Sunday, October 7, 2007

Vista Rant

Next month Vista will have been out in RTM for a year (it was released on 11/30/2006 to the volume/dev world). Why is it then, that it still doesn't work?

When I originally bought my current workstation, almost two years ago, I set it up with four partitions (I had a terrabyte RAID). I installed XP Pro 32 bit for games and Windows Server 2003 x64 for development. I left two open partitions, one for Vista, and one for some flavor of Linux. For the first six months of its life I spent most of my time in XP Pro x86. It worked, but I was wasting my fancy 64 bit hardware!

The beginnings — x64, take 1

On June 6 2006 I blogged about my experience installing Vista on my workstation. At the time it went reasonably well. Heck, my system passed the hardware compatibility wizard with flying colors! However, I really should have posted some follow-ups.

A week later — x64, take 2

After I started actually using Vista, it started crashing, a lot. I'd get at least one blue screen a day. I looked at the minidumps and they were all related to one of my NVidia drivers. It would be either the NIC or the sound or the SATA or the RAID — yeah, pretty much everything that comes with my motherboard (I bought it for the pretty colors). One day I noticed a Windows update for my NVidia RAID drivers. "Cool", I thought. Maybe they sped them up or improved stability. The drivers installed; my system rebooted; it bluescreened; repeat. After much frustration I switched to XP Pro x64.

A month later — x64, screw you

XP Pro x64 was fairly stable, but I still had serious issues with the interaction of the drivers. If I was using the network heavily and then started using the sound card heavily: Kablammo! BSOD! I sort of learned how to work around this and would mute my music before doing anything intensive over the network. Needless to say this was very annoying. I switched to XP Pro x86.

December, 2006 — Vista x64 RTM install

"Ok, Vista is RTM now", I thought. "Surely NVidia has got their act together now!" They're working closely with Microsoft on this stuff, right?!

December, 2006 — Vista x86 RTM install

"Ok, x64 is the bastard child of hardware", I thought. "Surely this will work."

December, 2006 — Back to the trusty XP Pro x86 partition

Yeah, back on XP. I'll spare you the details.

August, 2007 — Vista x86 install

"Ok, it's been a million computer years now", I thought. "Surely all my crash reports and support incidents have caused some bug fixes." Not so much. I even installed it on a PATA drive, no RAID required. To add to the pain, I also purchased a D-Link DWA-130 USB Wireless N Adapter for my desktop at the same time. I can't pass on the promise of speed with no wires. "What?! No Vista drivers?! I quit!" What's with a new product (released in July 2007) not having Vista drivers? Oh, there are beta ones available now — they don't work either.

August, 2007 — XP x86 Pro for life

After over a year of struggling and giving it a chance, I've given up. Either Microsoft or these hardware/driver vendors need to get their heads out of their asses, take some initiative, and fix this crap. I'm officially a hateful bastard until someone shows me some reason not to be.

October, 2007 — The world should know

I wrote this blog. It feels good to vent. Much cheaper than a therapist.

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About the Author

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I am an entrepreneur and hacker. I'm a Cofounder at RealCrowd. Most recently I was CTO at Hive7, a social gaming startup that sold to Playdom and then Disney. These are my stories.

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