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Has Vista Been Unfairly Savaged by the Media?

Has Vista been unfairly savaged by the media?

As I thought about this question, I decided to go back and look at the early reviews of Windows XP. It seems users were not happy then about the change in the user interface (much like Vista). The "forced" product activation didn't go over well with users either.

However, other than those two items I found little in the way of negative media coverage for Windows XP.

I didn't bother to include any gripes about security since this has been a complaint about the Windows operating systems since Windows 95. Quite frankly that is a debate that can go on forever with no end result. Is Microsoft really more vulnerable? Or does their bigger percentage of the desktop market make them appear to be more vulnerable?

I will let others take up that argument, though it's an inarguable fact that a core improvement behind the Windows XP and Vista builds was security enhancements.

At any rate, the key question remains: "Has Vista been unfairly savaged by the media?" Certainly I had no difficulty in finding articles about Vista gripes. From the extensive code, driver issues, Vista Capable stickers and (my favorite) UAC. That's just the short list of complaints; everyone seems to be weighing in on Vista's shortcomings. Add to that the Save Windows XP Campaign (which had 213,593 signatures as of July 18th) and it's plain to see that Windows Vista may go down as the most hated operating system ever! But is that a fair assessment of Microsoft's latest desktop OS?

Is this Windows Millennium Edition 2.0?

I have a hard time believing this to be so in the case of Vista. Now I have to state that I've been working with Windows Vista since the early Beta. (Which I installed on a Dell X1 with 768MB of RAM and a 1.1 GHZ processor.) Believe me, this was not a Vista Capable machine – it was the only machine I had available at the time.

It was ultra portable and allowed me to play around with the new features while I rode the train to work. Having been part of the early Beta tests I was also included as a Vista Master in the book Tricks of the Windows Vista Masters by J. Peter Bruzzese.

Being so deeply involved, for as long as I have been, I know the deeper things of Vista, which is why I don't believe the OS itself is terrible. The media's coverage of Windows Vista on the other hand has been at times downright nasty. Nevertheless, it has sometimes been well deserved – take the Mojave experiment, for example.

It is terrible sometimes to watch a train wreck knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do, even if you wanted too. That's how I feel about the "Mojave" experiment that Microsoft recently conducted. As was noted by Mike Elgan's article you cannot convince people to like something they don't like with trickery.

I think our time is better spent finding out what they don't like it and making some changes that will help people to adopt Vista rather than wanting to reject it even more. Why not take a page from the Windows XP SP2 release?

We all know this was an overhaul of XP (hidden as a service pack). What few gripes users had about XP quickly faded and now XP goes down in history as the most beloved OS from Microsoft ever.

Rather than take that tactic with Vista, here comes Microsoft's marketing experiment to completely strip away any lest vestige of credibility Windows Vista had left. I am beside myself; did no one at Redmond see that coming?

Why would you create your own bad media coverage?

Vista has been slammed right out of the gate by the media with articles titled "Microsoft execs struggled with Vista too, say internal e-mails," "Why people hate Vista" and "Forrester: Vista rejected like 'new Coke' by enterprises". These are just a few of the headlines – and, I might add, some of the nicer ones.

But is that really fair? (I know stunts like Mojave make it seem fair).

To these problems you add the soft launch Vista had compared to other Microsoft products. Let us throw in the fact that no one at Redmond has really come out in defense of Vista, and there you have it…a perfect media firestorm.

In light of this all it might seem tough to defend Vista. However, I think if you look at some of the pieces of Vista rather than the whole OS you might see what I am talking about.

Technologies such as Ready Boost are a great addition. With a 2GB RAM upgrade costing roughly $65 for a desktop and about $200 for a laptop, Ready Boost makes for a cheaper solution to additional memory, considering flash devices cost roughly $20 - $40 for 2GB.

Bit Locker drive encryption makes a compelling argument for Vista deployment in the Mobile Enterprise. The sidebar has fast become a favorite feature to Vista users. The vast numbers of "gadgets" that are created and updated daily attest to that fact. The Windows firewall which monitors inbound and outbound traffic, supports IPv6 filtering and full IPSec integration is a jump forward.

Parental Controls are for me the best feature, being the father of a 10- and three-year-old respectively. Having the ability to set time limits, restrict Web sites and applications and, even more importantly, receive activity reports, is invaluable.

Has Vista been treated unfairly? The right answer is yes – and no. The media had jumped down Vista's throat immediately (unfair). However, Microsoft has not given much in the way of alleviating the complaints (fair).

It's hard think that Vista could ever turn around its negative image. I believe Vista brings some new features to the desktop that are forward looking. In the end, though, I believe Vista will be appreciated for its pieces rather than the whole operating system.

I also think that appreciation will come years after Vista has gone off into the sunset.

Ronald Barrett is a contributor to Datamation.com, where this story originally appeared.