About a year and a half ago, I bought a shiny new laptop with the Vista operating system. I had heard that Vista had gotten mixed reviews, and looked forward to experiencing it for myself. I found that the oh-so-sexy windowing system, with translucent windows, was an annoyance when I was trying to be productive, so I shut it off. I set up the machine to look like Windows 2000, and I was happy.
People made fun of Vista for User Access Control: the function of asking for confirmation when you were about to do something that could potentially reconfigure the system. I lived with that function under Linux for a few years before getting the laptop, so I was glad to see it in a Windows system. (As much as I like Linux as an OS, it’s a Microsoft world out there, so running Linux for business is not a practical option.)
So for a year and a half, I lived with Vista, and it seemed to work OK. I had a couple of minor problems, but nothing too terrible:
- The Windows XP driver for the printer at the office would work, and then toss its cookies after finishing the print job. I could tell Vista to restart it automatically, but that didn’t help my CADD application, which ran each page in a batch as a separate print job.
- Vista insisted on trying to figure out what sort of files were in each directory, and showing them to me in an appropriate format. The result was that running Windows Explorer was somewhat of an adventure, as one directory would list details of the file, while another would show thumbnails. I tried to force Vista to show me everything as a detailed listing, and it sort of helped.
Other than that, Vista was OK. It ran my software and pretty much took everything I threw at it. I had maybe two Blue Screens of Death in the eighteen months I had the machine, and they had fairly obvious causes.
And then, about a month ago for travelling, I bought a ‘netbook’ computer. The newer machine has a pipsqueak processor and half the memory of my Vista box, but it runs perceptibly faster. But the netbook runs Windows XP.
Anyhow, last Tuesday at 4:29 pm, my Vista box all of a sudden dropped dead. I was writing a document when the screen went black. Restarting didn’t help: it wouldn’t even access the disk, wouldn’t display an error message, wouldn’t even beep. In a word, dead. Fortunately, the disk was still OK, so I didn’t lose any data. (But it’s much cooler to sigh, ‘Thank God for backups,’ when someone asks.)
So for a couple of days, I used my netbook as my work computer. Everyone who saw it thought it was cool. But I know I can’t go on that way forever: I couldn’t possibly do CADD on the netbook.
So yesterday, I bought a new Lenovo laptop.
It runs, and will continue to run, Windows XP, although it included a set of disks for installing Vista.
A machine cycle is a terrible thing to waste.