back to article Hasta la Windows Vista, baby! It's now officially dead – good riddance

Farewell, Windows Vista, we hardly knew ye. But as of now* you're out of support and even-more-unloved than was previously the case. Vista appeared in January 2007 and quickly irked users with a feature called “User Account Control” that produced constant queries about whether they wanted to do something. Microsoft added that …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Haters gonna hate

    The final version of Vista (with the platform update and so on) is more or less Windows 7, but was mercifully spared the GWX malware.

    The main problems were drivers and hardware power, both of which solved themselves. And, with the benefit of hindsight, it's not that bad compared to Windows 8 and 10, is it?

    1. Naselus

      Re: Haters gonna hate

      Yeah, even out-of-the-box, Vista was a very solid under-the-hood improvement over XP. More or less all the problems with it were in the UI and user-unfriendlyness. It brought massive security improvements from top-to-bottom and was one of the most stable versions of Windows to ever be released.

      It's just a shame that MS ruined it by going out of their way to piss the user off at every turn, wherever possible, at exactly the point in time that Apple were doing the exact opposite with the much-loved 2k7 Macbook Pro and the iPhone. And from that, Microsoft learned the lesson that users are willing to sacrifice security for ease of use every time - which is exactly why Win 10 now rifles through your personal data at every opportunity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Haters gonna hate

        Yeah, even out-of-the-box, Vista was a very solid under-the-hood improvement over XP.

        I'd agree with this to an extent; at least with Vista, the issues were never on a scale that had me wanting to revert to an earlier version of Windows, unlike a certain more recent OS I could mention.

        But if you bought a new machine when Vista first launched, and experienced the driver and other issues that many people did, I think you'd be a bit more equivocal about that "solid under-the-hood improvement over XP". Waiting minutes for a USB device to be detected, then realising it was time to faff around deleting a corrupted infcache.1 file again, had me wanting to throw my new Vista powered laptop out the window many times in the first few months. That kind of issue was pretty widespread in the early days of Vista.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Haters gonna hate

          Built one of my godsons an I7 920 PC . Ported his existing XP system to it as a temporary measure - with a separate disk carrier for a new build of Vista. He tried the Vista boot a few times - then stayed with XP until the PC was eventually upgraded to W7.

          That reminds me that the Vista hard disk is still sitting on a shelf somewhere. Time to use it as back-up storage.

        2. Naselus

          Re: Haters gonna hate

          "But if you bought a new machine when Vista first launched, and experienced the driver and other issues that many people did, I think you'd be a bit more equivocal about that "solid under-the-hood improvement over XP". "

          I wouldn't put driver issues down to the OS tbh. Otherwise we'd have to say Linux was a 'bad' OS right up until the mid-2000s, which simply isn't true. Plus, bad drivers were the cause of most BSODs, which were pretty commonplace in early XP (and 2000, and 98, and 95...). Vista actually had the ability to close a dud driver down gracefully where in XP it would simply tank the whole system.

          The reason for many of the driver issues in early Vista was that they'd shifted the standards from WDM to WDF, and suddenly a lot of older drivers were found to be horrifically badly put together and insecure by default. MS wanted to move as much as they could to user-mode frameworks that were both easier to write correctly and infinitely better security practice; many previously-existing drivers fell really badly foul of this, or demanded to sit in the kernel even when there was no good reason for them to do so.

          So really, the poor driver support was literally the flipside of the same coin as the stability and security improvements.You couldn't have good aspects without invalidating a lot of amateurish code.

      2. James Anderson

        Re: Haters gonna hate

        To support an old Windows only application I have just set up a new (cheap!) windows 10 pc to replace the geriatric Vista PC it was running on.

        Cannot say I am impressed. There does not seem to be any way to kill Cortana -- it is the cockroach of apps and will still be offering to help the surviving twinkies long after armegeddon.

        Likewise Edge will not go away and keeps nagging to be the default browser again, though I suspect it will replace chrome as the default after every security upgrade.

        GIven all the "phone home" stuff that it sends back to Microsoft it is touch and go whether its more secure than an unpatched copy of Vista; just because it is MS stealing your data does not make it OK.

        So the only lesson they have really learned is not to have a viable fall back like XP when forcing a rubbish new OS on to their customers.

        1. a_yank_lurker

          Re: Haters gonna hate

          @James Anderson "just because it is MS stealing your data does not make it OK." - the only difference between Slurp's 'Spyware-as-a-Service' and malware is you can get rid of malware. Theft of data is still theft of data.

      3. CFWhitman

        Re: Haters gonna hate

        Well, Vista was a problem to update at one point. If you could get it to update to the service pack version without destroying itself, then it was not so bad, but sometimes it would destroy itself in a very random manner trying to get the updates to apply.

        That is, you could install Vista and let it run updates and see it end up destroying itself. Then you could repeat the procedure the exact same way and have it work out fine. More often than not, you could get it updated successfully, but it would destroy itself often enough to make you feel like you were playing Russian roulette with the install. I would always make sure of the updates before investing any more than necessary effort on anything else about the system.

        Even after you got it installed, the network would often act strange in a domain environment, being outperformed by orders of magnitude by both XP and 7. I never noticed that issue with home versions on the Internet. Because the problems with Vista in a domain were addressed sooner by 7 than in Vista (if they ever were addressed in Vista), it never got out of the testing stage for use by the business I work for. That is, we were testing it until we were satisfied, and we became satisfied with 7 before Vista, so we passed Vista by.

    2. PickledAardvark

      Re: Haters gonna hate

      Indeed, Vista was under rated and unfairly criticised on occasions.

      User Account Control butted in a lot when first setting up a PC, creating the impression that UAC would be a permanent nuisance. But once you've installed your apps and tweaked a few control panels, UAC goes away. If you are using Windows as a user (rather than administrator), you can run for weeks without seeing a UAC prompt.

      Let's not forget that UAC is present in later Windows versions that some people like. Similar features exist in MacOS and Linux desktop interfaces. Microsoft's mistake -- and it was a big one -- was to make UAC so annoying first time around. If they'd paid more attention to beta testers (and MS went out of their way to ignore reports about features), it would have been more like UAC under Windows 7.

      Also remember that application developers were finally forced to write software which did not require admin rights. UAC interruptions went away because applications were written properly; user software rarely needs admin rights, and if developers had followed guidelines (ones published in 1999 for NT5 and Windows 2000), their applications would have just worked. The UAC prompt should only pop up for your application when the user launches the installer -- with a few exceptions such as backup software. Organisations with the resource to install privilege management software can even get some old rubbish to run safely without upsetting users.

      I've met many Microsoft employees who understood security and wanted to make Windows work for standard user rights. I've also met full blown tossers who I wouldn't trust to run the toilet roll replenishment rota at a scout camp; they tended to be programme managers.

      And finally, a big round of applause to the poor so and sos in the Microsoft application compatibility team who keep badly written application software running without anyone noticing what they do.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Haters gonna hate

        What made UAC particularly annoying in Vista was that every time it activated, it demanded that you click through precisely the same dialogue *twice*.

        I have no idea why. By the time Windows 7 came around MS had apparently noticed this behaviour and fixed it, but it remained true in Vista for as long as I used it, which was a few years.

        I'm not, completely, sure whether Vista was genuinely awful or whether it was merely ahead of its time, but I'm still inclined toward "genuinely awful". This opinion is largely formed of the time when I tried to include in my library a generated document called "security", and discovered that Vista actually treated otherwise-identical documents differently based on the filename. My software failed absolutely (and without warning or error messages of any kind) to save the document with the name "security".

        Changing the document name to "Permissions" fixed the issue. But it left me boggled and incredulous, and really it still does.

        1. Steve the Cynic

          Re: Haters gonna hate

          "discovered that Vista actually treated otherwise-identical documents differently based on the filename."

          UAC on 7 and 10 does that for programs as well. Any EXE whose name includes certain sequences on a particular blacklist will trigger a UAC prompt even if all it does is call MessageBox and exit.

          Among those sequences is "setup". You cannot run any program whose name contains that - e.g. virtualbox-version-setup.exe or mygame-setup-versionnumber.exe or even plain old setup.exe - without seeing the prompt.

      2. Mark 85

        Re: Haters gonna hate

        And finally, a big round of applause to the poor so and sos in the Microsoft application compatibility team who keep badly written application software running without anyone noticing what they do.

        In some circles, this is a good thing and those folks are wise... "job security via job obscurity".

    3. Daniel von Asmuth

      Re: Haters gonna hate

      I wonder if 'Vista is now officially dead' means something changed in comparison to last year or so and if other Windozes are more alive in one way or another. If Vista is 'work in progress', does that mean work on it proceedes no longer?

      The press has told us that Vista was full of problems, and 7 was much more popular, but apparently only the version number changed to something more computable.

      How much longer must the captive fangirls wait for their promised Windows Longhorn?

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Has MS Killed W10 yet?

    Now that would be news. This? Meh!

    The one with really big pockets that are holding all the floppies for WFW 3.11. At least that version of windows does not send my activities back to the mothership.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Has MS Killed W10 yet?

      Was WFW3.11 more than a few floppies? IIRC W95 was a lot of floppies.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Has MS Killed W10 yet?

        Not nearly as many as NT 3.51 ...

    2. Daniel von Asmuth

      Re: Has MS Killed W10 yet?

      Redmond is silently liquidating WIndows 10 to replace it with something called 'creator's update'.

  3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    it's vaunted “Aero” interface made it slower than Windows XP, which is not what an upgrade is supposed to do.

    I think most OS upgrades do that, its just that hardware improves to compensate, or rather a new OS will put new features in and expand hardware requirements to absorb any hardware improvements.

    Vista just did it more than most

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge


      Don't forget that Vista also was a point of a massive increase in DRM built in to the OS, and that also had a serious impact on the resources needed to use it.

    2. Sgt_Oddball

      I'd bee to differ

      Despite all the hate against win8 I found it worked much better than Vista on the same machine. Though circumstantial I doubt I'm the only one. Win 7 though looks to the next xp and really it was a massive system pack so it's still sort of with us (see the kernal versions Vista 6, win7 6.1 and win8 6.2)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The problem with Vista was that frequency scaling stopped in its tracks. New machines didn't have a significantly higher single-thread performance for everyday workloads, but the OS was a lot less efficient.

      A typical "Vista capable" laptop ran like treacle in midwinter, even after turning off every imaginable feature. On the other hand Vista was OK on a high end machine such as one might imagine MS developers would be using...

    4. J. Cook Silver badge

      XP's interface (with all the eye candy turned on) did bring some machines that could run win2K acceptably to their knees.

      These were ancient P3-based machines that just barely met the minimum processor and memory spec for XP, so that was not surprising.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No software truly dies. It just asymptotically approaches zero.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      So it joins the choir invisible/ goes to meet its maker/pushes up the daisies asymptotically, then?

  5. Bob Vistakin

    It's not all bad news

    Windows itself may have been kicked into second place by Android as the whole industry leaves it behind for mobile, but the average user benefits from the fantastic work the innovative giants have made over the decades to create the mobile ecosystem system we have now.

    Nokia's contribution: Paved the way by showing users they really needed mobile tech

    Blackberry's contribution: Showed business how essential secure, live information always with you is

    Apple's contribution: Sleek, user friendliness lit the smartphone revolution fuse

    Google's contribution: Gave the world its most popular mobile OS for free. Commoditised smartphones.

    Microsofts contribution: Takes $5-$10 from every Android handset sold in patent royalties.

    1. RyokuMas

      Re: It's not all bad news

      "Google's contribution: Gave the world its most popular mobile OS for free. Commoditised smartphones. Brainwashed the vast majority into believing that their acts of mass surveillance are socially acceptable.


      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: It's not all bad news

        Lets face it - Facebook is probably the most obvious act of mass surveillance and the morons masses still lap it up. And now we have MS chasing the pair of them to see who can get the most secrets with the lest KY, but also oddly expecting us still to pay for windows.

        Except of course for us rats penguins who jumps from that sinking ship a while ago.

        1. Triggerfish

          Re: It's not all bad news

          TBF to microsoft (and I say this as someone who is having to use Win 10 - so you can guess it grates a bit), I feel they did help bring the PC to the mass market to some degree. It felt like at uni one year everything was green screen Vax and Dos (and email was a pain thanks for the help there Sir Tim) and the computer faicilities were quite empty, after the summer hols, everyone was on outlook express sending emails and using desktops.

  6. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Burn it

    Burn it with fire.

    1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Re: Burn it

      Burn it with fire? I say we take off and nuke the entire installation from orbit.

      It's the only way to be sure.

  7. big_D Silver badge

    Vista Capable

    they wouldn't have struggled to run the OS, they just couldn't display Aero and had to use either Basic or Classic (Windows 2000) schemes. A faux pas, but very different from not having the horsepower to run the OS itself.

    That said, having been in the desert of Linux since the release of XP (I hated the Fisher Price), I found Vista a better all-round package - but maybe that was because I was coming from Linux, where you had to "sudo" all the time when changing system settings.

    Once Vista was up and running, it didn't ask for the admin password very much. But you had to get through the nagging, whilst installing all of your applications first...

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Vista Capable

      No, it wasn't just Aero it was the who display subsystem using XML, which was like going back to Display Postscript and pouring treacle on it: this required lots of memory. As long as you had that then you were fine, with or without stupid translucent effects.

      At the time a friend of mine asked for help getting a notebook. We went straight for 4GB which was a huge step up at the time when many XP machines had 500 MB or just 256 MB but he was happy with the machine all the way until recently retiring it. I heard similar things from other people who had Vista: with enough RAM they liked it, without it, it was a pig.

      Windows Vista did indeed introduce lots of security and stability improvements of which disabling shitty drivers was key but the UAC was just badly done because it was too granular. We've similar things with the privacy settings in modern mobile phones but at least permissions are now grouped into generally understandable high level categories.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. big_D Silver badge

        @LionelB Re: Vista Capable

        You seem to be saying that as if it's a bad thing.

        I'm saying that, coming from a secure OS, where you had to provide the password to change anything, you were aware of why you were doing it and that it was a good idea... People coming from Windows 9x and Windows XP found it to be a pain, even if it was covering their arses.

        Once it was up and running, I was only getting one or two prompts a month. But installing all their apps at when people got their new machine was probably what gave UAC its bad reputation.

        1. LionelB Silver badge

          Re: @LionelB Vista Capable

          Yes, agreed - and apologies (and an upvote): it wasn't clear to me what you were getting at.

    3. PickledAardvark

      Re: Vista Capable

      I thought that Microsoft fouled it up with the expression Aero Glass which was two things.

      Aero was the GUI design -- window shapes and where the close box appeared, some Explorer features etc. Just a theme, like Classic.

      Glass -- as its name implies -- was the transparency functionality; it was copying the feature from MacOS X which had a few applications that used it. Glass typically required a decent graphics card although it did work with onboard graphics adapters one new PCs (Intel and Nvidia) when Vista shipped. Glass never took off. Transparency was used in some Explorer desktop effects but Glass was rarely adopted for applications where it could have made a difference such as GIS. The market was for Windows XP and Glass didn't work there.

  8. adnim

    Nothing changes

    ...leading then-Microsoft-CEO Steve Ballmer to say the OS was “a work in progress” rather than the finished item.

    A Microsoft OS is only ever a finished item when it is out of official support.

    1. druck Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Nothing changes

      Back then saying Vista was a work in progress was an admission of failure, with Windows 10 its a strategy.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Nothing changes

        >Back then saying Vista was a work in progress was an admission of failure

        More of an admission of total incompetence (wrt OS development), remember MS had already failed to deliver Windows Longhorn, canning the original project in 2004 and then also shutting down the Longhorn Reloaded skunkworks project.

        Looking back it does seem that Vista and Win10 have a lot in common: Vista was MS's attempt to recoup something out of Longhorn and W10 is clearly MS's attempt to recoup something from the beating it has taken over the Win8 mess. The problem MS have given themselves going forward, is that with Vista they were able to build a decent OS out of Vista and rebadge it as Win7, whereas with Win10 MS have ruled out a Win11 release.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Out of support?

    But it hasnt finished indexing my drives yet.

    1. Adam 1

      Re: What?

      Ah. Then what you need is a cheap USB stick and ReadyBoost. That'll fix her up.

  10. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Vista did it right

    Windows 7 was forced to degrade UAC and disable the secure desktop by default, as users don't like security. Any sensible W7 installation increases the security from default.

    Where it went wrong was the initial crap driver support, manufacturer's taking the opportunity to end of life products, and a boatload of bugs. SP2 improved things a lot.

    It was pretty stable, but it took a while before the graphic drivers were up to scratch.

    My Vista machine at home now has a big red warning on security essentials saying it's unsupported. Time to take it off the network, no worries, it's only used for Windows games on my laptop, the main install is OpenBSD.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Vista did it right

      I have a Vista machine that I use daily - it's a solid machine, works great and has the prettiest GUI, it's actually pleasant to use. For me it's just a test machine to ensure that our software installs correctly and runs fine on Vista but I have all my test machines configured for daily use - it's the only way to be certain.

      Sure UAC was a surprise initially but boy was it ever needed! Fully patched, Vista is a pleasure to use.

    2. Mage

      Re: Vista did it right

      Aero was stupid.

      W10's "flat" is the opposite stupid extreme, but at least on Vista you could disable all the stupidity!

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Vista did it right

        yeah, I _MUCH_ prefer the OS fail called "Vista" than Win-10-nic.

        Vista ANY day over THAT chimera-monstrosity-excretion-from-hell!!!

        (that's assuming I don't have 7 available and can't run BSD nor Linux for some reason)

  11. wolfetone Silver badge

    I remember trying out Longhorn when it was released, and couldn't get over how - from the start - it used over 1GB doing nothing. When Vista came out, this didn't improve.

    The UAC was - and still is - painful to use. I know Linux uses the same sort of confirmation but it was/is far less annoying than it was on Vista. No idea why that was, maybe it's because for every little thing I needed to put on there it needed to be clicked. Whereas Linux it'd ask me once and let me carry on for a little while.

    But it won't be missed. The only one worried about today is Windows 8. The clock on the wall is going tick tock for you my friend.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Which may be why Microsoft hasn't even offered the extended paid support offering it developed for Windows XP, to sneak out secret fixes to those willing to write substantial cheques."

    The actual reason is that they finally took the product out of beta and renamed it Windows 7, so the security fixes are still being implemented there. Why would you offer support and related headaches for a product that's always been in beta when you can just push people to the full release version?

    For the record, Vista was what pushed me away to use Linux & OSX full time outside of work. I got an admittedly crappy cheap Acer laptop with Vista preinstalled, and I quickly noticed 2 things. The laptop would regularly overheat even while idle, and copying any decent number of files across my home network was nigh on impossible due to the extra slow speed of transfer. I chalked this down to the bargain basement machine originally, until I started dual booting and noticed that neither of these issues happened in Linux. The network speed was fixed by installing SP1 when that finally came out, but by then I'd given up on booting into that partition when I needed to actually do something...

  13. Sanguma

    true names and other superstitions

    For me the bottom fell out of the Vista marketplace when a techie friend told me he was playing with the Microsoft Windows Vista beta. I refrained from asking him if vistabetion made one blind, as he was not expecting that sort of humour from me. I also carefully refrained from ever making any suggestive remarks about Longhorn and vistabetion ... I don't expect to be beatified, let alone sainted, but as you can see I have made considerable strides along that pathway ...

    I've got a sample of Microsoft Windows Vista at home, something I picked up at an opshop.

    Microsoft screwed up royally with Vista. Recalling the hype and the rest of it, it gave the impression that it had no idea what it was supposed to be doing with the Win32 platform. It had a most valuable property in the form of the Win32 WinXP desktop, and Vista gave the impression of a downgrade. I don't understand why Microsoft took so long in rolling the Monkey Boy.

  14. Jay 2
    Thumb Down

    Won't miss it

    Vista was more-or-less where I took my leave from having Windows as my main OS at home. My main problem with it was that Microsoft and a lot of the hardware manufacturers decided that they couldn't (or wouldn't) create drivers for existing or slightly older kit. As a result if I'd got myself a PC running Vista then such things as my printer and flatbed scanner would be unusable.

    Plus I'd also got to the stage in my life where after cajoling computers to do something at work all day I really couldn't be bothered to mess about with a Windows box at home just to get the sodding thing to run normally.

    So I signed my pact in blood and jumped to Mac, which of course has its own pros and cons. But I don't spend anywhere as much time keeping it up to date (unlike some Win VMs I still have).

    Another reason to hate Vista is that at one point my dad had a PC and a laptop both running it. I spent a few fruitless hours trying to copy some files between them on the network before giving in and just using sneakernet.

    I've heard that eventually with a service pack etc Vista was OK, but by then it had pissed off a rather large amount of people who do not remember it fondly.

    1. TonyJ

      Re: Won't miss it

      "...But I don't spend anywhere as much time keeping it up to date (unlike some Win VMs I still have)..."

      Yeah but how much of that is because you rarely boot them?

      My Windows machines patch with MS patches once a month - occasionally more often. The applications patch as and when.

      It's not particularly onerous unless it's a (typically a VM) I haven't booted for weeks or occasionally months.

      1. Jay 2

        Re: Won't miss it

        That's a fair point and I'm sure it doesn't help. Though in reply to that, the fact that the Win7/10 (in my case) updates systems are so slow and somewhat broken from a user experiece point of view still causes me grief.

        Win 7 update is horribly slow, but at least it will give you an idea of how much data it is trying to download and how long it might take. Plus you can pick and choose when to down load and install. Win 10 is not only horribly slow it, it downloads when it feels like it and gives no indication as to how much it's attempting to download and then how long it may take. And in both cases there's the crappy thing where you shut the box down and it sits there twiddling its thumbs installing stuff and then when it comes back up again it will do the same thing. Then you find out that due to dependancies, there are still more updates required, so repeat. Admittedly the last bit is lessened if you do it more often!

        I'm glad for my own main usage Macs aren't quite as bad for updates (they do the shutdown/install thing) and at work it's Linux so just one reboot sorts you out. I feel sorry for the poor buggers who after to look after Win in the enterprise.

        1. TonyJ

          Re: Won't miss it

          Wouldn't argue with any of that.

  15. MacroRodent

    I wonder if Vista activation

    still works if I need to reinstall it? (have an instance in a VirtualBox, just for an emergency case a Windows is needed on my Linux laptop).

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: I wonder if Vista activation

      I should still work - I activated one a couple of weeks ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wonder if Vista activation

        Even XP activates fine though the support ended couple years ago. Windows Update won't work anymore unless you fiddle with the "embedded XP" settings.

        I faintly _recall_ reading that MS would produce a tool (crack?) if they ever disabled the activation services. This was around 2001 (when XP came to be) and people were understandably curious (to put it mildly) about software activation.

  16. Anonymous South African Coward

    Interestingly never had any BSOD's on the Gigabyte laptops that Vista was bundled with.

    Replaced Vista with Win7, same laptop just keep on chugging away, with a bit of performance improvements.

    So glad I did not "upgrade" to 10, just nixed the upgrade with Never10 from Gibson.

  17. Unicornpiss

    User Account Control..

    The OS equivalent of having to take off your shoes and belt at the airport to go through security. Except Security only makes you do it once, not every time you do something more complex than scratching yourself.

    A necessary evil? Maybe. A royal pain the the ass. Assuredly.

    1. dajames

      Re: User Account Control..

      A necessary evil? Maybe. A royal pain the the ass. Assuredly.

      Microsoft dug themselves a great big stinking hole when, in XP, they made every new user account an Administrator account by default. Those with a clue changed that (and had to use "Run as", or an explicit Administrator login, to install and configure stuff).

      In Vista they did The Right Thing ™ and made new user accounts non-Administrator by default. Had that been all that they did it really would have been a PITA as about 104% * of all home users -- not knowing about Administrator accounts -- would have been unable to install or configure their own PCs.

      UAC was the answer to that. It did a couple of things that increased security (like blocking apps from hooking the keyboard, to prevent keyloggers (and some keyboard macro utilities) from working) but mostly it reduced security in a supposedly-controlled way to help users work more-or-less as before with non-Administrator accounts. You should not have seen a pop-up unless UAC was asking whether you wanted a process to be allowed to elevate its privileges -- and that's something that a user really ought to want to know about. Anyone who doesn't care deserves to get pwned.

      The big problem with UAC is that the version in Vista, at launch, was buggy and occasionally asked for elevated privileges when it didn't need them (and didn't ask for them when it did), and occasionally effected the elevation without asking ("Citation Needed", but I've been told that was the case). The Windows 7 version of UAC is much more robust and hardly any trouble at all.

      So: Necessary: Arguably, yes. Evil: Not so much. Pain in the bum? More a minor annoyance of the sort that one should be grateful for.

      [* To a first approximation.]

      1. Mage

        Re: User Account Control..

        It was the success of Win9x and badly ported Win 9X software to Win 2K and XP written using no security or understanding that meant XP was being misused.

        Sage, GST/GSP (Designworks / Pressworks), games, etc all badly written from NT point of view. If you used XP with typical NT4.0 security and user account settings most popular software would not install or run as it was really only tested / designed for Win9x, or in some cases Win3.x

    2. PickledAardvark

      Re: User Account Control..

      UAC -- unlike many airport "security" measures -- is real security. UAC asks whether you want to make some potentially evil change to your computer. It is an alert (or prompt for admin password) that something wishes to change Windows.

      As many people at Microsoft observed when Vista was beta software, UAC can only work if a security prompt is displayed rarely. It has to be an exceptional event rather than a dialog where you press the "Whatever" button to get rid. When developing Windows 7, Microsoft listened to its internal critics.

      Can browse-by malware -- viewing a web page -- change Windows OS settings? Sadly, yes, but there is less thanks to UAC.

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: User Account Control..

        Try changing the local security policy on Windows 7 to activate secure desktop and raise the level of UAC. You'll see this raises the prompting almost to Vista levels, and requires entering a password instead of simply clicking - just as it should be under any secure OS.

        It's true that Vista did have a few un-necessary prompts, but mostly it was due to poorly written software.

        Once properly written software is installed and normal installation admin tasks completed, it's unusual to see the UAC in Vista.

        1. Unicornpiss

          Re: User Account Control..

          I actually don't mind entering a password for administrative tasks. (as in Linux) But useful though it may be, having the screen turn a different shade and having to find the warning and click on it is somehow just more annoying. And sometimes during software installs it sits in the taskbar without properly notifying you (in Win 10) leaving you to wonder why your software isn't installing until you poke around and notice it.

          I'm not saying it doesn't add security, just that it's annoying, especially when doing certain Enterprise software installs that use multiple components installed by script--so you get notified multiple times for the same install unless you disable UAC beforehand.

          I like it when my credit card company alerts me to suspicious or unusual transactions. But I would not enjoy it if they called me every day when I buy lunch with my card.

  18. shawn.grinter



    1. dajames

      Re: Embiggen


      That's just Reg-speak for "embigrify".

    2. hmv

      Re: Embiggen


      It's not a word, and it's sufficiently rancid that it should never become one. Try "enlarge"; it's not only a real word but it's actually shorter.

      1. I am the liquor

        Re: Embiggen

        What do you mean it's not a word? Sounds perfectly cromulent to me.

        1. Steve K

          Re: Embiggen

          Yes, and completely spidulary with existing linguistic gramostications:

          Embolden - to boldify more

          Embiggen - to biggify more

          Emtwentyfive - to drive round in circles more

          1. LionelB Silver badge

            Re: Embiggen

            Big: adjective. Verb forms: embiggen, bignify. Adverbial form: bigly. Abstract noun: bignation.


            Re: Embiggen

   the book depository!


            1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

              Re: Embiggen

              " the book depository!"

              No, the other one... Red Dwarf - Tikka To Ride (the bit I mean starts around 19:45 minutes in if you want to fast-forward).

    3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Embiggen

      Not a Simpsons fan, I take it?

    4. Hollerithevo

      Re: Embiggen

      I am a self-confessed grammar nazi and I love 'embiggen' because it adds to the jollity of language. Lighten up.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Embiggen

        Did someone say grammar nazi?

  19. David Austin


    A Necessary, but Painful step to Windows 7.

    With so many Longhorn Restarts, and 6 years since a new OS, I get the feeling Microsoft frantically cobbled together whatever parts it gout get running into a workable OS.

    Shame WinFS Died a death then: That was the most promising bit of tech from the stack.

  20. Mage

    One news site called it MS's worst Windows.

    Vista by default was a pig. But unlike ME, you could get it to run reliably and with security. Windows ME might be the worse, and was pointless compared to Windows 98 SE, and "Real Windows with USB existed as Windows 2000, or without USB as NT4.0.

    Windows 10 is worst than Vista as nothing has so lacked customisation since before Windows 3.1, also its update mechanisms and lack of privacy.

    Windows 7 should have been free to Vista users as it was essentially a bug fix, finishing off etc, even more so than XP compared to the unfinished and rushed Windows 2000.

    So, no I don't mourn Vista. OTOH, Windows 7 seems to be Microsoft's last competent Windows and little really compared to what a decent Service Pack for XP, no wonder XP users were so slow to upgrade.

    MS has been in decline, quality & design wise since 2002 -2003. Probably Office 2003 was last decent office, the last updates to Visual Studio before VS.Net, Advanced Server 2000 and Windows XP Client. The Server 2003 had incredible bloat, we changed to Linux exclusively for server when win 2000 Server became EOL for us.

    Now only one Windows user left. They will get Linux Mint on next refresh as all the programs used are also on Linux.

  21. handleoclast

    Windows versions as sandwiches

    It was Vista that caused me to think of Windows in terms of sandwiches. Specifically, the pre-packed ones from supermarkets. The ones where you're not entirely sure how appetising they are until you open them.

    For a baseline, XP was a BLT. Not haute cuisine, but tasty and filling. Those capable of working out how to customize it could discard the lettuce (an evil foodstuff) and enhance with brown sauce and/or ketchup. Not filet mignon with all the trimmings (even if it was priced the same), but by Microsoft standards (95, 95, ME) it was good.

    Vista was a dog egg sandwich, heavily marketed by the supermarket. Since dogs don't lay eggs, you figured it was a novelty name. Sorta like toad in the hole, which isn't made with toads (or holes). Sorta like spotted dick, which isn't made with diseased sexual organs. Sorta like hot dogs, which aren't made with dogs (except in Korea). Like everybody else, you wanted to try the new, overly-hyped flavour. You got it home, eagerly opened it, then realized that dogs DO lay eggs: they squat, lay the egg, then the owner has to bag it and bin it or risk being fined. Puts you off sandwiches for a long time afterwards.

    Win 7 is BLT + mayo. Harder to discard the lettuce without things getting messy, and horrible if you don't like mayo, and tastes a bit weird when you add brown sauce, but otherwise tolerable.

    Win 8 is a double-decker dog egg sandwich made with mouldy bread. So vile it made you wish for Vista's dog egg with non-mouldy bread.

    Win 10 is BLT with a smear of dog egg (because they had a lot left over from the Win 8 fiasco). Oh, and they'll soon be wanting you to pay a support fee for each minute it stays in your digestive system, because sandwich-as-a-service.

    [Icon chosen for the hover text]

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Re: Windows versions as sandwiches

      It's so refreshing to see a factually accurate summary for a change, in a world where so many reviewers resort to colourful analogies and metaphors.

      Icon chosen for same reason.

  22. Oliver Reed

    The WOW . . .

    . . . stops Now

  23. AJ MacLeod

    Still haven't finished copying that file yet!

    I have hated MS products in general for several decades and they deserve virtually all the flak they get, but... I have always stood up for Vista when people start going on about how terrible it was.

    The experience of using it in the first year or so was indeed pretty terrible, but it mostly wasn't actually Microsoft's fault for once - it's just a pity it took the rest of the industry until 7 was released to finally begin to catch up with sorting out their dire drivers and badly written, run-as-root applications (of course the more thousands of pounds you've paid for your essential business software, the more likely that they STILL haven't sorted that out!)

    The only real bug that was a regular major pain and definitely was MS' fault was the ridiculous file copying bug where a simple copy operation would stick forever, claiming hundreds of days remaining!

  24. Dave K

    Mixed opinions

    There were a few issues with Vista. Not least of which is that it was too bloated for the PCs of the time. When Vista came along, PCs typically only had 2GB of RAM, sometimes only 1GB, plus they often only had single core CPUs. And Vista crawled along on such systems, compared with XP that ran pretty quick on the same hardware. Hence Vista gained a reputation for being slow.

    Windows 7 is a similar size, but by the time it was released, 4GB was the norm, as were dual/quad core CPUs. Hence on the PCs of the time, Windows 7 ran pretty well and automatically gained a reputation of being quicker. Run Windows 7 on a single core system with 1-2GB of RAM and it'll also run sluggishly.

    UAC was a good idea, but was quite annoying and popped up a bit too often. Windows 7 fixed this simply by toning down the prompts to areas where they were necessary. Of course, XP-style apps that expected admin rights and full write access to the whole hard drive definitely helped exacerbate the problem.

    Lastly IMO, the main other issue of Vista was that it felt messy. 7 different shutdown options (with Sleep as the default - even on laptops). A default wallpaper that was a smorgasbord of too many colours, the side-bar that didn't do that much but which added more clutter. Windows 7 in comparison did a good job of streamlining and tidying the UI up.

    Overall, I didn't personally like Vista. It was a bit too bloated for hardware of the time, the UI was messy, and it didn't offer much to the end user over XP, whereas Windows 7 introduced the new task bar, the ability to snap windows side-by-side, plus other genuinely useful tweaks.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh alright...

    Since all you soppy bastards missed it, ill say it.

    Hasta la Vista.

    1. LionelB Silver badge

      Re: Oh alright...

      Hasta la Vista

      You do realise that that translates roughly as "until we meet again"?


  26. W.O.Frobozz


    Windows 2000 was the last GOOD version of Windows. It's been downhill ever since.

    But on the plus side, Windows Vista's greatest contribution to the world of computing is it's enormous hunger for resources finally pushed us all into the 64-bit era.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    POS from the get-go

    I got a new HP laptop at work (college where I lectured) in summer 2007 with Vista pre-installed.

    Would not see a USB mouse at all, even when rebooted with the mouse already connected. In 2007??????

    Other thing: I always intended to put linux on but thought, as Vista was the first version of windows to allow for resizing a partition, that I'd dual boot in case I wanted to show my students anything under windows.

    So, fire up the resize tool and use its "calculate minimum size required" feature.

    Plug that number into the resize only to be told that it is too small.

    Two strikes and Vista was off that machine for ever.

    And that was the last time anything MS was allowed anywhere near any computer in my control.

  28. theotherguy

    The worst thing about Vista was...

    All the laptops and desktop boxes with the badge saying it is Vista Ready. That was a train wreck.

    1. GrumpyKiwi

      Re: The worst thing about Vista was...

      Yeah. Got into a shouting match with the sales spods at work at the time as they relentlessly tried to push onto clients Vista machines with 256MB or 512MB of RAM that ran like a snail on valium.

      Got the rest of the engineers to buy in and we refused to install anything with specs that crappy - hence all the shouting about "it meets the minimum spec" and "customers don't want to pay for extra memory or performance" vs. "customers don't want to wait 10 minutes after startup before they can run notepad" and "you charge an hour for setup per laptop when these crappy things take four+ just to copy over old data".

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1% market share?

    More than Windows Phone 10

  30. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken
  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This wasn't fair

    Vista deserved to be terminated (or rather a mercy killing) well before this.

    I never understood why many machines that came precrippled with Vista couldnt be upgraded to 10, when the *exact same* hardware would run 7 x64 just fine.

    I actually upgraded the CPU on mine, laptop eventually failed but had a BIOS chip been obtainable it likely would still work now.

    Still have a Dimension 3000 somewhere which will (barely!) run Vista but is hobbled by no SSL2 support.

    Its a BIOS limitation, the instructions are there but can't be accessed.

  32. J. Cook Silver badge


    UAC on windows 7 I can live with; even on 8.1 it's at a decent balance between a sanity check and annoyance. Vista was a 'meh' start out of the gate. (which is why most enterprises stayed the hell away from it and implemented windows 7.)

    Server 2012 R2 (especially one configured as a file server): Worst. Idea. EVER.

    In order to manage file permissions on a server 2012 R2 file server, I have to either go through the share interface on a client machine, OR run powershell on the console as an Administrator and try to remember the (obtuse and obscure) syntax to change the ACLs via command-line, OR I have to crank up task manager and launch an instance of File Manager As Administrator.


    This gets absolutely stupid when you are dealing with several million files occupying 5+ TB of space, because the business users are packrats.

    And don't get me started on managing permissions on the root of the drive- that way lies madness and excessive foaming around the mouth.

  33. Franklin

    Still going strong... the movie theatre near where I live, whose POS systems and ticket self-serve kiosks all run Vista.

    Well, I say "going strong." That's not really quite true. They both crash often, which is how I know they're running Vista.

    An end-of-life operating system that connects to a credit card reader. What could possibly go wrong?

  34. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    2012 kak

    Vista was flaky but was only ever aimed at personal users. 2012 on the other hand has all kinds of problems including the Large Send Offload issues and having a pointless GUI. When are MS gonna understand that pretty much NOBODY wants their tiles. May work on phones and tablets, pointless and irritating on PCs, utterly stupid and obstructive on servers.

  35. Mary_Vista

    Very rude

    I'm not obsessed with Windows Vista, I'm not even a fan of it. Itis a very buggy OS, which wasn't famous at all. The problem is that you made some very mean jokes about Vista's death. I don't want you to make a tribute or say some good stuff about Vista, since we're all allowed to share our opinions about certain things. Whatever, as an Windows Vista user, I felt very hurt because of reading your article. Maybe I can't upgrade to a better OS, because my computer is too weak, but do you care? NOPE. Thank you for telling me that I'll probably be hacked in a very short amount of time. You made me "very happy" -_-

  36. Roger Mew

    It was and still is the most stable platform that I had.

    It was and still is the most stable platform that I had, reliable and never let me down. I have been forced to upgrade to 7 as I had a copy unused so far so good, and it seems faster than the Vista. But frankly it was not bad and I am sorry that MS gave me all the problems with updates at the end and the last 3 months.

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