Virtualization Limits, Constant Nagging, and Needless Shuffling
Only the Rich Shall Virtualize
Here's another bit of Microsoft licensing larceny: If you'd like to run a virtualized copy of Vista on top of this or another OS, you'd best be prepared to fork over some serious coin. The licenses for Vista Home Basic and Home Premium both contain this handy clause: "USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES. You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system."
Want a version you can virtualize? You'll have to step up to the $299 Business or $399 Ultimate edition.
Not legally fixable: Well, this is only a licensing provision, so nothing in the software will prevent you from running either Home version in a virtual machine. But that would be wrong.
Yes, Mom, I Really Do Want to Install This Software
We often worry about Microsoft playing Big Brother, but now it's playing Big Mother, attempting to protect you from your own rash impulses to run new software. Try to download a program, and Internet Explorer will block it. ("It's for your own good. You can't be too careful, you know. Who knows where that program has been!") Unblock it, and IE will ask if you really, truly want to download the software. ("These programs can be dangerous, you know. I just don't want you to get hurt.")
Once you manage to get the program onto your machine, Windows tosses up its own roadblocks, forcing you to authorize the installer program to run, sometimes as an administrator. ("You're going to have to convince me you really know what you're doing here, young man.") Click through enough dialog boxes, and you'll eventually be running your new software, but you can almost hear Windows grumbling in the background. ("Fine! Ruin your life! But don't say I didn't warn you!")
Fixable: Turning off UAC alerts (see how above in "Ahhgh! My Screen Blacked Out!") will silence Windows. And trading IE for Firefox is like moving away from Mom and into your cool older brother's apartment.
Who Rearranged the Furniture?
Here's a note for the programmers working on the next version of Windows: Moving stuff around doesn't necessarily make it better, just harder to find. Vista's chock-full of settings and tools that have been rearranged, renamed, or reorganized for no apparent reason.
Want to change your display properties? In XP you would right-click the desktop and then go down to 'Properties'. In Vista, it's 'Personalize'. Want to use 'Add or Remove Programs' to uninstall some software? Sorry. That capability is now under 'Programs and Features' in the Classic Start Menu or just plain 'Programs' in the default view.
It's not that the new names and locations are harder to use, it's that there's no particular need for the changes. And the new names tend to be vaguer than the ones they replace.
Not fixable: Continually getting lost is just one of the many prices you pay for upgrading to Vista.