Test Results: Does SP1 Fix Vista?

What We Really Want From Our Relationship With Vista

Illustration: Gordon Studer
Dearest Microsoft,
We need to talk. We, the people of the PC World forums and the Vista user base, waited patiently for Vista to finally come out. We believed you when you said Service Pack 1 would fix most of Vista's shortcomings. Then we waited patiently again for SP1 to arrive.

And now, well, we're sick and tired of waiting--not just for Vista to get better, but for our Vista PC to finish booting up. And after waiting that out, we're fed up with having to "allow" various things to happen by clicking pop-up screens.

The thing about pop-ups is that we pay attention to them only when they're unexpected. In Vista, they cry wolf so abundantly that we start clicking 'Allow' by default, which leaves us no more secure than we'd be without pop-ups. That's why many of us disable the pop-ups in our User Account Control settings.

But it's not all about security. We especially don't like pop-ups that obstruct us from rearranging our Start menu and ask us if we're sure we want to do anything. Trust us, we're sure.

It's almost like you don't trust us. Now, we don't blame you for being a little paranoid because of past Windows attacks. But what about the good guys who just want to get stuff done?

Just ask "Evildave" of the PC World forums. He's frustrated because he can't tweak Vista's Registry, even when he's logged in as an administrator. In fact, Evildave got so frustrated by Vista that he dumped Windows--not for a Mac, but for Ubuntu Linux.

Meanwhile, "Lilxkid24" is irked by the lack of drivers for his gear, by the drop in frame rates between XP and Vista, by the constant RAM-hogging even when his PC is idle, and by the lack of compatibility with older software and games. He has a laundry list of gripes on the PC World forums. You should take a look.

Don't get us wrong. We to love Vista. In fact, we love parts of Vista. Senior Editor Yardena Arar, for example, loves the pop-up previews of pages in the taskbar and the seamless way Vista syncs with her Windows Mobile devices. Senior Writer Darren Gladstone loves Vista's integration with his Xbox 360. Working as a Media Center Extender, it tracks sports stats while he watches a game--though he longs for better native video codec support over his Xbox 360 for viewing AVI files.

Vista just isn't what we want it to be after buying a system with enough RAM, battery life, and processing power to run it.

Basically, we want XP back. We liked XP. Can you hook us up?

Love,

A large portion of the Windows user base

This "open letter" is based on forum comments posted in reponse to our request for Vista gripes (see "Your Feedback: An Open Letter to Microsoft About Vista"). For more user feeback on Vista, see "PCWorld.com Users Say: Save Windows XP!"

Tim Moynihan

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