A week or so ago I did something foolish, I installed Vista on my primary laptop. Ok, so foolish may be a bit strong, after all, I did take precautions. Rather than upgrade my existing machine, I bought a new hard drive and installed Vista on that (so that my old configuration remained intact, just in case). The foolish part of this is that I need my machine all the time. I had to present Apollo at CFUnited Express last week, and will be presenting both ColdFusion Scorpio and Apollo at Spring this week. I can’t afford any down time, and so unnecessary machine upgrades probably fall into the foolish category.
Why did I bother? Probably because Vista is a new toy, and I like new toys. That, and the fact that customers are already running Vista, and I need to experience what they are going through with our products. I need to install Apollo apps, I need to try Scorpio (and in doing so discovered an issue on Vista that we’ll address in the next beta), I need to try other stuff that I can’t refer to by name yet … you get the idea.
So, with all of the media hype around Vista, with all of the discussions about upgrade problems, and broken applications, and poor performance on all but the latest hardware, and why you should wait, I must confess that I have so fallen for Vista that I won’t go back to Windows XP. Even though it means that I have to do without a few applications for now.
The installation itself was utterly painless. IBM has the ThinkPad drivers I needed, so no problems there. I have to run beta versions of Adobe’s virus scanner and VPN client for now, but so far no problems with those either. I needed to upgrade a few utilities to newer versions (WS_FTP, XMLSpy, and others). I needed to apply service packs and hot fixes to SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio .NET. Most of the other apps I needed ran as is. And a few I’ll have to live without for now.
I also installed Office 2007 which is superb, but that’s a separate post.
Vista takes a little getting used to. Some of the utilities and tools are buried in places other than where they used to be, but that’s easily learned. The new UI is slick, the new Windows Explorer replacement is superb, Wi-Fi support is orders of magnitude improved, printer support is close to perfect (it scanned my network, found them, added them, just the way it’s supposed to work!), when I plugged in a projector the screen auto-switched cleanly and simply, the peripherals I have thrown at it (cameras, microphones, SD readers, and more) have just worked, performance has been great … truth be told, I have yet to run into a single real problem yet. And this is not even a new laptop or one designed for Vista, it’s the ThinkPad T43P that I got before the ColdFusion MX 7 launch in early 2005. Everything thus far has just worked, and worked really well. As one of my co-workers teased, my laptop is now behaving like a Mac, and maybe it is. 😉
But none of this is why I’m hooked on Vista. The single reason that I’m not going back is a reason I have not seen mentioned by the press or the reviewers. The reason is simply how much easier Vista is on the eyes. Not being a designer or a creative type I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that I like, but the system fonts are much easier to read, the screen contrast is more pleasant, the curves and borders and lines are all gentler and feel less intrusive, edges of fonts and buttons and windows all feel less harsh, icons and notifications don’t feel like they are screaming at you. And this is true of the laptop LCD display, my ThinkVision monitors at home, my NEC monitor in the office, and even displays projected on those large conference room screens – they all look and feel better. I guess I did not realize how tough Windows XP was on the eyes until I started using Vista and then went back to XP (to retrieve stuff of that drive that I needed). And with the amount of time I spend staring at a screen, the easy-on-your-eyes gentler Vista is all the reason I need to switch.

29 thoughts

  1. Hey Ben…
    Good to hear some positive things about Vista. There’s been so many negative things out about it lately that I decided now was the time for me to make the jump to a Mac. As I write this I’ve had my new Macbook Pro for about 36 hours and I’m as much in love with it as it sounds like you are with Vista.

  2. "I have to run beta versions of Adobe’s virus scanner and VPN client for now"
    Typo or does Adobe have it’s own internal versions of Virus Scanner and VPN client? Just wondering 😛

  3. I have also moved to vista recently, came with a new laptop. I had some trouble getting CF MX7 to work with the new version of IIS because I installed IIS wrong (you have to install it in IIS6 mode not IIS7), eventually tracked down someone else who had suffered similar problems and made a couple of manual changes to the IIS config after re-installing IIS correctly. I didn’t keep my notes but am building another vista laptop next week so will have to do it all over again, am hoping to add something descriptive to livedocs. Just not sure where I should put it. I’m finding the lack of support for SQL Server 2005 Management Studio in Vista kind of funny. Keeps corrupting the screen display and needs min and maxing to get a good redraw. Am finding it tough to get used to as our standard desktop at work is NT4, so I now have both extremes. Its even more fun using Office 97 and Office 2007, talk about chalk and cheese!

  4. Todd,
    I meant the virus scanner and VPN client that Adobe uses on their machines. No, I don’t think we’re getting into those businesses any time soon. 😉
    — Ben

  5. Ben,
    I’m waiting for delivery of a new Dell laptop, and I was getting very nervous about the prospect of a Vista pre-install. It’s good to hear that it’s actually easier on the eyes that XP – I get killer headaches if my eyes have to strain, and the first thing I do with any XP install is turn off the "Fisher Price" windows and themes so that it looks like Win2K.
    Thanks for easing my worry!
    Al

  6. >>I also installed Office 2007 which is superb, but that’s a separate post.
    Just curious as to when we should expect a post on Office 07. 🙂 I have it, and wondered what others think about it. Not making the jump to Vista just yet. Waiting for a CD to float my way or a give in and shell out for it. Finding more not so great reviews, rather than good ones. Nice to see some of the pluses rather just complaints.

  7. Just to make sure I have it correctly, are you saying that CF7 will run on a Vista machine as long as you install IIS in version 6 mode? I don’t suppose anyone has tried using CF7 with MS Access drivers on this setup. Our local user group has a guy who is really struggling with that right now.

  8. Ben,
    Now that you have taken the leap, how about a few words about installing Adobe dev products in Vista. CF, Flex, et. al.
    Thanks.

  9. Craig, well …
    I did not install CF7 on it. CF7 is not officially supported on Vista, but it can be gotten to work. Scorpio works great (although I did find one issue that we’ll address). CF Report Builder seems to work fine.
    Flex Builder 2.0.1m as well as the Apollo bits, all run without as problem. Same for FDS, both 2 and the 2.5 pre-release.
    Dreamweaver has reported issues on Vista, although it depends on the edition of Vista and Office 2007 used. I have actually not run into a single problem with Dreamweaver myself, but others have reported issues.
    What else do you want to know about?
    — Ben

  10. Came across this article for getting CF7 running on Vista. Haven’t tried it yet, but thought I’d pass along the link for others:
    http://www.communitymx.com/content/article.cfm?page=1&cid=224AA
    Both Dreamweaver and FlexBuilder run without problems on my install, though FlexBuilder apparently has some parts that are incompatible with the "Aero" visuals in Vista. MS at least automatically turns "Aero" off and back on automatically when I exit FlexBuilder.

  11. Thanks for the review, Ben. I’m planning to attend the MIX 2007 conference (www.visitmix.com) in Las Vegas next month, and they’re giving out copies of Vista to everyone. I was wondering how it would behave with CF7. Thanks to everyone for the IIS6 tips. I’ve heard that there may be issues with Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. Have you run into anything like this?

  12. I have only extremely interaction w/Vista. My mom finally bought a new computer that came installed w/Vista. In my little experience with it, I came across the distinct impression that the core UI is now less intuitive than ever.
    My mom has never been very comfortable w/computers. She’d been on Windows XP for a couple of years, but still only knows how to do a few things. Anything outside her comfort zone causes issues.
    I’m finding she’s having more problems than ever getting around. It’s increasingly difficult to walk her through finding applications on her PC. I can no longer tell her "Click on the Start button." I’ve got to say, find the little Windows logo in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen and click on it.
    In my own experience, spending a half day setting up her new PC, my conclusion was MS tried to improve the UI, but also keep existing analogies/concepts close to what they used to be. While people who know Windows may not have a problem understanding how things work know, if you’re not familiar with the way things used to work, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
    The two prime examples of this to me are the new "Start" button and the "All Programs" in the Start menu. The new "All Programs" interface doesn’t seem that intuitive to me–I find it more of a pain to find an application. Now that’s not to say the All Programs didn’t need work, but it’s more like they tried to fit something new into a form factor that was close to what it used to be–instead of just re-thinking the whole concept.
    Of course, that was just after 6 hours of use, and I was trying to view things from my Mom’s perspective. On the same note, I’ve always thought the UI changes to IE7 really sucked. From the feedback I’ve heard from my Mom, she’s finding that too. She’s really having trouble figure out how to do the things she used to do.

  13. Dan, valid point. Which is why you need to turn on the Quick Launch bar and add the apps she needs there. Also, when you click the Windows icon the list on the left has a horizontal bar in it, the list below the bar is dynamic based on what you used last, but the list above the bar is fixed and you can add whatever you want there. And I’ve done both of these myself.
    — Ben

  14. I found that I like the new Orb menu. If you try to use it like the Start menu I think it is more of a pain, but just use the search functionality. Hit the windows key and start typing the name of the application or document and it will pop up in a list and you don’t have to dig for it at all.

  15. I am hooked on Vista/Office 2007 as well, even though I only have it at home and not work. I’m still waiting for the new Dell Latitude D830s to come out before I get the company to buy me a new computer. Office 2007 was the right price too…free if you went to one of the launch events.

  16. Access seems to be working fine for me, Can’t use 2007 Access DB files but as long as you are using the older MDB format it seems to be fine.
    The CFM pages I have seem to be ok apart from a few bugs because I had to port a SQL DB to Access in order to try this. So the stored procs, triggers and stuff are missing but basic table queries seem to be working as I would expect.
    You can edit the old MDB files in Access 2007 though I can only seem to create the neweer Access 2007 format databases if I start from scratch. The Ribbon is driving me crackers as I just can’t find anything.
    I switched the ORB off on Vista initially but switched it back on and it actually feels pretty natural now (2 weeks in)

  17. One thing some may want to note about developing websites in Dreamweaver on Vista….
    If you have MS Office 2007 with GROOVE installed… It screws up browsing for files within dreamweaver… For example, it will crash DW 8 if you are trying to insert an image and type:
    <img srg="….. and then click the browse popup…
    Uninstalling Groove seems to prevent the problem. Adobe is aware of this and I believe working on a fix.
    Other than that….Vista is outstanding.

  18. Is it the text you find smoother? If so, it might because <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/typography/WhatIsClearType.mspx">ClearType</a&gt; is on by default in Vista, and off by default in XP (it can be activated quite easily). If you’re just talking about the windows, that’s probably because the new windows are anti-aliased and transparent textures drawn offscreen and composited on a Direct3D layer, while XP still operates with 1-bit transparent corner rounding drawn diectly to a screen buffer.

  19. @BP:
    I think users familiar with Windows won’t have problems. My comments were more based on the basic intuitiveness of Vista as seen through the eyes of someone who’s new to a computer. I just don’t think the changes to the Start button & menu

  20. We had a machine that was a VIIV machine with XP Media and Premier would crash the machine so hard it went into instant reboot. (No windows lock or anything.) It is running on Vista! The compadibility mode is better and IIS now supports setting up multiple web sites. Though Apache is nice… now maybe they will build a cool interface so they an compete with Microsoft! (What a shame that such a nice server would have to wait for such a motivation!)
    My vote… so far Vista cost more than I want to pay. (Then again, I have a lisc. of ColdFusion so the ROI thing comes into play also.) P.S. Our lisc. of Visual Communciation Studio runs great on Vista also.

  21. and what’s about that:
    http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1138289&SiteID=17
    and that:
    http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb%3Ben-us%3B931770&x=12&y=8
    I’ve also installed Office 2007 on XP Pro, but there are so many bugs like:
    – Outlook doesn’t show new mails, so I’ve to change the directories and then I can see the new ones
    – Excel: sometimes if one XLS is open anotherone takes a very long time to open
    Ok it’s fun to test new software, but I think it’s much better to wait till the first bugs are solved – maybe in 1-3 years?

  22. John, as far as I know, Scorpio will run on Vista (and IIS6) natively.
    Charlie, I see neither of those Office 2007 problems on Vista. But yes, the ‘calculating time’ problem is a pain.
    — Ben

  23. I’m sorry, I happened upon your blog while googling ‘Office 2007 keeps reinstalling on Vista’ and had to comment.
    Though, as a designer, I do agree that both Office 2007 and Vista are nice looking products, I simply think that their performance and quality are atrocious. Windows 2000 didn’t even get released with this many issues.
    My work PC finally burned out last month and I had to get a new one and, of course, none at the time were being offered with anything BUT Windows Vista and as worried as I was, I needed a PC quick like, so I forked the cash over. BIG MISTAKE! The brand new, top of the line video card I bought so as to use dual monitors… not supported. All of my adobe/Macromedia apps that I use on a daily basis… not supported (which brings up more beef between Adobe and myself, not to be gotten into here of course). Even Office 2007 isn’t fully compatible with Vista! And the loads of uneccessary changes that made XP such a beautiful operating system are absolutely dumbfounding to me. Why, after training everyone for 15 years now that to add or remove a program, they simply click on the ‘Add/Remove Programs’ Icon in the top row of the control panel, would they change its name and location and call it something as deceiving as ‘Programs and Features’ and then stick in hidden in the middle of a MASS of new icons? Or why change the folder windows so that you can no longer ‘Go up’ a level or make it that you have to search just to add a new folder? Or the worst yet, why turn a simple one click operation as changing the time or date to a ‘click the clock on the bottom right then click this button to actually change it, then click another button to actually get the area to change the time’ kinda action?
    I don’t understand. 15 years ago when I was first starting in web, I used a MAC. At that time one of the biggest gripes about them was the fact that you had to verify an action or choice three or four times before it actually executed it. They were constantly being bashed about ‘locking up’ or the continuous ‘bomb’ messages (the Apple alternative to the ‘blue screen ‘o’ death’). Eventually I left the MAC for just those reasons and became an official MS Convert. But now, according to Vista, that type of OS seems to have completely came back in style and the apparent new strategy of Vista. Umm, did I miss something?
    Now, it very well one day MAY become as great a product as XP, who knows. But since it took them something like 7 years to get XP where it is now and the NEXT Windows atrocity is scheduled to release in just under 2 years already, I somehow doubt it. I’m sorry, maybe I’m the only one but I think I’m missing the ‘WOW’ here.

  24. It is interesting to think that we all live on the same planet–many of the things you like about this OS, are the very things I despise(d).
    I got a Thinkpad (T60, IIRC) through work with Vista installed. I, too, was eager to check out the new OS. I gave it a chance; it lasted about a week, then I upgraded to Ubuntu.
    Here’s why:
    1) Wireless stopped working
    2) System fonts looked terrible (fuzzy, poorly formed characters, bad kerning)
    3) Hacked-together, gratuitous eye-candy that looks rather amateurish to me, and
    4) Ridiculous digital restrictions management (DRM) preventing me from doing just about anything I’d want to with it.
    I’m glad you like it, and are singing its praises–for me, it was supremely disappointing.

Leave a Reply