ARGH… Freaking Vista!

I have been using Vista off and on at my new job for a while now. I wish to honestly say, that it is the worst Operating System I have used. I am including MS-DOS 4.0 in that comparison, so that should say something to you older PC folks out there!

It has all of the spit and polish (with extra spit) of XP, some look photocopied from OS X, and the ease of use of classic Mircosoft products like Bob, or Clippy.

What I am trying to say, is that this is an utter waste of human effort! I was going to say that I meant no offense to the programmers, but hey, they built this pile of excrement, they can deal with it!

I am about to start into the rant, so you can read on if you wish.

I have had enough of trying to deal with all of Vista’s little improvements. I have had it with the new ‘look and feel.’ Fuck, if I wanted Mac OS X, I would have bought a Mac with OS X! Now, I can’t change certain view settings to let me look at my files like I did back in XP. And that damn explorer window is starting to really piss me off. I would really like to know where I am on the file system, but that damn address bar doesn’t show unless I click in it, then it will show me the path. Folders views default to some weird format that some jerk at Microsoft thought would be the hippest and greatest thing. Now, if I open a folder that has even one MP3 in it, I get a detailed view, sorted by artist. If I choose to view the files as a list, sorry, it still provides the sort options at the top like a detailed view.

And then there is the User Accout Control (aka: UAC).

Now, some will say that when you start a program that needs admin access, you give it that permission once, and then it is done. I say that is bullshit. I have had installers that ended up needing me to enter the admin username and password no less than three times during the same install. And no, this is not the “just click Continue” situation, because I am running as a user. I don’t login as the admin account, so I can’t shoot myself in the foot. I understand that Vista needs my admin password for application install, and that is OK. But appearantly, if the initial installer does something like creating the temporary folder with something other than full read/write access before starting the full install program, then I will be typing in the admin credentials till my hands cramp up. I am talking having to authorize every damn action that the installer is trying to do. I can get around that by canceling the install and then right-clicking and say run as administrator, unless the installer is an MSI file. Then, I have to logout, login as admin (which you are not supposed to do) and then install the program.

Hell, I tried to delete a shortcut off of my desktop, and you would have thought I was trying to format the drive the way Vista was acting about it!

When you try to start a program, you can right-click it and choose to run it as another user, and enter the admin account. Problem is, this only affects that one time. Next time, the program will run as normal. I have no way of telling Vista that a specific program should run as admin all the time. And there is no damn way, I can find, to run a program like that via a shortcut. No, I have to find the fucking thing on the drive, and then run it as admin.

I came across a wonderful little article about UAC over at Jimmy Brush, Microsoft MVP. Go read it, yes I am asking you to read more, then come back, I want to say something about his FAQ’s.

  • UAC and threats
    Look, I understand that this is supposed to help stop threats and malicious software, but the damn thing starts asking for your admin account every couple of minutes for some of this shit. Two things happen then: 1) people start logging in as administrator, and then just clicking Continue faster than you can say “what the fuck was that,” and 2) people turn off UAC completely. Neither of those are good things, but when UAC is so fucking “in your face” all the time, then yeah, this is what is going to happen.
  • UAC pains me when I am logged in as a Sys Admin
    Jimmy’s response to the “I am a system administrator – I have no use for UAC” or the “I am logged on as an ADMINISTRATOR for a dang reason” are just classic vitrol. “You are a system administrator and you really could care less when a program runs that has full control of your system, and possibly your entire domain?” Look, Jimmy, I am logging in as the administrator only when I need to do something administrator-like. Stuff like changing access controls, installing/removing programs, or anything else that requires unfettered access to the machine. This is not just good sense but even good security policy that Microsoft has picked up on. Hell, I have been doing that for years as a Unix admin.

    To top it off, you want to raise the specter of control over the “entire domain?” Who the fuck is installing Vista on their domain controllers? And what domain controller is doing the “hey, admin user on Vista desktop BLAH, wants to change something other than their account info on the domain, I guess I should say OK!” No, when I want to change domain things, I login to the domain controller as an admin account. My domain controllers pretend that every other computer out there is just a big ole bitch that sleeps around with every program it can get it’s hands on, and is carrying more virus programs than cracked warez on bittorrent.

  • But UAC fucks up accessing files and folders
    Here, I really like Jimmy’s thought process. “Put the files [the program] needs access to in a place that all programs have access to – such as your documents folder.” Oh yeah, that’s good. Because those pesky documents are so low in importance compared to the OS itself. Why, I don’t fucking care what program accesses by quickbooks files, or peruses my excel spreadsheets, or copies my JPEG images. No, those aren’t important in the grand scheme of Vista’s precious DLL files.
  • Vista causes programs to not run correctly, or stops things from working like XP
    When referring to programs not working correctly, Jimmy’s canned response is “this is a bug,” or “that is a bug,” of course implying the bug is with the program, not Vista. Look, I liked in XP that I could set security permissions on files and folders. Then programs ran with the rights of the user that launched them. If a user account didn’t have rights to a file or folder, the program didn’t.

    Hell, where I work, there is a program we use on every desktop that is critical for our day to day operations. This program has the weirdest setup, in that it stores it’s settings in XML config files under it’s Program Files directory. I know, this should be done under each user’s Application Data folder, but we don’t have much of a choice. With XP, since we haven’t even thought about Vista for the desktops, we have assigned that one sub-folder as read/write by everyone, and everything works nicely. Vista goes “no way, setting security for a specific folder doesn’t mean shit to me.” So, we are still trying to find the best way to work around that particular pain in the ass properly.

So, what would I fix?

  • Give me control over the look of the OS.
    You want to support XP users, let them make it look like XP. Just like XP let you make it look like 98. Quit the fancy explorer viewing that I can’t control. Hell, even give me an option in the view properties to turn that crap on and off at will. I know you want a particular ‘look and feel,’ I understand this. Your guys have worked long hours trying to make Vista look just like OS X. But let me have control for a change. And the explorer location bar should be that. It should tell me where I am. Not some shortened Vista-speak for where you think I am, just the path man, that is all I want.

  • Programs should need approval once, ever.
    Just keep track of the programs that have been approved. Fuck, make a hash of each program, store that in the registry, and store the approval code. If the programs hash changes, act like it is a new program. Hell, with the new approval window, mention that the program has changed, possibly because of updates, along with a “do you want to approve the new version.” Any program that is starting up for the first time, needs your approval to run. If a program is trying to edit system registry settings (including the approval to run areas), then it should need admin approval. Hell, even the UAC should say “This program {program name} is trying to edit the computer’s full registry. Normally, this should only happen when you are installing the program. Do you wish to approve this program to edit the full registry?” Vista shouldn’t keep registry editing approval information, just run approval.

  • Programs should run as a user account
    Programs launched by a user, should run as that user account. Vista should then use the security settings for files and folders to decide if a program has access rights. If I have chosen to log in as an admin account, then I should understand that I am taking my system in my hands. This would still require the run approval, and maybe even an added note to it that the user it is running as is an admin, and that could cause huge problems, and they should be aware of the dangers involved. Stop dumming down my system because you assume I am an idiot.

  • Program access to user documents
    The user’s documents folder(s) should be treated as sacrosanct. Programs should have approval for 3 things only by default: create, read, write. Anything else, such as delete or move, should require approval. Now, actions launched from Explorer and not a user application, should only require approval for mass actions, and then only once for each action event. I select a folder and then hit the delete key, Vista should first check to see if I have permission to do that to all files and sub-folders that would be deleted, and then ask me if I really wish to delete this folder and all of it’s contents. It shouldn’t ask for every file or sub-folder, just that first time. Next time I click on a folder and hit the delete key, Vista should start over the OK process.

Just getting out my rants, have a fun day.


3 Responses

  1. I (andd everyone else in the world) agree with your rants. I am a computer tech- I stay away from Vista, and advise all my clients to stay away– FUNNY THING is lately Dell has been having some great “special deals” on some laptops… and if you want an “UPGRADE” To XP it’s an additional $20 (Dell’s wording) I just spent 3 days trying to get a good installation of Vista on a laptop, where it wouldn’t keep rebooting…

  2. The dual-boot are try the trial,unix-vista,and linux ok,vista has 1 point and thath is gaming,If i could correct my system it is ubuntu and os x,and use the line of chris-daniel ok;)

  3. And mate you can simplie turn uac off,but that is a disastere ok,thats the usersaccount. For vista or other micro-users k

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