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Tech: 64-bit Vista - CAUTION for Computer Buyers

JohnInKansas 02 Dec 08 - 05:15 PM
The Villan 02 Dec 08 - 05:21 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Dec 08 - 05:55 PM
The Villan 02 Dec 08 - 06:31 PM
Amos 02 Dec 08 - 06:35 PM
JohnInKansas 02 Dec 08 - 06:55 PM
The Fooles Troupe 03 Dec 08 - 01:19 AM
pavane 03 Dec 08 - 02:28 AM
GUEST,DWR 03 Dec 08 - 02:44 AM
mattkeen 03 Dec 08 - 04:41 AM
The Borchester Echo 03 Dec 08 - 04:46 AM
CupOfTea 04 Dec 08 - 12:39 AM
Joe Offer 04 Dec 08 - 02:05 AM
pavane 04 Dec 08 - 02:17 AM
treewind 04 Dec 08 - 03:28 AM
JohnInKansas 04 Dec 08 - 03:47 AM
Bill D 04 Dec 08 - 10:38 AM
Midchuck 04 Dec 08 - 10:45 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 04 Dec 08 - 11:07 AM
JohnInKansas 05 Dec 08 - 04:30 AM
Joe Offer 05 Dec 08 - 05:25 AM
GUEST,DWR 05 Dec 08 - 03:05 PM
Tim Leaning 05 Dec 08 - 03:13 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 05 Dec 08 - 03:58 PM
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Subject: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 05:15 PM

A CAUTION for anyone buying a new computer:

Many computer vendors are now shipping most new computers with 64-bit Vista versions.

An associate just purchased a new laptop, and encountered this. During his search for a best deal it was noted that NOT ALL SELLERS clearly indicate what version (32-bit or 64-bit) they are providing.

IT MAY BE DIFFICULT TO KNOW WHICH VERSION OF VISTA YOU'RE GETTING FROM SOME VENDORS. (Yes, I'm shouting on purpose!)

I've seen only one "knowledgeable comment" that even notes that this somewhat surreptitious move to 64-bit Vista is happening. Anyone who wants more details can check it out at Michael J Miller's Blog (Michael is a PC Magazine editor).

He sees no particular problem, for "most people," with moving to the 64-bit OS.

All you have to do is buy new 64-bit capable versions of all your software.(?)

For me, and I suspect for most here, that's a bit of a problem, but editors have expense accounts and/or budgets from an employer(?).

Some software, however, is not currently available in 64-bit versions, although "new versions are being developed."
Other popular programs apparently have no plans to produce 64-bit versions - - now or ever.

A reason for going to the 64-bit version of Vista is that the 32-bit version supports only 4GB of addressable RAM. The article linked above does not indicate a maximum for the 64-bit Vista; but suggests that any new computer that comes with 4GB of RAM probably also has the 64-bit Vista as the OS.

Miller states he has "run Norton and McAfee without incident; and both Trend Micro and Kapersky(sic) also have 64-bit versions, but currently the Internet security suites from Computer Associates and Zone Alarm do not work on 64-bit systems. System Mechanic just released a 64-bit version."

It must be assumed that he's talking about 64-bit versions of Norton and McAfee that came with new 64-bit machines, although it's possible that the 32-bit programs might still run. (He's an editor so he's permitted to be vague?)

NO 16-bit PROGRAMS will run on 64-bit Vista computers. This will include virtually any program acquired with/for Win98 or older OS machines. (Shareware/Freeware programs in general may not tell you what bit-level they're designed for.)

Most Win2k/WinXP programs are 32-bit and probably will run the same on 64-bit Vista as with the 32-bit Vista.

Miller notes the exception (for 32-bit programs?), that "older Photoshop programs1 won't run;" but you can "just upgrade to CS4" so it's "no problem" (except that CS4 is $2,499.00 from Adobe, or $899.00 for an upgrade from a recent earlier version: your old "Photoshop" probably won't qualify for the upgrade price.)

1He is not clear whether he means that anything older than CS4 won't run, or if "older" means really old stuff. If you do move up to CS4, you probably will benefit from having 4G (or more) of usable RAM, so you might actually want the 64-bit Vista.

"One application that doesn't work yet is Dragon NaturallySpeaking, the dominant speech recognition package, though the company says it is working on it. (Windows does have speech recognition features built in, and you could try those in the meantime.)"

For some few users, the FATAL FAILURE may be:

"And finally, I come to the program that has caused me the most trouble: the Cisco VPN client. The traditional client, which uses the IPSEC protocol to connect with a corporate server, does not support 64-bit; and currently Cisco has no announced plans to do a version that supports it. Instead, the company suggests switching to its AnyConnect VPN software, but that requires an SSL connection - a major change to a company's security infrastructure that is far more complex than buying a new PC."

Ordinarily I wouldn't post so much detail, but the difficulty in determining which currently offered new computers come with 64-bit Vista during a recent search suggests that a fairly strong CAUTION to potential buyers is in order.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: The Villan
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 05:21 PM

Well I just bought a machine for my wife and refused the 64 bit version, becuase it would have created big issues for my wifes work.

With advice from my computer builder, we went 32 bit.

So yes John you are right to post above.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 05:55 PM

With all due respect my understanding is that NO Vista will work (well) with legacy software or hardware that was perfectly OK with Win XP.

I have this from a barrister friend who used to earn his living in computer support, so he is no slouch at getting thigs to talk to other things.

98SE is too unstable and there are fewer and fewer things that will work with it, but I do think it is worth wiping the OS on a new computer and going back to XP Pro.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: The Villan
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 06:31 PM

I had no problems with software/hardware issues. Just downlaoded latest drivers etc. Bob's yer uncle.

I can tell you that my wife cannot afford to be down half a day with the work she does. She is a freelance translator. No work, no pay. No cushy salary there.

She is over the moon with the upgrade.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: Amos
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 06:35 PM

LIfe is simpler when you have a Mac.



A


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 02 Dec 08 - 06:55 PM

Richard -

I've got Vista (32-bit) on two machines, and have found very little software that I moved from WinXP that doesn't run ok. Programs brought along since Win98 or before probably won't run, since they're largely 16-bit compilations.

Nearly all 32-bit programs will run on Vista. The only real problem is the absence of hardware drivers that are compatible with the "protected mode" in Vista, that does not allow direct hardware access to the devices.

I did lose a very good flat bed scanner for which there is no driver for Vista, and my large format (Super B, 13"x19") inkjet printer is forced to use a driver from another (newer) printer that loses a few options.

Most recent hardware is beginning to find Vista-compatible drivers, but my lost devices are "old" or "not very popular" and no driver updates have been (or will be) made by the builders.

The frequent "access denied" popups are annoying, but mostly you can work with them either by disabling them (questionable, maybe) or by learning which ones are just completely inaccurate and have fairly simple - although not always obvious - workarounds.

The biggest failure in Vista is the total absence of a useful file search. By default, your System drive is "indexed." You CANNOT do a detailed search of an indexed drive, and unless you speak illiterate baby-talk, terms you (or a literate person might) use will not be indexed. A search of an indexed drive returns "zero files found" or a list of all the files on the drive - regardless of what search term is used. None of the files found will contain the search term.

For drives that are NOT INDEXED, you can actually "search," but my F:\ drive takes about 3 hours to run a search for "file(s) containing the word "mudcat"" and returns several hundred files, none of which contain mudcat either in the filename or within the files, and it can't find any of the 3,842 files that do contain the word, either in the filename or in text in the file, or both.

Vista does require some rather steep learning curve, but mostly it works okay, and runs nearly all 32-bit programs.

Even the 32-bit Vista may be a problem for those with fairly old hardware devices, since drivers simply may not (ever) be available. The driver problem may be somewhat worse with 64-bit Vista, but I haven't seen any "trustworthy" comment on that.

What they've done to Office 2007 (which came out during WinXP times) is certifiably CRIMINAL, but nobody seems to have noticed that clunker.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 01:19 AM

Onward, ever upward with Linux!

:-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: pavane
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 02:28 AM

There will certainly be no VISTA64 versions of my shareware programs.

Why? Because Visual Basic 5 does NOT EVEN INSTALL on Vista, and VB.net requires a complete rewrite of the application, since they have taken vital things OUT of the language (as well as the OS).

So I cannot write or update any code for VISTA. Luckily, code compiled under XP does run on VISTA32 as well.

I am sure this will apply to many shareware programs.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 02:44 AM

I bought Office 2003 (replacing 97) quite near the end of its run and for a very short while was a bit aggravated with myself for not waiting for the 2007. Seems more like a serendipitous decision now.

After ironing out MOST of my Vista problems, my main aggravation now is the fact that THREE of my externals work erratically or not at all. All three exhibit different eccentricities. I expect that is a thought for another thread though. I'll work on it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: mattkeen
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 04:41 AM

+ 1 for Mac
Have been on Mac for last 3 years ofter 15 years of PC


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 03 Dec 08 - 04:46 AM

What Amos said. And Matt.
One aspect of life at least is so much simpler with a Mac.
Can't understand why anyone ever gets anything else.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: CupOfTea
Date: 04 Dec 08 - 12:39 AM

My Mac geek friends cheerily informed me that when buying a new PC one CAN opt for the "downgrade" option and get XP and just avoid all the Vista hassles.

That thought appeals to me (since I still can't afford a Mac), but then I'm still harboring a Pentium with Windows 3.1 along with the (now vintage) XP that's my main computer at home.

Cheers!
Joanne in Cleveland


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 08 - 02:05 AM

My understanding is that you need a 64-bit operating system to take full advantage of a Quad microprocessor. I use various Internet browsers, Microsoft Office, Windows Media Player (for a large MP3 collection), the DOS version of the Digital Tradition, and Noteworthy Composer (for transcribing MIDI files). I do a lot of multi-taking, copying information from one program to another and often having as many as eight windows open. I've been tempeted to switch to 64-bit Windows Vista to get rid of some sluggishness. Is that going to cause me a problem?
John, I think you're wonderful, but sometimes I think you have a real prejudice against anything Microsoft.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: 64-bit Vista - CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: pavane
Date: 04 Dec 08 - 02:17 AM

It's no doubt wonderful, as John said, if you can afford new 64 bit versions of all those essential programs.

But there are 1000's of programs which will NEVER be able to run in VISTA64, unless it provides a 32 bit emulation mode. A huge amount of useful shareware included. I cannot even DEVELOP my programs under VISTA.


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Subject: RE: Tech: 64-bit Vista - CAUTION for Computer Buye
From: treewind
Date: 04 Dec 08 - 03:28 AM

Don't any of you Mac users remember all the System 9 / OSX confusion? All the old programs that didn't work any more?

Incidentally, 64 bit Linux isn't without its problems either. There's only recently been a 64 bit Adobe flash player, and 64 bit version of other software tend to lag behind the 32 bit versions.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: 64-bit Vista - CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 04 Dec 08 - 03:47 AM

Joe O -

I have used nothing but Microsoft for personal purposes since DOS 3.5. (I have used numerous other systems, from CP/M thru Apollo and Catia Workstation, and a fairly wide variety of productivity programs.)

Having spent ~40 years learning to use MS-DOS, Windows, and Office effectively and professionally I am OFFENDED that Vista is a clumsy beast; but with the exception of a total absence of a useful Search function for finding files on my computer, or for finding content within files, I can (and do) live with Vista. It does have some helpful features.

While I think Microsoft sort of screwed things up (and they do too since they've fired or demoted every manager who participated in developing Vista, according to my friends there) it's "usable" and in some ways "improved."

Attempting to use Office 2007, and specifically Word 2007, is simply disgusting. They have very nearly rendered Word, traditionally their FLAGSHIP productivity product, unusable (except perhaps by children and magazine editors who place few demands on "quality of output").

CupOfTea -

Although there is a "downgrade option" for purchasers of a computer with Vista installed to legally use WinXP on the computer under certain conditions, in general the common Vista versions DO NOT QUALIFY for the downgrade.

You generally (for now) must purchase OEM Vista Business or OEM Vista Ultimate on the original computer in order to qualify for the downgrade of a single computer license. Either of the "qualifying versions" is at least twice the cost of the more common Vista Home or Vista Home Premium versions. An OEM seller who thinks it will make the sale may install Home premium and "eat the charge" for the upgrade to Vista Business as part of the "downgrade," but the most common Home Premium is not (this week anyway) "downgradable."

A few "Gold Tier" OEM makers are permitted to make limited modifications to the EULA, and may be able to offer a downgrade with Vista Home Premium, but I haven't confirmed any.

Other versions may qualify to legally downgrade to WinXP if purchased under an "Open License" agreement (usually ten machines, minimum, to qualified buyers who must prove they're capable of providing their own support) or under one of the other license forms available to "volume users."

There have been rather strict limitations on the time during which OEM builders can offer the downgrade, even if you pay the extra for the Business or Ultimate versions. Recent changes have (sort of) extended the "end-dates" when OEM suppliers must stop offering the downgrade option, but make it appear that making long range plans to buy "with downgrade" is not a very safe to do.

If you are hoping to purchase a new computer with the downgrade option, you should bookmark Downgrade Details at Microsoft and check frequently for the "current rules." This site doesn't actually tell you anything, but has a link to download a .doc chart of the current rules. You likely can't afford (I can't!) anything except what's on the bottom row of the chart (OEM).

Note that if you buy an FPP (Full Purchase Package) retail package off the shelf from any retail supplier, there currently are NO VERSIONS that permit legal downgrades.

With the recent Vista SP1, quite a few of the startup annoyances have been "tempered," and if you're buying a new computer now or in the near future I would (somewhat reluctantly) recommend that you simply go ahead and get Vista, and do the fairly reasonable bit of work required to learn to drive it. It is slightly more stable, and significantly "more secure" for most users than even WinXP. If you can turn off some of the exotic play-toy visuals, you'll see very little real differences between the Vista features you'll actually use and what you've been used to with WinXP.

The downgrade to WinXP is really justified only if you have significant "obsolete" software that you must continue to run, and/or if you have peripheral/connected incompatible devices that you can't find drivers for. Microsoft has an extensive list now of "Vista compatible" programs that you can check to see if any of your software should be a problem, and most device sellers can advise you about printers/scanners etc that might have trouble.

All of my WinXP programs with the exception of a rather old Roxio CD burner ran just fine on Vista. ONE scanner (of 3) was unusable, and one printer required me to substitute a driver for a different (newer) printer that lacks a couple of features that I've missed.

If your requirements are very basic Vista Home Basic may be sufficient, but Vista Home Premium adds enough "tools" to make support and maintenance a lot easier for your support person(s) (even if you do it yourself). I've seen very few OEM sellers recently offering anything but Home Premium on even the cheapest machines.

Vista Home Premium allows you to "synchronize" small devices, like mp3 players etc, with files on your computer, but isn't really capable of synchronizing files between laptop and desktop (or server) hard drives. If you may need to synch between a home desktop and a laptop you might benefit from stepping up to Vista Business.

If you are very much into multimedia and/or gaming in multiple forms/formats, you might possibly want to consider Vista Ultimate, but I haven't known anyone that strange (who will admit to it). If this is of interest, you'll want to get a very good computer to put your Vista on.

Almost no computer purchased with WinXP or any earlier version is going to be physically capable of running Vista well. There are exceptions, of course, but most of us couldn't afford all those extras when we got the older ones. To "go Vista" most of us really need to buy a "more modern" computer.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: 64-bit Vista - CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Dec 08 - 10:38 AM

I am no longer young.....I am a 'collector of interesting programs'. I will NOT participate in M$s attempt to force everyone into this mold which is heading towards "online hosted programs" with no personal control!

I will stop with WinXP...If I have to acquire a couple of used PCs as insurance, I will. If the day comes when I can no longer deal with this, I WILL switch to a MAC...or maybe LINUX.. for WWW access, keeping my old Windows programs for offline use. I will assume I can still transfer music & image files to them.

Sorry, Micro$oft...you can't distinguish real "progress" from just messing about to increase YOUR profits.


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Subject: RE: Tech: 64-bit Vista - CAUTION for Computer Buye
From: Midchuck
Date: 04 Dec 08 - 10:45 AM

A number of internet dealers are selling "factory refurbished" computers that come with XP and are cheaper.

Obviously, one never knows whether the refurbish was completely successful until one gets them running, but there is usually a warranty.

I am certainly not going to buy anything with Vista - 32- or 64-bit. Literally the only people I've heard or read say anything good about it are those who are involved in the sale or promotion of it, or of computers with it installed.

You Mac types: how easy is it to move old word processing files (specifically, WordPerfect 6 and later) over from your PC? I understand there is a version of WP for Mac, but is there file compatibility?

Peter


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Subject: RE: Tech: 64-bit Vista - CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 04 Dec 08 - 11:07 AM

I realize I am in the minority, but I happen to love Vista and have not had any significant issues.


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Subject: RE: Tech: 64-bit Vista - CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Dec 08 - 04:30 AM

I note that a clone has changed the thread title.

I object.

By placing "64-bit" in the title, it is implied that the caution is for "those thinking about getting the 64-bit version of Vista."

My MAIN POINT in the initial post was that ANYONE BUYING a computer with Vista installed may have difficulty telling whether they're getting the 32-bit or the 64-bit version. Vendors ARE NOT being clear about which version they are supplying.

My purpose was not to discuss 64-bit Vista. It was rather to warn ALL PERSONS BUYING COMPUTERS that they may not get what they expect.

I think the original thread title was more appropriate.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Dec 08 - 05:25 AM

Damn, John, it sure looked like you were talking about 64-bit Vista instead of one of those virus hoax thingamajigs, so I changed the thread title to make it a bit less generic. If you can come up with a specific title that fits the space and tells what the thread is about and doesn't sound like another virus hoax, I'm open to whatever you'd like.


But John, you make it sound like this is some kind of scam the computer manufacturers are foisting on us. I've been interested in the possibility of getting 64-bit Vista on my next computer, and I haven't found it hard to tell which computer has which operating system. I suppose, though, that most of the people who use and purchase the computers I maintain, have no idea what a 64-bit operating system is. I have to admit that I don't have any experience with a 64-bit system myself.

One would imagine that most business software would work quite well in a 64-bit environment. Googling proved me wrong on that, though - apparently, QuickBooks doesn't run (or runs poorly) on 64-bit Vista, and an awful lot of small businesses depend on QuickBooks. It took me 6 hours to install QuickBooks 2007 on 32-bit Vista.

But 64-bit Vista is becoming very common on high-end machines, so it would be worthwhile to know the pros and cons of the system.

There's no doubt you know your stuff and you're a valuable resource here. But frankly, your "sky is falling" reaction to every Microsoft innovation is starting to affect your credibility. I've used Vista and Office 2007 since they came out in January, 2007. Yes, I've had problems with both - but no more problems than I've had with Windows XP - and there are a number of things I do better than I'd be able to do with Windows XP and Office 2003. If you have newer hardware, you probably need the capabilities of Vista to deal with it. If your machine came with XP on it, you're probably best off to stay with XP.

I suppose the truth of the matter is that if you use a computer, you're going to have problems. Personal computers have been used widely for some twenty years no, and one would think they'd operate a lot more smoothly than they do. Still, think back on some of the thorny problems you dealt with fifteen years ago. Can you really say that there hasn't been vast improvement?

And hey, I kinda like the search function on Vista. It works quite well for me.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: 64-bit Vista - CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 05 Dec 08 - 03:05 PM

I'm definitely going to have to side with John on this one. I have had more trouble with this Vista machine than I ever had with all my previous machines combined, 3.1, 95, ME, and XP. (I managed to skip over 98) Even the less than perfect ME was preferable to what I have now.

Programs and peripherals that don't work or work imperfectly, Sudden crashes, not responding messages or lights out with NVIDIA are just not things I enjoy. There are certain tasks that I have to go back to one of my XP machines in order to ensure reliability.

As for the sky falling, I look up every now and then. :)


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Subject: RE: Tech: 64-bit Vista - CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 05 Dec 08 - 03:13 PM

Doh! you say DONT buy a 64 bit vista machione?


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Subject: RE: Tech: 64-bit Vista - CAUTION for Computer Buyers
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 05 Dec 08 - 03:58 PM

I don't doubt that people have trouble, it just amazes me that my transition with Vista was trouble free and I have not witnessed issues like the ones people are reporting. I enjoy working with it, searches are fine, my programs work, nothing has crashed, etc.


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