Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Vista is unusable

Lucky me. Because I'm a senior executive in a large technology department, I get to try out new operating systems and software at will. Recently, after trying Vista at several different times during beta, I decided to order a new Dell Optiplex 740 with an AMD 64 dual core and put the release version to the test.

After only two weeks on Vista, I'm here to report that I'm very disappointed and on the verge of being just plain angry.

There is a bug in Vista that renders the OS unusable. This bug affects the basic function of copying or deleting a file, dragging it to the Recycle Bin, or even emptying the Recycle Bin.

Every time I try and do any of the above functions, it triggers a dialog box with the caption "Calculating Time Remaining." That dialog box and progress indicator stay on the screen for up to a minute for a small text file (8 kb) and up to 10 minutes for a large file (20 mb.) Vista is totally hosed during this time, so you are dead in the water. Maybe you don't copy or delete files often, but I do, and I am now completely dysfunctional at my computer since it can't do the same basic functions I used to do in DOS on an 8088-based machine. Incredible!

So maybe you think I'm the only one having this problem? Try Googleing on "Calculating Time Remaining" and you'll find that this problem is affecting a huge audience, most of who seem to be connected to a network.

Microsoft has acknowledged this problem in a knowledge base article--( wants users to contact MS Support to see if they qualify for the hotfix to repair it. That means that not only have I wasted a huge amount of time experiencing the problem, I now have the privilege of awaiting a response from them via e-mail to see if I can even get it. I could call them, but there too I have to wait on the phone and, unbelievably, give them my credit card number before they'll even see if I am eligible to get this patch for free.

Just for perspective, Vista is a brand new operating system that was tested by hundreds of thousands of users for 2 years and I'm supposed to believe that this bug was undocumented and went unnoticed! Simply not possible. The only plausible explanation is that Microsoft decided to release the operating system in spite of the problem, hoping that it wouldn't affect too many people or raise too much noise in the consumer community.

I find it incredible that there is a hotfix for this problem and Microsoft is not making it publicly available. Only after searching, was I able to find a non-Microsoft site that posted it--( Sadly, after installing it, the problem still persists. Microsoft doesn't even seem to be able to actually identify the cause of the problem and resolve it.

So for those brave soles who may trip across my blog, I urge you to think long and hard about upgrading to Vista on that new machine. As for me, I'm going back to running XP under OS X. Maybe Microsoft could take a hint from Apple about operating systems. Apple recently announced that they didn't feel that the next version of OS X--Leopard--was ready for prime time and delayed its release until October. If only Microsoft had the same respect for its user base.