informa
/
5 min read
article

Poor Performance At Top Of Users' Windows Vista Gripe List

My recent post, "Top 5 Things Microsoft Must Fix In Windows Vista In 2008" prompted a slew of comments, consistent with the zeitgeist that the almost-year-old operating system continues to gain adherents on the consumer side, even if it's still spottily deployed in the corporate arena. Still, I have to say I was surprised by how many readers agreed with my main point, which is that Vista's performance ai
My recent post, "Top 5 Things Microsoft Must Fix In Windows Vista In 2008" prompted a slew of comments, consistent with the zeitgeist that the almost-year-old operating system continues to gain adherents on the consumer side, even if it's still spottily deployed in the corporate arena. Still, I have to say I was surprised by how many readers agreed with my main point, which is that Vista's performance ain't yet what it oughta be.I like Vista's glitzy Aero interface and its eye-candy look and feel -- yes, I know I'm shallow -- so most of my gripes center on the lukewarm performance issues. I'm talking about things like achingly slow search and the frequent downshifts experienced by Internet Explorer 7. Readers seem to agree.

To that list, readers added complaints about Vista's hoggish memory requirements, Windows Update glitches, inelegant networking, and unavailable drivers.

A user who identified himself as "Dataland" (probably because he runs the Dataland blog) put it this way:


"Microsoft needs a performance reset. I think software in general, and Microsoft software in particular, is getting slower at faster rate than hardware is getting faster. And this problem acutely affects Vista."

You can read his interesting post, which lays out his argument as to why Microsoft needs a "performance reset," here.

Too Much Memory

"William" (not the guy from the Black Eyed Peas) made note of Vista's onerous memory requirements, and mentioned a potential workaround. (Thanks to the OS, it seems like 2 Gbytes is the minimum purchase unit, when one goes out and buys DRAM nowadays.)


"The minimum of 512 MB of RAM for the system requirements was initially annoying. My 1GB was no longer enough, however you can access the start-up programs list and deselect what you don't want loading, currently I'm running vista fine, pro version at 430 MB, and I'm not missing anything."

Personally, I'm doubtful that any Vista system (certainly not Vista Ultimate) will live on less than 1 Gbyte. I've seen some discussions elsewhere which say that it's the way Vista manages memory, not just how many processes are running, which ups its RAM requirement. Check out the thread on Slashdot's recent "Researchers Sour on Vista Service Pack 1 Performance" for some interesting chatter.

"Mike" is perturbed, like I am, by Vista's lengthy boot-up time.


"I agree with all the performance suggestions, which hold especially true for laptops. I was shocked to actually see (and wait for) Vista to boot up. I don't understand how MS could push out an OS without first having (and meeting) strict boot-up time requirements."

Networking Nits

"PJ" (not the Groklaw lady) complains about the way Vista handles networking:


"Vista is NOT fun to use on a network. So many things that were much more intuitive with XP (and 2000 and NT and even 95 and 98) are just plain stupid in Vista -- in trying to make things simpler, they are actually more complicated and less intuitive. XP is a dream by comparison, and looks better all the time. Go figure."

I've heard these gripes before. It is true that Vista is much more of a pain when your router lose its connection and you have to restart your Internet link. Mostly I've found that Vista simply will not repair a down network connection. You have to reboot your PC. I've also had a bunch of cases where I know my connection is up, but when Vista booted it simply wouldn't recognize it. Here, too, "repair" does nothing; you gotta reboot.

Update Issues

"AaronInCarolina" complains about Windows Update, the feature through which Vista downloads security updates and bug-fix patches. This is done automatically, unless you turn the auto feature off and approve all updates manually. Which you should definitely do, otherwise you could have problems like Aaron's:


"The worst problem that I am aware of is a fragile Windows Update, which, when it breaks, is not easily fixed. My father has a nearly brand new laptop, and a Windows Update failed, and refuses to work anymore, and his wireless LAN service just stopped and will not allow it to restart. I have investigated and a lot of people are having the same problem with Windows Update in Vista. They need to get their act together, and quickly!"

Legacy Print Problem

Commenter "zzr-rider" complained about difficulties obtaining drivers. Personally, I've found that this was a problem in early 2007, but things have eased a lot as vendors have caught up with the OS and rolled out the necessary drivers. Not as far as the zz person is concerned, though:


"What I want is print drivers!! I just purchased a new PC with Vista Premium. I have three printers in the house and there are no Vista drivers for any of them. Two are HP printers and the last one is an Okidata printer. I bought a new PC so that I could run Vista, now I have to buy new printers too!! Give me a break!"

This puts me in mind of the best printer I ever had, an Okidata OL600. (The thing is so old, I can't even find a decent Google link to point you toward.) This was of Windows 95 vintage, as I recall, and the problem was that I could never find a Windows XP driver for the thing. The point is, sometimes you just gotta buy new stuff.

P.S. Read my earlier posts, Five Things Microsft Should Fix In Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Top 5 Things About Windows Vista That Still Suck.



Vista's second welcome center appears after log-on, following the too-long boot-up process. (Click picture to enlarge and to see more Vista screen shots.)