Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vista hate - Part 1

Contrary to the major negative press that Vista gets, my experience with the OS has been generally positive. I have used Vista on two machines, a HP laptop and my custom built desktop. I have faced some issues with wireless networking on the HP laptop where it would lose the network settings and force me to manually connect every single time. However, that problem went away after some driver updates and it is working great. On the desktop, my experience has been fantastic, so far. The thing that people don’t realize is Vista is extremely resource intensive and needs a fast processor and lots of memory. Most people who face problems are trying to run it on older slower hardware.

Atleast that’s what I thought, because yesterday I had my first hair-tearing experience with Vista. I had got a couple of 8 GB SDHC cards and wanted to transfer some videos to them. I hooked them up through my card reader and began the transfer process. It was a simple file copy procedure, open the folder on my local hard drive in one window, select the files and drag it to the window where the memory card’s drive was mapped. That’s when Vista’s problems reared its ugly head. Initially, I got the file copy dialog, where it just got stuck at the message “Discovered 0 items”. I then tried doing it one file at a time, it worked for files smaller than 100 MB, but just wouldn’t start for larger files. I googled for “Vista slow file copy” and discovered a setting for “Remote Differential Compression”, which is meant to optimize bandwidth but ends up killing file copy speeds. My experience improved after turning it off, but it was still a hit and miss affair.

Disgusted, I gave up and tried to do the same with a 2 GB standard SD card. This time, the files copied without problem. Thinking that it may be a problem with the 8 GB card, I tried using it with my laptop and this time, the file copy went through without problem regardless of the size. So, now I have got two versions of Vista that behave in totally different ways with the same hardware. No wonder, so many people feel that Vista sucks.

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