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    Hot trends

     Windows Vista Plusses and Minuses
    PCs: All about your desktop and laptop
    I went to the Windows Vista Launch tour, and I was very impressed. (See the Group29 article Series: Windows Vista, Office 2007, Exchange 2007 Launch tour.) I received a copy of Office 2007 Professional for attending. To get started, I purchased a new HP s7700n at to finally move into Windows Vista.


    My top favorite feature so far is the Windows desktop search. It is a real dog if you install it on Windows XP, but it is wicked fast on a Vista machine, even after I loaded all my Outlook email boxes and copied over all my pictures and music. I use this feature regularly, just like it was demonstrated in the tour. I really like the Outlook message search feature that traverses all the mailboxes folders. (See the Group29 Article: Microsoft Windows Desktop search 3.0)

    Photo Viewer
    Windows Picture and Fax viewer has been updated to be the Windows Photo Gallery Viewer.

    • Plays video clips as you step through files in a directory. This is great because my digital camera takes .jpg and .mov files
    • Shows thumbnails of .MOV files
    • If you have Windows Media player open, you need a lot of memory to also be able to play movies through Photo Gallery viewer. I cannot with 1GB of RAM.

    I love the fact that you can select a picture, choose the "Fix" menu and then a toolbox will appear on the right. You can choose the appropriate fix from the program's editing tools, which include "Auto Adjust," "Adjust Exposure," "Adjust Color," "Crop Picture" and "Fix Red Eye." These are the basics of amateur photo manipulation and there is no way in hell that I want to load some gigantic package like Gimp or Photoshop just to do these basic things. Going back to my old high school photography classes, these basic functions are performed in the darkroom. The Red Eye removal is a bonus feature.

    The scanner driver for my HP PSC 1350 was built in, and I did not have to install additional software to run the import from scanner process in Windows Photo Gallery. With scanning part of the Photo Gallery, there is no longer a need to load the HP supplied photo management software or other nonsense. Also, I copy my photos direct from the USB card, because I want to put them in a specific folder and create the sub folders. I can still apply tags later.

    RSS feeds are available everywhere now, and you can use Internet Explorer or Outlook 2007 to subscribe. However, I have found that GreatNews by Curio Studio is still my favorite RSS reader. It shows icons and allows you to create subfolders for all your feed groups.


    Vista on the big screen
    I actually hooked up my new HP 7700 to my Sharp Aquos LCD TV, and bought a Logitech wireless keyboard to use with it. (See the Group29 Article: Buying an LCD TV - Sharp Aquos ) I was hoping for a whole media experience from the comfort of my arm chair. It is not as nice as I had hoped. I have a 32 inch TV. With a 17 in monitor, my eyes are about two feet away. With a 32 inch LCD TV I need to be about 4 feet away to get the same effect. I had anticipated being about 7 or 8 feet away to get the same effect. (Clearly this is why I got a D in the optics portion of college physics.)

    Strange Problems
    I have experienced a number of strange problems so far:
    • Explorer ended suddenly because it had a problem with me clicking twice on a folder because of slow response
    • Windows vista locked up on switching user and would not unfreeze! I am not quite sure what I was doing to create that problem.
    • One time, the scanner was not working, and required a reboot of the PC.
    • I tried to use Internet Explorer during the time I was installing Symantec Antivirus for Vista. The installation locked with only the mouse working. I could not unfreeze the system. The Symantec install could not be repaired and I had to uninstall it. I eventually settled on AVG antivirus, which seems to be automatically updating so far.
    • The map display, which uses Adobe Flash 9 with Microsoft Virtual Earth, currently causes a problem with Internet explorer 7 when the animation ends. Internet Explorer freezes and then ends. You lose all your other open tabs. Unlike Mozilla, IE will not restart tabs if the program ends unexpectedly.

    • It bothers me to hear the constant drive chatter from Windows Search indexing.
    • The Windows Welcome center (from HP) and all the other crap that HP loads that starts automatically needed to be cleaned up to not start on the screen. Eventually I will get to all of it and determine how useful it is. For a novice user, all those things are overwhelming.


    Problems with no longer being the admin user
    Yes, I understand that I am much better off with the Vista security. The day that it saves me from installing some adware crap will be the day I believe. Until then, I find it to be a large hassle. I am a developer by trade. Even at the company where I work, I am an administrative user while most other users are locked down. Here are some of the things that are a problem:

    • Constant Approval needed for admin if installing software. You need to Run as Admin when running setup. This helps to right click and select “run as admin” in some situations.
    • Windows Update Reboot: very inconvenient right while I was working as a regular user! I could not postpone it! That one fried me.
    • I could not get rid of the Winzip quickstart icon from the system tray as a regular user.

    Application Incompatibilities
    Two of my favorite games did not work when loaded. Obviously they are intruding on a protected area like the Windows System directory or a registry entry. However, I still want to play them!

    Bluetooth adapter
    My Kensington Bluetooth adapter does not have a Windows Vista driver set yet. So upon loading, you end up clicking multiple times to allow unsigned drivers to load. Once the Widcom Bluetooth software was loaded and running (the bttray.exe program that shows the icon in the system tray), I was able to configure my Motorola RAZR V3 phone to connect. I had a slight problem in that I could not cut and paste. I instead had to use “copy to” for getting files off the audio and video folders on the phone

    Outlook Web Access and IE7

    Outlook web access did not work with Vista because of a known issue. Your Exchange administrator needs to apply a patch.

    Missing Applications!

    WinHLP32 not included by design, so you cannot open 32 bit Windows help files!

    Although WinHLP.exe is still available for 16 bit help files. This is by design since compiled help modules CHM files are supposed to replace them. You can still download it separately if you need it.

    Telnet was disabled by default. I had to go to the web to find out that Telnet was not gone, but only disabled and needed to be enabled from the control panel. Microsoft Has PSExec to remotely execute processes.

    Your best bet to replace Telnet is probably Putty. Putty Buddy is a Windows Vista Widget that allows a quick connect using your configured names

    If you are looking for Hyperterminal, it is gone. You can still download HyperTerminal (Private Edition) from Hilgraeve, the company that originally provided the app to Microsoft.

    Poderosa is another option, an open-source terminal application that does SSH, Telnet and COM connections.

    The Search is THE killer app. Combined with Photo gallery, Adobe Acrobot, and Media player, and I am finding and viewing all my pictures, ebooks, and music. I have gigabytes of media, and it is growing all the time. I am going to have to figure out how to live as a loser user.

    Vista isn’t Me2, it’s Win95 + 12 years – Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report

    Posted on Monday, July 16, 2007 @ 12:39:55 UTC by BB
    "Windows Vista Plusses and Minuses" | Login/Create an Account | 3 comments
    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

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    Re: Windows Vista Plusses and Minuses (Score: 1)
    by BB on Tuesday, July 24, 2007 @ 08:51:03 UTC
    (User Info )
    I have been experiencing problems with Flash and Windows Vista/Internet Explorer 7. When I have multiple tabs open with a running flash object on one of the background tabs, I can get the message "Internet Explorer has found a problem and needs to close". See my article on Windows Vista Plusses and Minuses.

    The and tamatown ( are two of the culprits so far.

    Broadcom Bluetooth drivers (Score: 1)
    by BB on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 @ 08:21:01 UTC
    (User Info )
    I had my first actual system stoppage Vista. As mentioned above, I needed the Bluetooth Widcomm BCM1000-BTW drivers. I loaded them on my Windows Vista machine and clicked yes through a number of approve boxes. They worked briefly. But now every time I insert the Kensington USB Bluetooth dongle, Vista locks up hard. I left it alone for a couple minutes and it never came back.

    I have since experienced troubles on my Windows XP system too with the btaudio.sys driver causing a blue screen of death as I unloaded the service and tried to close the bttray.exe program.

    Vista backup (Score: 1)
    by BB on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 @ 08:30:25 UTC
    (User Info )
    I tried to use the Vista backup onto DVD. I ended up restarting the backup four times. Each time, one of the new DVDs in the set failed. Each DVD took well over 8 hours to write. I was using Dynex DVD+R single layer DVDs in an HP s7700n LightScribe DVD drive. After the fourth try with an Invalid diskette error, I gave up and bought a USB 320GB disk drive. Vista wanted to load a driver, which none were supplied on the CD with the disk drive. It was supposed to be Vista compatible. I eventually got the disk drive to work by ignoring the need for the driver. Although, the disk could only be accessed as the administrative user.

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