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   Bikram Agarwal
   Consultant Developer,
   T-Mobile USA,
   Seattle, WA

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Vista REALLY sucks | Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ever since the launch of Windows Vista, I was trying hard to lay my hands on it. I looked for it everywhere; if anyone could give me the DVD. I was longing for it so much that I once considered downloading the ripped version from internet torrents. But before I do that, my prayers were answered and I got Vista with my new laptop. I was thrilled to bits. I was going through every bits n pieces of the Brand New OS. Looks are no-doubt amazing - though ripped from Apple Leopard OS. I was just mesmerized. People all over the world told me [through their blogs], that Vista Sucks, but I didn't pay even tiny fragment of attention to them. Thought it is just another round of Microsoft bashing. Little did I know that I'm gonna repent it later. It happened last night.

[ Continued in Full Post ]

Yesterday was my busiest weekend in recent times. The whole day was dedicated to my PC and entertainment pile-ups. Had brought couple dozen movies and games from a friend's PC. The day went by in subtitle matching, sorting, installing, testing n stuff. Then there was the game 'FEAR'. That is one game that I always wanted to play. But my desktop PC configuration wasn't able to support its requirement. But now, the laptop was. So, it was grand installation time. But the installer I brought is an .mdf file - DVD image. I need a DVD-drive emulator for this. Alchohol 120% was my first choice as it served me great purpose in my XP machine. So, ran the installer of Alchohol. And that's when all hell broke loose.

There was BSoD. There was this loud 'Ta Tu, Ta Tu' noise - as if the laptop is gonna explode. I was perplexed for a moment. 'Wha..... what just happened?' After recovering from the initial 'shock', I knew I had to restart the system. But how the hell do I do that? Where the hell do they place the 'restart' button on laptop? Nowhere. So....?? Power press the power button? That is, keep the power button pressed for 5+ seconds to force a system shutdown. That's what I did as there was no other option. Calm. But a storm was coming. Upon restart - the Vista won't go past the login screen. After feeding in the password and pressing enter, the BSoD was reappearing. Vista was Dead.

'Okkkkie... it's just BSoD. I've seen worse. I can fix this. Let's do it'. Went to Vista start-up menu for boot type options. But surprisingly, there wasn't any 'Last known good configuration' option there - which was always a life-saver in XP. STRIKE 1. Safe mode. That was my next bet. But when I clicked that, all I got was screen full of slow moving 'loaded' this and that driver text. This was really frustrating. For every new line of 'loaded \windows\system32\....' , all the previous lines were refreshed sequentially word by word. This was like writing 1st line, then writing 1st and 2nd line; then writing 1st, 2nd & 3rd line and so on. And the safe boot was going on like forever. Once the 'loading' finished, I was hoping - 'atlast'. But - alas. Once again - BSoD made a hysterical appearance. What ...!!! BSoD in safe mode. That was first for me. XP safe mode beat the s**t out of every BSoD and its siblings. STRIKE 2. Okay, there's system recovery. F11. That got me to the factory installed 'HP Recovery Console'. Ahhhh, 'Windows System Restore'. Now I'll just restore Vista to a date prior to the Alchohol installation and it'll be a happy ending to this mess. But, that wasn't meant to be - thanks to crappy Vista. Turns out - System restore was turned off by default. There were no restore points available. Salt to wound was - it was asking 'Do you want to create a restore point now. STRIKE3. That was the last nail in the coffin.

The last option I had was reseting the system, in the sense - reseting to factory default condition. That is, all that is added to the laptop after its purchase will be kapoot, as if it wasn't there ever. All my MP3, Video, Softwares, Games. * GAMES ...!!!. My 'Cold Fear'. 'Nahhiiiiii.' All those sleepless nights that I spent on crossing its levels and unlocking 'bonus' will become useless. 75% through the game, and now I'll have to play it AGGAIN.....!!! With no other option in hand, I bid a painful adieu to all my data and clicked on the 'Next' button. There were two check-boxes. 'Repartition hard drive' and 'Restore System'. 1st option itself sent my alarm bells ringing. All the hell I went through to partition my disk will come to naught. NOOoooo. Tried to uncheck this 'option'. But that wasn't an option. That was a task completed. Progress Bar was in progress. All other buttons were disabled. I was trapped.

After the brutal operation, the system rebooted and I kept my fingers crossed. Thankfully, this time the system logged me in and all was going just as it was when I had first opened the laptop out of its casing. Factory reset. I hoped against all possibilities and opened 'Computer'. And jumped couple of times out of sheer joy. There were 4 partitions, all those partitions that I had made. And all my files were also there. Not formatted. THANK GOD. I heaved a huge sigh of relief. But still, all installed softwares were useless now. They were nothing more than just folders. It was late night already. But who cares? My baby is just out of a trauma and I needed to take care of it immediately. So, I spent the whole night in re-installing all that was there before the crash. Slept at 5 AM atlast.

And woke up at 9AM. Not that I had set an alarm or something. Woke up due to noise all around and then didn't feel like going back to sleep. A lot more was still to be done. So, back to basics. But what the heck. Power is off. Why the heck they cut the power on weekends !! So, did a very little restorations before the battery cried for some juice. After that, am writing here. On room-mate's laptop. Something to do with computer until power comes back.

So, I was saying ke Vista sucks in more ways than already mentioned. A lot has been written about it all over the web space. As I said, I didn't pay them much attention. Seeing is believing. I used it myself and checked its pros and cons. Here are a few little things that seem pretty insignificant to start with, but add up to a mild headache when summed up. A quick list follows -
  • Both Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer are stripped of their Menu Bar. It's now very inconvenient to navigate. Tip - Pressing F10 key gets them back on for one time.

  • There's no 'Up' button in the explorer toolbar. :@ There's bread-crumb in place of address bar, which is good. But still, doing away with 'Up' button was uncalled for. Tip - Press Alt+Up Arrow to perform same action of 'Up' button, i.e., to go to parent directory.

  • There's no Window Text on the title bar of the window. In earlier versions, the name of the open window is always displayed on the titlebar. That really helps when working with multiple windows. But the genius people at Microsoft thought that was unnecessary.

  • File copying [or move/delete for that matter] is another pain. The name of the current file being copied is never displayed. When copying multiple files, knowing which file is done is very important for me. But, no way now.

  • It doesn't support some popular softwares - like Alchohol, Norton Partition Magic etc. That's how I had a hard time re-partitioning my factory made partitions. Windows Disk Manager now have partitioning options as well. But they have a mind of their own. Sometimes they work, sometime they don't. I couldn't shrink my 140GB C: partition beyond 70 GB due to 'lack of space', even though I had whole 120 GB free on that drive. After much R&D, I zeroed in on Paragon Partition Manager, which did a somewhat okies job.

But all's not bad with Vista. It's got the looks. Flip 3D is cool. Bread-Crumb navigation bar is nice. Start Menu search is mind-blowing. And I haven't really faced the 'slow' Vista. It works pretty moderately for me. I hope Microsoft fixes its errors [like, single point crash vulnerability] pretty soon.

Not that I'd have 'LOST' all my files and data. All these files are also present in my desktop. So, there's no data loss nightmare in this for me [this instance]. But even the file transfer from PC to laptop is quite hectic. Tires me out. That's what I was worried about.

Update : Turns out I didn't loss my 'Cold Fear' progress. When I ran the executable, the game launched and guess what? The load saved game option was available. All my past saved levels were available. That is magical. Anyway, I lost NFS Carbon progress. But that's not such a big deal, considering I had installed it just yesterday. :)

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