As most of you know, when I purchased a new server several months back I installed Windows Vista Ultimate.
The Upgrade Part II
The Upgrade Part I
So far I've been pretty happy with it.
I haven't experienced the problems many folks have reported - probably because I know a great deal about this stuff and made damned sure that the new machine would support Vista.
After a few months of playing around with the operating system I decided that I mostly like it. I like the interface in particular a great deal, though it did take some getting used to and in some cases it's not exactly intuitive the way XP was (then again we've all had years of experience with XP, so I'm willing to be charitable in this regard).
However, I do have several beefs with Vista:
1) Indexing Process: Indexing pisses me off. I appreciate the concept of indexing, and considering the shear volume of information stored on my machines, some of it dating back nearly twenty years, I really want to be able to find and access information when I need it. However, I don't like the way indexing is handled in Vista, even though Microsoft has improved the process over its previous operating systems. I demand better control over the indexing process. For example, I don't want Vista to decide when it will index the system, I want to specify an exact time (like, say, 2:00 AM, when I'm sleeping and the machine is sitting idle).
2) Idle and hidden processes: Look, it's my machine. I bought it and I paid for it. It's mine. And I Goddamn well want to know what it's doing - and it's doing way too much stuff without telling me. I want a better, integrated process analyzer. Nothing pisses me off more than the idiotic process viewer currently included in Vista, which is basically the same uninformative piece of crap from XP. I want each process spelled out in detail, I want to know what program it's part of and I want to know why it's sucking resources from my machine at any given moment. I want to know exactly what each process is doing and why. I want to know the total amount of resources the process uses over a given period of time, i.e. a process histogram, so I can decide if I want to keep that program active on my machine. What I want are the process management tools I had fifteen years ago with DEC/VAX and MPS/X systems. And yes I know I can download programs to do this, at least to some extent. If I was sufficiently motivated I could code up a C++ or Visual Basic program myself to do it. I don't want to do either, I think Vista Ultimate should come with an integrated utility and a suite of process management tools, real ones - it's the Operating System, damnit, that's what it's supposed to do.
3) Networked Volumes: Vista has this annoying habit of querying attached storage volumes on a semi-random basis, and this more than anything else just chaps my ass. I'm running Vista on a high end Quad Core Duo machine, that's four processors, four gigs of RAM, and some serious bus throughput. I have four internal 500GB SATA drives installed and one external drive connected via firewire. Additionally, I have mapped a number of drives on the office machines upstairs via the network - because I use those drives for backup and specialized data storage (Yeah, like I said above, I have a lot of data). Every once in a while, Vista will decide that it just has to go check the status of those volumes - and when it does, the process sucks 100% of system resources for about 30 seconds. Additionally, Vista will do this every single time I click on the 'Save As' or 'Open' functions in any program. I cannot begin to tell you how much this sudden and random pause irritates me. I want this to go away, or I want to be able to specify my working volumes and have Vista check only those in real time - and leave the other ones alone unless I specifically request a status check.
4) Drivers: the driver library for Vista is growing, but it's still limited. I have a number of older peripherals that I use upon occasion and when I need them, I need them. However, I don't need them so much that I'm going to run out and buy the latest hardware every time Microsoft updates their OS. I want to be able to use my Pinnacle Systems A/D digitizer box - no driver, and the old XP ones are incompatible. I want to be able to use my big flatbed HP scanner and it's attached film negative feeder. The old XP driver will work, sort of. But half the front panel functions are unsupported. I want to be able to use my Western Digital external firewire drive, and I can - but only as a storage volume, the front panel manual backup controls and the integrated USB port are unsupported. Is this Microsoft's fault? Yes. There's no reason why the older drivers shouldn't work - even if in XP compatibility mode, Vista wasn't that big of upgrade.
Anyway, long story short, I'm in the queue for Vista SP1 today. I've put off downloading it until the inevitable bugs have been worked out. It won't address either the indexing or process viewer issues I have, but supposedly it will fix the networked volume and at least some of the driver issues, along with a host of other things that are mostly invisible to me. So, I'll be offline for a while, downloading and installing SP1. I let you know how it goes.