Hasta la Vista, Windows

I’m really looking forward to getting myself a computer that can put Windows Vista to the test. Unfortunately, I will not be running out on January 30th to buy the new operating system from Microsoft.

First, I want to know if there are drives available run my hardware. When I upgraded to the 64 bit version of Windows XP many of my otherwise perfectly fine printers, cameras and other gadgets no longer worked. The lack of support by manufacturers was significant.

In addition all my trusty computer utilities were instantly obsolete. In fact most software companies still don’t support 64 bit operating systems. I had this wonderful OS with no antivirus, defrag or registry cleaning ability. Many programs that I rely on would not work and were not going to be supported by software makers. This included many 32 bit programs. By design no program with 16 bit code will run on a 64 bit OS. This includes Windows Vista. There are supposed to be both 32 and 64 bit versions of the new OS but information is not easy to find on the Microsoft site.

While a few companies finally did patch their code enough to run on a 64 bit OS, most also decided that I must be a business if I run a 64 bit OS and priced their products accordingly. Microsoft doesn’t even fully support the 64 bit version of XP. Their new OneCare product with anti-virus and other utilities will not work on their 64 bit OS.

64 bit computing is here to stay but will Vista be fully supported by the industry from the introduction on January 30? HP will not even release a list of their products that are supported in Vista until the 30th.

Will hardware manufacturers have a variety of drivers ready? Will they let us Beta Test their drivers and then find something that works or have they done their homework?

Based on my experience with 64 bit computing thus far, I recommend caution before blindly upgrading to Vista. In fact, Microsoft doesn’t even allow me to upgrade my OS to Vista. I must wipe the drive and start over.

If Microsoft can’t fully support their own software, what hope is there that the entire industry will do better?