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The (current) dark side of Vista

Mike Doolittle's picture

A couple blogs back I talked about Windows Vista and my initial impressions of it, which were very positive. My overall experience continues to be very positive – I think Microsoft has done a great job with the OS. However I only lightly touched on the cons. I just stated that there are some issues with Vista, and it's wise to make sure the programs you use are functional before you upgrade. I think it's time to talk a little more in depth about the problems I've had with Vista which, few though they are, can be a bit annoying.

The main problem with Vista right now has nothing to do with Microsoft directly. The problem is third-part companies like nVidia and Creative. Currently, those two companies, among others, are struggling to get WHQL drivers out. Tentatively, we can expect nVidia's drivers later this month, and Creative's drivers next month. Incidentally I've had no troubles at all with Creative's Beta drivers (for Soundblaster X-Fi sound cards). My audio is working fine. Others, however, haven't been so lucky.

nVidia's Beta drivers, on the other hand, are problematic. Game support is fickle; some of my games won't work at all, and others suffer reduced performance. This is compounded by the fact that the drivers don't yet work with assorted overclocking programs. I overclock my graphics card pretty far using applets like Rivatuner and ATI Tool, so the loss of speed is noticeable. Additionally, the driver fails to save display adaptor settings, so I have to reconfigure everything each time I boot up if I want an optimal display. Compounding this problem is the fact that there is no "display optimization wizard", which was very useful for gamma and brightness opimization.

I did an upgrade installation, which saves a lot of hassle over a clean install, but did come with a few issues. Some programs had to be reinstalled to work properly; my StyleXP themes program didn't work at all, for obvious reasons. It's fine – I like Vista's look and customizations better.

The biggest hassle, though, was that I couldn't access my Music folder. It told me that I didn't have permission to access the folder, and that I would have to "take ownership" of it first. But when I tried to do that, it told me I didn't have permission to take ownership. The solution was to choose Properties > Location and select "return to default"; it then asked me if I wanted to copy my files from the original location, which gave me an "access denied" when I chose "Yes", so I had to select "No". This process allowed me to access the folder, but there were no files in it. The solution was to set the Windows Explorer options to show hidden folders, then manually drag the files from an obscure system folder ($INPLACE.~TR\Machine\Data\Documents and Settings\user_name\My Documents\My Music) into the Music folder. This whole issue is the result of files being improperly copied from XP to Vista, so be aware that this issue may affect other folders such as Documents or Pictures if you are performing an upgrade installation.

Others have reported trouble with iTunes; after I fixed my music folder I've had no trouble with it, though I did download and run the iTunes Permissions Repair Tool executable, which is available from Apple's website.

Right now, I'm enjoying Vista, but since my PC is a gaming rig I am tapping my fingers waiting for nVidia to release their WHQL drivers so I can get back to having awesome gaming performance. Gaming is mostly functional, but it needs to be optimal. Hopefully they'll release an improved Beta driver or two in the interem, if the process is going to take a while.

 

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No music!!

I've done the aforementioned in order to recover my music, and now all I've got is 'sample music'- the junk that came with Vista. Any more ideas?

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