Why Use Windows Vista?

From January 30th, all new PCs will come pre-installed with Windows Vista. There are several good reasons not to use it.

If that article's a bit long and technical for you, read on...

Vista is all about 'premium content'. This is music or video that's copyrighted by one of the major music or movie companies. Basically, if any such content is being played, Vista goes into a sort of 'protected mode'. When this is happening, your computer becomes very careful not to 'leak' this protected content. That means that any devices on your machine that can play this content (eg. your video card, sound card etc) have to work in a special way. The idea is (for example) that your video card will send coded signals to your monitor, so that you couldn't plug in some sort of recorder and simply scoop up the signal and record it. The problem is, not all monitors/TVs can handle these coded signals. If yours doesn't then Vista will reduce the quality of the output so that it's not worth recording. Incidentally, you don't get a choice, it just happens.

Futher than that, if you're listening to a CD, then your monitor may go fuzzy at the same time! Just because one thing is handling protected content, the other may become crippled as well!

As if that's not enough, some devices can simply become disabled, either during premium content playback, or at some arbitrary time in the future as decided by Microsoft. Basically, if a device (or it's associated driver software) are found to be leaking content sometime in the future, then Microsoft can stop it working when you next update your computer. Given Microsoft's history in this area, it's pretty much required to update your computer say, once a month at the moment, so you're almost certainly going to *have* to get your leaky device disabled reasonably soon after MS decide to disable it. They'll disable things until some fix can be found, provided one can be found. Maybe the hardware/driver in question is so old the vendor doesn't want to fix the problem, or maybe it just can't be fixed.

This is horrible: You update your computer to protect yourself from viruses and such like, and instead your graphics card stops working! If it's one built onto the motherboard, perhaps on a laptop, then well, you're screwed - go and buy a whole new machine, as it's almost certainly not worth trying to fix it.

So to summarise these few points (yes, there are more I haven't even mentioned!):

1) All Vista compatible hardware will be more expensive than it otherwise would be. This is because hardware vendors have to comply with very strict rules, and have to add extra hardware features to their products to make them work with Vista. This all requires extra testing, which aside from costing more takes more time.

2) When playing premium content, your computer's performance may degrade. That is, the video or sound quality in particular may degrade, but also raw system performance may also degrade as your computer works to protect that premium content as it moves around inside your computer.

3) Whatever your computer is doing today, it may not do it tomorrow. If you're unlucky enough to have some hardware which later is found to be unfriendly to the content industry, it may just aribtrarily stop working. It's not because of a hardware failure per-se, and you may not even know how, or want to copy premium content, but Windows will refuse to use your device. If you're really lucky, an update may come along in the future, if not, you may well end up buying a new computer (oh, and your old one probably won't fetch much on Ebay either!).

I don't think Vista sounds like a good deal for end-users. Microsoft look set to do quite well out of it, provided we all lap it up like we're supposed to.

Update 14th Feb, 2007: A little looking around brings more to light about Vista's hardware requirements. Reghardware started me on this trail, but arstechnica have a slightly more inclusive article along the same lines.

To me, these articles say very loudly: Don't buy a Vista PC until AT LEAST June 1st, 2007, and preferably June 1st, 2008. Only then does the hardware you buy fully reach maturity, and so will be optimal for running Vista. Before that, you'll always have hardware that doesn't do everything Vista wants. Given what we know about Vista and it's use of hardware, I'd say anything less than optimal hardware is an incredible risk to take. Annecdotally, by June 2008 it's also likely that there'll be a Service Pack or two out, so the major problems with Vista will have been fixed.

So by Vista if you must, but wait until June 1st, 2008 to do it.

Submitted by coofercat on Tue, 2006-12-26 13:55


The definition of ‘premium content’

The definition of ‘premium content’ is arbitrary enough for me to suspect that sooner rather than later Microsoft, Apple, Sony, etc. will cripple or disable playback of Non-DRM media.

So when you play an MP3 that has no DRM, your Vista OS will only playback the MP3 with the lowest quality settings. For example an MP3 encoded at 300kb may only playback with 20kb WMA streaming quality.

I know that they aren’t doing this right now, but it could start with any given automatic update.

Linux may not be just the better choice, it may be the only choice.

Submitted by PoliTech (not verified) on Thu, 2007-01-04 20:16.
Good point - and it has a precident

Microsoft's flunking music player, the Zune can share music wirelessly with other Zunes. However, it applies (illegal?) protection to the file when it is transferred (limiting how many times it can be played). An unrestricted MP3 will still get 'protected' even though it's license may say that it should only be distributed without restrictions.

In short, MS have already demonstrated that they will err on the side of restrictions, rather than free choice. It's up to you to decide if they're likely to do the same thing with Vista, and to what extent.

Submitted by coofercat on Thu, 2007-01-04 23:38.
Actually, I wasn't planning

Actually, I wasn't planning on making a comment, until I saw the pre filled-in name, and just could not resist posting something that would come up under the name "Anonymous Coward."

Submitted by Anonymous Coward (not verified) on Fri, 2007-01-05 12:51.
"Not invented here..."

The idea was stolen from slashdot. Glad you liked it though ;-)

Submitted by coofercat on Fri, 2007-01-05 13:41.

what a cheap pshicological trick this "anonymous coward" is.
Just because not wanting to reveal your true Id means you're a coward? No shit, how tells that, big brother?

That's why I go for "not my real name" instead.

Not_my_real Name

Submitted by Not_my_real Name (not verified) on Mon, 2007-01-08 13:31.
Off topic, but hey...

Oh yeah, I see what you mean. However, if it encourages people to put something rather than leaving it, then all the better. I for one use my real name here, and a pseudonym for Real Life ;-)

Submitted by coofercat on Mon, 2007-01-08 15:44.

Wasn't there a country in Europe that declared DRM illegal?Buahahahaha!

If we keep complaining about DRM, working to disable it, and telling our Congresscritters that pervasive DRM is totally unacceptable, maybe we can force Microshaft to ratchet back on this, or take it out completely.

And if people find out that their machine has had a key feature disabled by the OS (such as that hypothetical laptop that gets its integrated display shafted up by an update), I say CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT!!!:-D:-D:-D

At that, perhaps if enough people, instead of buying a pre-made boxed machine from one of the chain stores or online, go to little mom-and-pop stores and have them build the machine for them, and have them install Windoze XP or Windoze 2K instead of Windoze Vista... in large numbers... maybe the industry will get the picture.

Or...Heck!Buy a Mac!

It is high time for the music and movie industry's content-micromanagement-divisions to experience The Death of a Thousand Cuts!

Submitted by Nomad of Norad (not verified) on Sat, 2007-01-13 21:22.
DRM is part of the Windows

DRM is part of the Windows kernel. It's out and it's not going anywhere. However, no one's hand is forced when it comes to buying Vista.

Open source people..remember..power in numbers.

Submitted by Anonymous Person (not verified) on Mon, 2007-02-19 21:03.

I think people will eventually start putting together their own devices to steal media. Theres nothing stopping them from taking the very wires that connect to the woofer and tweeter of their DRM-enabled speakers and directing them into something else to record the audio.

Then maybe Microsoft will have to introduce contracts through hardware vendors saying 'don't mess with your hardware or I'll put your ass in jail.'

Who knows where it ends.

Submitted by Schalken (not verified) on Thu, 2007-01-18 08:10.
Windows VISTA and MP3

I am not technical and enjoy my very large MP3 music collection. I am outraged that Microsoft is using Vista to police the world instead of providing a useful utility to engage the world. I would have been OK if the DRM thing could be turned off somehow. My new PC (dual core etc.) runs Windows XP pro and I will NOT upgrade to Vista until the draconian DRM restrictions are removed. I don't want to have to worry that my MP3s will not play except with poor audio rates and that parts of my PC will fail. Requiring "premium" content hardware/software support and building in degrading performance or worse is insane for a supposed "user friendly" OS.

Microsoft's Windows Vista is apparently the best advertisement for desktop Linux there is. A sad day for Microsoft.

Submitted by Regular non-tech middleaged guy (not verified) on Thu, 2007-02-01 20:41.

For a piece of sh*t that steels everyone's ideals & cuts the heads off its competitors.(SCO UNIX) "Better Desktop Then Windows Will Ever Be"It's ironic Mr. Gates engages into this plan of taking over the world.Doesn't he have enough of our money?Does he intend to now create a digital class warefare between the poor and the rich?How oppressing do dictators have to be before he is removed by force?If we let the abuse of our individual right continue there is no stopping the institutions.Next we will be taxed for signing aloud a favorite tune.

Submitted by Anonymous Coward (not verified) on Wed, 2007-02-07 15:37.
MS drives yet another nail into their own coffin

The days of the 'invincible' Microsoft are ending. Through a continued stream of developments from Microsoft that care more about appeasing big business needs than the average comsumer, they're only shooting themselves in the foot. Windows XP was the last operating system I'll ever buy from them.

Sorry Redmond, Cupertino will be where my dollars are going from now on. You can't get any better than a dual boot Mac OSX/Linux computer. :-)

Submitted by Goodbye Microsoft (not verified) on Fri, 2007-02-09 02:09.
Here's an idea, why don't

Here's an idea, why don't you all stop jumping on the rebellious teenager bandwagon and consider that maybe not all corporations are inherently evil.

Bill Gates will states that the majority of his fortune and net worth will be given to charity on the event of his death. His children will not be given a free ride they will be given whats effectively going to be venture capital, a few million each if hearsay is correct.

Secondly Bill gates runs the Gates foundation. www.gatesfoundation.org . 11 BILLION given away so far.

Thirdly, you're all paranoid. Vista has DRM enforced upon it because vista has to have the big draw of HD digital content. the companies won't allow that content to be run on computers without sufficient DRM. Without HD content vista loses a BIG reason to upgrade, because XP currently has troubles even getting normal DVD's to play correctly withoutfinicking around excessively.

Not only that but its also been reported that XPs DRM handling is effectively EXACTLY the same as XPs when it comes to unprotected content, and non-HD content. The compliant monitors, HDCP graphics cards, and legal copies of vista will only be a problem if you want to watch High definition content on media platforms that are decidedly niche and almost unnecessary for the average user, using a PC that wasn't built for the purpose.

Since HDCP content is probably going to be a big concern only in the HTPC market, and since anyone building an HTPC will be building for that reason, its safe to assume that only a very small fraction of highly vocal yet non-futureproofing HTPC early adopters will be sacrificing anything.

Oh, and the vista compatible hardware thing is crap too, it ONLY applies to the graphics card, and even then STILL only applies to the Hi-def content. if you have a DirectX 9 compatible card (And everyone should, everything newer than a Geforce 5200 is.) you will be perfectly fine to run vista as long as you meet requirements.

Submitted by Intelligent computer user (not verified) on Fri, 2007-02-09 19:07.
Hang on, a few million

Hang on, a few million inheritance isn't a free ride? You have got to curb your shopping sprees otherwise! seriously, assume 4% interest and that's a steady income of say 100 K per year and several million in the bank .... i agree with you on some counts, admittedly Bill Gates is a charitable person. The most annoying example of corporate money gabbing with computers is actually in my opinion Apples iPod/TV lead - they have swapped the red and yellow leads so you have to buy the nice shiny white apple product instead of your own av leads! unless you know to swap the leads over.....

Linux is better than ever, why not use it? Sabayon is awesome, Puppy is good esp. for older machines, Ubuntu is good too..... and vista has problems like viruses, drm.... they may not be big deals but when it's a choice between that for £250 and linux for free, it's not that hard a choice for me.

Submitted by Anonymous Coward (not verified) on Wed, 2007-02-14 20:36.
Bill's Fortune isn't the Issue here...

Bill's enormous fortune isn't the issue here. If it were, I'd have to mention how he only got into the "giving it away" game when Melinda came on the scene.

The point here is about Microsoft controlling your computer and what you can do with it. Vista's ability to disable your hardware at will puts you on an endless upgrade treadmill (which MS may, or may not, choose to exercise). It's up to you if you think that risk is worth taking or not.

Personally, I am much like many other posters here, in so much as I choose Linux. I'm a heavily tech-savvy person, so non-typical. However, if I can ever construct a Linux machine my mum can use (and have no particular problems with) then MS is in trouble because it won't just be me doing it.

Submitted by coofercat on Thu, 2007-02-15 00:34.
Microsloth in trouble

I highly suggest Fedora Linux especially for newbie friendliness. I have a friend who is decidedly non-technical and hard on computers (drastic inappropriate ways of shutting off a computer). Fedora takes it easily and seems to be saying "I can handle anything you throw at me." I refer to Fedora 10 in particular though anything after version 7 is quite solid and easy to use from the GUI anyway. Suse 11.x is not your "father's" Suse either. It was pleasant and welcome improvement from the 10.x series.
The systems I run are or have been over the years:
Atari 800 series (8 bit Motorola 6502c) Amiga (68000 family and Power PC). When I had to go IBM PC compatible went AMD and staying with it. Though on AMD's have used Windows 98/XP,Linux (various until settling on Suse and Fedora)
Simply put each OS has its own set of strengths and weaknesses.
Can be found on Stumbleupon.com

Submitted by John Reuschlein (not verified) on Sun, 2009-01-18 00:47.
Why not?

Unfortunately,two reasons why I am forced to use Windows rather than Linux - Digital music production and games. I can't get any commercial music programs such as Reason, Cubase or Ableton live for Linux. Also, games just don't runin it. A Mac is hideously expensive and I don't like them.

Otherwise I would use it all the time - I don't see any way around this in the near future either... the makers of these programs are not going to give their code away open source...

I will get Vista over my dead body, however!

Submitted by Divine (not verified) on Mon, 2007-05-14 20:41.

Well as a middle aged(nearly)father of 5 who only recently ventured into this crazy world of computing all i can say is free yourself from those chains and install Ubuntu(or other linux distro).

We used Windows for a short time last year then discovered Ubuntu and this thing leaves xp in it`s wake imo so i cant now see any reason whatsoever that we would need to buy Vista as we first intending doing .

Ubuntu rocks...regardless of how old you are:-)

Submitted by xpod (not verified) on Fri, 2007-02-09 20:10.
What About?

What About some programs Such As Daemontools? I use it currently on my XP machine to run images of some of my legal software, as I hate having to change cds 14 times a day, Accidently Scratch them, and have to shell out another $XX to whomever. Only time I have to Pull the originals out now is if something happens to the image file.. And Wonders of Wonders, 4 Years and still not scratched.
One of my colleagues Has installed Vista And Has been unable to run Daemontools, Or Alcohol120 since.
I know they can be used for illegal content, but, there is the odd person who uses them for other reasons.

Submitted by MeDragon (not verified) on Sat, 2007-02-10 13:24.
Daemon Tools

Daemon tools definitely runs on Vista - I am running it right now in fact - however you (and your friend) probably need the most recent DT release! (also x86 and x64 matters)

I'm not sure about Alcohol as I haven't needed to install it yet, but I don't see why an updated version would not work.

There's a lot of misinformation going on here. Basically everything you could do on winxp you can also do on vista - I've even seen pirate versions of office 2003 running a-ok. And don't forget there is an active copy protection cracking community out there - heck, they've even already cracked aacs, the 'advanced' copy protection used by both hd-dvd and blu-ray high-def discs (and heavily related to hdcp from what I understand), and slysoft has released a version of anyDVD that works with HD discs. Vista Activation Server was cracked months ago. All these solutions are illegal, but that hasn't stopped most people in the past - who hasn't installed something on more computers than they're allowed, or made/received compilation CDs/tapes, or used cracked game files to defeat that nuisance cd check? Even format shifting from cd to mp3 or vinyl to tape was (or still is) illegal in many countries.

Certainly it does appear that Microsoft has caved in to mass media industry demands and designed parts of their new OS to suit Hollywood's DRM demands, but the crackers will win out in the end, they always seem to!

Submitted by Timmoi (not verified) on Sun, 2007-03-11 01:27.


Submitted by Anonymous Coward (not verified) on Sat, 2007-02-10 15:19.

I didn't know they were still in business.

Submitted by Anonymous Coward (not verified) on Sat, 2007-02-10 20:00.
Windows Vista

I certainly wont be buying Vista. I have trialled it along with Linux. For me Linux wins hands down. The best part is Linux is FREE.

Submitted by Roger (not verified) on Sat, 2007-02-10 22:03.
Linux this, linux that, How do i get it?

I think the whole idea behind linux is great!It's open source, it's free, etc.But there are so many different Linux's...Ubuntu, DSL, Sabayon, and whatever else, and there are different types of each of these!How do I choose?And then, once I get linux, how do I play my PC Games?I've been using Windows since I was...what...9?I want to bring down the facist capitalists that are Microsoft as much as anyone else outraged by DRM, but I've never had any previous exposure to linux!Since I will most likely never visit this page after this "Stumble" email me at gbratboy2@yahoo.comI don't care if you spam it, it's a junk email anyway, you might as well make ur own email address and spam it.

Submitted by How Linux (not verified) on Fri, 2007-02-16 03:55.
Go all 'cool and trendy' with Linux

Just so it's 'on record'... We could have a whole discussion about which is the best flavour of Linux, but if you've never touched it, the word on the street is to try Ubuntu. Download it, burn a few CDs and get installing (or try a Live CD - no install required as it runs off the CD, and will give you a good taste of what it's like for real).

For a first timer, if you're installing Linux, you'd be wise to 'dual-boot' your system, which means you can still boot your system into your existing Windows installation, or the new Linux one. That means you can still use all your old Windows stuff, whilst exploring the new ways to do the same sorts of things with Linux.

Submitted by coofercat on Fri, 2007-02-16 04:26.
The windows update virus

The theme of this article is that windows xp is cuddly and good. Vista is a wolverine with rabies that hasn't ate for a weeks has a flaw. What happens when the windows update adds this new and wonderful s#@#can your hardware program. They added the fascist windows genuine advantage through automatic updates to your machine without knowing it. And in the process hosed quite a few sysytems. What will stop them from doing this to xp.

Submitted by Pacal (not verified) on Tue, 2007-02-27 04:49.
is vista better?

I do not believe that Vista is better than xp. there are already first security patch.

Submitted by 3dsl Eugen (not verified) on Thu, 2007-03-01 20:25.
linux it is.. :)

vista just drives me mad with all the restrictons, and all the instructions i fallowed from their own help files to get admin access never works, so i'm giving linux a go..

ma pish pe toti programatorii romini care or facut rahatul ala..(pentru boabe de cucuruz)

Submitted by fufa (not verified) on Sat, 2007-03-03 14:22.
Admin Access

Are you sure you didn't just want to turn off the user access controls (UAC) - those irritating security prompts?

All you need do is go to the control panel, open the user accounts applet and there it is on the left. Naturally trying to do that will give you another prompt ;-)

Submitted by Timmoi (not verified) on Sun, 2007-03-11 01:33.
no choice

my computer crashed a couple of weeks ago and i was forced to buy a new one, apperantly all the new pc's now have windows vista already installed, now i hate vista, all around hard for me to get used to, i cant even find the calculator on the damn thing and it makes an easy to do task extremely hard for me.

now my question here is, how do i go back to xp!!??

Submitted by TTT (not verified) on Wed, 2007-03-14 21:40.
I'm still using XP and don't

I'm still using XP and don't plan to move to Vista.

Submitted by Markus (not verified) on Sun, 2007-04-22 17:06.
I tried the Windows Vista,

I tried the Windows Vista, but switched back to Windows XP, as well as Vista uses a lot of resources, and I was not yet ready to upgrade its computer. And in the design, of course, Vista prettier than XP.

Submitted by Fabio Locati (not verified) on Sun, 2008-02-10 11:42.
As usual, people SLOWLY

As usual, people SLOWLY decide to accept the Microsoftian way, and are assimilated.

Submitted by Anonymous Coward (not verified) on Tue, 2008-12-09 19:04.