Windows Vista’s biggest problem

In the last few weeks we ran a poll on our site, asking our readers to point out what is Windows Vista’s biggest problem. Due to the fact that our site does not have high traffic we managed the gather only 534 votes. However the results are pretty conclusive.
Our readers pointed out that, after approximately 6 months, Windows Vista has two main problems: the lack of proper drivers (36% of votes) and lots of application compatibility issues (36% of votes).

We have been using Windows Vista since it was launched and, based on our experience, we agree with our readers.

Windows Vista's biggest problem

Driver problems

Since Windows Vista’s launch, the drivers have been a big issue. Lots of hardware components (old and new) had no drivers for Windows Vista or, even if they had, their quality was very poor. One of the most prominent examples is Nvidia. When the GeForce 8800 graphic cards were launched, they were labeled as “Designed for Windows Vista”. It is only natural that many people asumed the graphic cards would work well with this operating system. Unfortunately that was not the case, as the Nvidia drivers had lots of issues. There were numerous posts on Nvidia’s official forums commeting the bad state of the drivers. Some users even built internet pages such as to gather evidence for a class action suit.
Since then, Nvidia worked hard on the Windows Vista drivers and released many new and improved versions. However, their latest driver – Forceware version 158.24 – still has plenty of issues. For example, popular games such as World of Warcraft have low frame rates while others crash during play or have corrupted textures.

Nvidia is not the only company that has these issues. Other big hardware manufacturers such as Creative, renown for their sound cards and sound systems, have similar problems. When Windows Vista was launched, their drivers were mostly in beta stages. Even though they released so called “final versions”, their drivers had plenty of issues. Lots of users complained on the official forums and, after a while, Creative announced the ALchemy Project – a project that aims to offer complete DirectSound3D support for Sound Blaster X-Fi products in Windows Vista. Unfortunately, old sound cards such as the Audigy 2 series are not yet supported. Due to lots of users’ request, they started the development of ALchemy for Audigy sound cards. However, according to Creative, this products will be offered as a “low-cost” upgrade.

Having bad drivers is always better than having no drivers. Even today there are companies that do not offer Windows Vista compatible drivers for their hardware. For example, Mustek – a company famous for their scanning solutions, has still no drivers ready, not even in beta stages. Since the launch of Windows Vista and until today their driver download page has remained unchanged. The only thing they bothered to do was to state that “Currently we don’t provide drivers or updates for Windows Vista”. They have no forums and when we sent an e-mail asking for some feedback regarding Windows Vista drivers we received no answer.

Unfortunately Mustek is not the only example. There are other companies doing the same thing and lots of customers suffer.

Application compatibility

Drivers are not the only problem. Lots of applications do not work either on the new Microsoft operating system. That’s because many software developers created applications that function only if the user has full administrative privileges. With the introduction of UAC (User Access Control) and other system changes, lots of old applications have problems. The most prominent example of an application that was incompatible with Windows Vista is iTunes. Whenever the Windows Vista “Safely Remove Hardware” feature was used, it corrupted the user’s iPods, requiring a full restore. Also, iTunes text and graphics had display issues with Windows Vista. However, upgrading to iTunes v7.2 or higher solves these issues.

Lots of other applications had or still have problems. Most of these problems are encountered with applications that install legacy drivers in order to function. These applications can be CD/DVD burning utilities, VPN applications, virtualization solutions or even security suites. Other applications just refuse to install even though they could work on Windows Vista. This problem is due to the poor design of their installer. For example, some applications ask for the installation of Microsoft.NET Framework version 1.1 or 2.0. They won’t install even though Windows Vista has a newer version of .NET Framework.


Just like with any other new operating system, problems are inherent. What matters most is that both hardware manufacturers and software developers act in a proactive way and offer the required support to their customers in a timely manner. Unfortunately, Windows Vista’s launch revealed many problems even though Microsoft released it to computer hardware and software manufacturers, business customers, and retail channels, months before it was released worldwide to the general public.

Hopefully, both computer hardware and software manufacturers will fix their issues as soon as possible. And, maybe, they will learn from their mistakes so history won’t repeat itself with every new release of a major operating system.

Related articles:
Will Windows 7 Have The Same Problems As Windows Vista?
How to run older applications in Windows Vista
Solve your computing problems with Problem Reports and Solutions

33 thoughts on “Windows Vista’s biggest problem”

  1. Hardware Support Nightmare
    I currently recommend Vista to my friends ONLY if they will be purchasing new hardware to go along with the operating system. I have plenty of hardware that is currently not compatible with the operating system. To date:
    – My 2-year-old Tablet PC from Acer does not have a powerful enough video card to run Vista’s AERO user interface, althouth the computer rocks in every other spec.
    – My HP Scanjet 6300c with auto-doc feeder has been abandoned by HP. No Vista support will be available for my scanner. Go search for a Vista driver on the HP website and you’ll see what I mean about “abandoned”.
    – My Belkin Pre-N wireless PC Card adapters will not be supported in Vista.
    – My Netgear Prosafe VPN firewall has a VPN client that is currently not supported by Vista. Netgear refuses to give an estimate on the availability (beta or otherwise) of an updated client.
    – My HP printer does not have native drivers for Vista. They tell me that it is compatible with a DeskJet 990c, which means that the truly awesome photo capabilities of this printer are lost until a driver is released.
    – My wife’s HP photo printer has a driver, but prints garbage. The quality of the printout from the computer is worthless. She now has to copy the image file to a flash drive, transfer that to the printer, and then print directly from the printer interface. Worthless.

    In my opinion, the hardware vendors are viewing Vista as an opportunity to increase sales. They are basically forcing me to discard MANY pieces of perfectly functioning equipment and purchase new equipment replacements. I find this tactic unscrupulous and unacceptable. But as a consumer what can I do?

    • New hardware purchased along
      New hardware purchased along with Windows Vista will not solve problems with the new operating system.

      I purchased a new Acer 5920 about a month ago (it’s 12/26/07 at the time of this writing) with Vista Home Premium pre-loaded on it and after about 2 weeks of using it, the time it took to transfer from my old laptop to the new one, the Vista operating system has introduced more problems than it’s worth!!! Acer didn’t even bother to provide CDs so the operating system could be be re-intalled, as if any idiot would really want to. But, it would at least be the best option without purchasing a full blown version of Windows XP serperately.

      Anyone who has ever purchased a new computer to replace an old one, more than once, can understand the inherent problems with doing so without the added problems of dealing with a beta version of an operating system represented as a proven version. Windows Vista is obviously still a beta version. Unproven. Untested. Released, without being responsible for, and without a warning…USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!

      Acer, as well other computer manufacturers (and/or assembly companies) are as guilty, if not more so, in providing their product with such beta software. It’s given to them free of charge from Microsoft, without support, to perpetuate the software as a marketing scheme. Take note the word “scheme”. Check your dictionary, as a consumer the word “scheme” is NOT to your benefit.

      Will Acer OR Microsoft address these issues to their consumers satisfactions………….they never have!

      SO….buyer beware!!! Do not pay money for any computer with Vista installed and no means to downgrade the operating system to a time tested proven version or a CD, or other reliable storage source not requiring an internet connection, to re-install the operation system supplied with the hardware.

  2. “Hopefully, both computer
    “Hopefully, both computer hardware and software manufacturers will fix their issues as soon as possible. And, maybe, they will learn from their mistakes so history won’t repeat itself with every new release of a major operating system.”

    This is all very well to say in the windows world – but look, for example, at Ubuntu. Ubuntu generall has a few issues when it is first released but within several weeks most major issues have been patched. Mac OS X hit the mainstream with very few issues – admittedly issues are still being found but on a far fewer scale than the 30 or so security updates that hit my Windows Update last week.

    I’m not a Mac or Linux “fanboy” but I can see why so many are, and why the feeling with Microsoft for the majority of “alpha geeks” is boredom.

  3. In my opinion, the

    In my opinion, the hardware vendors are viewing Vista as an opportunity to increase sales. They are basically forcing me to discard MANY pieces of perfectly functioning equipment and purchase new equipment replacements. I find this tactic unscrupulous and unacceptable. But as a consumer what can I do?

    Of course they do. A lot of hardware companies were looking for increased sales from the Vista release. But most people don’t fall for it and stay with XP as long as its supported.

    So what can you do? Try out Linux (e.g. It’s free and you can get a Live-CD that boots and runs from CD/DVD, so you can have a first look without installing anything permanently. I have a 10 year old scsi scanner (Microtek ScanMaker 330) here, as well as a 10 year old isa soundcard (althoug I rarely use it anymore), that are still supported by the latest Linux-Distros. XP refused to work with these two. There are no forced upgrades in Linux-land.

    • Ubuntu – same problem
      You recommend people to try Ubuntu. I very much like Linux distributions but with it you have similar problems.

      If you go to the Creative website you will notice that they do not offer any drivers for Linux. Both older sound cards such as Audigy 2 ZS and new ones such as X-Fi Fatal1ty have absolutely no driver support for Linux.

      The same story regarding Mustek – no drivers for Linux.

      What should the consumers do? Start writing their own drivers? 🙂

      I think my mother will choose not to migrate to Linux nor Windows Vista.

      • Where The Drivers Are
        For Linux, looking at the hardware manufacturer’s site for drivers is looking in the wrong place.
        Most hardware manufacturers do not create the driver’s for Linux — people in the Linux community volunteer their time to do so, despite the fact that the hardware vendors frequently refuse to tell the people who already BOUGHT the hardware how to actually program for it.

        The major reasons hardware manufacturer’s to hide how to actually access their hardware are simple: money and control. The hardware manufacturers want to maintain control over their hardware “interfaces”, so they can make oodles of cash “licensing” these “technologies” to third parties. Microsoft encourages this by building in special features that make certain hardware work better than others, and secrecy deals so the hardware maker can be assured MS won’t tell anyone how things really work.

        Once “trusted computing” starts really being swindled into every desktop, you will see this become a much more pronounced problem as the trusted computing gang begin dictating exactly who can even get in the game… pay up for the “licensing” and “testing” and “certification” and whatever else it takes to be “trusted”, or your hardware won’t work. Drivers won’t run. You’re hardware or software company won’t exist.

        All of this nonsense doesn’t help the end user/consumer one bit, it it does prevent rival manufacturer’s from building compatible competing products, which would help everyone else a LOT.

        The Linux community generally doesn’t bother with such under-handed nonsense. Someone spends the hours, days, weeks, or more, of their own time experimenting, hacking, or “reverse-engineering” how a piece of crippled hardware or software works, and writes an open source driver from scratch for it. Since it’s open source, others can add their contributions.

        Before long, you have projects like OSS or ALSA where hundreds or thousands of like-minded hackers have collaborated to discover and build a general purpose sound system that can talk to hundreds of sound cards, yet makes it easy for sound programmers to write new programs for.

        You don’t go to Creative for Linux drivers for Creative cards. Creative won’t write the driver because its not in their best interest, yet. You go to the Linux community around your version of Linux. In most cases, for sound, you end up at ALSA, which probably already came with your version of Linux. On RedHat Linux and many other variants, the sound card is detected and configured during install of the base OS itself, and you never have to install “the driver” yourself in the first place. The same goes for video, printers, scanners, drives, etc. You go to the Linux community for Linux support.

        And, as the numbers of free/libre’ users increase, the market impact is being felt too: hardware vendors who are open with their users about how to hack on the hardware find their hardware being supported, and more importantly: purchased. More and more people are basing their hardware buying decisions on whether or not that hardware works with Linux. If not, there is probably an alternative that does, and still works with Windows, which they buy instead. Video companies like Nvidia and ATI have already learned that lesson and produce drivers for Linux, or give out the information that the Linux community needs to write their own driver.

        Plus Linux guys spread the word on their grapevines: “hey, I called these guys about hardware X, and they are Linux friendly. Hardware Y hung up on me.” That word of mouth ends up on webpages and is having global impact.

        And yes, ultimately, since the hardware manufacturer’s don’t tell people HOW to actually access and use the hardware they already bought, the Linux community did exactly what you said: the [hardware] consumers wrote their own drivers.

        And, as a personal note, if my 4-year old twins can use Linux, then I think your mom will be okay with it. Check out the One Laptop Per Child project to see how its possible.

      • Ubuntu: incorrect
        My Creative Audigy 2 ZS works perfectly under Ubuntu. But the reason is indeed that not the hardware manufacturers write those drivers, but the community does, like someone else wrote before me.

        nVidia writes drivers for Linux, Creative doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean that your soundcard doesn’t work under Linux.

  4. Seems like a lot of hardware
    Seems like a lot of hardware and software company got too comfortable with not having to write drivers or software for a new operating system in the past 7 years. Lots of companies just completely abandoned drivers for their older hardware and software and started working on their new stuff.

    I didn’t have really any issues with drivers for the hardware that I have. The only minor problem I had is that ATI doesn’t make Vista drivers for anything older than the 9550. I had SLI set up but wanted to use 2 monitors so I thought I could use my old ATI 9200SE for that, but wasn’t able to get proper drivers from ATI.

  5. Drivers and Mustek.
    Mustek have lost a customer in me forever! I wonder how many more there are like me?

    I emailed them several times about scanner drivers and had no reply whatsoever, not even an automated one! I gave one scanner away and have another cluttering my room. I bought and Canon and although I had to download the Vista drivers I am delighted with it.

  6. My main issue is the
    My main issue is the constant wireless drop offs I experience in online gaming. Every few minutes there is a lag spike which affects me, effectively making me a sitting duck. It is due to the automatic polling for wireless networks that Vista performs (its equivalent of the wireless zero configuration in XP). I have downloaded a tool called Vista Anti Lag as well as batch scripts that alter the netsh settings for AutoConfig on the WLan but these have not been much help unfortunately. If I had not bought a new computer I would never have gone with Vista.

  7. Window’s vista is NOT user friendly
    At first, Windows Vista seemed like the right choice for me, (it seemed so user friendly) but now, there are several programs that just don’t seem to work with vista. I bought a Creative WebCam (ironically with the word “Vista” is in it’s title), but everytime I try capturing any video, the program that came with it shuts down. I’m not a computer expert, but I know enough that it’s not a “user error”. Also, I built my computer so that I could edit video, and everything was going well with Sony’s Vegas video editing software, until I tried saving a video to my hard drive, and then the program crashed, and continues to crash every time I try it. I know I’m probably being a computer illiterate moron, but if anyone has any advice, please let me know.

  8. vista
    I wished i had found this site before purchasing a vista basic upgrade for my toshiba laptop.
    problems one after another ,now back on my trusty xp.Should microsoft offer new programs before they are fully compatibale. My vista upgrade is in the bin

  9. Windows Vista
    All of your comments were right. Most of applications softwares were not compatible with windows vista also with hardwares. These certain problems will apprehend by software and hardware manufacturers with compatibility of windows vista. We have patience to wait, to me windows vista is a user friendly and great because of highly organize O.S. in future.
    Thanks to Microsoft for job well done…

  10. So i guess,
    Its safe to say that the majority of the complaints here are from people who upgraded to Vista from XP? Did any one with a new computer with the software built in have alot of problems?

    • Vista issues with new computer
      We just purchased a new Acer Aspire installed ready with Windows Vista. First off, I can’t stand Vista…it feels like a dumb downed version of XP. I found it difficult to locate display controls, etc. anything above the very basics. Once I learned my way around, within the first two days of installing the Nvidia GeForce 8800 card and games that ran fine on XP issues developed.

      Not one of my games (ER, Sims 2, Missing, etc.) will run with the video card/Vista. I downloaded the latest Vista driver for the video card and this didn’t help at all. The Nvidia web site admits that the driver does not resolve all the issues customers have experienced and they are running a forum requesting customers to explain the Vista problems. I am also having problems watching videos on the internet, etc.

      I’m very frustrated…does anyone have a solution?

    • i did.
      i brought a brand new HP computer, with all the stuff built in for vista, and it works like a charm. had it for almost a month now with no errors, nothing not running right, and all my games running in tip top performance! or maybe i just got lucky? i dunno. im liking vista tho. and id say buy a new computer that comes with it. AND have at leased 2gb of DDR2 ram, vista is a small hog, but not much. runs WoW and Battlefield 2142 with no prob and all settings on high.

  11. Vista Black out!
    Basically after using the internet explorer for a few hours or just watching a video on youtube i get a black screen straight away, so i have to avoid using ie for too long or watching videos.

    i dont know what to do, whether to reboot the system or send the laptop back?

    and it kind of freezes so i could only take a pic on my phone of what it looks like:

    any help would be great

  12. compatibility with programs that require windows xp or older
    I have just recently purchased a computer with Windows Vista. The problem is that I am attending college now and have an instructional disc that I cannot use do to it needing and older version of Windows. I have contacted Hewlett Packard no luck there. I contacted the MCGRAW HILL site which makes the instructional cd and have never heard back from them on the problem. SO far no luck from anyone. Is there anyone that knows what I can do to fix this problem? Someone said something about a code.exe file. I would greatly appreciate any help with this problem.

  13. HP Photosmart C3180 printer
    I am unable to install the above printer on to my HP Pavilion dv6000 (only a few weeks old), no matter what I have tried. I get the same error: To install driver software an interactive window station is required!! Can anyone explain this to me. A call to the seller, and HP support, has not solved the problem. In fact it would seem that HP support do not know what they are talking about.

  14. Hp 6300 scanner
    I too have been stuck without a vista driver for my Hp 6300 scanner. Hp does not have a driver and suggest to go an purchase another Hp scanner with vista driver.

    Hp has lost a customer. I will purchase another scanner, but it won’t be an Hp. In addition, neither will I purchase any Hp equipment. I am through with them.

  15. Hello !
    Im from Sweden and I

    Hello !

    Im from Sweden and I have an brandnew HP Laptop with Windows Vista , and I have soo much problems with Vista
    that I decided to go back to Win XP , im a advanced user since 15 years and this is the worst operativ system I know.

    Peter Bengtsson

  16. windows vista keeps saying this copy of windows is not genuine..
    i have a laptop and i have had problems with it since the first month i had it….everytime i activate it a few weeks later it doesnt work and says that this copy of windows is not genuine and i try to access with reduced funtioanlity but it wont bring up the internet or the number so that i can call hewlett packard and reactiviate it…please help me if you can ….thanks so much..

  17. windows vista sucks
    and so google toolbar,they always give us all information for the usa when we need canada info. i had so many problems with windows vista i hate should provide us with a cd to fix all the errors on our computer. they suck and so does microsoft and so does bill gates for inventing a software and didnt know how to solve the problems,yet there are no solutions for fixing we suffer.i never had a problem untill i got windows vista. as far as im concerned windows xp was better.

  18. Windows vista deleting duplicate files and removing shortcuts
    I recently bought a laptop and not being a computer whizz have quickly came across a couple of problems….Firsly, I find the mouse on the laptop tricky to use and whilst trying to get to grips with it have managed to copy files into different locations !!
    I dragged my favorites folder and into music in error !!! and now have favorites on desktop and in music??????when i delete the one in music it deletes the original from desktop?????? how do i delete the copy i have created leaving the original??????

    Also i have deleted various pictures downloaded from my camera…but have noticed various shortcuts which have been left behind?????when io try to delete these shortcuts it says error picture not at this location please find location and try again . The picture is deleted and therefore doesnt have a location…so how do i delete the shortcuts??????
    I have tried F5 etc……..can someone help me!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  19. Compatibility with vista
    I read quickly through the commects and may have a solution. If it is already posted forgive me. Right click on the application and left click on properties, Click on compatibility and run as what ever operating system your software likes

    First of, vista in my opinion, in spite of its flaws, is the most powerful operating system around. It’s a giant step up from XP and a million times better than apple’s “leopard”. I speak from experience because I use Vista Business for my job and Vista premium for my personal laptop, and have found them both to be very powerful and AMAZINGLY secure. Also for all you “haters”, you should’ve known that when you buy the latest and greatest software, it’s probably a good idea to do the same with the hardware, because other wise, it’s like putting a Lamborghini engine in a beat down pinto. Granted it is irritating when your drivers take a crap on you, but the first generation of ANYTHING has problems, Microsoft is working hard to get these problems solved, and my estimation is that in a year or so, this new software, should be problem free (or close)
    I don’t work for Microsoft

  21. Problems with sofware and drivers
    I found installing drivers difficult and I am almost at the point of returning to XP.

    I have a mini DV Sony camera, which I bought less than 2 years ago. There are no Vista drivers for it. I still have not tried an iLink Firewire cable to see if it will work with my new tower computer (I haven’t got round to buying a cable yet) but I think Microsoft has really shot itself in the foot with Vista.

    Many Codecs do not come pre-installed with Vista and so I had to hunt around to get my machine to be able to read all the various MPEG formats.

    When I try to burn more than 1 CD or DVD in one session, the computer crashes for no apparent reason.

    Since sofware is more expensive than the computer itself, I don’t think most people want to replace the whole thing in one go.

    Even anti viral software is temperamental. Norton security which comes with it, is useless. AVG Internet Security 7.5 works OK with it but I have still had a lot of viruses even with that and Spybot plus Spyware Doctor running. I am convinced the reason for these Viruses and Trojans are security bugs in Vista…..

  22. My computer is an hp
    My computer is an hp pavillion slim line pc, s3123w, with windows vista home edition, and everytime I hook it up to my monitor, it turns the screen a blueish-purple color.
    If anyone could help me with this problem it would be great. Thanks in advanced.

  23. Cant download ANYTHING!
    Saved my money, got brand new ACER computer with Windows Vista Home Edition. I was so excited! And now? I have had it a week now and I HATE IT! I have had nothing but problems with it. I’ve tried running programs as Administrator and I’ve tried disabling programs. Nothing works. I get something downloaded off the internet and when it comes to activating it I keep getting the message : Download of file has been canceled or interrupted. File not completely downloaded. or it says that : Windows has closed { client } program and is searching for solution to problem. Then says that it couldnt find a solution at this time!
    I cant run any Adaware, I’ve had problems with my anti-virus, cant run and IM programs and it even has started doing this with programs that I installed on disc. My computer also did not come with back up discs. Also to mention that I am periodically loosing my internet connection. It says connection lost and dosnt offer reason why or even trouble shooting. This has really screwed up downloads, like I wasnt already having enough problems! Its like Vista is out to get me! Just when I think something is going to work its like Vista figures out what I’m doing and re-routs me again!
    I miss my Windows XP!
    Is there any way to fix or get around all this garbage?



Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.