Get it right the first time, part 2
This was a post over at dbmini.us earlier this week about work not being right on the first visit. I wanted to make a few more remarks about this, but since they aren’t MINI related, here we are.
Have any of you used Windows Vista? Specifically, Windows Vista on any computer with only 2GB of RAM? I have and every time I do I keep asking myself the same question.
How could anyone think this was acceptable?
Windows Vista on underpowered machines is completely not useable. The system is unbelievably unstable and so slow it’s painful. For example, when trying to start Internet Explorer, it goes through a series of crashes until, about 5 minutes later, it settles down and then 3 minutes after that you see your home page.
When opening the Control Panel, it will also go through a series of crashes while drawing the icons. Trying to go into any of the CP applets is equally harrowing, with screens not drawing and the applet sometimes crashing.
Same goes when trying to close any program, especially Internet Explorer or any of the Control Panel applets. Most of the time they do crash and the only recovery is restarting the machine, which is another 10 minute ordeal.
Somewhere in the halls of Redmond (Or Austin – Dell is the biggest culprit here), there is a fellow in a room whose job it is to Q/A these kinds of things. I would imagine this fellow makes a good dollar or two in wages, benefits and other perks that come with working for such companies. My question for this guy is how do these machines pass Q/A? How can anyone look at this and say “yep, she’s good to go”?.
Knowing this, how can computer companies spec out a PC that would be better suited running Win2K and then install Vista? Seriously, a Celeron Processor? 1GB of RAM (shared with the video card too). I know it’s all about the all mighty dollar, but what about user experience?
It’s no wonder why Apple costs more, or why we pay more. That Q/A fellow in Cupertino actually does his job, and cares about user experience. If you buy a bone stock Mac, it’s a configuration that is completely acceptable to use for most tasks that the average user will need to use it for.
The average bone stock PC, not so much. That machine, usually available from any big box retailer for around $300, will barely run Windows. Why even bother to sell such a machine? In selling a $300 computer, you create expectations by your users that the computer experience, while completely painful and almost impossible, is an inexpensive experience.
Time to retrain. Time to stop buying $300 PCs. Time for manufacturers to stop selling $300 PCs. Honestly.
If you, or any of your users, are in the market for a PC, I implore you to encourage them to skip the bargain basement machines. Tell them to save for a little bit longer to get a PC that they can use and use well. It should have at least 4GB of RAM, at least a 2Ghz Core2 processor (Intel or AMD) and it should cost at least $600, more if they opt for better video with at least 128MB of RAM.
Or, they should buy a Mac.
It’s time we, as the consumer, start demanding better out of companies that continually churn out crap that doesn’t work, doesn’t work as expected or is just garbage for the sake of a buck. Really, it’s time.
I’ve not had the chance to work on many Windows Vista machines. Most of my customers are still way behind the technology curve with their Windows XP. But, on the rare occassion I have worked with Vista, it’s almost always for the same thing.
There is/was a problem with some of the Vista updates and how they interact with early OEM installation images. Particularly Dell, HP and Compaq. Turns out when you apply said updates, the computer get stuck in the following reboot loop.
Configuring updates 3 of 3. 0% complete
It does that, goes to a screen that says shutting down and reboots. Right back to this screen. Neat.
Before I go further, you can search google all you want, but the only way to reliably fix this is to reinstall Windows Vista. Try all the other stuff if you are getting paid by the hour, but if you have other things to do, back up the users data and reinstall Windows.
But how do you kill it? That’s the easy part. After watching this happen 3 times and thinking this is the time it’s going to work when it doesn’t, then it’s time to do a system restore. System restored to a point prior to the update installation, computer reboots.
Of course, upon reboot, the updates are still there, waiting to be applied. And, if the computer is set to apply updates automatically and you don’t pay attention, they do just that. Which then causes the reboot loops again.
After a few of these, voila! One Blue Screen of Death. Of course, at that point, a reload is the only option since even a system restore only repeats the process. Not only that, but the computer still doesn’t update.
From what I understand, the real best fix for this is to install Windows 7. I’ve only seen it in passing, so I’m not yet very familiar with it but hope to be fixing that shortly after 2010 starts.