Sunday, February 08, 2009

PC Guy, YES. Vista Fan, NO!

When I first began hearing the negative reports about Vista, I chalked most of up to "Mac Smack"... you know, the guys who run the expensive machines. I am a PC guy plain and simple. I will admit that I have not spent much time at all on a Mac, but that's because the software I need to run is Windows software. I understand Windows can be run on a Mac, but there is the cost factor as well. Enough about that debate, I use a PC and I'm happy. I'd like to give Linux a spin (thinking Ubuntu), but I can't figure out how to add hardware!

Anyway, I began hearing people complain about how terrible Vista was, but most of the people I heard complaining were people who were mostly "users"...not even "power users", let alone what I would consider real "computer people". Most of them were complaining just because they had to learn a new operating system and things were not the same. That's called a "new" operating system, not a "bad" operating system. My wife got a new Vista laptop a year ago. I set it up and had no problems with it. I ended up turning off User Account Control because I got tired of having to give myself permission three times to do everything, but that was my only real annoyance.

But this year, particularly in the last month, I've had a bit more experience truly "working" with Vista, and I DON'T LIKE IT! One of our office computers started having odd, bad error messages. I knew it was time to get a new computer before this one died. (Jump to end of the story..the computer died the same day I had the new one ready to go). Since I'm the "computer guy" at our church (unless it's the media guy's Mac, of course), I began pricing new systems. Pastor said go with a system that will carry us into the future, so that meant 4 gigs of RAM, and 4 gigs of RAM meant the 64-bit version of Vista.

I had read about incompatibility issues with 64-bit systems, but I did not understand them. I did some Googling and it seemed all of what I read was over a year old and one article I read said 64-bit systems would be backwards compatible. So, with an incomplete understanding, I purchased the 64-bit system.

This post will never end if I continue at this pace, so let me give you an overview of my "Vista issues" with this new machine:
  • "Backwards compatible" did NOT apply to the two most expensive programs on our computer (Membership Plus and Quick Books Pro). Add $400 (would have been $550 had I not been a good online shopper!)
  • User Account Control would not allow Membership Plus to run properly. After much Googling, I figured this out, turned it off and the program began to work properly.
  • Had to call in tech support for the copier so it could be installed as a printer. Short version... it took the guy so long he did not charge us. Vista has been out two years and he had never installed a copier onto a Vista system (yes, it's that popular!). Sharing what I had learned after two hours of trying to install the copier myself and learning some of the Vista quirks, the copier tech and I got the thing installed. He came back the next day to set up scanning. His 8 page manual for setting the copier up as a scanner for Windows XP had become a 24 page manual for Vista (no joke).
  • Just this week, our secretary said nothing was happening when she tried to open Windows Media Player. I thought perhaps it was going to be a simple fix (like "click this icon and not that one"). Wrong. More Googling. Get this... WINDOWS Media Player 11 has severe issues and just quits working in WINDOWS Vista. Microsoft knows about this problem, yet there is no fix!!! Say what? No wonder Mac gets away with their "I'm a Mac" commercials. My "fix" was to install WinAmp.
And then, our sound room computer started acting up (after MAJOR power surges last week). I checked our main software on that computer (Easy Worship) and found that the newest version was Vista compatible, 32-bit or 64-bit. But, the little control program that turns on our projector from the computer is Vista 32-bit compatible only, so that's what I set out to buy. Everything I read, and the "computer people" I know all strongly suggested an Intel processor for Vista. I tell ya what, finding a 32-bit, Intel processor system was a bit challenging. Finally bought a Lenovo and brought it to the sound room.

We have always run two video cards in our sound room computer; one for the monitor and one for the projector. I checked and the video card we had in the old computer had Vista drivers, so I downloaded those and tried to install the video card. As soon as I plugged in this second card and fired up the comptuer, Vista disabled my on-board video card. An hour later (after much Googling), I discovered Vista will not allow two differnt video cards (ie two different architectural structrues) to run on the same system! Add $60 for a new, dual output video card.

Next, I installed Easy Worship, only to have quirky problems. They have excellent tech support, so I gave them a call and found out they are not Vista fans, either. After downloading and installing the Vista debug file, Easy Worship was working.

And now THIS computer needed to have the copier hooked up to it. After spending a couple hours with the copier tech guy, I was confident I could install the copier on this computer myself. Short version, I did, but it took longer than expected. All in all, it took a complete day-and-a-half to install the computer and get it ready for church today. I am not Microsoft Certificed or anything like that, but I have had plenty of experience getting new computers up and running and doing so while learning a new OS. Am I still a PC guy? YES. Am I a Vista fan? NO!!!

1 comment:

Ken said...

Our computer people here at work will not even let anyone consider installing Vista. Said they want to wait until most of the bugs were worked out. Looks like that will never happen since Micro soft/maxi cost is going to a newer system if they can get the bugs out of it. sheesh. Kind of makes me miss windows 3.1 or whatever that number was.
Ken