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All The Reasons To Not Install Vista

Updated on March 20, 2011

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

From Peter Gutmann's superb Vista Report
From Peter Gutmann's superb Vista Report

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.


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    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto

      I think you lost me there with Vista Documents. Vista is an OS thus it has no documents. If you're referring to the new file formats introduced by Microsoft with Office 2007 onwards such as .docx, .xlsx, etc. they are a complete disaster. The change in Office's default file format has caused more confusion than anything MS has ever done. However, it's not a Vista doc per se as Office 2007 runs under XP, 7, etc. And yes, 7 is all it's been advertised to be. It's great!

    • profile image

      KellyEngaldo 7 years ago

      My biggest problem with Vista is simple, communicating with others. My files work, my video works, my Skype works. What doesn't work is sending Vista documents. I must resave in a format the rest of the world can use. I can handle this but forget and send the file that won't open. And then, of course, I am the one who looks foolish. Vista has to add a safety mechanism to remind us to send a compatible file.

      My other fault with Vista or the HP Touch Screen is I had to scrap my HP laser printer. I miss that printer. I installed the printer driver had the "wired printer" up and running and then it stopped. Tried to fix it but it is an unsupported product. Very sad statement.

      The new Windows 7 should be a geat item - I am looking forward to it!

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Note that this Hub was written over 2 years ago and the SPs have markedly improved the performance of the OS. Please re-read the DVI section in the Hub. I'm using a DVI connector on my Vista PC to my computer monitor as well, but that's not the problem.

    • profile image

      Ali 8 years ago

      I had some problems with Vista on my new notebook but they were easily fixed with driver updates. Yes there are a couple of Vista flaws relating to device drivers and other 3rd party software that cause instability but Vista on its own is good OS, every problem I had was logged by Windows Problem Reports and Solutions and the OS alerted me to fixes.

      I've used XP and Ubuntu and Vista is way ahead in terms of stability and and the user experience. Yes its big and takes a while to load, but it does more than the alternatives.

      I also use a Mac at work, yes OSX is better but at a greater cost compared to same spec PC's.

      And by the way, the bit about DVI not working on Vista, absolute BS. I'm using DVI connector on my video card right now, I think alot of other stuff in this article is misleading BS too. But you do have a point about the drivers.

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto

      You're welcome. Although SP1 has since rectified some of these problems, there are still more than enough glitches in Vista. Let's pray for a swift and merciful launch of Windows Seven!

    • pcdriverdoctor profile image

      pcdriverdoctor 9 years ago

      Great Hub. I wasn't aware of all the info. I wasn't aware of probably 50% of this information. Thanks!

    • profile image

      LillianSmith25 9 years ago

      I agree that Microsoft's Vista is not living up to all the hype generated before its release. Still, the OS really does offer better graphics than its older brother, Windows XP, on not only high-end machines but also average systems that are well maintained. In addition, Microsoft offers certification courses on how to better manage its programs so that computers can perform at peak performance. Drop by MCSA Center -- -- to get an overview of Microsoft's course offerings.

    • profile image

      Rick Ford 9 years ago

      Oops, the WYSIWYG in this blog system appears to suck, and screwed my links up! Maybe spend a little less time bitching about Microsoft and a little more time making sure your site works correctly?

    • profile image

      Rick Ford 9 years ago

      I think you are all crazy. I am a web developer, and spend about 50 hours a week at my compuer working, and an additional 20 or so hours doing personal stuff. I Bought a new notebook in March of 2007 and wiped the HP install of Vista, installing Vista Ultimate in it's favor. Since then I have not experienced any of the problems you claim that Windows Vista has. Please see my blog posts listed below for some personal reviews.

      I think you should all learn that new software 9especially from microsoft) will have problems at first, but that they will blow over in time, and everything will be fine.

      Unless you're a conspiracy theorist. In which case you're probably right. Microsoft is doing everything they can to control every aspect of what we say, do, think, and buy. Actually, believe it or not, Bush is in on it too. And Apple is helping. And Walmart. Really, the only way you can be safe is to live under ground.

      I suggest you get started now!

    • profile image

      Brenda 9 years ago

      I agree with Jacob. "Most anti-vista content I've read does not go into the same amount of detail as your article does."

      Also agree with Lynn. It's nothing but trouble!

    • profile image

      newstrings 9 years ago

      My only problem with Vista is the driver for my Mobile Intel 945 display adapter. I have searched the web and dowloaded its driver but I wasn't able to fix the problem. When I look at my device manager, the display adapter still doesnt have the right driver.

    • profile image

      newstrings 9 years ago

      My only problem with Vista is the driver for my Mobile Intel 945 display adapter. I have searched the web and dowloaded its driver but I wasn't able to fix the problem. When I look at my device manager, the display adapter still doesnt have the right driver.

    • profile image

      Lynn 9 years ago

      Thanks for the extra explanations -- we have had nothing but trouble (!!!) with Vista... and no satisfaction from M$ either: intermittent and unpredictable lockouts and BSODs, multiple activations that don't, being told that as Administrator we don't have the authority to use Control Panel or even the mouse, and of course the inability to take human control even when the OS is doing something asinine. My next challenge is to take the (totally legit retail packaged) product and stand in their office until I get a full refund. I doubt that I'll have any luck trying to recoup all the other losses (time, money, sanity) their lousy product cost us... Like the author, I'm eagerly awaiting a usable OS that can run the software I need to work. Has anyone started a class action suit yet?

    • Warren Hayashi profile image

      Warren Hayashi 10 years ago from Prince George, British Columbia, Canada

      HI Hal: I have had a few problems with my new Microsoft Windows Ultimate Edition OS, but I bought it so I could review it for magazines. I agree there are problems with the OS, but this has always been the case with new OS's, and it will be a lot of fixes to fix it, but overall I enjoy the features on my new system. Although being a professional writer I only really use the Word and publisher features and while they have had there problems, overall I am happy with my system.

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 10 years ago from Toronto

      You're very welcome and my best wishes to your HD! :)

    • profile image

      dhensli 10 years ago

      Thanks Hal for reminding us about the Vista video downgrade issue that seems to have been forgotten, as well as the other very useful stuff. That 30Gb partition on my C drive is coming home to Mama.

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 10 years ago from Toronto

      Hello, Jacob. Happy to contribute what I could. I wanted to keep the rabid anti-Vista and anti-Microsoft vitriol out and simply list the current problems with the new OS that much of the "upgrading" public is unaware of. Let's not even mention the users who happen to have an mp3 or other media file on their PC which doesn't have the "proper certificates" and find that Vista will block access forever!

    • profile image

      Jacob 10 years ago

      Thanks for all the detailed information. Most anti-vista content I've read does not go into the same amount of detail as your article does.