Vista Networking – Hell on Earth

As I have a perfectly functioning set of computers at home (running XP, Ubuntu, SuSE and PCLinuxOS) who all network quite nicely and share files as you would expect. This meant, I had thought the move to Vista was in the dim and distant future.

However, a few weeks ago my laptop underwent some toddler-inspired “maintenance” and I was forced to buy a new one. All the available laptops came with Vista pre-installed so my choices were limited.

Now, over all the laptop is fantastic – new technology items are always nice to play with. It is fast (an order of magnitude faster than the 3 year old one it replaced!), it is user friendly and, for most tasks, Vista is quite usable.

I say most tasks.

One of the critical things this laptop is required to do is to be able to access the network where the rest of the PCs share files. Without this it is, largely, pointless. Sadly, vista stubbornly refuses to connect to any other computer on the network and refuses to share its own files. The hand-holding interface of vista makes trying to trouble shoot interminably difficult (I have the Windows Vista Home Premium version), and it manages to hide pretty much all the functions underneath many, many layers of “wizard” interfaces. It is, in short, a nightmare.

After a week of trying, I can now get the Vista laptop to “see” the XP machines when it draws the network map (although this involved finding and installing updates on the XP machines) but every time I try to map a network drive or connect to the networked printer, Vista decides it can no longer see any other machines on the network. It is hellish. Without being able to access the shares, the Vista laptop is largely pointless. It may end up getting hit with a sledge hammer simply to relieve frustration.

I am somewhat bemused by the way the new OS from MS is so incompatible with previous ones that you need to add a hotfix to the older machines to let Vista talk to them, but I suspect MS has its reasons.

If you are thinking of “upgrading” your MS Windows XP (or older) machines, then I STRONGLY suggest you upgrade to a better OS like Linux or even (shock, horror) Mac OS X. If you want to go for Linux, then certainly consider PCLinuxOS as it is very easy to use, offers all the benefits of Vista with none of the problems. If you go for Vista then it will cost you money and you will need to learn a new user interface – if you want to do that, go the whole hog and Linux yourself. (Hell, I’d even say go for Solaris and I’ve had many a problem with that in the past)

I really, really hate vista. [tags]Technology, Windows, Vista, XP, Operating Systems, OS, Linux, Mac, PCLinuxOS, Networking, Protocols, Microsoft, MS, Ubuntu, SuSE, Solaris, Rant[/tags]

One thought on “Vista Networking – Hell on Earth

  1. Amazingly the problem is now solved.

    Vista had numerous issues which required mountains of tweaking and configuration, not to mention “Help” messages which were the exact opposite.

    Part of the problem was the way Windows Vista masked the settings making getting to the route of the problem all but impossible – add to that, the “Helpfully” pre-installed Norton Anti Virus had firewalled the machine without my knowledge and you can see why it took me so long.

    Norton AV is the devil (vista)’s child. I hate them both.

    Long live Grisoft.

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