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Reader feedback: Windows Vista woes

Vista hates XP

Vista and XP seem to have some sibling rivalry issues going where the old upgrade route is used. Essentially the best bet when installing Vista, as many have now told us, is to install clean rather than upgrade. In the long run it can save a lot of headache.

"Ever since Windows 3.1 (and upgrade to 95) I have learned not to perform an upgrade install. Yes, in theory you can do it. The fact is, Windows registries are so huge (and probably corrupt by the time you upgrade), the upgrade process never leaves you with a tidy well running system. Applications that don't work under the new OS are kept in your installed list and they can cause havok if autostarted. My advice is to backup your home directory/personal files, wipe the disc and do a fresh install. But, it's not only Windows. I use openSUSE as my work desktop, and similarly found than an upgrade left a new system in a poor state. Not only that, the Linux upgrade also took much longer than a clean upgrade due to merging files. I have done clean Vista install on a Dell Latituide C840 and on a vanilla nForce-4 AMD 64 X2 based system. Both installed in less time than your upgrade!"

Vista hates you

It's the only conclusion we can really come to... This is personal. Vista just plain hates you. Even the "free upgrade" process is painful, as so many have said:

"The express upgrade process is unnecessarily difficult. My experience: I bought all my parts for a new system from a local chain. I paid $150.00 for XP Business OEM including FREE express upgrade to vista professional.

  • Return to the store for a "coupon"; 40 min round trip
  • 30+ min in said store while they figure out how to provide the coupon (upgrade redemption form); actually a photo copy with reference numbers.
  • Complete the online process which as you stated is very involved.
  • it then prompted me for a payment method; so much for free.
  • provide my credit card and select regular not express shipping.
  • it then authorized my card for $31.51CDN. Wow, Microsoft pays a lot for shipping.
  • Now the page switches to the steps that must be completed to have my copy shipped.
  • Toward the bottom it states the specific instructions if you have an upgrade redemption form. This involves mailing the form and your receipt, no fax or e-mail option to the address on the form.
  • The form has no address!
  • Call the 1-800 number. Automated message states that it closed at 5:00 pm mountain time. Nice hours leading up to Vista's launch. I called the next day and got the address and have mailed the required info.
  • Now I wait 4-6 weeks.

Hopefully if I ever receive my "free" upgrade I don't have your install problems. I have never been a Microsoft basher but this whole process is a mine field designed to cheat you out of your upgrade. Never have I provided my credit card to a company, have it authorized and then have me jump through more hoops before they will ship the product."

In conclusion

We've received literally hundreds of emails on this topic, and thanks again to everyone who took the time to share their experiences of Windows Vista with us. As Small Net Builder editor Tim Higgins put it, Microsoft has set the expectation bar very high, perhaps too high; and cold, hard reality is catching up with us all. Windows Vista isn't perfect by any stretch, and whatever the issues anyone had with Windows XP until about a week ago can probably be forgiven until around Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista.

It is worth noting that perhaps every 1 in 20 emails we got was a case of "I have no problems with Windows Vista." The problems are severe, but not everyone is having them with Vista. The reality remains however that buying into Windows Vista now is, to an extent, like buying into a beta testing program.

We wonder, how long will consumers be willing to accept this scenario?