An Architect's View

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An Architect's View

Windows Productivity

November 19, 2007 ·

As regular readers know, I've been running Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate for quite a while now so I can have a full local Windows development environment (ColdFusion 8, BlueDragon.NET 7 and MS SQL Server Express). Despite my general grumbles about Windows, it has been working out pretty well (but I really try to do all of my development on the Mac side whenever possible). I hadn't been running Vista for a few days so, Monday morning, needing to do client work that involves SQL Server, I fire up the virtual machine and VMware tells me an update is available. Cool! I've been waiting for the 1.1 fixes! I download the new image and shutdown Vista (wondering "how can an operating system take so long to boot up and shut down?") and then shutdown VMware and run the installer. It says VMware is still running. Hmm. The installation guide says if you hit this problem, look in the VMware Help (why can't you put the hint in the installation guide?). So I fire up VMware, fire up Help and it says sometimes a vmware-vmx process doesn't quit and you should use the Mac Activity Monitor to kill it. OK. Shutdown VMware. Open Mac Activity Monitor, find the vmware process and kill it. Run the installer. Success. I get to upgrade VMware. Fire up VMware, boot Vista (wait...). Upgrade the VMware tools. Reboot (more waiting...). Up comes Vista and now it wants to update Windows with some important updates. OK. Wait for a bit. Reboot (more waiting...). Up comes Vista and now... Argh! Apple wants to update Safari, iTunes and QuickTime. OK. Safari updates fast enough but iTunes / QuickTime takes forever. Guess what? Yup, reboot time. Sigh... Up comes Vista again and now I can get on with some work. It only took about 90 minutes from start to finish. Who'd have known that between VMware, Microsoft and Apple (to be fair: mostly Microsoft), I'd lose the first hour and a half of my week? Vista had been up and running happily for about two weeks since I last rebooted it (so, to be fair, this makes Vista the most stable version of Windows I've ever used!). I work through the rest of the morning and on into the afternoon until about 3pm my machine pretty much grinds to a halt. WTF? Oh, Microsoft wants to update Vista again! This time the updates are so important that Microsoft goes ahead and reboots my machine for me. Thanx Bill! Yeah, it sat there with a little count down warning that it was going to reboot but, hey, I normally keep Windows minimized and work on the Mac, right? So Vista has now been up for 17 minutes. Do you think Bill would pay if I sent him an invoice for my lost time?

Tags: microsoft · personal

10 responses

  • 1 David Evenson // Nov 19, 2007 at 7:32 PM

    Umm, no. Maybe not running Windows would have been a good idea.

  • 2 Justin Carter // Nov 19, 2007 at 8:58 PM

    I prefer setting Windows Update to "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them". That way you don't get anything unexpected - you can download and install updates when you like, and reboot when you get up to take a break, with barely no down time ;)
  • 3 Sean Corfield // Nov 19, 2007 at 10:27 PM

    @Justin, I only let it install the "important" updates. I don't install any of the "unimportant" updates. That mostly means it is security and "critical" stuff - as far as Microsoft is concerned :)
  • 4 dave // Nov 19, 2007 at 10:43 PM

    I am a firm believer that m$ should ship every copy of windows with a free cyanide capsule... ya know... just in case... ;)~
  • 5 Adrock // Nov 19, 2007 at 10:51 PM

    I picked up a shiny new VAIO for Rachel a few months back and it came preloaded with Vista. I swapped out the standard HDD (upgraded to 7200rpms for optimal VMWare). The reinstall was nothing short of painless. In fact, the first couple of days I was convinced something had silently gone wrong. Every driver, every device, just worked.

    After a month or so of pure jealousy, I installed Vista on my Adobe laptop (the one my life revolves around). Again, everything is golden. Everything seems to run faster than XP and Office 12 is wonderful. Neither of our laptops have crashed or 'grind to a halt'.

    I recognize that what I'm saying may sound foreign, but I just wanted to report that I'm loving Vista. It seems that everyone posts these types of entries saying otherwise... not to lessen your pains... but maybe people aren't posting the positives of Vista as they are the negatives.

    I should also note that both Rachel's and my laptops are 'Vista Ready/Certified'. That may seem like a cop-out, but remember that every Apple computer is built specifically for the OS. the people I've talked to who have had 'issues' with Vista were trying to upgrade on PCs that weren't meant to handle it (or running Vista in virtual environments).
  • 6 Sean Corfield // Nov 20, 2007 at 12:10 AM

    @Adrock, yeah, despite my early concerns - and everyone's vitriolic criticism - I have to say Vista isn't anywhere near as bad as many (most?) people make out. In general, each new version of Windows is an improvement on the previous version (but it's still got a long way to go!).
  • 7 dave // Nov 20, 2007 at 12:57 AM

    I dunno about macs "not" being ready for Vista, most MBP score higher on the "Vista Meter"(or whatever they call it) than most pc's as they should since they really are using better hardware than most pc's.

    I am sure there are some good experiences out there but at this point it's pretty clear Vista is a flop so far.

    This is how my experience felt

    my copy went into trash can in less than 2 weeks and it will be the last m$ purchase I will ever make the mistake of buying again.

    I run xp on vmware just to run ie 6 & ie 7 and have a 10gb partition that is almost full and the culprit is all the frickin windows updates.

  • 8 ryan // Nov 20, 2007 at 1:41 AM

    yeah vista is kick ass... i've been using it for about a year now and honestly, my computer has never been this stable...

    and don't forget it is really a important thing to buy a vista certified machine...

    yeah dave them sony vaio's rock!!!

    sorry mr. jobs i like your work but i ain't switching any time soon..

    to tell you the truth i'm not a fan of apple hardware... the software is great though...
  • 9 Jeff Coughlin // Nov 20, 2007 at 7:41 AM

    I decided to go with Windows 2003 64bit (in VMWare on my Mac) with SQL Server 2005 (32bit), and CF8. So far its been running great and I leave it running for weeks at a time.
  • 10 Sean Corfield // Nov 20, 2007 at 10:30 AM

    @Jeff, I ran the 180 day trial of Windows 2003 Server on my Mac for a while (back in 2005, on Virtual PC) and was impressed at how solid it seemed - but the security was locked down so tight it was impossible to use out of the box as a desktop O/S :)