Hi, I’m a Mac. And I’m a PC. You’ve seen the commercials. The one’s where Apple computers make fun of windows based computers running windows software. Well, I’m here to tell you that it is true. Windows Vista Premium is so full of safety protocols, It feels like I’m launching a nuclear attack on Russia. After owning Windows Vista Premium edition for one week, this is my critique.
Last week my computer blew up, (Yes, that will be an entry very soon) and I purchased a new one with Windows Premium Vista pre-installed on the hard drive. It met all the system requirements for Vista by far, so I felt that I would be in for a pleasurable experience.
The setup was relatively painless. Very simple connections, all color coded and such. The system was ready in less than a half hour. I clicked the on button on the tower and the power button on the monitor and the blue lights lit up and the system flickered on. I was greeted with a new sound and a very similar Windows XP esque screen.
I proceeded to setup my Internet connection with the wizard supplied. So far, very easy. I was connected to the net in a matter of two minutes. Of course, Internet Explorer was the default browser and Windows media 11 was the only player installed. Very typical Windows. With an open net connection, I then proceeded to my next step. Setting up my fellow Grassy Knoll Institute scientists.
Again, very painless setup in choosing an icon, name, and parameters for them. Maybe after all these years Microsoft Windows finally worked out all the bugs. I then began loading the hard drive up with my software programs. That is when the problems started.
I loaded my Sansa MP3 player software. I heard the CD spinning in the drive, but no start up screen. Finally, a minute later, I received a security window alert stating that the computer was attempting to run an EXE file and for me to please select a menu choice to proceed. I selected “I trust this file and to proceed to download.” I did not like the extra steps. And BTW, almost none of my software was compatible with Vista. Even the Microsoft software. I had to install the programs and then open each program and switch them to be compatible with Windows XP. A real pain in the ass.
Speaking of a pain in the ass. Vista’s Internet browser is no treat. Under my screen name, the net worked perfectly, very fast browsing, and pleasant experience. Not so much for my wife and son though. Under my wife’s screen name, she was able to surf the net but not able to access her Google Gmail account. Nor was she able to download any files from the net. Not even the Firefox browser. My son wasn’t able to open and run AIM instant messenger. Damn, I would have to place a service call.
Yes, I own a Gateway computer. I’m so ashamed. I had no real choice. I’ll explain in a future installment. I call the long distance phone number, go through approximately 6 different menu’s all the while listening to a computer generated voice prompting me to push certain phone buttons. I finally got a “Live” person.
It was Corby, badge number 73868 from Gateway support team. After a few questions from her, my name, address, phone, shoe size, (The standard questions) we got down to the problem. I explained to her that my wife and son were unable to download or run programs while under their screen names. I also added that I had already gone into each file and set the permissions for all people on the computer.
Corby surprised me with the answer she gave me. Corby said that it was my Microsoft Firewall that was preventing them from accessing the files and recommended that I disable the firewall. I asked her to repeat that. Again, she said to disable the firewall because since I was running Vista, I really didn’t need it. Reluctantly, I disabled the firewall and rebooted, but the programs would still not run. Corby then asked me if I was running an anti virus program. I said yes, I am running Grisoft, AVG anti virus. She then told me to disable that program for it was the reason I couldn’t access the Gmail or AIM instant messenger.
At this point, I was very suspect of her knowledge of Gateway computers and Windows Vista. I asked if I could speak to another technician. She said that it wasn’t possible. She did not have the capability to transfer any calls. Or so she said. Once again, I asked if she, Corby, an employee of Gateway Computers technical support, thought it prudent to turn off my firewall and my anti virus protection so Vista could run wide open allowing a host of viruses and worms to infect my new computer. Corby immediately replied yes.
Once again, I asked to speak to her supervisor. She said that she was fully qualified to answer all my questions. In fact she said, the supervisors received the exact same training as her, so she had the same knowledge as her supervisor. She then said thank you for calling Gateway and hung up.
A call back to Gateway several minutes later and I got connected to Jay. I asked him if it were wise to disable my firewall and anti virus programs. He said he would never advise that. Hmmn! After I told him my situation, Jay said he didn’t know what was causing the problem but would call his supervisor to see if he knew any more information. I asked him if he was capable of transferring me to a supervisor. He said yes, if that is what I preferred. I said no, talk to him and get back to me. (Corby had lied to me!) A minute later, he had no answer other than a complete re-install of Windows Vista. A computer that was less than two days old. I didn’t want to do that. Jay said thanks for choosing Gateway and Gateway technical support.
I finally emailed Microsoft Windows of my problem. The next day, I received a reply stating that many programs would be disabled until Windows Vista was verified either by email or by phone. I quickly rectified that and what a surprise, all the programs worked. I am not impressed with Gateway support at all.
Back to the critique. Vista has the look and feel of XP, just a few little differences. The icons look a little different, the file folders alittle fancier, the start menu tree alighned in another sequence, the home page with gadgets installed.
I will say the computer is fast as hell, the OS works well, took a little time getting used to, annoyed at the allow or deny for every exe program selected, (Just like the Mac computer commercial, I have to click allow or deny every time) impressed at the startup and shut off time, very fast, annoyed at having to change many programs to XP compatible for them to work.
All in all, I think Windows made a mistake here. It took six years to roll out Vista, the replacement of XP. I don’t see any real vast improvements but we can always look forward to “Service Pak One” upgrade.
My recommendations: If you have XP running and your computer is still viable, I would suggest to keep it fine tuned and not upgrade to Vista until absolutely necessary.
LURKING ON THE GRASSY KNOLL