Microsoft Offers Workarounds, No Fix for Vista Update
- By Peter Varhol
Over a week after some Windows Vista users installing patches in preparation
for SP1 started seeing infinite
, Microsoft has finally provided a set
(though no fixes).
The workarounds include running the installation DVD and selecting "repair
your computer," booting to safe mode (although I hear you can't necessarily
do that) and using the repair or system restore features. The last method is
to rename the file "Pending.xml" and then make edits to the registry.
Sounds like a painful process. Have you seen this problem? What have you done
about it? Tell me at email@example.com.
Microsoft Class-Action Suit Goes
A suit filed against Microsoft's "Windows Vista Capable" tag for computers
was given class-action status and cleared
to go to trial, albeit with a slightly reduced list of claims. The suit
claims that the "Vista Capable" tag was misleading because many computers
identified as such weren't powerful enough to run all of Vista's features.
Most of us have long known that Microsoft sets its minimum system requirements
at an artificially low level, and recognize that the small print has always
stated that certain configurations are required for high-end features such as
the Aero UI. But as a marketing guide, "Windows Vista Capable" is
a bust, and it may be a legal liability. After all, many computer buyers don't
have the background to make sense of Microsoft marketing-speak.
Was "Windows Vista Capable" a good idea? Or are people simply trying
to take advantage of a deep-pocketed company? Give me your opinion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yang Tells Rice It's Her Job To Get
In a response that has irony written all over it, Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang said
in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that it was the State
Department's job to pursue the release of two journalists being held in
a Chinese prison for allegedly leaking state secrets and political writings.The
irony is that it was information provided to the Chinese government by Yahoo
that led to these arrests and imprisonment.
Yang claims that the information Yahoo provided was released against company
values, and the company has settled a lawsuit by the families involved and established
a human rights fund after the fact. However, after a Yahoo official was caught
in the act of misleading Congress about the affair, California Rep. Tom Lantos
responded, "While technologically and financially you are giants, morally
you are pygmies."
It sounds like a cop-out by Yahoo to me. Does no one there recall the courage
and conviction of H. Ross Perot as chronicled in On Wings of Eagles?
Yang wouldn't do that; it's all about dollars and cents to him. What do you
think? Let me know at email@example.com.
Mailbag: Vista Ready...Not!,
Doug reported yesterday on the class-action
lawsuit against Microsoft over "Vista Ready" stickers on PCs that
apparently weren't. Here are some of your thoughts on the lawsuit -- and on
I do not blame Microsoft for the "Vista Ready" issues, but
the manufacturer that slapped the sticker on the computer, and the cheap and
ignorant customers who purchased them. If you buy a Kia to tow a fifth-wheel
trailer instead of a full-sized pickup, do you blame Kia, the salesmen that
sold it to you with the trailer? Or do you admit the truth and say that you,
the user, did not know what you were doing when you purchased it?
Case in point: A user came to me with a Dell laptop that they purchased
at Christmas time last year with the "free upgrade to Vista." So
the customer upgraded to Vista when the disk arrived. Two months later, she
could not take the computer anymore and brought it to me. The system had a
Celeron CPU and 256 RAM! It was like trying to run a fully patched XP on 128
RAM (another story). The thing literally took 10 minutes to print the text
page to an inkjet printer because it was swapping so badly. I upgraded it
to 2GB of RAM, and that little Celeron was actually able to make Vista come
to life -- which was surprising, too.
The point is, Dell NEVER should have sold someone a computer that was
intended to run Vista with that amount of RAM (or, in my opinion, that CPU).
The laptop may have been certified to run Vista by Microsoft and been granted
the official sticker, but I really doubt that it was tested and certified
with 256 RAM.
My whole take on the "Vista Ready" squabble is this: Did Microsoft
individually certify every machine on which the manufacturers placed the "Vista
Ready" sticker? I doubt it, so why aren't these suits including the manufacturers
who misrepresented their products as being "Vista Ready"? Or are
they, and I'm just too dumb to have noticed?
Regarding Vista installations, I bought a Toshiba notebook for the daughter
of the boss (on clearance, natch). It had Vista Basic on a Mobile Celeron
processor with integrated graphics and 256MB of RAM and ran out of the box
about as fast as a sloth. Once I stuck another gigabyte of RAM in the machine,
it perked up quite well. It still serves her basic, non-gaming, non-graphics-intensive
needs quite satisfactorily.
On the other hand, I have installed Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate
on several machines which would be considered by some as low-end. Some had
a Mobile Celeron processor or Turion processors with integrated graphics,
and these ran the Aero interface just fine as long as the machine had 1GB
to 2GB of RAM to play with! I'm certainly not playing any high-end games or
rendering hours of video on these machines, but they serve our modest business
needs well. It all depends on your expectations and needs. Personally, I still
buy Windows XP machines whenever I can!
Here is my experience with Vista to date: Running on my HP Pavilion laptop
(Business Edition), I really didn't have any problems. There was a learning
curve for the new OPSYS but otherwise all was OK. It was slower and more hardware-intensive
than XP Pro, though.
I built a new desktop with an Intel Core 2 (1.86GB) duo processor, 2GB
of RAM, 256MB ATI Gigabyte Radeon video card and 480GB of hard drive space.
I installed Windows Vista Ultimate. Here was my experience: Vista Security
Center did not recognize my anti-virus software (Ashampoo); the Ashampoo anti-virus
.EXE file disappeared and the OS wouldn't let me re-install; the security
center, firewall, defender, update and anti-spyware software disabled after
EVERY reboot (I had to re-enable after every reboot manually); I could not
install McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.5 either (failed at mcupdate.exe file);
and my internal and external CD/DVD drives would just lose their drivers and
I would have to delete, reboot and let them be re-installed.
I reverted back to Windows XP Pro and am having no problems with any
of the software or hardware. All in all, it will be some time before I try
Vista again! I think Microsoft better keep XP around for a long, LONG time.
The Vista operating system is junk. Poorly written software, inefficient,
poor performance requires too many hardware upgrades to get basic operation
I have an AMD 2600 Athalon, 1GB RAM with an ATI All-in-Wonder card. I run
Windows XP SP2 and can play back DVD movies. No problem, TV playback works
fine also. I upgraded (?) to Vista Ultimate. No Aero interface. Does not play
DVD movies. Requires a graphics card with 256MB of memory. Probably requires
at least 1GB RAM for the operating system alone, and 2GB to run one or two
Friend of mine bought a new eMachines system with 512MB of memory and
Vista Home edition. Let's just say I'm downgrading it to XP Professional for
a more enhanced user experience. The thing is so slow, it's not funny.
My gripe with MS is that they pack their systems full of crap stuff and
enable it by default, thus slowing it way down. I'd rather see a very light
OS and then have a tool to add features -- and one that HONESTLY tells you
what you are going to need when you enable it.
Last May, I purchased a Dell Latitude 830, 4GB of RAM and Windows Vista
Ultimate. I also purchased Microsoft Office 2007 and use the Outlook 2007
as my e-mail client. As a retired CIO for a Montana state agency, I can tell
you that I would NEVER recommend either Vista or MS Office 2007.
First, Outlook locks up regularly, requiring -- at the least -- bringing
up the task manager and killing the program. This happens multiple times each
day. Generally, I have to reboot at least twice a day. The rest of the Office
products are a definite step back in productivity without the old menu systems.
I also get lockups or extreme slowdowns with other software. It's like I wasted
a whole bunch of money on so much memory (4GB!). It still has created about
8GB of virtual memory on the hard drive.
I have Gold Product support from Dell and the support personnel are not
very happy with Vista' performance. They, like myself, believe there is a
serious memory leak that causes the computer to get slower and slower, necessitating
regular reboots. If I had to do it all over again, I would NOT get Vista.
Speaking of Dell, Judith last week wrote
in to share her bad brush with the company's tech support. Les had a similar
We bought our daughter a Dell laptop for use at college. While it was
still in warranty, we called to have them replace a bad CD-ROM drive. It took
THREE different calls in a two-hour period to get someone who spoke and understood
English enough to grasp the problem. They hung up the first two times while
they were checking to see if we were covered by the warranty.
We had to send the entire laptop to Texas from Washington state (at least
it was at their expense). When she got it back, that drive was also bad. My
daughter said that it had a slightly different cover than the bad one so we
knew it was different. It took another three calls and a couple of hours to
get an authorization to send it back. Two of those calls were to call centers
in India. It took six phone calls and almost two weeks to get her bad CD drive
Then Dell had the nerve to call me about that experience. I told them,
point blank, that I would NEVER buy a Dell again because of the hassle it
took to get a warranty-covered item resolved. I also mentioned that I work
for a city government and that I would PERSONALLY see to it that we would
not buy any more Dell products (the lady that makes the purchases works in
the cube next to mine). Our techs here have had some of the same problems
my daughter and I had with Dell and they were beginning to question the quality
of the products and the service, as well. When I asked them when they were
going to have people in their call centers that understood English, all I
got was silence. There were no apologies from them at the end of that conversation.
Customer service is NOT a specialty at Dell and that is why they will NEVER
get any more of my or my family's business.
Finally, Doug shared this
prayer his grandfather taught him as a child: "If I should die before
I wake, I pray Thee, Lord, my Soul to take." Sound familiar?
We must be cousins. Grandfather taught me the same prayer.
Join the fray! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter Varhol is the executive editor,
reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software
developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees
in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university