All The Reasons To Not Install Vista
You Won't Find Vista On My PC
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to launch Windows Vista, which Microsoft claims is a revolutionary new Operating System which significantly "improves the customer experience." Over 20 million copies of Vista have been sold to date. Let's see exactly how installing Vista improves the experience... or not.
Software and content piracy is responsible for the theft of billions of dollars per year of rights to the creators. It is an enormous global problem and any efforts to stem this criminal tide should be applauded. However, as you will see, Microsoft's implementation of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies to prevent piracy verge on the lunatic, and have created a situation whereby Vista is simply not a viable Operating System.
Vista Has Some Wrinkles
Direct Disabling of Functionality
Vista has a built-in disabling of functionality that it will exercise whenever it chooses with absolutely no input from you, nor any way to override it. There are various popular audio and video format systems such as Sony's S/PDIF that Vista will consider "pirated" (even if you just spent $30+ on the 100% legitimate CD or DVD) and will simply refuse to play. Also, any content fed from component high-end video (DVI-D, 15-pin D-Sub, S-Video, etc.) will be rejected by Vista. Even if your video card is certified from the manufacturer to handle HDMI digital video with HDCP content protection, all you'll get is black.
Indirect Disabling of Functionality
PC voice communications have become very popular with millions of people using VoIP technologies to save on their long-distance telephone bills. These systems use an automatic echo cancellation (AEC) to keep the PC's speakers from creating a screeching feedback tone in the microphone. When Vista determines that you are using AEC, it will mistake that for pirated content, degrade the signal and disable the outputs. So your PC call will cycle between high quality to fuzzy noise to outright disconnected.
Decreased Playback Quality
Yes, it's hard to believe, but Vista by deliberate design will significantly degrade the quality of your audio and video, again without your input or capability to restore the quality. Therefore, after spending $500 on a high-end video card and feeding the DVI signal into your new $1500 HD LCD display, you'll be rewarded with an image somewhat similar to a 1960s TV with a rabbit ear antenna at the edge of the broadcast signal range.
Elimination of Open-source Hardware Support
In order to keep pirates from breaking the content protection scheme, Vista identifies each hardware device with a secret code. This code will only ever be known to a handful of top component manufacturers. The vast majority of current suppliers of computer hardware are not on the list, thus are shut out from ever producing Vista-compatible cards, etc. This seems to be Microsoft's rather skewed interpretation of Free Enterprise. By some definitions it could be called an Anti-Competitive Cartel.
Elimination of Unified Drivers
In the bad old MS-DOS days, every single component had its own individual unique driver which created revelry for geeks but nightmares for everyone else. In the past decade the industry has moved to unified drivers so that upgrades don't require reinstallation of drivers and a significant number of, say, modems or network cards, will work with one coherent driver. Vista's identification of individual components has swept all that aside. We're now back in 1982 when each and every component has to have a unique driver.
Problems with Drivers
It is now a full half-year after Vista's consumer introduction and there are still a staggering number of components such as high end video cards that have no drivers for it. AMD/ATI and nVidia will sell you a card with a big sticker on it that states "Certified For Windows Vista" even though they don't work with that OS, and in the case of ATI's popular X1950 videocard, that driver crashed Vista on installation.
Denial-of-Service via Driver/Device Revocation
According to Microsoft: “Vista will revoke any driver that is found to be leaking premium content, if the same driver is used for all the manufacturer's chip designs, then a revocation would cause all that company's products to need a new driver.” In other words, you're happily working away on your PC and Windows Vista automatically updates in the background for its Tuesday Security Patches. One of these patches could then recognize the onboard audio on your motherboard as being manufactured by XYZ company, and since XYZ has just been found to produce a completely different component that "leaks premium content" (even though that component is not in your system and likely wouldn't even fit your motherboard,) your particular component will be automatically shut down and likely your whole system along with it. Welcome to BSOD-land... the Blue Screen Of Death.
Decreased System Reliability
Vista will sense any unusual surges or troughs in the electrical supply throughout the system and interpret it as a hacking attack. It will then automatically reset the subsystem and in some cases shut it down completely. However, jitters in the electrical supply are also caused by lightning, uneven electrical supply, a faulty PC power supply, or even dropping your laptop onto a carpeted surface. This "feature" has been present in previous Windows as well. In September 1997 Windows NT disabled the entire Aegis missile cruiser USS Yorktown, leaving it dead in the water simply because it misinterpreted a jolt as an attack. Vista takes this even further, disabling some systems permanently and forever blocking access to any content that you may have on your hard drive.
Increased Hardware Costs
If Microsoft finally approves a particular computer component as being Vista-Certified, but some hacker finds a way to compormise that component, Microsoft states "company shall promptly redesign the affected product, if such redesign is not possible or practical, cease manufacturing and selling such product". This means that every time that some 13 year-old computer whiz figures out some way to make even the most insignificant part of a computer component do something that Microsoft does not want, the entire product line must be scrapped. The enormous cost of re-engineering these components will be directly borne by the consumer.
Increased Cost due to Requirement to License Unnecessary Third-party IP
Vista requires computer component manufacturers to license particular technologies, even though similar or even better technologies are available as open-source. An example is HDMI for which Intel collects royalties. HDMI must be used with Vista instead of the higher-quality and completely free-to-license DVI.
Unnecessary Resource Consumption
Every 30 milliseconds Vista polls all the components in your computer with a huge 128-key encrypted code to determine that they have not been compromised by pirated content. The amount of CPU power that utilizes would run your entire PC a few years ago. Therefore even though you are forced to buy the latest and fastest type of CPU to run Vista, a significant slice of that computing ability is shaved off the top for Vista's 33-times-a-second paranoid polling. This resource overuse extends into devices as well. Graphics cards have to dedicate one or more rendering pipelines that were designed for delivering high quality video just to code and decode the constant 128-key poll. Vista users have found that between 10% and 50% of their total computing system power is used up by the Operating System alone, even without running a single application.
My personal computer is on Windows XP SP2 and it's going to stay that way until Vista either resolves these critical issues or a viable Linux OS release that can run the software I require hits the streets. What you do with your computer is up to you.
More by this Author
Of all the incredibly stupid things people do to their CPUs, including overclocking them until they are hot enough to melt steel, the single most imbecilic modification has to be lapping. Using absurdly...
The Most Outlandish Computer Comparison Ever! A 1986 Mac Plus pitted against a 2007 AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ DualCore in a series of Microsoft Word & Excel user tests. You will NEVER believe who wins!
This is the definitive guide to the fuel economy of the 250 top-selling motor scooters from 50cc to 800cc expressed in mpg and km/l.