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Microsoft Relents on Vista's "Reduced Functionality"

Microsoft announced this morning that one of the least popular features of Windows Vista--its "Reduced Functionality Mode"--will go away when the company ships the Service Pack 1 update to this operating system next year. This egregiously misnamed feature will lock you out of all but the most minimal use of a copy of Vista if the computer thinks you're using a copy you didn't pay for.

The problem is, Vista's anti-piracy machinery has also been set off by innocent conduct, forcing law-abiding customers to call Microsoft to ask to be let back into their PCs. That doesn't happen often, but even Microsoft customers who never experience the slightest inconvenience from these measures can still feel annoyed and angry about being treated like would-be thieves.

Microsoft alluded to the impending demise of "Reduced Functionality Mode" in a blog posting last night, then provided more details in today's press release. The latter features a quote from marketing vice president Mike Sievert explaining how Vista will respond if it thinks it hasn't been properly purchased:

Users whose systems are identified as counterfeit will be presented with clear and recurring notices about the status of their system and how to get genuine. They won't lose access to functionality or features, but it will be very clear to them that their copy of Window Vista is not genuine and they need to take action.

Vista's Service Pack 1 will feature many other changes to Vista's components, but it isn't due for a little while yet. The first beta release of it arrived at the end of September, and Microsoft says the finished product won't ship until sometime in the first quarter of 2008.

Here's one thing that I'd like to know: How many programmers and how much time did Microsoft have to devote to building "Reduced Functionality" into Vista? More important, what was the opportunity cost of that feature--what other use could, or should, the company have made of those resources? Please post your suggestions below.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  December 4, 2007; 10:24 AM ET
Categories:  Windows  
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Ritual suicide for all microcrap employees would be a good start

Posted by: Thom | December 4, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I think Microsoft researched the opportunity cost of those things a long time ago, and thought it was to their advantage. They are a professional company, and take all of these steps seriously, but may have gone wrong somewhere in the estimation process.

Posted by: ted | December 4, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Yeah I can't imagine being on a team working on that feature. Think about it: the only time legit users will use your feature is when it locks them out of their computer. And users of pirated vista won't be ecstatic about it either. That's gotta suck. While others are working on cool stuff, you're working on how to lock people out. damn!

Posted by: Bart | December 4, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Let me get used to using Linux and its bye bye forever Windows.

Posted by: Juan Donde | December 4, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Yet another reason to swith to a Macintosh, which just released the latest OS X, Leopard, for half the retail cost of Vista. And there's only one version - everybody gets the best Apple's got.

MS will survive because it is so embedded in corporate IT but anyone with the option would be foolish not to go with Macintosh.

R C Gray

Posted by: Raymond Gray | December 4, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

My husband and I hope SP1 also removes the sudden lock-up problem besetting this OS. We both run Vista (Ultimate on Toshiba, Premium on Gateway -- so it's not the hardware). It's more than upsetting to discover your laptop totally dead up to a half dozen times a day. Even worse, the Visat lock-up includes those "minor" hardware requirements like cooling fans -- so if you're not watching the system 100% of the time you return to find a CPU in near-cooked condition. Truly the worst OS since 98/ME

Posted by: Vista ME | December 4, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

It's an intriguing dilemma. Microsoft wanted a way to stop piracy. Ordinarily that would have been to shut down any machine that might have been working with a pirated OS.

But what if someone with pirated software wanted to "get genuine"? That would have been a problem if the machine had become a big black piece of plastic with a mouse and keyboard attached.

So someone got the brilliant (?) idea to force the machine into a Reduced Functionality Mode. (Horrible name.)

That way the machine could still be rescued and redeemed into a functioning product.

It is obvious that the software was a little too strict in switching to reduced functionality.

A better idea would have been if the software, on suspecting piracy, had reported the location of the computer.

The Piracy Police could have then broken down the door (usually at 4:30 am) and dragged the unsuspecting users out onto the lawn in their underwear.

With threats to bash the machine into pieces, the users would have no choice but to hand over their credit cards. The Piracy Police could then process the sale.

But thankfully the computer would never have been crippled.

Posted by: Sandee Cohen | December 4, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

How about making VISTA faster? XP with the latest service pack to come out for it is reported to be now about 50% faster then VISTA. How about reduced memory footprint for VISTA? I and my fellow IT workers would not install VISTA on our personal PCs even if it was given for free to us - its just inferior to XP.

Posted by: Tom Kitta | December 4, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

MS is gotta be the dumbest buch of asshats alive.

Posted by: damn | December 4, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

This is so sickening, this corporation needs some real competition.

Posted by: Bill richet | December 4, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@R C Gray: You forget that to use OS/X you need to buy a whole new computer!!! (bye bye thousands of dollars).

To me the answer is Linux. I get to keep my existing computer, heck, get to keep Windows if I need it, but with a dual boot install Linux is perfect, and you won't miss a single eye candy features. Recommended: Kubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon).

Posted by: Joe McCallister | December 4, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

just another reason on why to switch to a MAC!

Posted by: Pancho | December 4, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

It's finals week in law school. My computer, after five months of perfect operation, just informed me that my Windows Vista was not genuine, which is incorrect. Awesome.

Posted by: Rene | December 4, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Let just all use Linux...
what a bunch of moron.
If everyone is a unix programmer than we can all use linux...
Well, make linux into OS X with all the
useless stuff and now it's as slow as windows.

Posted by: A | December 4, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I think MS finally calculated properly very simple calculation. They got bigger loss then benefit from that "feature", because enterprises don't even won't to test their luck and time with all quirks of Windows Vista! (wow)
Those that use cracked versions of Vista would not pay it anyway, and so far they avoided "protection" without problems.

Posted by: Phil | December 4, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

im a pirater and i say, from my perspective this is a bunch of bull and a waste of resources, for several reasons. The first of the reasons being that the more hardcore groups will either find a way to crack vista in half and remove the unfriendly code (as i believe has already been done) or they'll drop a bomb on the updates page and make it so taht windows updates can't indetify with all of teh vista OSs out there, the reality being that if you make things to hard, you piss off the wrong people and your product ultimatly hits the networks cracked in half anyways. The net result being that your out of a few million in R&D costs.

Posted by: islador | December 4, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I pink mindows bista is monderpull. Time to change my diapy!

Posted by: Slow Gary | December 4, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

There must be some truth to the rumoe that M$ actually allows piracy to be at a certain level. if piracy % goes above a certain level they react. that is so that M$ products remain available and hence popular.
instead of spending 1000,000s of man hours into building software that checks for piracy, M$ could have designed a hardware key which the software will look for before phoning home to microsoft to check for product keys. Like all hardware and software this mechanism could be evased too, but then it would less likely set off false alarms sending "genuine" customers fuming. the hardware would cost, but considering the volume of windows installations, the cost could possibly be brought down to pennies.
one of the previous versions of office program would stop working after adding more RAM to a machine because the my-crow-soft software would think more RAM means now its a different machine. pathetic logic implemented by the worlds biggest software maker.
better still they could hire me to have some smart in their balance sheet than their CEO supposedly screaming at employees "Are you so stupid & do you want me to take it home and finish it over the weekend"

Posted by: my-crow-soft | December 4, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I just had my computer upgraded, tripled the RAM, new power supply and had Win XP installed. When I asked my comp repairman if it was a good idea to install Win Vista, he said " NO!" I got lucky! I don't suffer pop ups and slow running machinery very well. First time ever that a MS op system doesn't go away quietly. (XP)

Posted by: Doug | December 4, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Just get a mac. If you use Mac OS X 10.5.1 on a mac that's 3 years old or newer then you're all good. It runs speedy fast!

Posted by: tbg10101 | December 4, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I have been in the IT industry since 1984. With a paid and licensed copy of Vista on a state-of-the-art PC, in the last seven months I've had to relicense the software by calling India and begging three times. The protection scheme decided that my loading software patches and drivers trying to repair known Vista flaws meant I was a thief. I'm about as displeased a consumer as can be found. Vista, and my specific Vista Ultimate 64-bit is a complete and utter consumer rip off and should be looked at as a case for a class action suit regarding merchantability. I had far more value in Windows XP with practically no problems. Vista has provided no new useful features with a far worse user experience After fighting this O/S for 7 months, I will be wiping my copy of Vista, and replacing it with XP this weekend. I will NEVER again pay for a copy of a Microsoft product. Either Linux or a Mac are better choices.

Posted by: Angry and Frustrated | December 4, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"but anyone with the option would be foolish not to go with Macintosh."

Yes, I'd be so foolish to stick with windows. After all, I hate having a huge library of software that actually works for me (trust me, mac software isn't what it's cracked up to be, the OS may be stable but the available apps... not so much, and an OS without usable apps is pretty worthless). I'm so foolish because I don't want to bow down and work, not in the way -I- want, but how Steve Jobs tells me to work. Yeah, it's his vision so it's how -he- wants me to work. The guy thinks he's the 2nd coming or something. It's eye candy and you bought into it. Good job.

"Ritual suicide for all microcrap employees would be a good start"

Microcrap... how original. Seriously, did you stay up all night thinking about that one genius? And ritual suicide? So you're saying it's OK to advocate the deaths of thousands of people just because you don't particularly like a piece of software they've written? Seriously, check in to a mental health institution, you need help. Because that's not clever nor is it funny.

Posted by: Bob | December 4, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Just get a mac. If you use Mac OS X 10.5.1 on a mac that's 3 years old or newer then you're all good. It runs speedy fast!

Posted by: tbg10101 | December 4, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

When you beta test your OS on the consumer it shows. Still, I'm not going to run into the arms of Apple. I guess they stopped using "the computer for the rest of us" when they started charging 10x as much for their products.

I will admit that their anti-PC commercials are way too funny! It has to be the most cost-effective ad campaign given that Microsoft is constantly contributing new material!

Posted by: itbob | December 4, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Microsoft Vista shows how out of touch MS is. They are fixated in controlling and manipulating their costumers and the market place in stead of innovating and engineering with delightful fun and easy programing. They can't even copy Apple any more.

Posted by: David | December 4, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Forcing would-be software pirates to actually purchase the OS brings down costs for all. I would rather take the slight chance of a run-in with Microsoft technical support than to subsidize the development of Windows for the benefit of those who would steal it.

Posted by: Chris Corliss | December 4, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

inferior to XP? Tom Kitta ...
You are talking about XP that has a lot less security run less stuff of course it's faster...but it's not as reliable.
I can run win 3.1 on the same machine too and I bet it's going to be even faster than XP is win 3.1 superior?
When everyday users got hit by all sort of
virus and backdoor programs...which O/S is more secure? XP or Vista? (not counting third party anti-virus software)...
You got more feature of course there is more codes and so slower on the same machine.....then again, on average people buy new machine every 3 it's going to compensate for it...

Just like a car with more feature is going to be heavier and so slower...but you exchange that for more confort and ease of use....

Posted by: what? | December 4, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I bought a computer with Vista installed. After a few days, I decided to go through the arduous task of finding drivers that would make the hardware built for Vista work in an XP environment (not easy at all). After a week of work, I had a new computer that runs XP and NO REGRETS about the week of time I invested in UPGRADING from Vista to XP!

Posted by: Mark | December 4, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Just spent over an hour installing Vista last night, then over an hour installing brand new software on a DVD.

Vista is pathetic, Microsoft is 10+ years behind Apple, If I did not need the PC for work, I would never even consider it.

What makes me puzzled about limiting access to pirated copies, is first of all why anyone would pirate, let alone buy this horrible OS.

My Mac Classic in the 90s ran quicker than this system on a brand new computer.

Shame on you Mr. Gates.

Posted by: Tony | December 4, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

What choices do it have? Microsoft or Apple?

Microsoft's "activation" don't ask me about Adobe and RAIDS, buggy OS, hardware and software vendors blaming each other... Sheesh!

Apple not enough software support to get MY job done... Boot Camp and no hardware support, nothing worked after OS10, but it's cool and EXPENSIVE... Do I upgrade my I tunes for fear it will stop working with Amazon MP3, like my iphone quit working with my ring tones...

None of it is flawless or perfect and it madding... No responsiblity in PC land and control freaks in apple land... IMHO

Posted by: Bob | December 4, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

To A: OS X is UNIX. Specifically, it is certified UNIX 03. Linux is only derived from UNIX.

Reduced functionality mode makes Vista unusable, so far as I'm concerned. At any moment, it could lock you out of your software and data. Seems to me that makes Vista spyware. SP1 may fix the software, but it won't fix my perception of Microsoft.

Vista is designed for the enterprise; Office 2007 is a development platform and a SharePoint client. If you aren't a CIO, and if you are not a "partner developing solutions for the enterprise," you don't need that. For most of us, Microsoft left the planet about 2003.

The sensible choices today are either Linux or OS X, depending on your needs and abilities.

Posted by: Harold | December 4, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The answer for most Window users is Ubuntu. Most user needs are met by Ubuntu and open source products such as Firefox and OpenOffice. The people that move away from Microsoft's control the freer Microsoft will have to become.

BTW, Vista encouraged us to migrate to Ubuntu because it is such a pain.

Posted by: e | December 4, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm a firm believer you don't punish your customer and if you write code that may impact your loyal customers then your going to pay the price! I think companies have to understand you'll probably never beat the hacker and getting down to the hard core hackers you have to wonder is it really worth it. Settle for 10% users will be hackers and the other 90% happy customers, that's got to mean something. Offer better incentives to licensed users. Positive marketing is always better then negative.

On Vista, It's too bulky, expensive and none user friendly will all the initial customizations you have to make such as annoying messages etc.. It's too slow with 1g of memory and for me not usable. If you want the gui but XP performance, do a search for the XP theme kit that makes XP look like vista for free with all the menus, sidebar etc. and the only difference, you computer still runs fast...

Posted by: Concerned User | December 4, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

My copy of Vista running under Bootcamp on my Mac suddenly decided that it was illegal after registering successfully and running for several months. All that did, really, was awaken me to the fact that I didn't really need it since I got the Xbox, so now I'm 60gb richer. The only loser in this (as I already paid for Vista, so I'm sure Microsoft doesn't care if I use it or not) are the PC game companies that produce Windows only games that I no longer buy and play. Sorry, Valve -- maybe YOU folks should talk to Microsoft.

Posted by: BMurray | December 4, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Everyone is against Microsoft for different reasons. However, I've been in the computer field a long time.

Prior to windows, I had different fonts, and printer drivers for each application.

I've also owned Macs for ever and I'll tell you they are the most proprietary pain in the a-holes on the planet. The same video card for the pc or mac is 200.00+ difference.

I do like the linux platform, and it is becoming less cryptic perhaps it will become even more mainstream.

I run vista, I like it. I also run vmware on my mahcine with a couple different os's they all run fine.

The fact is people are going to slam Microsoft no matter what product they come out with or develop.

People don't slam openoffice or staroffice as much becuase its free. Well let me tell you Free stuff isn't always better.

Posted by: Ridiculas | December 4, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bob! Tone it down. Everyone knows that Macs are so much better than some peecee piece of junk.

"Ritual suicide for all microcrap employees would be a good start"

That's what we humans call SARCASM. Maybe you should learn how to identify it before sooting off your mouth like that.

Here is a better one:
"PEECEE[s] Run Microcrap Wins%*$"

Do you like that one better?

I apologize to the moderators but this is a very contentious issue.

Posted by: tbg10101 | December 4, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm a University Student, In my point of view. Microsoft Always have some wrong startegies at the beginning of releasing a software specially if it's their most important product "Windows" and these strategies are usually about preventing counterfeit users from using their products, and agian they change these strategies dynamicaly with open eye to the market.

It's so clear that different version is what helps the customer to buy what he really needs. if you by something like Leopard, you're gonig to by something which is used by an IT pro. and at the same time by a home user, and it's so clear that the home user is not going to use the features that are being used by the IT Pro.(if these features really exist) so he is paying for something which is not going to be used.

Posted by: BT | December 4, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

My first PC was a Commodore Vic 20 (8K of RAM). I have experienced many machines and various operating systems in my years as a systems programmer, BBS SysOp (remember that?) and digital musician.

The Microsoft haters will immediately say, "Go Linux!" and the Mac heads will scream for OS X.

All the above mentioned OSes have their flaws (i.e. try to recover a corrupted/accidently renamed system file on a MAC or get a driver for a piece of PC hardware that runs reliably in Linux when an upgrade is made to said hardware).

The bottom line is, whatever gets the job done to your satisfaction is the OS for you. Listening to the uninformed banter on about this OS is better than that is a waste of time and could lead to more issues and/or a waste of money.

Folks, do your homework before making a radical change in your computer environment. If it works, leave it alone!

Manny G

Posted by: Manny G - BSG Productions | December 4, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Vista sucks !!! the worst OS ever !!! Microsoft sucks !!!
Hopefully, Linux exists !!!

Posted by: Duncan | December 4, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Seems like Microsoft's practices are finally catching up with it. They release something when it makes financial sense rather when it's ready for release, use their monopoly to force people to buy it, and then offer updates for the next 5 years to actually make it work!

By that plan, Windows XP is finally worth paying for and Vista is just starting its cycle. I am glad that Mac OSX and Linux are around to offer us more options. At least Bill Gate uses a lot of the money he makes off of us for charitable causes!

Posted by: david z | December 4, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

XP rocks-well sorta.. I mean compared to Windows Victim it rocks. We have a new cpu preloaded with this bendOverS and we still need to get more ram so it can just do basic operations. I vote to string Bill & his mafia-code buddies from their petards. Ahoy matey-sure makes you consider being a pirate.
I mean they are already a bunch of butt-pirates anyway.

Posted by: Ramm | December 4, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Also, for those of you who say that there are no apps for Mac... Only the good/succesful ones get to Mac. The same goes for games.

Posted by: tbg10101 | December 4, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Anyone that wants me to switch to a Mac is more than welcome to send me the xtra 2 grand it will cost to have a Mac thats equivalent to my PC....

Posted by: mixx | December 4, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Q_Q Vista on most newer retail computers.>

Posted by: Jeremy | December 4, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Slightly changing the subject, instead of Internet Explorer 7, download, install and use Netscape Navigator 9.0.4. Just released. Faster, cleaner, better resolution, crisper colors, stuff loads faster, top-notch security etc etc.
Microsoft robots arise and throw off the chains of Internet Explorer!

Posted by: Howard S | December 4, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Never upgrade right away with MS OS's. I learned this a long time ago. I recently purchased a new PC and it came with Vista Home Edition. First thing I did was erase the HD and install XP. Amazing that people out there still haven't learned this with MS. MS doesn't make good software, they are a monopoly.

Posted by: Uncle Fester | December 4, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

actually if you look at the prices and features carefully Macs are slightly cheaper. Apple only deals in higher end computers. That's why you think macs are more expensive. The fact of the matter is that Apple offers no super-low end computer.

Posted by: tbg10101 | December 4, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me like Microsoft keeps forgetting that the only people that their anti-piracy war will stop are the honest crooks. IE, the people that have very little computer experience. On the other hand, anyone that is fairly computer savy, or is determend to run Vista without paying for it will find a way. Not only that, they will be willing to deal with the issues that arise from running the illegal software. Microsoft has some of the best programmers in the world, their main issue is that they dont have ALL of them. If every one of the hackers and crackers out there were on the M$ payroll I imagine we would see a decent decline both in the piracy of that software and the number of hacks that are available to bypass their anti-piracy features. It all comes down to one thing, the internet. The thing that was built for the "Free" exchange of information, pick your version of the word free ;) Microsoft has two options, 1) either get everyone that is hacking their products on the payroll or 2) deal with it and get on with improving their products.

Posted by: aBs0lut3-z3r0 | December 4, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I switched to linux (Fedora 8) on my laptop a couple of months ago. It's faster and much more stable than windows was--and it's free. "Open Office" replaces MS-Word, Excel, and Powerpoint beautifully. And it's free, too. You do not have to be a programmer, or even very technical, to run linux these days!

Posted by: ac4rd | December 4, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I dual boot XP and Vista and prefer Vista.

Posted by: Jim Morrison | December 4, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"Forcing would-be software pirates to actually purchase the OS brings down costs for all."

The real question is:

Are the pirates even bothering with Vista?

Posted by: itbob | December 4, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

1) The anti-piracy feature makes things difficult for paying users. Pirates can get around this feature already.

2) Pirates will always find a way around any protection.

3) If Microsoft was smart, they would flood the net with bogus torrents of Vista, upload iso's to file sharing websites. If I tried downloading 10 differnt bogus iso's, I would give up and go but it.

4) They could also flood the net with bogus license keys.

Anti-piracy features hurt the paying end-user, not the pirate..

Posted by: leftleg_ | December 4, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

As to "just buy a MAC"...well, I did. I gave in to the pressure of "its so wonderful". Then, I patiented tried to work through "you just aren't used to it. It can do everything a PC can do." I have used my MAC and my Pro now for 7 months and it CAN'T do what my PC could do. I am very limited in the way I work.

Posted by: AHerwig | December 4, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't downloading anything from Microsoft require that your machine passes some sort of validation? How is someone with a false-positive machine supposed to save themselves?

I'm a little behind on Windows, being mainly a Linux user and having a company machine with XP, so please forgive my ignorance.

Posted by: Monchanger | December 4, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I have used PCs for 20 years, and I think Vista is my fav' OS system yet. I built my own PC as a gaming rig, and everyone warned me not to install Vista. But I did anyway, and I have liked it. Notwithstanding what others have written about Vista being slower than XP, my last machine was running really slowly with XP and took a long time to boot up. Because I built it myself, I do not have a bunch of junk running in the background like you get with retail machines. Some of this speed is probably the dual CPU on the new machine. But aside from one or two drivers not recognized for a few accessories and a few old games that won't run, this has been a great OS. Don't have a dog in this fight (not an IT guy or big MS fan), but just wanted to say that my Vista experience has been really good.

Posted by: Leonard | December 4, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

how can you compare end of cycle xp with new vista?
you are running a old o/s on a new machine.
Think back when xp first comes out and run on those slow machines 5 years's slow too... and you probably say win 3.1 was better back then...
Forward 2 year to the future, computer will be much faster and all these problem you see now will seem to disappear.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

On the upgrading comments:
I bought a new laptop about 3 months ago. The ONLY option in the Microsoft OS category was Vista. I am happy with XP and would have purchased XP. Why does Microsoft turn on their new OS and turn off their stable older OS on the same day? Give people the choice to purchase a new machine with either the "latest and greatest" OR the "tried and true."

Posted by: Mark | December 4, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I have been doing technical support for windows since the days of windows 3.0 and in all that time I have never seen such a ridiculous excuse for an OS (taking a moment to acknowledge the disaster they called Win ME)

Vista is Crap, end of story! In the last 2 months alone I have been called upon to remove and replace vista with XP or Linux no less then 20 times! My clients have nothing good to say about vista and after spending time with it I agree. Laying aside all the normal complaints about how slow it runs, I am more disturbed by rumors that they have included programs that will detect and report activities that it deems suspicious. When did Microsoft become the police of the computer world?

I will continue to work on windows systems simply because that is where all the work is. I have had less then a dozen calls to repair Mac's and Linux systems in the last 4 years.....hmmmmm lets see many windows boxes have I cleaned up in that same amount of time? Truth be told, ive lost count but its in the thousands!

So heed my words, if you have to use windows, use XP. if you want to be free of windows forever buy a MAC, if you don't want to game and just use your computer for music, videos, internet surfing, etc. get your claws in a copy of Mandriva 2007, Its free and does everything except high end games (except all those game they are making linux versions of as I type this ;)

The Tech Cat has spoken!

Posted by: M.Stewart | December 4, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Windows XP has been a very good, stable OS that was light years ahead of previous Windows OS.

What makes me angry about Vista and MicroSoft is creating an OS that hogs resources and forces you to by a new system just to support it. The resources should be for the applications NOT the OS. I have stuck with MicroSoft up until now, because of the amount of money I have invested in the platform. But unless the next MS OS or generation of VISTA out performs XP. I am done with MicroSoft, I will not by another product from them.

Posted by: slp | December 4, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Switching to a Mac plain and simple!!!!

Posted by: Clayton | December 4, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Now I'd like to see them stop treating every buyer like a non-administrator. We have a Vista machine in our office and every freaking day it refuses to do something because we're not logged in as Admin. There's no Admin here, it's set up as a single-user machine, why does it have to fight us every step of the way?

Posted by: Lorelei | December 4, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I think that it is actually pretty obvious what is happening here. Microsoft announced this week (albeit very quietly on some developer blog) that piracy on Vista has been cut in half from WinXP. That means that they are pleased with the number of "genuine" copies out there and will back off a bit now.

Now, what is interesting about all of theses problems is that I've always pirated Windows since Win98. Whenever I read about these problems, it always amazes me because I effectively have *never* had problems with authentication. I remember that in WinXP at some point, WGA cracks were so good that you didn't even have to pass validation unlike paying users. It is just so ironic how pirated copies are actually better products than the genuine ones.

And as a matter of fact, I actually really like Vista. The amount of architectural changes which improve on security is staggering. The whole damn thing has pretty much been rewritten, even though it is transparent to most end-users. Whether you like Vista and use it or not does not matter, the fact of the matter is that it is "technically" far better and a heck of a lot of work has gone into it.

Posted by: Robert | December 4, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

My new desktop had vista on and all I could take was 2 weeks before I upgrade to XP, vista really sucks

Posted by: Eduardo A. | December 4, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

No reason to swith to a Macintosh, which just released the latest OS X, Leopard, with a fraction of the market share of Vista. And there's only one version - everybody gets the worst Apple's got.

MS will survive because it is so embedded in corporate IT, so anyone with the option would be foolish not to go with Microsoft.

Posted by: Not R C Gray | December 4, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

My experience has been that Vista, running on my computer, has been a big improvement on XP. I've not had the issues that many here say they have.

As for Mac, There's just no incentive to reinvest in thousands of dollars worth of software to replace the software on my PC, if indeed, that a particular title is even available.

If PC's are running slowly, there can be many factors that may be the cause, primarily the stuff that comes prebundled from Symantec whose dozens of programs running in the background occupy 100% of the processors cycles.

Posted by: Ashtonian | December 4, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"Seriously, check in to a mental health institution, you need help. Because that's not clever nor is it funny."

I thought it was pretty funny...

Posted by: Ritual Suicide | December 4, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

You know, Microsoft wants everybody to use their operating system instead of the others. But they REFUSE to consider that not everyone can afford to keep upgrading the OS every time MS feels the need to put out a new version. Makes you want to shove something up someone's....well, you know. I also don't think it's right to put out a product and then down the road stop providing support for it. BILL GATES....this is wrong...just plain wrong. Why won't Microsoft listen?????????

Posted by: Pam | December 4, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe all the mudslinging here. Yes, there are Mac people and there are PC people. Let's just accept that and grow up.

Posted by: rjrjj | December 4, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Linux is nice if you own your own small company, or are a kid who doesn't earn $$ with it, and don't ever play games. Mac is nice if you're rich or have a generous aunty. Windows is for the rest of us. And like it or not, Vista WILL happen. I bought an OEM copy of Vista in the first week after release (thank god I bought OEM!), used it for a couple months...first on the main family computer, then on my son's, but found problems with (1) SW/HW compatibility, (2) running Office 2K7, and (3) parental controls for my son in regulating game play. I reinstalled XP from backups, and we're no worse for wear. Problem is, many people don't have skills to return to XP easily, and, many new Vista machines won't handle a normal XP install! That very sad for those who are now stuck. But don't worry, MS has the time, money and personnel to make it all better. They survived WinME, didn't they? And considering Vista was originally slated to be written from the ground up, lets be more compasssionate, eh? :-|

Posted by: TheFencepost | December 4, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

They would have been better off figuring out a way they could keep the .doc extension instead of mucking everything with the new .docx extension. WTF! Let's make things more complicated, lets make the computer interactive so every few minutes you are prompted to clean off the desktop of unwanted shortcuts, lets make you click on the "wireless network is now connected" message a dozen times a day, lets make everything not compatible and then finally let's make the users go out and get all new hardware. And my all time favorite Vista upgrade message "your version of Vista will not play DVDs" WTF!!!!!! The XP I UPGRADED from played my DVDs but now I have to purchase a $30 program on top of the upgrade to play them. New scanner, new printer, no DVD. Upgrade? For who? The only thing upgraded is MS coffers. What an ass of a company. Can you say iMac soon?

Posted by: HA! | December 4, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Bought a Dell about 3 months ago, ran Vista for about an hour, wiped it off when I installed SUSE Linux, did have some difficulty getting the Graphics card and the wireless running, but after some research everything runs well. Peformance is very good. If your stuck on a Microsoft O/S, get past the fear and move on, you will never look back.

Posted by: Bob2 | December 4, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Switching to MAC is NOT plain and simple.

I am so tired of that Apple user's MANTRA. Apple is just as stubborn and pigheaded as MS, on top of it they are insufferably arrogrant.

Posted by: Jobs | December 4, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

i liked the comment about getting a mac, In five years macs will be as bad as Microsoft. They already have the crazy desire to watch everything their users do, plus, they may have released a new OS, but it is so buggy a lot of people can't even use the wireless.

Posted by: macs suck | December 4, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse


There, I said it. Amidst all this dumping of vitriol and angry gestures, let's not forget the great gift that Mr. Gates and Company have given the modern world-- a standard OS to run billions of PCs. Do some people hate it? Does it have issues? Has M$ possibly lost their way? Doesn't matter-- the entire computing world has a framework within which to build and improve because of Bill. May he and Melinda find happiness trying to cure malaria.

Meanwhile, get OSX or Linux (soon others) and use VMware Fusion, Parallels, Xen, WHATEVER and run Windows when you have to-- while running all the other stuff you want to at the same time on the same computer. OS Freedom! It's there for the taking...

Posted by: Flicka | December 4, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

We dumped Microsoft years ago for Debian is now great!

Speed, stability, security, reliability...tons of free software...Debian has it all!

Posted by: East Coast Software | December 4, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

If it weren't for 3D games and peer-to-peer file sharing, I'd switch to using Linux 100% of the time. Many newer distributions aren't any harder to use than Windows. That being said, it's nice to see that Microsoft is somewhat limited in its ability to force bad software on its customers.

Posted by: Tom Oldani | December 4, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

This article shows M$ does listen to its users. Why is it on every M$ news article now there is always a person commenting about MAC OS Leopard as a OS. MAC OSX people need to understand it isn't a OS. Leopard is a Update package of previous and new updates. That means its just like a M$ Service pack except its not free. WinXP and Windows Vista is much cheaper then MAC OSX (if you include the price of all the update packages for it) and many more usability features. MAC OSX is like a shiny toy except you can't play fun games on it lol. MAC OSX is also like a business tool (UNIX) that's broken (no where near as reliable and too bulky to be a server) xD.

Posted by: oprime | December 4, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Mudslinging? no, its a simple fact, Microsoft isn't interested in making a stable OS, they want to keep adding security that protects them not helps you. I have been fixing and using windows for 15 years, thousands of machines! I use one now, but not because I think its a great OS. I'm a Technician and I need to keep up with all the errors that windows (vista specifically)has on a day to day basis. believe me, if the world dumped windows off the face of the earth I would gladly become a gardener because there would be no need for techs like me.

Posted by: M Stewart | December 4, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

"OS Freedom! It's there for the taking"

Yea, I got time to swap out OS's and run VM's that bog down my primary OS, all because I need to work on something else for 10 minutes. Gimme a break.

Posted by: TheFencepost | December 4, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Boo Hoo. A problem that happens to almost no one yet everyone's got an opinion of how bad it sucks. If you don't like windows, don't use it. Please don't use this as an excuse to jack-off on your Mac either...When you build something that isn't backwards compatiable, you shouldn't brag about doing it better than someone that does build in backward compatibility. Here's the thing no mac user will admit; that 95% of mac users also write in crayon.

Posted by: ihatemac | December 4, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

It kind of looks like SP1 for Vista will scale back "reduced functionality" to "Windows Genuine Advantage Notification" level, which was a high priority (but in small print, optional) April 25, 2006 update for Windows XP. Tort attorneys filed class action suits. Microsoft made WGAN less awful over time. Some version of it would be better than "reduced functionality" in Vista.

Posted by: metarhyme | December 4, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Switching to a Mac is not always easy. People who have a substantial investment in software may need a lot of time to find equivalents for the Mac--they are there, but they aren't always obvious--and it takes time to get used to new software. For example, I was looking for a replacement for Access, found one, but it turned out that what I really needed was a web server log analyzer. So I ended up spending $30 instead of $200.

Because Apple's equivalent of Visual Studio is free and included on every OS X disk, there are lots of one-person companies selling very high quality software for less than $50. Some very good software (like Cyberduck) is completely free. I've spent less on software with the Mac than with Windows and gotten higher quality.

The UI works differently, and it does take some time to get used to it.

I also found that, at least in my case, the Mac was cheaper than the PC with equivalent specs. I understand that Macs used to have premium prices, but I don't think that's true any more. It is true that Apple doesn't have any eMachine equivalents, but few people can use that without upgrading everything to a midrange price. The difference is illusory. Apple never does the equivalent of selling you a car and asking you if you'd like the gas tank option.

It wasn't an easy switch, but now that it's over, even though I'm fluent in both Mac and Windows, I'm not going back.

Posted by: Harold | December 4, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Please site your source, "95% of mac users also write in crayon"

I could site the source for all issues with windows, however I don't think the Washington post allow me to post such a long list. and besides, I have 9 Windows boxes on my lab table to fix at the moment so I just don't have the time.

Oh and by the way, I have never owned a Mac, As I said, thats not where the problems are, its like being the Matag Repair guy being a tech support rep for mac, nothing to do but sit around. I'm not saying its the greatest OS ever made but at least my phone doesn't ring off the hook with unhappy mac users who have been locked out of their systems.

Posted by: M Stewart | December 4, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Have to give credit to Microsoft's HR team...they're competing against Google when MS's working environment subjects smart people to tasks like this and Google is rolling out another cool app every month.

With the cool factor perpetually on Google's side (to say nothing of the compensation package), it no wonder that MS is pissing away time and money on this kind of thing.

Where do you think smart people will want to a sweatshop or in a think tank?

Posted by: Jim T | December 4, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Look at it from another point: A meeting with Steve Ballmer and a couple Microsoft Windows managers

Steve B: Windows Vista market penetration is still so low.. What can we do to make it go up?
Guy 1: We could lower the price...
Guy 2: People don't want to buy it, they'd rather buy XP.
Guy 3: We could give it for free...
Steve B: No!!! You're fired.
Guy 1: If only the pirates also moved from XP to Vista.
Steve B: That's it! Let's help pirate users to move to Vista, and we'll get the market share up free!
Guy 2: Yes.. We only need to disable the Reduced Functionality Mode and spread some ISOs in BitTorrent and some keys.. Later on, we can WGA those keys away.
Steve B: That's it. Prepare to assimilate Windows XP. Resistance is futile.
Bill G: Yes, my apprentice. Feel the power of the dark side of the force!

Posted by: J Ventura | December 4, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@Joe McCallister - He did, in fact, mention that. "Yet another reason to switch to a Macintosh". Your reading comprehension needs some work.

@AHerwig - It's not the Mac that's limiting the way you work, it's you. You've used Winblows so long that you can't function unless it doesn't.

Those of you whining about costs need to do your research. If you build a PC to the same specs as a Mac, you'll break even or spend more in most cases to get the same performance. Apple doesn't make cheap trash PCs for the masses.

I use both, because I have to, for now. I much prefer my Mac, because I can get things done without a lot of bullsh*t. I can't say the same for the PC.

Posted by: Vale | December 4, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Why would anyone hack Vista? In fact the hackers could do nothing but improve that turd.
Can you imagine working for Microsoft now? The shame they must feel for completly destroying the worlds largest software giant.

Posted by: Bob is An idiot | December 4, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"Boo Hoo." ????
What in Vista is backward compatible? Vista is the only OS offered by ALL the PC manufactures, so, yes we have to use windows. It's called a monopoly not a choice.
"95% of mac users also write in crayon", and they will do so proudly!

Posted by: What? | December 4, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if this is the same anti-piracy technology that Microsoft pirated from z4 Technologies and have recently had to pay $142 million for infringing ?

Posted by: Conor C | December 4, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I switched from Macintosh to Vista last month, and while the predictable Windows-bashing from the Apple contingent is legion, I got a system with Vista Home Premium and a 17" laptop with an Intel Core Duo from Dell for under $1,000.

Apple's cheapest 17-inch machine costs 2.5x as much.

Pay 2.5x as much for a system with Leopard (which is laced with bugs that can destroy data), in order to make some ideological point?

No thanks. I'll keep Vista, which is pleasant enough, and accept Microsoft's efforts to continuously improve the machine. And in the process, I can enjoy mainstream apps that run natively (a lack of native Office is one reason I dumped the Mac).

All is not wine and roses in the Mac universe either -- the poor quality of Apple's affordable hardware (such as MacBooks) is well documented. The dearth of mainstream software is real.

And on the Linux side, good luck finding support or *any* mainstream software.

Sorry, Microsoft is doing a good enough job. Perhaps not great, but certainly better than anyone else.

Posted by: Brian Miller | December 4, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Find a copy of XP Pro Corporate Edition, meant for bulk installation in large environemnts. No activation or registration hassles ... screw M$.

Posted by: William Gates | December 4, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Apple is definitely NOT the answer. People complain about MS being a big bad corporate stooge, which they kind'a are, but Apple is many times worse. The whole reason that MS became more popular than Apple was because MS and PCs were(are) a more open platform. The reason that Apple tanked is because they wanted full control over every last detail, from hardware to software, and they have always been more obsessed with piracy protection.

People also talk about going to Linux, but the real irony there is that Vista was MS's attempt to make Windows more like Linux, LOL!

A lot of the things that people don't like about Vista are the things where it emulates Linux, such as requiring passwords for configuration changes, etc.

Vitsa is more secure than XP, but to a large degree it is this extra security that Windows users don't like. Windows users complained that they didn't like the fact that the OS was so open to attack and so insecure, so MS made a more secure OS, but now people don't like it.

What the users wanted was "improved security" without actually improving security, i.e. they just wanted something to magically make it better. But ti doesn't work that way, security is ALWAYS a tradeoff, and the fact is, most people would rather deal with the insecurities of XP than the features that make Vista secure.

The other problem for MS is that the software field is maturing and people simply don't need to buy new software as often anymore. Word 2000 works fine for 99% of the people.

Today more people simply balance checkbooks, write papers, use the internet, e-mail, and maybe game, and that's it. You can do all of that just as well on MS products from 7 years ago as on new ones, so there simply isn't much need to buy new software in America. The real gains to be had are in the emerging markets where new people are getting computers, and that's also where most piracy is.

I think home software is basically done. The only real place where new advances are needed is enterprise level.

Whatever, but Apple is definately not the anwser, that's just more corporate garbage even worse than MS.

Posted by: No mac | December 4, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

This is an E-mail I felt compelled to send off to Microsoft.....Enjoy.


I am a computer technician from Maui Hawaii and I suppose I should be thanking you people for releasing windows vista. I haven't had so many trouble calls since 2000 when you guys released Windows ME!

In the last 5 months alone I have over 100 clients come into my shop ranting and raving about how bad this new OS of yours is! "Please just get rid of it!" they would say to me and plunk down their brand new systems in disgust "No no, $50 an hour is fine just get rid of it!" I've been doing booming sales on Linux installs alone! And since Linux is free there is no messy overhead like buying new XP codes.

Speaking of XP Codes, I would like to suggest that you offer a service to those who have vista. Either allow vista codes to activate XP or offer a vista xp trade program that would allow people to trade their Vista codes for XP. (Sadly some of my clients like to game and Linux isn't up for that quite yet, perhaps later on this year they will be but in the meantime XP is pretty good for games.)

So THANK YOU! for keeping me in business!

M. Stewart

Posted by: M Stewart | December 4, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't see what the big deal is - if you're correctly licensed and/or your IT department is worth anything they have investigated and set up your environment correctly and RFM will only happen in rare cases and even then it is easy to recover from as long as you don't overreact and do something stupid like reformat your hard rive or install OS X

Posted by: anonymous body | December 4, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Call the Smithsonian - we have a genuine Mac to Vista switcher! Get the tank of formalin ready!
Seriously, I've worked in IT for 10 years, about 1/2 the people I work with, including some who were hardcore windows developers or network admins, have at least partially switched to MAC. I've never known anybody to go the other way.

Posted by: Georgie | December 4, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Such vitriol!

Mac cost more because they are worth it, period. You buy a Ford and wish you had a BMW, but it costs more, right? Same logic with computers: you get what you pay for.

Case in point I begged my mom to buy a Mac and she insisted on buying a Dell with Vista. She can't figure any of the path-based syntax out and lost all of her old data. My Dad has a Mac and can make videos, web pages, photo albums and sync's his phone daily to the computer. As the family IT guy I would NEVER recommend buying a PC, they are just complicated junk.

And the comment about no software for Mac is utterly false. Unless you are an architect and need autocad (specifically, because there are tons of great Mac architectural apps), you are really foolish to get a PC.

Go to google and look up both Apple and MS's stock over the past 5 years: Apple is kicking ass and taking names...MS is mired into an almost worthless state. BOTH companies should look out for the google OS, that is what Apple is getting ready to battle, they've won the PC-Mac battle hands down. (Soup Nazi: NEXT!)

Posted by: urbanelectron | December 4, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Apple no longer requires proprietary protocols or connectors.

The interfaces on a Mac are Firewire, USB, and DVI. It is true that Apple invented Firewire, but it is a standard now.

Old protocols are still supported, but Apple emphasizes the standard ones. Apple uses SMB to interact with Windows (SMB is a reverse-engineered version of a proprietary Microsoft protocol.) Apple uses its own implementation of Zeroconf (Bonjour) but it is open and almost all printers support it. Apple makes a Windows version of Bonjour that makes it a snap to set up printers on a home network. I use it with Vista.

The OS X kernel is open source, and the web server is Apache. Apple even gives you everything you need to install and run Windows on their hardware.

There is no activation key for OS X and registration is optional.

The iPod interface is necessarily proprietary, but it is open and well documented for accessory manufacturers.

Before Steve Jobs came back, Apple tried to control everything, but that hasn't been the case for almost a decade now.

Not everyone should switch to the Mac. Some people are, believe it or not, better off with Vista, but it's important to get the facts straight.

Posted by: Harold | December 4, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

You need 2GB of ram to run Vista for exactly this type of crap.

Just for the record, I switched from XP to Ubuntu a year ago and never looked back.

Posted by: summy | December 4, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Google is going to end the OS wars. Most software developers are trying to liberate themselves from the OS prisons and have everything running online. I use both Windows and Mac and the Mac is far superior. Mac hardware costs as much as Windows and whoever says otherwise is wrong. Stay away from propietary formats and you'll be able to do the same work in any OS you want. Ditch MS propietary .wmv or Apple .mov file for non-propietary .mp4 and so on

Posted by: anon | December 4, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I was a 20+ year subscriber to Washington Post Weekly until I found out Bill Gates' wife was on your Board of Directors. You can take your Microsoft @#$^!* and stuff it.

"... , but it isn't due for a little while yet." - Is this writing worthy of the Washington Post? Not the Post I knew and loved. Take the gloves off. Windows Vista represents a full frontal assault against the customer, and I won't allow that in my home or at work.

Posted by: g. popelka | December 4, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The only system that doesn't need upgrades or reboots is a Sharp #2 Pencil and your brain. I prefer the mechanical type, graph paper, and coffee. Now to bypass the OS system wars I would like to order a Star Cruiser with Photon Torpedos, Hyperdrive to reach Alpha Centauri, and a Beamer like Scotty's to get me aboard. Please don't ask me about Emacs or Vi on my ship.

Posted by: n00b | December 4, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

vista blows and it can't be fixed

Posted by: dude | December 4, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I don't need windows for anything other than some games.
Firefox, Open Office, VLCPlayer, DOSBOX and WINE handle just about everything I do.

The nice part of these programs is that they are free as in beer as well as Open Source.

Posted by: Why Switch? | December 4, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I have never had a legal version of windows - I'm sitting at a win XP PC right now - so I've been "evaluating" since windows 3.1 . No complaints so far...

I'm pretty happy with MS Office too...

Posted by: BillM | December 4, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I started using Windows on top of DOS back in 1994. MS has always treated its customers as the enemy, selling bloated expensive bug-ware and then making it impossible to get any help. And it's a hoot they worry about people stealing their shoddy products.

I finally got tired of spending weekends trying to fix unnecessary problems, and switched to Mac three years ago. It has been a smooth ride so far. And the iLife software is great. I'm always amazed at the masochistic luddites who claim Apple is more expensive. By the time they pay additional bucks for the basic software Apple includes, as well as the mandatory anti-virus bog-ware with annual subscriptions, they pay far more than an iMac costs. I used to be among them, but when Apple got OSX and WinXP compatibility right, it was a pleasure to switch. Bye bye, Billy...

Posted by: jbc3 | December 4, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

With the profits microsoft has made on windows the past 15yrs they need to worry about quality and quit worrying about someone stealing their product.They have enought paying customers to take care of microsofts bills and salaries they pay.

Posted by: fcsanders | December 4, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

...But consider myself a relatively sophisticated user, w/ some sysadm experience.

I refused to go to the Vista platform because I didn't like the early reports about how it degrades the quality of digital music depending on the peripherals used.

I was also sick of conflicts between the OS, drivers and anti-virus, -malware, and -adware programs that seemed to affect XP performance quite often.

I went to Mac/Leopard. Was functionally literate in a matter of days. Was able to replace critical XP based softwares with Mac equivalents for less than $300.00.

So Vista had the effect of sending me to the other side of the aisle to the Mac environment.

I'm a person used to grinding away with parameters, switches, tweaks and stuff to keep things going, but I just got tired of it. And the Mac ... just ... works.

Hopefully, SP1 will iron out some of the Vista issues that users have. Interesting that SP1 isn't coming out until next year. It took Apple exactly 20 days to release a set of fixes to the new Leopard OS.

I'm still waiting for a compelling reason to install Windows on my iMac and have a dual boot option. So far, I haven't come up with one.

Posted by: Not a developer... | December 4, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"People also talk about going to Linux, but the real irony there is that Vista was MS's attempt to make Windows more like Linux, LOL!"

Have you actually used Linux? Just because your pig and Miss America are both wearing lipstick, doesn't make the former worth kissing.

When I put XP on our old P3 it was slow but it was also a huge improvement over Win98 and I found it to be better than OS 9. Once I broke down and built a P4 box, XP felt like Microsoft was on their way to getting the OS right. Vista on the other hand adds little more than a lot of eye candy and at the cost of chaining an 800 lb gorilla to your hardware. Eye candy that by the way Suse Linux has no problem rendering on my P4 with 1GB of RAM. Vista is also no more secure than an XP box running as a limited user with a free 3rd party virus scanner.

As the "family IT guy" I've thrown down the gauntlet and said:
XP, Mac, or let me build you a Linux box. Buy a Vista box and you're on your own.

Posted by: Norm | December 4, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"The only system that doesn't need upgrades or reboots is a Sharp #2 Pencil and your brain."

Speak for yourself my brain constantly needs upgrades (continuing ed classes) and reboots (trips the local pub and/or mountaineering) to function properly.

Posted by: Norm | December 4, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

This just in: The fastest PC running Vista is...(drum role)... A MAC!!,136649-page,3-c,notebooks/article.html

Ouch! Game, Set, Match (again)!

Posted by: urbanelectron | December 4, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

It could be worse ie Steve Jobs issuing "firmware updates" to turn your expensive device into a brick, or to lock out any company (Rhapsody etc) who try to enter their turf.

Posted by: Mike | December 4, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I've read all of these posts, some of which are articulate and informed, others . . . not so much. The one recurring theme seems to be: Microsoft is turning into the Big Brother of the IT world. Remember what happened to Winston Smith? Does a rat in a cage strapped to your face ring any bells? That's what I feel like with Windows - being forced into the confined space of my PC with a rat on the other side of the mask.
I'm a convert to a new iMac, and I haven't even installed Leopard yet!!

Posted by: Alan | December 4, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Vista is the worst Microsoft OS since Windows ME. Who in their right mind would bootleg it? I'm trying to find the device drivers so I can install XP on my new laptop. (Since the copy of XP I hope to install didn't come with my laptop - I guess I'll be using a bootlegged copy of that.)

Posted by: Chiam | December 4, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

I use a mac on occasion (working on production materials), vista for information management, basic DV editing and XP to run recording, music and basic editing.
I love them all for what I use them for, but I know for example that Vista sucks for Audio production because there doesn't seem to be very many drivers for them.

I think in time Vista will grow up just like XP did many years ago.
I remember how much I hated XP back when it first came out and didn't switch for for quite a while.

As Microsoft releases information on things like "Reduced Functionality" they will work themselves out of a market. Technological advancement and achievement will eventually come out the winner regardless of the corporate logo on the sticker.
If it doesn't, we will continue to lag ourselves down and behind the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, a guy in India will be on his lunch break (from his tech support job)whatching a full screen H.264 High Definition movie that he just downloaded on his lunch break over the fiber optic system.
And we have YouTube.

Posted by: Marcel | December 4, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

as much as I dispise microsoft for their abuse of their monopoly position, I find your question insultingly stupid: "Here's one thing that I'd like to know: How many programmers and how much time did Microsoft have to devote to building "Reduced Functionality" into Vista? More important, what was the opportunity cost of that feature--what other use could, or should, the company have made of those resources?"

It is like asking "how much did the grocery store spend buying security cameras and hiring security guards (and then prosecuting shoplifters), that they could have used for other things?"

What makes you think the money would BE there if they didn't spend the money preventing shoplifting? That is just dumb logic. Presumbly they think that the money spent on security is covered by the money that they don't lose to rampant shoplifting.

If you want to make a case that the security outlay is not equalled by amount they'd make due to increased sales (because they made it difficult to pirate), go ahead and make that case. But your implication that "money spent on one thing could be appied to something else", without accounting for the financial impact of not spending the money on the first thing, is, frankly, just stupid.

Posted by: rob | December 4, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Windows vista is a really bad product. My coleagues and me have renamed it as Windows Caca.

Posted by: maerin | December 5, 2007 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Luckily I'm a XP user and I haven't been denied access to Vista, but I was continually denied access to MY! Norton Anti-Virus program. I had to call a guy in India to recite my Norton code, BUTTT!!, the India guy didn't speak English, so I had to say "C as in Cat!" Crap like that! (the code was a mile long!), about 4 times over a few months, so Norton, Vista and any other SLIMY Bastards can go jump off a CLIFF!!!

Posted by: Doug | December 5, 2007 3:04 AM | Report abuse

You know what? For general day to day stuff, I use Windows XP. For my hardcore software development, server, and network stuff, I use FreeBSD. BTW, Mac OSX is a derived version of FreeBSD, which is real unix even though it's not officially certified as such. As for Vista...I ran it for about 30 minutes and got rid of it. Lousiest piece of crap I have ever seen since WinME and MS-Bob. XP may have it's security issues, but at least it doesn't run 30% slower on the same hardware, it doesn't contain any of that DRM crap that Vista has, AND it doesn't lock you out of your computer after 7 months of use (according to people that I have talked to).

Alot of software that runs on XP will not run on Vista. So you go and buy Vista Ultimate. Now you have to get the newest office to go with your bran new OS. Then you have to spend another $3,000 in software to replace the software that ran on XP because it will not run on Vista...Virus scanners, system utilities, CD/DVD software, image editing, etc.

Sorry. I'm staying with XP for the forseeable future, even if Microsoft discontinues support. There are still some holdouts running CP/M on 8085s and Z80s...

Posted by: Maelstorm | December 5, 2007 7:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm a long time computer user. I've been with Microsoft from DOS to XP.
I finally switched to Linux/Ubuntu three months ago. No more virus worry, restoring, rebooting, defragmenting, slowdowns or lockups, I had to work with the system for a short time but now I do everything on Linux. This includes email, internet, CD/DVD ripping/burning/copying/converting file types, Ipod,Palm, word processing, database, presentations, drawing, photo editing...I could go on .. but you get the point. I haven't looked back since.
Cheers, Cliff

Posted by: Cliff Wayne | December 5, 2007 7:49 AM | Report abuse

It's ironic that they can be so paranoid, especially when they are already in the industries driver's seat, jerking everyone around with the need to migrate to their latest and "greatest", discontinuing support for what people pay good money for, etc. Are they aware of the costs being passed on to software developers (and finally customers) for having to rework, qualify, and restest for all these different OS versions? We are all paying for Vista, whether we buy it or not.

Posted by: SW guy | December 5, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

We did not relent, this was a planned strategic analytical outgrowth of remunerative step-proceedures based on analogus deceprte!

Posted by: Steve Ballmer | December 5, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I run Vista on multiple machines with close to zero problems - and when they are occur the machines are much more stable (ie real error reporting) than XP. Both in the office and at home.

Most of the rants above seem like "I heard" about this, or "someone said" this. If you have not tried it you really should.

I could start with my Leopard upgrade experience and set off a huge set of rants here, but I'll abstain for now. I must say, it is way more impressive that at almost 1 year with Vista, MS has released 28 support fixes via windows update, and no SP. Compared to a 20 day release of a point fix for controlled hardware with Macs, that is a lot more impressive to me.

Posted by: hkk | December 5, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

What they should do is keep RFM but compensate people who get it falsely.

If Windows thinks it's illegitimate then give the user a looooooooooooong series of warnings with an access number of some sort. If your copy is legitimate then call Microsoft, they do whatever they do to "false positives" then cut you a check.

I'll bet that would shut most people up.

Posted by: Paul | December 5, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Would you clowns please just stop using pirated software and fork over the $325!

We did not relent, this was a planned strategic analytical outgrowth of remunerative step-proceedures based on analogus deceprte!

Posted by: Steve Ballmer | December 6, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Microsoft, are intrusive, greedy and practice their version of "business" in offensive and egregious ways. MS offer of the free "reduced functionality mode" is just the most recent effort for a way to get into your computer and screw you with intrusive span and error messages that don't mean anything but that MS is upset with you. Look what they are doing now(MS, Intel, Apple) in response to of all things a charity that has developed a computer that can be distributed to children all over the world. I am talking about the One Laptop Per Child as a Christmas gift. These companies don't like it and have embarked on campaigns to undermine and discredit this initiative that has the support of scientists everywhere and the international programs for children and education. The documentation of these activities can be found on the OLPC website and elsewhere. My interest in the project occurred just a few days ago. I was flipping channels among the various morning shows when I heard the name Nicoholas Negroponte mentioned. The first thought I had on hearing this man's name was : "Is this going to be more of the Bush administration's damage control presentation of what went wrong, when and how and how much is it going to cost the American taxpayer. Surprise surprise surprise! As Mr. Negroponte talked, I discovered that here was a man who was truly committed to changing the world for the better by getting modern technology and information to the world's children, WITH NO CATCHES or hidden agendas. He went on to describe the One Laptop Per Child initiative in detail. I was quite intrigued. Going to the OLPC website I found that the technology applied to this program came gratis from scientists and researchers from all over the world. And that it was state-of-the-art, not a patchwork of odds and ends assembled from discards. MIT is the lead institution and houses Mr. Negroponte's project. Then I read about the decisions made for the building or assembling of the OX computers. That was even more interesting. What OLPC had done was not only create a machine that was durable and almost kid-proof, it also demonstrated how overpriced and overblown current personal computer technology and products are. I remember hearing a similar comment being the1980's... by the man who invented one of the first portable computers, the suitcase-sized Osborne. He said at the time that most computer marketeers were scamming the public and making enormous and egregious profits through the practice of "planned obsolesce" scare tactics, something that American car manufacturers had mastered 60 years ago. The most recent example of this practice is the digital camera sales pitch. Every six months a new model is offered by Nikon, or Canon or Kodak that implies that you aren't up to date if your camera doesn't have 4 then 5 then 6 megapixels.

So my questions are: Are MS and the fellow travelors , Itel, etc. the only ways humanity can get technical and educational advances out to kids everywhere? Am I correct in thinking that this is truly a paradigm shift in the way we get technology to the people, technology that is durable and low-cost and accessible to all, especially children living in the most remote corners of the globe? Should the biggies in computer and software manufacturing and sales be afraid of losing their markets to the Do-Gooders who seem to have begun to capture the attention and latent enthusiasm of people of goodwill everywhere? Finally, is the OX laptop that is being sent out to the world a "good and relevant" machine that can and possibly do what it is intended to do?
My sense is that this project and those of similar intent that will follow will truly change the world in ways we can't yet begin to fathom today. TV once had the same potential, but wasted it by dumbing down its products to the lowest common denominator. I don't think the OLPC initiative can or will be distracted by the idea that "Greed is Good." It's too revolutionary.

Sincerely, Sabagio Mauraeno somewhere in DeKalb County , Georgia

Posted by: Sabagio | December 6, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

With as much bad press as Microsoft is getting about Vista they should be less intent about protecting it from piracy. After all, if a pirate is using it that's one more person using it that is probably not going to complain about using it.

And the more people that see people (including pirates) using Vista, the more honest people there will be that might buy Vista. (Though I doubt it.)

For me I prefer my Mac, and if I ever buy and run Vista, it will be on a Mac.

Posted by: Roy | December 7, 2007 6:33 AM | Report abuse

This story should be about the reduced Vista functionality with regard to all the legacy software that will not run on Vista - "consumers...just spend more money" is the biggest misguided piece of free-enterprise crap in a while.

Linux "Ubuntu" - welcome you !

Posted by: mrinternet | December 7, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

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