Windows Vista’s launch was a very troubled one with plenty of issues which quickly created a very negative image for this operating system. Six months after its launch, we ran a survey to identify the top problems users were confronted with. The results were very clear. Our readers said that the top issues were the lack of proper drivers (36% of votes) and application compatibility issues (36% of votes). These two, combined with a very weak offering of security solutions seriously impacted their user experience.
In this article I will go through each of these areas and share with you the current status on Windows Vista plus the outlook for the upcoming Windows 7 launch. Will Windows 7 share the same issues at launch?
Lack of Proper Drivers – No Longer a Problem
In the first year after Windows Vista was released, the lack of proper drivers for common hardware components like graphic and sound cards, scanners and printers was a real problem which had very few solutions. At the time you could only hope that the manufacturer will release a compatible driver as soon as possible or, if you had an old scanner or printer, you could buy a new one that had a compatible driver for Windows Vista.
Today most hardware components have compatible driver versions for Windows Vista. If you don’t have components older than 3-4 years, chances are very slim for you to have driver problems on Windows Vista. However, to be sure, you can search on Windows Vista Compatibility Center to see if a component is compatible with Windows Vista. Even if you have all the drivers compatible with Windows Vista don’t forget to keep them updated either by visiting the manufacturer website once per month or by using an automated solution like Pareto Logical Driver Cure.
Apparently hardware manufacturers learned a lot from the experience with Windows Vista’s launch. We already have Windows 7 WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) certified drivers for nVidia and ATI graphic cards. Even Creative, famous for its Windows Vista driver fiasco, released a Windows 7 – Driver Availability Chart which shows the time schedule for when each sound card driver will be available. At this time there are beta drivers available for the majority of the sound cards produced by Creative, which is a very encouraging sign.
Application Compatibility Issues – No Longer a Problem
When Windows Vista was released, there were lots of commonly used application with compatibility issues, from security solutions to CD/DVD burning software. Many of the incompatibilities were due to the newly introduced UAC (User Account Control) and resulted from the poor design of the applications which often required administrative permissions to run properly.
Today there are very few applications left which still have incompatibilities. The big majority of software producers have newer versions of their applications which work on Windows Vista. If you still encounter applications that are incompatible with Windows Vista you can try to run those applications in Windows XP SP2 compatibility mode. You can also visit Windows Vista Compatibility Center to see if there there are newer versions which work on Windows Vista. Finally, don’t forget to keep all your applications updated with Update Notifier.
Windows 7 seems to be already prepared for launch when it comes to the availability of compatible applications. Sharing the same core as Windows Vista, it means that almost all (if not all) applications which run on Windows Vista will run on Windows 7. We’ve installed on test versions of Windows 7 applications which we use daily and all of them worked without problems.
Lack of Third Party Security Solutions – No Longer a Problem
When Windows Vista was released, there was not even one good third party security solution available. However, in the upcoming months things got better and in the present day we can choose from lots of security solutions.
Even if Windows 7 is not yet released, we already have third party security solutions to choose from: Kaspersky Antivirus 2009, BitDefender Internet Security 2009, Eset NOD32, Avira Antivir Personal, Norton Antivirus 2009, McAfee Total Protection Beta, Avast! Home Edition, AVG, etc. To get the most up to date list, you can visit the Windows 7 security software providers page from Microsoft which contains security software solutions tested on the Windows 7 Beta.
More than two years have passed since the release of Windows Vista and even if there are people still reluctant to adopt this operating system, we can say that all the major problems are solved for quite some time.
Regarding Windows 7’s readiness, sharing the same core as Windows Vista has created a great foundation for a successful launch. With Windows 7 users won’t have so many issues as all big problems have been fixed during Windows Vista’s lifetime. We really don’t see any reasons why Windows 7 won’t have a very successful start.
Now, that I’ve shared our team’s opinion we would like to know what you think. Will the launch of Windows 7 be a success or not?