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Tech: vista compatability ?

GUEST,Jan 28 Jul 07 - 07:39 AM
saulgoldie 28 Jul 07 - 08:42 AM
Richard Bridge 28 Jul 07 - 08:43 AM
Maryrrf 28 Jul 07 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 28 Jul 07 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,Jan 28 Jul 07 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Dave (Bridge Folk Club) 28 Jul 07 - 11:52 AM
The Villan 28 Jul 07 - 12:07 PM
Joe Offer 28 Jul 07 - 12:23 PM
Jim Lad 28 Jul 07 - 12:25 PM
JohnInKansas 28 Jul 07 - 09:28 PM
Lynn W 29 Jul 07 - 04:17 PM
JohnInKansas 29 Jul 07 - 10:42 PM
JohnInKansas 14 Aug 07 - 03:19 AM
JohnInKansas 17 Aug 07 - 06:10 PM
JohnInKansas 14 Jul 08 - 07:33 AM
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Subject: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: GUEST,Jan
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 07:39 AM

Hello all,

I need to buy a laptop, my PC runs on XP (home) & I don't wish to 'upgrade'. Most laptops on sale have Vista installed, though Dell do have an XP option.

The primary use will be word processing, & I'll need to transfer text/graphics documents back & forth between PC & laptop.

If I get a laptop that uses Vista, is it likely I'll be be able to transfer data ok ?

Any info welcomed :)


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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: saulgoldie
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 08:42 AM

You can transfer documents OK. If you are using also Office 2007 on your new installation, the default file saving format is with a 4 digit extension. This will make such files invisible to Word 2003, which is what you are probably using now, yes? You can thwart this and make it save the document with a three digit extension (As has been done for so many years) so that older versions of Word can "see" it. You have to go into the Word settings. I forget the path. If you are still using Office 2003 on your new toy, then you don't need to do anything.

HOWEVER, I strongly advise you to keep XP. Vista is no end of trouble. The stated reason for the new version was various "improvements" for consumers. But the REAL reason for the new version was tighter security for Microsoft so that they can crack down on pirated versions of Windows. You will have to "check in" with the M$ mothership over the Net periodically, and there is a limited number of times you can install it--for drive crashes or rebuilds, or other legitimate reasons--without going through some MAJOR hassles with M$. If there is no special need for you to go to Vista, I recommend you stay with XP. IMHO.

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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 08:43 AM

A very computer literate friend of mine (back in the days of W98 he used to earn his living on a computer helpdesk) has Vista. He says that over 50% of the programs he was running in XP, most of them less than 3 years old, will not run in Vista. He has to pay for the latest version of each.

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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 09:25 AM

I have Vista and I don't like it, but very few new computers were available with anything else. That said, I'm getting used to it but I wish they'd left well enough alone. Windows was fine. I have had some problems with programs being compatible but in all cases have managed to fine some kind of free patch on the inernet that solved the problem, although it was a PITA to find it sometimes. I think eventually they will start making everything geared to Vista. But, if you can hold off till they works some of the bugs out of the new edition it might be better.

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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 09:39 AM

My son who does Computer tech work has these words for Vista Compatibility: He loves it because it guarantees him employment for the foreseeable future.


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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: GUEST,Jan
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 11:32 AM

Thanks everyone.

Just to make life interesting, I use Corel for WP & some graphics on the PC. I have Converting between Corel & Works wordprocessor '02 is ok - but I think another conversion to/from Vista is gonna make life too complicated.



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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: GUEST,Dave (Bridge Folk Club)
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 11:52 AM

I have Vista and have had no probs, so far touching wood as I say this. Corel 10 works fine as does Ami Pro and most of my other progs.

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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: The Villan
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 12:07 PM

I have Vista and have no problems. In fact i like it better than XP.
I suppose if you are used to XP, but are not very well versed on windows etc, then it may pay to remain on XP.

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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 12:23 PM

I have some programs that don't work in Windows Vista, but I think that Vista works very well overall, and Office 2007 is a real pleasure to use. It's very easy to save Office documents in other formats (although you may lose certain features), and there's a PDF converter for saving (but not editing) in that format.
I realize it's Politically Incorrect to say nice things about Microsoft, but I generally find their products to be reliable and easy to use.

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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 12:25 PM

I have a wee bald patch from upgrading to Vista but am very happy with it now.
There is no reason to upgrade from XP to Vista just as there is no reason to choose XP over Vista when buying new equipment.
That is to say that if you buy a new lap top with an old application then in a very short time you will have an old lap top and will be paying through the nose to upgrade.
Vista's fine, Jan.
John in Kansas will probably drop in with his technical advice but this being Saturday morning.... he's probably sleeping something off, somewhere.

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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 28 Jul 07 - 09:28 PM

Actually, this morning I decided to check for updates on what the differences actually are between the various versions of Vista and Office programs.

The only possibly useful information I could find at Microsoft was a document available only in ".docx" or ".xps" format. Microsoft informed me that I must download a "reader" to view either of them.

The .docx file was shown to be 76 MB, and the .xps "only" 26 MB. I clicked on the .xps and was told that it could not be downloaded until I installed the reader. The button at the reader download said it was a 2.8 MB download, but that was only a "executive executable" to allow my machine to connect, download, and install the "real" program required - a 50 MB download.

My dial-up connection has a maximum speed of about 5.1 KB/sec, so the 50 MB download and install locked up my computer for about 3 hours, which was followed by the 2 hour download of the 26 MB document, which reports "unable to open" when I try to look at it.

Apparently Microsoft believes that only people who have Vista should be able to have any information about what Vista is. (?).

At the moment, I'm "not favorably impressed" with Vista.

Also note that one of the ways that computer sellers are showing "reduced prices" is by the omission of any Office suite. Most come with "Works," which has a toy word processor barely(?) better than notepad, and a "spreadsheet" that allows only one page per file and omits most of the commonly used (by me) functions contained in Excel. Adding any of the Office suites is an additional $300 - $600. Upgrading from Vista Home Basic to the Home Premium that is really needed to run "real Office" functions and is absolutely required to do any real mainentance on your own computer is about $200.

There has been virtually NO CHANGE in the purchase price for a new properly loaded computer in the past couple of years. They're just not loading what used to be the standard software packages in order to advertise a lower "in-store" price.


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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: Lynn W
Date: 29 Jul 07 - 04:17 PM

I have recently bought a laptop with Vista (Home Premium)and have not had any problems transferring files from my desktop PC which runs XP pro. All my favourite freeware programmes such as Abc Navigator and Audacity have all run OK. I am not even connected to the internet on the laptop so I would be unable to check in over the net as Saul implies is necessary (have been running it for 2-3 months so far).
I run Office pro 2003 on the PC but am running Open Office on the laptop - it's freeware and does everything I need, much better than Works.
The only thing I don't like about Vista is the amount of system resources it takes up.

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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 29 Jul 07 - 10:42 PM

After 26 hours of downloads, installations, patches, uninstalls, reinstalls, etc., I am able to "import" the .docx format used by Word 2007 into my Word 2002.

The 63 MB (62,785 KB in Win Explorer) .docx that purports to tell "everything about Vista versions" converts to a Word 2002 .doc at about the same filesize (63,848 KB). It's 332 pages in Word 2002. I've scanned through about a third of it, and it appears to actually contain some useful information although it's buried in a lot of salesmanship that has neither believability or content. You have to dig deep for anything useful.

Having no way to look at the original .docx, I can't make a direct comparison; but it appears that some "format" features may have been lost. Since Microsoft pulled all their publishing operations in-house a couple of years ago, much of what looks like conversion errors may just reflect "abcess absence of publishing skills" but some of it looks like conversion errors to me.

The problems probably are related mostly to "new features" that Word 2007 can use that aren't available - or arent' done the same way - in earlier versions. A user of an earlier version forced temporarily onto Vista/Word 2007 would be unlikely(?) to use most of the problematic "features" - maybe.

The original attempt to download and read from the smaller (23 MB) .xps document remains completely unsuccessful. Since the link told me I needed to install the "reader" I went directly to that separate link, downloaded the 50 MB installation package, and installed it. I did get, apparently, the "Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0" update, which is also required for the .docx converter described above, but no ".xps reader."

With the download installed, clicking to download the .xps sent me to an auto-install of the same 50 MB package I had already installed - 3 times at approximately 3 hours per pass. (Attempting to abort the autoinstall inserted a 3-hour CheckDisk at the next reboot, probably due to mangling of massive temp files?) The .xps document was NOT DOWNLOADED until the third try, at which time it simply "opened in IE" from which I thought I could save it to disk. Saved to disk it can't be reopened by anything on my computer.

The best that I can collect as to document compatibility in Vista is that the "standard" Word 2007 can "Save As" either the default .docx or as a .doc readable by Word 2000 and later. It can also export the .xps format which presumedly is a "web file" that should normally open in IE. (NO INFORMATION on whether other browsers may be able to open this format.)

Word versions from Word 2000 and later, on Windows 2000 and later, can probably be patched with the new "File conversion package" to allow them to open Word 2007 .docx files and convert them to the appropriate earlier version. The conversion may be better than it looks (if Microsoft publishing is even less competent than expected) but what I've seen thus far indicates "less than perfect file interchange." Word 2007 can, of course, import any earlier versions of Word .doc files - I think.

The installation of the "FileFormatConverters.exe" (27.5 MB download nominally) to allow earlier Word versions to import .docx files apparently requires the prior installation of the "Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0" package (50 MB download approximately). Depending on your starting point and configuration, notes at the download sites indicate a possible "maximum download" size of around 380 MB, but I'd expect the smaller(?) sizes to be pretty typical.

THERE IS NO INFORMATION (that I've found) available on what file format is used by the toy word processor contained in the "Works" set that most manufacturers are including on new machines.

A brief "feedback comment" has been sent to Microsoft. I sincerely hope they are NOT HAPPY with my evaluation. (They have not replied, but Joe O says hotmail is down again, at least in his area, so perhaps they're waiting for the repair team.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Aug 07 - 03:19 AM

Further progress on the compatibility issue, with some additional on the usability front.

My 5 or 6 year old laptop that I pulled out to prep for our big annual festival suffered a total loss of "network communication." No happiness using the built-in ethernet or using an ancient "plug-in card" etherlink. Since the failure appears to be in "integrated circuit functions" that would require a motherboard replacement ...

I researched carefully, and found many "good deals" advertised, but none available by the time I got to the advertisers' places of business. I think I can spell "BAIT AND SWITCH" but apparently a lot of people can't, as the stores were crowded, and lots of better laptops were being sold.

I finally, on rather a chance encounter, found a "suitable" deal at Office Depot. A fairly nice Toshiba Satellite with 2GB RAM and Vista Home Premium for the reasonably attractive price of "about $600." They also offered a "free" printer/scanner "if purchased with the laptop."

Explanation required:

The $600 price was "after rebate." The rebate promised was $300, so I had to pay $900 to take it home. The "free printer" of course was also "after rebate" so I had to pay $89 to walk out with it, but I get (????) a $50 rebate from the printer manufacturer, a $20 rebate apparently from the laptop manufacturer, and another $20 rebate from the printer manufacturer for buying the two things at the same time.

Now IF the rebates are honored (more than 80% aren't, according to industry experts), I have a $600 laptop + printer. Of course I had to pay sales tax, which would have been $43 on a $600 purchase but was $72.20 for the $989 I actually paid up front. They promise it will only take 90 days "or so" to rebate my $390 so that I can pay down my credit card, so I'll only pay about 4 months interest on the "extra" $418, which will only be about another $30 superfluous cost to me.

Boy Howdy! - did I get a DEAL!!

A quick look at the spreadsheet and word processor that comes with Office Home was sufficient. It might be okay for grade school, or for granny's bank account; but it' ain't my speed. Office Professional 2007 FRP $525.76 with sales tax.

Quick conclusion: Office 2007 can open any earlier documents with no problem. It can also save to any earlier version so that the documents can be read by earlier Office versions. (I'm using documents to mean any output from any Office program - Word, Excell, Access, etc.)

Import filters are available as free downloads for Office versions from at least Office 2000 and later. With the appropriate filter, any earlier Office program can open the new formats. There is the claim that "new features" available only in Office 2007 "may be lost" but I haven't found any "new features" (so far) that anyone but an IDIOT would want to use, so I wouldn't expect many problems. The situation for Office versions older than 2000 is vague, but most back to Office 97 can import Office 2000 stuff, so there probably is a fairly simple work-around.

The downside of it is that in MY OPINION Word 2007 is designed for juvenile IDIOTS and is mostly usable only by them. (It might also work for Microsoft employees?). While I'm sure that I'll eventually find some shortcuts, I can cite a simple example of opening a document, inserting a picture, anchoring to a paragraph, flowing text on the correct side of the image, and resizing the picture.

Word 2002: two menues, 7 clicks, type 3 characters, done.

Word 2007: 11 menues, 39 clicks, type 3 to 9 characters in each of 4 places, and mostly done. (Note that I'm only counting the clicks/stroke actually applied to the task. Finding where to do them took many more.) Five visits to Word Help found no help; but after going through approximately another 17 menues, I did find where to anchor the image (after I chased it to the other end of the document and put it back in the original place - twice). Task now "as done as possible."

Not my idea of professional or professionally designed software. Stick with an older version as long as you can. Great for grade schoolers though. They'll make beautiful documents (if they don't rely on the spell check - which is another story).

The good(?) news is that most of the quick key combinations that I've tried do seem to work, but you don't get the menu at the first couple of keys to remind what the next stroke is. You get a prompt telling you that you must complete the entire command sequence before the program is unlocked to continue - or you can cancel by hitting Esc.

I'll let you know if it gets any better after I've studied it for another week or two. I'll note that every visit to "Help" asks "did this help?" I have yet to answer Yes. If you don't answer Yes you get a chance to insert a comment. I have yet to insert a favorable comment.

Results of the new and broader user base are flowing in, so perhaps they'll make some improvements. The first - of over 300 complaints - I found on the open web about the non-functioning mouse scroll wheel in a large percentage of Word 2007 users appeared only about two years ago (in beta). Microsoft has NOT OFFERED any comment, much less a fix. About 80% of users appear to be affected. I've tried three different (direct wired, USB optical, and wireless) GENUINE MICROSOFT mice, and still have no scroll wheel function in Word. (It does seem to work okay in every other Office 2007 program.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 06:10 PM

A "compatibility issue" that I hadn't seen mentioned but that I just recently found:

I haven't run into a program that I've used with WinXP that doesn't run in Vista. (I've only loaded a couple of my old ones.)

I have found that NO HELP FILES that are part of pre-Vista programs will open, and there is apparently NO WORKAROUND unless/until the supplier of the program is willing to supply separate "Vista Help." The article linked (next paragraph) has links to "some generic blather about policies" but doesn't appear to tell you how to view .hlp files.

An "explanation" is at The Windows Help (WinHlp32_exe) program is no longer included with Windows operating systems starting with Windows Vista.

NO HELP FILE (.hlp), in any program, can be opened in Vista. Microsoft has issued a policy prohibiting software publishers of programs using files of this type from separately distributing the needed exe file.

As a side note, there's very little, and practically nothing useful, in "help" files installed with Vista. If you don't have an open web connection to retrieve Help files from the Microsoft server, you'll find very little to work with. I won't comment additionally on how helpful the stuff via the web is.


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Subject: RE: Tech: vista compatability ?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Jul 08 - 07:33 AM


Vista does not contain the WinHlp32.exe program that was used to view Help files (filenames ending with .hlp) in all prior Windows versions.

Microsoft advice was that the WinHlp32.exe from prior versions should not be installed in Vista, although it has been reported that some people have copied it from earlier versions or downloaded it surreptitiously from Microsoft.

The Knowledge Base article cited almost a year ago has been updated and there is now an "approved" utility that you can download from Microsoft that will open (most of) your old .hlp files.

The link in the preceding post still works, and goes to the updated KB article, but the title has been changed:

A download is available for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 that resolves an issue in which you cannot open Help files that require the Windows Help (WinHlp32.exe) program (Still KB917607).

Before giving you the download Microsoft will ask to "Authenticate" your Vista; but that should be painless if you're legal. There are two separate versions at the actual download page, with one for those running the 64-bit Vista and another for "mere mortals" like most of us.

The "program name" remains the same: WinHlp32.exe, but some previous associated files that made WinHlp32 vulnerable to malware are NOT INSTALLED, and some defaults are changed. The KB article now gives some information on what limitations may be encountered due to the changes.


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