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Vista could be cool. Or not. It could be on schedule. Or not. Is it worth your time now? Probably not.

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Hi everyone, this is Leo Notenboom with news, commentary and answers to some of the many questions I get at

Microsoft Windows Vista is in the news on a fairly regular basis these days, and I'm even starting to see some questions relating to it trickle in to Ask Leo!. Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for others, I'm not planning on dealing with Vista any time soon. Yes, I have the DVD of the latest Beta, but Vista will have to be much closer to an actual release before I take the plunge.


Well, several reasons really.

First, I mentioned "real users" on last week's podcast, and that's where my focus remains. The Beta version of Vista is not something real people should be playing with - it's not meant for them, and will in all likelihood only cause confusion and frustration. Being a Beta product, it will break, and it will change before release. Leave the Beta to the geeks and pioneers with the interest, the time and the resources to play with it.

Second, to be honest, Vista just doesn't excite me all that much. While many of the features sound "nice", there's nothing that I personally find terribly compelling in Vista's marketing materials. Yes, I know it's the Windows of the Future, and I fully expect to switch to it once it's released, but until then there's nothing that's really says "install this new coolness". About the only item on the major feature list that sparked even mild interest is the new networking setup wizard and tools - and that's primarily because, as one friend put it, the best way to screw up your network is to use Windows XP's Network Setup Wizard. Vista's replacement doesn't have to be revolutionary - it just has to work. If it does, then that could be interesting.

Third, while I get that user interface improvements can be important, particularly to those "real users" that I'm trying to advocate for, so much of what changes seems to be change ... well, for the sake of change. I don't see the point. And, being in Beta, I don't want to invest learning the "new" way of doing things, only to have that change again, or be removed, before the product finally ships.

Finally, I don't believe the ship date. I keep hearing so many conflicting things that even - what is it now, 6 months before release? - I simply don't have the confidence that Vista will, or maybe even should, ship on it's current schedule. As I said earlier, it'll make more sense to invest in Vista when it gets closer to shipping.

Or perhaps even only once it actually has shipped.

Until then, there are plenty of people with real issues around today's software that still need help.

You'll find me there.

I'd love to hear what you think. Visit ask leo dot info, and enter 10575 in the go to article number box. Leave me a comment, I love hearing from you.

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Article C2741 - August 3, 2006 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

August 4, 2006 2:31 PM

Leo, I agree 100%. A new operating system is always fraught with the inevitable bugs, fixes, patches, and previously undiscovered problems that only real users will find under real world conditions. I've been having some problems recently with my XP Pro, and it's been out for about 5 years.

When XP was finally released, people thought all their computer problems would be solved. And they were.... until Microsoft realized there were still so many problems they had to release SP 1. And again, the masses cheered because their problems were finally over. Until SP 2 came along.... the largest single "fix" the computer world had ever seen. And since then there's been roughly 50 more critical updates, 8 software updates and a couple of hardware updates.

I predict that Vista SP 1 will be even larger than SP 2 was for XP. I further predict Vista will release the first service pack within a year of Vista's release. I think I'll wait until then before I upgrade.... or not.

Stu Kopelman
August 4, 2006 9:46 PM

Thank you for such a refreshing point of view about why you will wait to buy Vista. Unfortunately, a trend in the techy world is to impress, competing to out-do one another in software and hardware. It seems to always be about bigger and better things, but things never run out, and like you alluded to, the next replacement will only be for awhile, until a bigger and better one comes along. In some sense you drew a line and said 'I will be content with what I have'. So few of us can put down this need for bigger and better things. I too will wait, and can say from experience that it is good to jump, but you 'gotta' plan first.

I do not expect a reply; I only wanted to give you mine.


August 5, 2006 2:19 AM

I won't jump until Microsoft actually pulls the plug on XP support. I spent ages getting Windows 98 running to my satisfaction. Then 2 years ago, idiot that I am, I succumbed to the hype that support for 98 was about to be withdrawn and migrated to XP, straight into the SP2 debacle.
My set-up is still by no means perfect but it more than meets my needs. Anyway at 68 I am too long in the tooth to take on the hassle of dealing with fresh Microsoft cockups.

August 5, 2006 4:42 AM

Why would you consider changing to Vista in the first place? I have tested 2 builds of Vista, and I am still undecided between "tedious" and "cumbersome". The differences between a Beta 2 release and the final version are usually not that earthshaking, so forget it.

Larry Cottingham
August 5, 2006 12:16 PM

Leo; You are correct sir, but I would go even further. Before I retired, I was an IT manager for a mid-sized company heavily invested in IT. It was an article of faith for our department that we would not even consider a new OS before the first Service Pack release. In XP's case, we shold have waited for SP2. M/S's track record for initial production releases is in a word, abysmal. And, cosidering all of the backtracking, confusion and contradictions surrounding Vista, I see no reason why I should have any confidence that the Vista release will be any different.

As for the average home user, which I consider myself to be, there would have to be a truly compelling reason for me to spend a $150 out of pocket to upgrade. As far as I can see now, I'll only have Vista on a home PC, when I upgrade my hardware, and it comes pre-installed!

August 6, 2006 12:43 PM

I have to agree with Peter on the tedious to cumbersome statement. Having run Vista since Beta 2, to me it isn't anything more than XP with bells and whistles and a bit of a learning curve. I'm running a water-cooled 3.2 Prescot overclocked to 4 Gigs, ATI X850 XT PE video, etc., yet, I only rate a 3 out of 5 on the Vista compatibility program. Pul-lease!

George C. Tullius
August 6, 2006 8:49 PM

Leo, can't say that I have ignored Vista, Actually have it and believe it or not (of course it's Microsoft) Vista installes a Root Kit that is very hard to locate and almost impossible to remove, (what did they say about Norton System works doing so) Also it places in te registry Approved Sites (all microsoft, and their partners, allowing them full permission to explore your system at will, cannot delete these or edit them, without some special know how, and trickery. Will not allow any software firewall to install or run, in any mode, since it can be configured to block their approved intruders. Nero Ultra 7, Roxio CD/DVD, Sonic, etc, all buring software not6 allowed, must use Vistas, which is not viewable on the CD/DVD except in Vista.McAffee, Norton, have major problems in vista, and not reccommended, their older 10year old code hoses the system.
Now remember this is a BETA, but Microsoft can release it's constraints so the the Software applications a user wishes to use can be installed, used and feedback also sent to these Mfg.'s as well, and not be so properitary towared itself, and stop trying to take over your personel system, making them in charge of it, not you. They seem to forget THAT WE THE PEOPLE HAVE FREEDOM OF CHOICE, something which they are denying us with Windows Vista. You may ask at this time if I'll switch, No! I'll hold out for XP's service pack 3. And will personally reccommend all others considering the change over to do the same, else give up your rights to freedom of choice, and bow down to Microsofts spying on you constantly, thru it OS. Lets remember the Pentiumn 3's with the call home feature, that MS, got the Govt to force Intel to disable, same as Nortons Rootkit, Now its their turn to obey the laws they fought to enforce, or just close shop.

ingmar forne
August 7, 2006 6:40 AM

I dropped XP because of product activation.
I will drop Vista for the same reason.

And then there is Microsofts 10 laws of security:

I review only the four first.

Law #1: If a bad guy can persuade you to run his program on your computer, it's not your computer anymore

I'd say if any guy...

Law #2: If a bad guy can alter the operating system on your computer, it's not your computer anymore

Again I'd say If any guy... And it is known that Microsoft has...

Law #3: If a bad guy has unrestricted physical access to your computer, it's not
your computer anymore

Microsoft would very much want to....
Georg W. Bush would also.

Law #4: If you allow a bad guy to upload programs to your website, it's not your website any more

If You allow any guy to upload programs to Your computer it's not really Your computer anymore. And Microsoft has done that.

A computer with XP simply isn't Yours anymore. Vista will be no different. Besides:


I will at some point turn to Linux.

Richard Broberg
August 7, 2006 10:13 AM

Why should I upgrade to Vista when 2000 Pro works perfectly and does everything I want my computer to do? I still use 98SE for non-Internet stuff.

Why should I buy a new car when the old car works perfectly and is paid for?

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