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Windows Vista Headaches

Windows Vista Headaches

How does Vista work for you? What are the most common problems? Can you do anything to better your Vista experience?

Since the release of Windows Vista, many users have been quick to shoot down the bloated RAM hungry OS from Microsoft. Some loyal Windows users remained patient, hoping the release of Vista Service Pack 1 would rectify many errors. But as many have now found out, SP1 isn’t a sure fix, in fact the upgrade caused some users more problems!

Problems Caused By Windows Vista

Despite the overwhelming amount of complaints and problems, there is a whole community of Vista users that seem to getting along just fine. It’s difficult to pinpoint why there is such a huge separation between those who like and use Vista and those who despise it.

It could be a matter of which users use what software, and whether that software choses to work. Other complaints focus on the heavy RAM usage that Vista employs for display purposes.

Aside from the genuine complaints from users who have problems running applications, there is no doubt, a large number of haters who have never bothered to try Vista. For the record, I am not one of them.

Compatibility Issues

I approached my new Vista 32bit OS with and open mind, at first most simple applications like Microsoft Office, Open Office, ACD Systems, all Internet applications and media players seemed to work to fine. Even Dreaweaver seemed to be working, but this is yet to be thoroughly tested.

But I began running into compatibility issues when installing Cubase, Photoshop and the related plug-ins. After several attempts the software did manage to install, however both applications did not function even half as good as my previous XP installation.

To top it all off, the latest Vista driver for my M-Audio sound card did not work. I thought this could be due to conflicting devices so I even tried disabling the on-board soundcard and reinstalling, but of course that still did not work.

Until new updates are available, there is no solution for these compatibility problems, so if you find yourself dealing with these issues you may have no other choice but to revert back to XP.

My personal experiences should not be mistaken for advice on why not to use Windows Vista, on the contrary, the best thing you can do is give it a try. You may find that all your software (including audio and visual editors) runs perfectly well, perhaps even better. If this is the case, you’ll get to use a much fresher looking OS whilst moving on with the times.

Apparently, users running Vista 64 bit have reported less problems, especially when it comes to reading and using RAM.

Windows Vista RAM Usage

Windows Vista RAM and CPU Usage

Vista is known for hogging RAM, and the new Aero theme can claim most of the responsibility for this. It appears looking good comes with a hefty price tag, a whole gig of RAM just to sit and look pretty. With RAM prices at an all time low, this doesn’t seem like bad news, but…

Windows Vista 32bit, as with any 32bit OS, is limited to 3.5GB RAM, if you try to install more, the system may be more prone to crashing. Several blogs and forums have posted a fix, which includes flashing the BIOS, to enable Vista to read more RAM.

This solution can stabilize the system, it will also make Vista display the upgraded RAM, nevertheless Vista 32bit will still not be able to access the extra RAM. If you require more RAM, you’ll have to go with Windows Vista 64bit.

Note: Flashing the BIOS is a process not advise for beginner or even intermediate computer users. Any problems during this process can corrupt the very core of the motherboard.

To get the most out of your RAM without upgrading, there are a few things you can do.

  • Disable the Windows Sidebar – This feature is part of the new Aero Theme and can be disabled by clicking the icon in the quick start menu at the bottom right-hand side of the screen. The options window will ask if you want to start the sidebar on start-up, deselect the check box.
  • Change Windows Aero Theme – By completely disabling the new Aero theme, your machine will demand less RAM, the downside is that you will lose the nice looking appearance of Vista.
    Right click anywhere on the desktop, then click Personalize. Navigate to Theme, then chose Windows Classic from the drop-down menu.

By doing this I managed to reduce the RAM usage by 7%, which admittedly is not a great deal, but well worth the five minutes it took to tweak.

The User Account Control

Windows Vista User Account Control

The UAC is a feature put in place to help protect your computer from malicious programs like spyware. Every time you try to execute a program, download or even copy a file, Vista will display a prompt asking you for permission to carryout the selected task.

Although this can better notify novice users of possible security threats, for the most part it’s simply annoying.

The good news is that this can be disabled quite easily by going to the Start Bar (replaced in Vista by Vista logo).

  • Navigate to Control Panel > User Accounts > Turn User Account Control on or off.
  • De-select the ‘Use User Account Control (UAC)…’ check box, then restart the machine.

With the UAC disabled, the incessant nagging will cease, but your overall computer security will be compromised. However, if you are a cautious web surfer and you run up-to-date anti-virus and spyware software, you shouldn’t have any problems.

The three problems mentioned seem to be the most discussed Vista problems, hopefully in time these things will be rectified. In the mean time, we shouldn’t all look at Vista with despair and hatred, I mean, not all software works on a Mac, we leave it up to the developer to release a compatible version.

Next generation developments can not always be expected to be compatible with previous installments, the future always demands change.


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