Living With Vista: First 30 Days

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Bryce Parkhurst
Photograph: John Abbott
Last February, Bryce Parkhurst brought home a new Toshiba Satellite notebook with Vista Home Basic installed. The 33-year-old Easton, Pennsylvania, circuit designer bought the PC to enjoy music, but it soon hit sour notes. Everything seemed to run a little slower under the new operating system. His Alesis Photon X25 MIDI controller hardware no longer worked. When he tried to run his favorite DJ software, it didn't work properly; when he tried to quit the program, Vista rebooted him into Safe Mode. Any system change instigated a seemingly endless series of "Accept or Cancel" messages from Vista's User Account Control feature.

After five days, Parkhurst had had enough. He removed Vista and installed Windows XP. Since then, his new notebook has been trouble-free.

Bernard Mongeon
Photograph: Dan Callis
In contrast, Bernard Mongeon is quite pleased with Vista Ultimate, despite problems getting it to work with the scanner and security software on his three-year-old desktop. The 54-year-old weather forecaster in Kingston, Nova Scotia, accepts such glitches as a normal part of moving to a new operating system.

Mandar Jadhav, an 18-year-old Rutgers University student, is somewhere in between. He loves the slick 3D look of Vista Premium, but is pained by the software and hardware incompatibilities he encountered when he upgraded his nearly new Dell laptop.

These three users neatly capture the disparate views of Vista during its first 30 days in the field. In PC World's online survey of nearly 1000 early Vista adopters, slightly more than a third said they were very satisfied with the new OS. Another third reported being satisfied overall, but not exactly wowed; nearly one in four were unimpressed.

And regardless of their overall verdict, a majority--some 61 percent--reported at least one hiccup getting Vista to work with their existing hardware or software. After more than five years in the making, Vista offers much promise but still has many problems to resolve.

Full Survey Results

PC World heard from approximately 1000 Windows Vista early adopters about their experiences with the new operating system. We've put the full results of our survey into a PDF file, viewable with Adobe Reader.

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