Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Desperately Awaiting Windows Vista SP1 (or why Power Users should use Firefox)

IE7 under Windows Vista (and also under XP) is driving me nuts.

I frequently have 20-30 browser tabs open. These tabs generally contain my reading list and I place them in reading order. I also have a second IE7 window open for general searches and Webmail.

About once a fortnight I have IE7 crash on me. What really sucks is a lack of built-in IE7 crash recovery. For that I use IE7Pro. It does a reasonable job.

Sometimes the crash recovery just doesn't work all that well. When it doesn't work, I use TravelLog to pull out my URL history, then use FileParse (with XP compatability enabled) to reformat the output so I can quickly process the URL history in Excel.

This is obviously time consuming.

The final nail in the coffin for IE7 on Vista for me is that when I have 32+ tabs open I get a Denial of Service on Windows Explorer. Yes, that's right. When I exceed 32 tabs and go to the Start Menu and click on Computer, Explorer opens and then immediately closes. If I reduce the tabs to less than 32 I get Explorer functionality back.

This is a serious regression from Windows XP. Under XP I don't get this DoS. Under XP, it takes about 64 tabs for the interface to screw up, but this only affects IE7. Windows Explorer in XP still remains functional. The obvious indication of exceeding the capabilities in IE7 is that tabs fail to render content and also losing the ability to bring up right-click menus. This also occurs under Vista, but at a tab count of about 32 and with the added bonus of a Windows Explorer DoS.

So I'm now installing Firefox 2.0 and will be using this as my primary browser. This will improve my browsing efficiency and will stop my blood from boiling when IE7 crashes, or Explorer stops loading.

I really, really hope Vista SP1 fixes this.


Peter said...

Perhaps the title should be "or why users should not use Vistati"

Chris Knight said...

I still think there's a place for Vista.
BitLocker - although cumbersome to set up and the inability to retrofit it to an existing install - is a good feature.
So is the enhanced power management.
So is the reduced privilege level for services.
The behind the scenes features - such as indexing, disk defragmentation and automatic system restore point creation - are all good for the average user but can be annoying for the power user.
A decent firewall is good, but the layout of the networking components is still as bad (if not worse) as XP in my view.
Some of the UI features, like path selection, enter folder on creation, and automatic text selection excluding extension on file rename all help.
The slow file copy is annoying, but fixed in SP1.
The problem is that all the knowledge accumulated over 6 years of XP use isn't a great deal of help when applying it to Vista. It's going to take us time to know all the quirks of Vista, in the same way we got upset and frustrated with the XP quirks, but now take them in our stride as we know how to work around them.
I think the problem we see is that we don't appreciate the capability that is behind the scenes - we only see the retrograde steps, such as file copy performance and all the other bits that we identify as retrograde.