, even the
.hlp files that came with my operating system instead of the
Years ago I tried to keep abreast of all aspects of computers...
hardware, operating systems, and software. Today I can only keep up with a small
part of the multimedia area.... but today it's more fun.
My assessment of Vista is about the parts of it I use....
just a small fraction of its total features. B might be a good score, or
not... depends on your perspective.
Have a great week and enjoy your summer fun
and video work...