How can Microsoft overcome Vista's lingering image problem?

Mike Nash, Corporate Vice President of Windows Product Management, has a tough problem on his hands. Microsoft and its hardware/software partners have done a lot in the past 16 months to make Windows Vista a better operating system. With Service Pack (SP) 1, Microsoft has addressed some of the performance and reliability problems that has made Vista the butt of so much bad press when it launched.

But convincing the PC-buying public that Vista isn't their worst nightmare has proven challenging — especially as the result of continued press reports, comments on blogs and in forums (almost always from anonymous users who may or may not have actually tried using Vista in the past month or two) and clever ads, especially by Apple, which disparage Vista and anyone dumb enough to install it. Ask the average consumer on the street about Windows and many will insist XP is less annoying, more stable and works just fine, thanks.

If you were Nash & Co., what would you do to try to turn the public tide?

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Now there are people rushing to the "windows 7 waiting line" wagon... lol

Just use whatever you like, and if somone wants to post about praise or complains, do it but provide info. just say "vista is bloated" "xp is better" "xp sucks" "vista rules" etc...

I use vista because i choose to test it and i kept it. XP is still fine but i prefer more eye candy and the stability vista has in my computers.

Generally Vista is perfectly fine for practically everyone who uses it. Just those who don't like it (+Apple fanboys) like to flame it constantly. With 150,000,000 Vista sales now its no surprise some people have issues. As more people use Vista than Apples no wonder you hear more people complain about them.... that's just common sense to figure out.

If you look on-line you can find more people dissatisfied with iPods than any other MP3 player - not because they are worse - just so many people have them more people complain.

Everyone's bored of the Vista bashing, it happened to XP on release and will continue to happen. Nothings perfect - get over it.

(GEIST said @ #18)
I wished i could make money from writing the exact same **** over and over again.

Which OS gets a ground-up rewrite with every new version? I missed that one.

I think he was referring to writing the same article over and over again. But you're right, the OS is not a rewrite. Although if you rewrite an OS, then it'll take a while to find all the bugs in all that new code. If you keep hardening code over time then it will get better, but you're stuck with the design decisions you made. Modular really does seem to be the way to go, but then people can take out pieces and insert their own so as an OS vendor you can't really have full control over that kind of environment. Unless I guess you sign everything and require it to work all together, but that would place artificial limits on what your users and developers can do.

#1 DONT FORCE PEOPLE TO USE IT!

This is the number one issue with Vista. Forcing people to upgrade their OS due to a change in DirectX. Which means gamers are being forced to ugrade their OS so they can make use of their hardware.

What happens when you try to force people to do something they dont want to do. They dont like it!

You will have those who refuse to update, simply because they are being forced to.
There will be more people pirating it, because they dont want to pay for something they are forced to have.
It's going to be bad publicity from all those people who simply dont like it.

Let people have the choice to upgrade when they want, if they want, and you will probably have a lot more happy Vista users. How many of those upgraders would have stuck with XP if they didnt have the DirectX10 issue?

I for one don't think Windows 7 will have such a dramatic change from Vista than the drastic changes between Vista and XP. I think that if a certain program or driver does not work in vista, what chance will it work in windows 7. That is honestly 1 of the biggest reasons why people have problems with vista.

Longhorn's goals were mostly new features and what not, but when XP suffered all those attacks, MS decided to scrap what was done with longhorn and have security as their number 1 focus. Well at this moment, it looks like they were successful in attaining that goal.

Now for vista's image problem... as long as those pessimists are alive and vocal, vista's image will not improve. People in this world are ignorant to certain things. What's going to make them turn around and give vista another shot? They have already made up their minds about vista, and changing it will be an impossible task

(some_guy said @ #15)
Now for vista's image problem... as long as those pessimists are alive and vocal, vista's image will not improve. People in this world are ignorant to certain things. What's going to make them turn around and give vista another shot? They have already made up their minds about vista, and changing it will be an impossible task

I agree

95% of those people are Apple/Linux only users (and I don't mean all of you) and people who barely used Vista at all.

I got a friend who was one of the ones who hated Vista simply based on what he read about it on the internet. Then I finally got him to try it out and he bought a copy of Vista Home Premium and uses it now. To be honest, I didn't see that coming and thought his opinion on Vista wouldn't change. Really surprised me that he changed his mind like that.

It really annoys me when people read something on the internet (bad Vista review for example) and base their own opinion of Vista or anything else based on one article they read somewhere. That annoys me more than anything. People need to stop basing their opinions on what others think.

"Wah, not another article bashing Vista!"

The whiney comments like that are far more repetitive than articles about Vista, and this article isn't "bashing" Vista, it's saying that it suffers from an image problem, which it clearly does, because although it's not hard to find hordes of fanboys online, I don't think I've met anyone in real life who prefers it over XP.

XP is an old OS, it's been an old OS for years, and it's in dire need of replacement or updating. I just don't think Vista is the thing to replace it. I gave Vista a fair shake, and used it exclusively for three months. While I didn't feel anything quite so strong as "hate" for it, I found it to be lacklustre and disappointing, significantly slower than XP (to the point of causing frequent frustration, and yes, that was on a 3GHz core duo, 4gb ram, 8800GT graphics etc). Whenever you release a product, you're likely to get a portion of people who hate it no matter how good it is, and a portion of people who love it no matter how crap it is, which is what we see in the comments here every time an article about Vista is posted.

I'll keep an open mind to trying to make the switch again some day, but they have a lot of work before it's anywhere close to as usable as XP, and I suspect Windows 7 will be out before they get it to the point where it is a good OS. Fingers crossed for Windows 7 not being as big a flop as Vista is.

Sure you have; me.

In fact, I was an XP beta tester (from the "Smooth Running" program). I had, in fact, migrated from Windows 2000 Professional to XP Professional, then to XP MCE 2005, and to Vista Ultimate when it shipped. (I have since applied SP1.)

However, one thing separates me from the anti-Vista bashers - I don't just run a single program on my computer at a time. Not counting IM software (and I run Yahoo, Windows Live, and AIM Pro all at once), more often than not I have *at least* three other programs running (not counting Web browser windows and their associated tabs). It is under multi-tasking that Vista shines compared to XP (in my experience). Some tasks that I would not dare run in the background in XP (CD or DVD burning, for example) I not only run in the background in Vista, but run them in the background with confidence. The stability to run multiple medium or heavy applications at once was never part of the XP code base; it was, however, part and parcel of Windows Server 2003 (which Vista is based on) because that is what a server OS is supposed to be able to do. I find that I can really push my system to its limit with Vista; however, with XP, the operating system would fall down before (often well before) reaching that limit. However, in order to get there, you need both a solid core operating system and solid device drivers. If you really don't push your system very hard (outside of benchmarking), XP may suit you just fine. However, the harder you push your hardware, XP's inherent weaknesses start becoming rather evident, as does the operating system's sheer age.

Speed is *not* the most critical part of an operating system for me - stability under load is far more critical.
It's why I switched from Windows 98 Second Edition to Windows 2000 Professional in 2000, why I would move to Windows XP less than a year later, and why I use Vista today.

The worst of Vista is MS spend many years working on Longhorn and finally they was forced to launch a ripped version called Vista.

Actually the code switch was a good move. Keep in mind Longhorn was based on XP Professional code and if they wouldn't have made that code switch, Vista wouldn't be as secure as it is.

What hurt them is having to remove all those good features Longhorn had. If they would have tried working all that back into the new code, they might still be working on it

Although I agree with this article, i do not like how the summary was written. When the title aid "image" problem, I was thinking "graphics."

I think at this point the problems surrounding Vista is mostly FUD. My advice to MS would to be include a fully functional retail version of Word 2007 with every Vista Home Premium+ license. That should stimulate a good stir around the OS.

Alright we all know some people love Vista and others hate it. (And some have absolutely no clue and call it "me two")

What I hope Microsoft sees is a gigantic opportunity here. A lot of people are unimpressed with Vista. So, if Microsoft learns from all their mistakes and develops some real innovations people will truly be "WOW'ed" by Windows 7.

Seize the opportunity. XP and Vista customers are already looking forward to the potential of Windows 7. If executed properly it will even attract Linux and Mac fanatics.

This is one of the biggest opportunities Microsoft has had in a long time. I hope they take complete advantage of it.

Right on. I hope so too.

With the EU nipping at their heels like a little Chihuahua, and from what I've read so far on Windows 7, I think they just might get it this time. It's probably their last chance.

What they really need to do is go back to making an OS, that's it. No crap-ware. Stop wasting time and money on activation. Do you realize the infrastructure needed to support their activition system. Scrap that and then pass on the saving to the consumers and then maybe people won't have a reason to pirate their OS.

How come if someone uses Windows they are a "user" but if they use *nix or Macs they are a "fanatic"? Os's are just tools. You pick the best one for the job you are doing.

The only way MS will attract these "fanatics" is if they build an OS that will better cater to their needs. One of these needs is obviously open source with relaxed licensing.

(lbmouse said @ #10.2)
How come if someone uses Windows they are a "user" but if they use *nix or Macs they are a "fanatic"? Os's are just tools. You pick the best one for the job you are doing.

The only way MS will attract these "fanatics" is if they build an OS that will better cater to their needs. One of these needs is obviously open source with relaxed licensing.

I thought it was obvious the person was referring to the hardcore fanboys who won't try anything other than Linux or Apple. The person isn't saying all Linux or Apple users are like that. I've met more than a few people who use all three.

It doesn't bother me if one person prefers one over the other. That's there choice. But it does bug me when they talk about people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Linus Torvalds as if they're Gods. That's when they become "fanboys" to me.

I don't know that they will be able to overcome the bad PR. Just look at this Dvorak article called Vista's 11 Pillars of Failure. A lot of people in the discussion of that article pile on new 'pillars'. This is not something that can be contained.

I think that Microsoft have realised that Vista is doomed because they (a) are extending XP's life and (b) are moving ahead talking about Windows 7. Vista may actually turn out now to be an excellent ad for XP or other OSes. And in future it may become a great ad for Windows 7.

Maybe it's just me but I take anything Dvorak says with a grain of salt. To me, he's just another ignorant technology journalist that writes negative articles for hits and advertising money. He's been doing it for years and it comes to no surprise he's following the Vista Hate Machine trend.

Why is suddenly that any criticism is tag as "Hate" ?

I didn't see anything hateful in his article. I personnally think his criticism are right on the point.

(James7 said @ #9)
I don't know that they will be able to overcome the bad PR. Just look at this Dvorak article called Vista's 11 Pillars of Failure. A lot of people in the discussion of that article pile on new 'pillars'. This is not something that can be contained.

I think that Microsoft have realised that Vista is doomed because they (a) are extending XP's life and (b) are moving ahead talking about Windows 7. Vista may actually turn out now to be an excellent ad for XP or other OSes. And in future it may become a great ad for Windows 7.


Dvorak is like The Register Site contained on one person

(Captain555 said @ #9.2)
Why is suddenly that any criticism is tag as "Hate" ?

I didn't see anything hateful in his article. I personnally think his criticism are right on the point.

Actually this is true. Most of that article is true. Just because Dvorak is wrong a lot and speculative a lot and negative a lot, doesn't mean he's not right sometimes. George Bush could say ' 2+2=4' and I'd give him that.

Personally I agree with people who find Dvorak annoying. And I went for months without reading his column. But I saw that one digged and was surprised it has SO many responses, like 20 pages of responses. A lot of people really do not like Vista. It's neither here nor there to me as I use Linux (something Dvorak definitely knows less than nothing about, which is why I don't read his articles normally).

(James7 said @ #9.4)

Actually this is true. Most of that article is true. Just because Dvorak is wrong a lot and speculative a lot and negative a lot, doesn't mean he's not right sometimes. George Bush could say ' 2+2=4' and I'd give him that.

Personally I agree with people who find Dvorak annoying. And I went for months without reading his column. But I saw that one digged and was surprised it has SO many responses, like 20 pages of responses. A lot of people really do not like Vista. It's neither here nor there to me as I use Linux (something Dvorak definitely knows less than nothing about, which is why I don't read his articles normally).

I think it's very possible that most of those responses came from someone else's PR firm.

(GreyWolfSC said @ #9.5)
I think it's very possible that most of those responses came from someone else's PR firm.

Or maybe you just need to take off your MS branded goggles.

(ANova said @ #9.6)

Or maybe you just need to take off your MS branded goggles.

Yeah, that's it. I think Microsoft is perfect.

(GreyWolfSC said @ #9.7)

Yeah, that's it. I think Microsoft is perfect. :rolleyes:

Then why do you always stick up for them and think criticisms people genuinely have are PR generated stunts?

Sadly I thought that too when XP came out. For those who complain about Vista, I wonder if they actually used it day in and day out. Maybe MS was pushed to release it sooner than later and that contributed to the problems with drivers but that will and has been fixed over time. MS messed up this whole Vista Home Basic too

I bought a new laptop and decided to get Vista Business. I figured I could reinstall my XP if i didn't like it but after using it everyday, i got used to it. I had no problems...well, except UAC. that was turned off within 5 minutes of using the new PC.

(aarste said @ #8.3)
Yes, but "XP sucks, Win2k ftw" didn't last as long as "Vista sucks, XP ftw" :-)

Yes it did. Most people did not switch to XP until XP SP1 came out. Now people are all over XP and now are bashing Vista like they did XP back then. Now that SP1 for Vista is out people reputation for this OS WILL improve.

(ozgeek said @ #8.4)
Yes it did. Most people did not switch to XP until XP SP1 came out. Now people are all over XP and now are bashing Vista like they did XP back then. Now that SP1 for Vista is out people reputation for this OS WILL improve.

Vista SP1 is worse than XP after SP1. It is such an insignificant improvement, it is not going to change anyone's mind.

(ozgeek said @ #8.4)

Yes it did. Most people did not switch to XP until XP SP1 came out. Now people are all over XP and now are bashing Vista like they did XP back then. Now that SP1 for Vista is out people reputation for this OS WILL improve.


I didn't move to XP from 2000 until SP2 came out. I had ZERO issues with Windows 2000, so why move to an OS early on that's going to have some driver and compatibility issues? I figured after so many years and two service packs XP was ready to be used by *me* on a everyday basis.

Once Vista has matured, I'll take that step. XP works fine for *me* now, and yes... I've built one Vista machine for a friend who wanted more than 4 gigs of RAM. He loves it. It works very well for *him*.

Reduce the price. Simple as

and to those who HATE vista, type MS as m$ and constantly reference Windows ME, i say 1 thing. Try it yourself with sp1, then come back and give SPECIFICS about why it isn't as good as XP.

If you like xp, stick with it. If you like vista, stick with it. If you don't like vista, keep it to yourself, we don't care.

Reducing the price will not really change one's opinion of Vista, as many people have Vista already installed on their computer from the manufacturer.

god STOP POSTING THIS CRAP, people have opinions on pista (i hate it) so leave people to there own bloody opinions and stop putting your message across the screen about whatever, can we actually ban all `vistas good` and `vistas bad` news things from being posted ? Its not news and we don't care!

(Dakkaroth said @ #6.1)
Since when do you get the right to speak for everyone?

Seems like that's exactly what you are trying to do.

(ANova said @ #6.2)
Seems like that's exactly what you are trying to do.

Nope. Just sick of the same people complaining about anything that gets posted on this site. While people are free to their opinion, the staff are just as free to put up whatever they wish so long as it falls within their guidelines. What makes it worse is using the "we" instead of "I" to describe how he feels.

(Dakkaroth said @ #6.3)

Nope. Just sick of the same people complaining about anything that gets posted on this site.


Point proven? Complaining is a form of an opinion.

I used to think that Vista sucked, until I installed myself last weekend and realized that it's actually fine if on a FRESH install.
I realized after that what made all the Vista machines I tried before so slow, was the fact that they were preloaded by their OEM with so much s***, that it made it run like it.
I have yet to try it for games, so I can't speak for that, but for normal use, it runs great. I just find it a little graphic-intensive, but the redesigned GUI is great. They actually changed some menus that have been the same since what, Windows 95?
Now when I tell people that I just tried it and like it, now they try and argue with me that Vista still sucks. I understand where they're coming from, but it's not easy to convince people :P

These front-page articles are a little repetitive though...

(Tha Bloo Monkee said @ #5)
I used to think that Vista sucked, until I installed myself last weekend and realized that it's actually fine if on a FRESH install.
I realized after that what made all the Vista machines I tried before so slow, was the fact that they were preloaded by their OEM with so much s***, that it made it run like it.
I have yet to try it for games, so I can't speak for that, but for normal use, it runs great. I just find it a little graphic-intensive, but the redesigned GUI is great. They actually changed some menus that have been the same since what, Windows 95?
Now when I tell people that I just tried it and like it, now they try and argue with me that Vista still sucks. I understand where they're coming from, but it's not easy to convince people :P

These front-page articles are a little repetitive though...

We need more people like this!

I had Vista installed as well and pretty much liked it. But my games were running slower, and since, for the time being, I almost only use the PC for gaming, I went back to XP. From speed and performance Vista worked fine, after the initial indexing was finished, my HDD hardly thrashed anymore. But I wasn't prepared to give up on gaming performance, hence while for now I stick with XP.

*waits to watch the jerks worm out of the woodwork on this one*

They could sue the lying bloggers for libel, I suppose. Many of them have published things that are simply untrue.

Maybe people who also post "untrue" things in public forums would likewise be equally held liable for their libel.

Like this post from a recent Neowin discussion

I don't see how Apple could lose. The copy protection is a key in the TPM chip. They can't legally copy it.
Opinions are like... well, you know the word is probably filtered. Everyone has one. And most of them stink.

Seems kind of silly to promote lawsuits against anyone who has ever posted something incorrect. I know that I have made errors in the past, too!

(markjensen said @ #4.1)
Maybe people who also post "untrue" things in public forums would likewise be equally held liable for their libel.

Like this post from a recent Neowin discussionOpinions are like... well, you know the word is probably filtered. Everyone has one. And most of them stink.

Seems kind of silly to promote lawsuits against anyone who has ever posted something incorrect. I know that I have made errors in the past, too!

1. I wasn't promoting lawsuits, it was a snarky suggestion since there's really nothing wrong with the OS.
2. Why did you quote that? Did you not see here in the same thread that I said I may have made a mistake? Besides, I was supporting Apple in that thread. That company has no right to try to make Mac clones without a license.

(GreyWolfSC said @ #4.2)
1. I wasn't promoting lawsuits, it was a snarky suggestion since there's really nothing wrong with the OS.
Sorry. Couldn't see the "snarky", and it looked like a serious suggestion to sue bloggers (or other online posters) that were incorrect.

And, as a poster of a few incorrect points, myself, I thought it was a ridiculous suggestion. Glad to see that you thought it ridiculous, too.

(markjensen said @ #4.3)
Sorry. Couldn't see the "snarky", and it looked like a serious suggestion to sue bloggers (or other online posters) that were incorrect.

And, as a poster of a few incorrect points, myself, I thought it was a ridiculous suggestion. Glad to see that you thought it ridiculous, too.

It was ridiculous, wasn't it? But there are plenty of other companies out there that like to sue bloggers. It would be better for Microsoft to directly ask the anti-Vista blogosphere what's really the problem and either address it in fixes or by releasing their own factual information as a rebuttal. Or maybe they could just not worry about it and let Vista sell as is since it seems to be doing fine.

In many ways vista is a failure.

its

  • was over due
  • little overall changes.
  • the gui changes and especially ones in explorer were most welcome but really this should have been done a long time ago.
  • network performance was down by 50% until sp1 came along.
  • poor lack of support for multi cpus and monitors.

The list could go on. What really should have been in xp is in fact in vista, we will have the same problem with windows 7. We will probably have to wait to 2013/14 for a true 64 bit os from Microsoft

The issue here is not so much vista being poor but the reality is we will always be a step behind linux and mac os..

(krustylicious said @ #3)
In many ways vista is a failure.

its

  • was over due
  • little overall changes.
  • the gui changes and especially ones in explorer were most welcome but really this should have been done a long time ago.
  • network performance was down by 50% until sp1 came along.
  • poor lack of support for multi cpus and monitors.

The list could go on. What really should have been in xp is in fact in vista, we will have the same problem with windows 7. We will probably have to wait to 2013/14 for a true 64 bit os from Microsoft

The issue here is not so much vista being poor but the reality is we will always be a step behind linux and mac os..


with all above mention failure and many many other, vista is going to stay and eventually people will go for it.
because of microsoft is very powerful, they will do what they want to do, no matter how much cry is there.

Vista is ok. Not great. Not crap.

I find it to be slightly slower than XP, and it thrashes harddrives quite a bit, even with indexing etc. turned off. Otherwise it is fine and generally better in every way than XP.

(winmoose said @ #3.2)
Vista is ok. Not great. Not crap.

I find it to be slightly slower than XP, and it thrashes harddrives quite a bit, even with indexing etc. turned off. Otherwise it is fine and generally better in every way than XP.

Vista should be better, in theory, but it didn't turn out that way. It will be better than XP when they fix all the bugs. Plus you have to turn most of the features off to make it stop the disk, thrashing and resource abuse.

I'm still using XP, and watching Vista's progress. I still haven't seen anything to make me want to use it. I've got work to do, I don't have time to mess with Vista's numerous remaining bugs just to get it stable and fast.

And another article where everybody can just copy-paste their comments of "Vista sucks", "Stick to XP" and "Yay for Apple" from the last dozens of news on Neowin.
This is getting so boring...

* was over due
* little overall changes.
* the gui changes and especially ones in explorer were most welcome but really this should have been done a long time ago.
* network performance was down by 50% until sp1 came along.
* poor lack of support for multi cpus and monitors.

(elvenseven said @ #2.1)
* was over due
* little overall changes.
* the gui changes and especially ones in explorer were most welcome but really this should have been done a long time ago.
* network performance was down by 50% until sp1 came along.
* poor lack of support for multi cpus and monitors.

Poor lack for multi cpu? what? vista was rewritten to work with multi-threaded better... heck explorer for the first time does a lot more of its what use to be single thread tasks multi-threaded... besides making more stuff multi-threaded it's the same SMP and threading system from XP/2003... so not sure how it could be lacking support for them when its had it all along... and whats wrong with multi monitors? it's worked fine for me... unless your graphics card driver was messed up, which isn't a microsoft problem

(ANova said @ #2.5)
Yup, your post sure is. ;)

I'm hurt! :cry:

Seriously though, I don't care if he thinks Vista sucks. That's his opinion. But to say "stick with XP" without any real reason as to why... makes it as uninformative as an Apple advertisement.

If you're going to advise someone to do something, at least give a reason.

vista with SP1 is very fine...and better than XP..i recommend it with atleast 1GB RAM, 120 GB HDD & atleast a decent inbuilt Aero capable chipset (i feel almost all the latest motherboard as the inbuilt graphics chipset with integrated Aero capable graphics )