Why Vista isn’t as good as the Mac

Yesterday Guy Kawasaki tried to give Steve Ballmer heck about Windows Vista, but he didn’t manage to really nail Ballmer with something specific.

I have one. Dell a few weeks ago sent me a new Tablet PC to use for a month. I have been using it exclusively for a couple of weeks now, and it is the only machine I’ve taken to Mix and SXSW. If you’re at SXSW please do ask to see it, if you need a Windows machine, it’s certainly one of the ones I’d choose. Why? You can put an extra battery onto it which will give you more than five hours of battery life. This is HUGE. I forgot how much I missed long battery life on the Mac (I only get two hours on my Mac).

The machine is well built, well designed, and fun to use.

So, why do I still like my Mac better?

One simple little thing: the Mac starts up and shuts down properly every single time.

My Dell? It doesn’t always startup right. Just now, I opened it up, which doesn’t turn it on, like the Mac does. But that’s a nit, which just requires hitting the power button.

Today when I did that it promptly blue screened. My Mac has only done that once and it turned out I had a bad set of RAM. This isn’t the first time the Dell has given errors or problems on boot, either.

Once it starts up, by the way, I like Vista just fine and it even has some things I like better than the Mac (the fonts on Windows are more readable, for instance and things do seem snappier on my Dell, plus that darn battery life is just wonderful, especially when I’m flying across the US like I’m about to).

It’s a real bummer, too. Because I want to love Windows and most of the tools to build great Silverlight experiences will be on Windows and not on the Mac. Not to mention that killer WorldWide Telescope.

I checked with my friends who run Vista on laptops and they noticed the same thing, that they have had problems with sleep and wakeup on their laptops. What could be causing this? I’ll show it to Dell on Sunday and see if we can figure it out.

144 thoughts on “Why Vista isn’t as good as the Mac

  1. Those problems you’re having aren’t exclusive to Vista. I’ve seen the same problems (happening a lot) with XP on Dell laptops.

  2. Those problems you’re having aren’t exclusive to Vista. I’ve seen the same problems (happening a lot) with XP on Dell laptops.

  3. I am using Vista on HP Pavilion for 8 months now. Let me tell you it rocks!! I am an ardent Mac fan (I don’t why. I have never used Mac). Day after day, I feel that the steam in ‘Mac is superior to PC/Vista’ is swooshing out. Look at the ‘Why Mac’ on Apple website – the only main point seems to be – ‘Mac already had what Vista has now’. So what? Where are the softwares for Mac? You have to take recourse to Windows again for having better compatibility range (through Bootcamp etc.). why should I do that when I have almost all substantial features on my Vista (even if they are late, they are there NOW).
    I am using PC’s for almost 6 years & believe me, I have never seen a blue screen – not on XP and not on Vista now.
    And I will not for sure go for Mac because it is a one click start/shut down machine. I would rather dual boot my machine with Linux (which is free).
    C’mmon guys, these are non-substantial features. I get bugged off when the fan of Mac next to me starts making helicopter’s sounds and I can feel its heat.

  4. I am using Vista on HP Pavilion for 8 months now. Let me tell you it rocks!! I am an ardent Mac fan (I don’t why. I have never used Mac). Day after day, I feel that the steam in ‘Mac is superior to PC/Vista’ is swooshing out. Look at the ‘Why Mac’ on Apple website – the only main point seems to be – ‘Mac already had what Vista has now’. So what? Where are the softwares for Mac? You have to take recourse to Windows again for having better compatibility range (through Bootcamp etc.). why should I do that when I have almost all substantial features on my Vista (even if they are late, they are there NOW).
    I am using PC’s for almost 6 years & believe me, I have never seen a blue screen – not on XP and not on Vista now.
    And I will not for sure go for Mac because it is a one click start/shut down machine. I would rather dual boot my machine with Linux (which is free).
    C’mmon guys, these are non-substantial features. I get bugged off when the fan of Mac next to me starts making helicopter’s sounds and I can feel its heat.

  5. Mac vs. PC/Windows, cue up Usenet and BBS flame wars of yore. Personally, I prefer Atari ST over the Amiga, as MultiTOS is just THE stuff, with no start-up/shutdown issues whatsoever. MyAES Foreve!

  6. Mac vs. PC/Windows, cue up Usenet and BBS flame wars of yore. Personally, I prefer Atari ST over the Amiga, as MultiTOS is just THE stuff, with no start-up/shutdown issues whatsoever. MyAES Foreve!

  7. I use a Sony Vaio VGN-FZ21M It’s small beauty and has a good keyboard.

    On a plain (without wlan) I have 3hours + battery and if I need, I can change it.

    I love Vista and have no problems with sleep and wakeup at all.

    Vista is way better then its image!

  8. I use a Sony Vaio VGN-FZ21M It’s small beauty and has a good keyboard.

    On a plain (without wlan) I have 3hours + battery and if I need, I can change it.

    I love Vista and have no problems with sleep and wakeup at all.

    Vista is way better then its image!

  9. The problems you’re having with the Dell still happen on Dell laptops with XP. It’s not a Vista thing.

  10. The problems you’re having with the Dell still happen on Dell laptops with XP. It’s not a Vista thing.

  11. Yeah, the same happens to me. Sometimes shut-down just goes on for ever and is never completed so I have to take the battery out. When I shut my lid it sometimes doesn’t go into sleep mode either.

  12. Yeah, the same happens to me. Sometimes shut-down just goes on for ever and is never completed so I have to take the battery out. When I shut my lid it sometimes doesn’t go into sleep mode either.

  13. I don’t run a MacBook Pro 17″, but the battery life you are reporting sounds crazy to my ears. My MacBook doesn’t have the kind of battery life of my old G4 laptop, but easily runs 4+ hours with heavy daily use on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc. Maybe you should take a look at the settings and try a custom setting more suited to longer battery life.

    BTW- How about giving an Axiotron Tablet Mac a try and tell us your impressions since you are a Windows Tablet user. I like the tablet concept, but am no fan of Windows and would like to see an established Tablet user give it a good shakedown.

  14. I don’t run a MacBook Pro 17″, but the battery life you are reporting sounds crazy to my ears. My MacBook doesn’t have the kind of battery life of my old G4 laptop, but easily runs 4+ hours with heavy daily use on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc. Maybe you should take a look at the settings and try a custom setting more suited to longer battery life.

    BTW- How about giving an Axiotron Tablet Mac a try and tell us your impressions since you are a Windows Tablet user. I like the tablet concept, but am no fan of Windows and would like to see an established Tablet user give it a good shakedown.

  15. Wait, you don’t know? Well let me tell you about your Dell laptop. Dell has spent tens of millions of dollars in perfecting many things in their laptop intellectual property portfolio. For example, the patented wait-ten-minutes-before-you-can-do-anything feature that is invoked when you take your laptop out of stand by. To mitigate this problem, you can sometimes get lucky (sounds like you have) and execute the you-only-thought-you-were-on-standby-but-we-disagree feature which increases productivity since it throws out everything you were working on so you need not worry about it any more. One of my personal favorite Dell programs I use quite often is the I-closed-the-lid-but-don’t-really-want-standby-so-it-will-kill-the-battery-and-overheat capability. I find that helps in maintaining a docile battery and ensures the computer sweats and gets good exercise. I also favor dell for laptops because of all the pre-installed virus and spy programs, so I don’t even need to visit porn or phishing sites to get my machine infected. Especially helpful is the Dell taskbar agent which asks me every 10 minutes if I would like to send Dell feedback. I think all these features work great in concert with Windows. Dell paid Microsoft lots of money to hook into their SureAnyProcessCanBlockMyMachineFromStandby() API calls. These in turn activate the no-you-really-can’t-kill-that-hanging-process subsystem. You can read more about these features and more on my blog under the topic http://www.seanstoner.com/blog/2008/02/27/why-i-abandoned-microsoft-part-i/

  16. Wait, you don’t know? Well let me tell you about your Dell laptop. Dell has spent tens of millions of dollars in perfecting many things in their laptop intellectual property portfolio. For example, the patented wait-ten-minutes-before-you-can-do-anything feature that is invoked when you take your laptop out of stand by. To mitigate this problem, you can sometimes get lucky (sounds like you have) and execute the you-only-thought-you-were-on-standby-but-we-disagree feature which increases productivity since it throws out everything you were working on so you need not worry about it any more. One of my personal favorite Dell programs I use quite often is the I-closed-the-lid-but-don’t-really-want-standby-so-it-will-kill-the-battery-and-overheat capability. I find that helps in maintaining a docile battery and ensures the computer sweats and gets good exercise. I also favor dell for laptops because of all the pre-installed virus and spy programs, so I don’t even need to visit porn or phishing sites to get my machine infected. Especially helpful is the Dell taskbar agent which asks me every 10 minutes if I would like to send Dell feedback. I think all these features work great in concert with Windows. Dell paid Microsoft lots of money to hook into their SureAnyProcessCanBlockMyMachineFromStandby() API calls. These in turn activate the no-you-really-can’t-kill-that-hanging-process subsystem. You can read more about these features and more on my blog under the topic http://www.seanstoner.com/blog/2008/02/27/why-i-abandoned-microsoft-part-i/

  17. I have a 17″ Dell notebook and I had the same exact experience described in comment #14 by Charlie.
    Too much bloatware (so I did a clean install) and no problems with the sleep/wakeup driven by opening/closing the lid.
    I run Vista 64 bits and shutdown takes about 8 seconds. Startup takes about 25 seconds to get to the logon screen and 10 more seconds after it.

  18. I have a 17″ Dell notebook and I had the same exact experience described in comment #14 by Charlie.
    Too much bloatware (so I did a clean install) and no problems with the sleep/wakeup driven by opening/closing the lid.
    I run Vista 64 bits and shutdown takes about 8 seconds. Startup takes about 25 seconds to get to the logon screen and 10 more seconds after it.

  19. to anyone who doesn’t or has never used a Mac, you don’t understand what Robert means by “start up and shut down” or even sleep.
    1) If you actually do have to shutdown or restart, the Mac will have all this done in under a minute, every time.
    2) more importantly, the sleep functionality is almost flawless. On a laptop, you close the lid and it will go to sleep, and can last weeks on battery. When you open the lid, by the time the lid is all the way open you’re already back to your desktop, and you will be connected to wireless within another second. This is one major place where the “it just works” mantra is undeniable.

    If you use Windows, then yeah, you might not have a specific problem with your laptop startup/shutdown or sleep performance, but once you use a Mac for a while you start to see the kinks in the Windows armor. On my work IBM Thinkpad, for example, when I have to restart (which is way too often for my liking), i really never know if my computer will be out of commission for 2 minutes or up to 5+ minutes.
    The as far as sleeping…. well i never know what will happen really. Sometimes when i close the lid it will sleep like I have it set to. Sometimes though it won’t sleep, and it will continue to run and just drain my battery. Sometimes when I open the lid, it will pop out of sleep relatively quickly within a few seconds. Sometimes it will just sit there, and I have to hit the power button to awake it. Sometimes I get impatient and hit the power button twice, which restarts the PC. Sometimes it doesn’t wake up at all and I have to force restart with the pwoer button. It’s a mixed bag, really.

  20. to anyone who doesn’t or has never used a Mac, you don’t understand what Robert means by “start up and shut down” or even sleep.
    1) If you actually do have to shutdown or restart, the Mac will have all this done in under a minute, every time.
    2) more importantly, the sleep functionality is almost flawless. On a laptop, you close the lid and it will go to sleep, and can last weeks on battery. When you open the lid, by the time the lid is all the way open you’re already back to your desktop, and you will be connected to wireless within another second. This is one major place where the “it just works” mantra is undeniable.

    If you use Windows, then yeah, you might not have a specific problem with your laptop startup/shutdown or sleep performance, but once you use a Mac for a while you start to see the kinks in the Windows armor. On my work IBM Thinkpad, for example, when I have to restart (which is way too often for my liking), i really never know if my computer will be out of commission for 2 minutes or up to 5+ minutes.
    The as far as sleeping…. well i never know what will happen really. Sometimes when i close the lid it will sleep like I have it set to. Sometimes though it won’t sleep, and it will continue to run and just drain my battery. Sometimes when I open the lid, it will pop out of sleep relatively quickly within a few seconds. Sometimes it will just sit there, and I have to hit the power button to awake it. Sometimes I get impatient and hit the power button twice, which restarts the PC. Sometimes it doesn’t wake up at all and I have to force restart with the pwoer button. It’s a mixed bag, really.

  21. … fonts better on Vista?

    You must be kidding.

    I have a MacBook Pro which also runs Vista. OS X is a dream, but I almost never boot into Vista. Its not the speed–it the philosophy of Vista that seems primitive.

    I waiting for my MacBook Air.

  22. … fonts better on Vista?

    You must be kidding.

    I have a MacBook Pro which also runs Vista. OS X is a dream, but I almost never boot into Vista. Its not the speed–it the philosophy of Vista that seems primitive.

    I waiting for my MacBook Air.

  23. I’ve had no problems with Vista on my old Gateway and no problems on my new Dell M1530, I’ve made comparisons between the two OS’s and it’s always the same story, OS X seems to do somethings better and worse than Vista, as for astetics, I like the Glass look in Vista over OS X, but that always subjective.

    This is a good way to draw traffic to your site Robert but otherwise, this is an old argument that leads nowhere.

  24. I’ve had no problems with Vista on my old Gateway and no problems on my new Dell M1530, I’ve made comparisons between the two OS’s and it’s always the same story, OS X seems to do somethings better and worse than Vista, as for astetics, I like the Glass look in Vista over OS X, but that always subjective.

    This is a good way to draw traffic to your site Robert but otherwise, this is an old argument that leads nowhere.

  25. For all those interested in battery life, the Sahara i440D Slate tablet will have a 10 hour clip on battery out soon. This is cool as it has a couple usb ports on the unit too. If you need a keyboard, you can use a usb or blue tooth keyboard. There are some cool fold up units on the site too. With the battery clipped on it is still around 5 pounds…not bad. The Sahara has a hardware button to go back and forth between touch and digitizer too. We all want more battery life where ever we can get it. It does a great job with Vista, been running it on the tablet for over a year.

    Just finished the HIMMS show in Orlando and the tablet and battery got a lot of interest. Ignore the ugly woman in the video (me) here having a bad hair day doing the Vista dictation demo with no headset required. The picture shows the unit with the battery clipped on. There’s also a plug in for an external SATA drive and fire wire connection.

    http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2008/03/tabletkiosk-i440d-sahara-tablet-video.html

    Here’s more from the site on the 10 hour battery coming out. The stand shown on the picture comes off as well so you can use it as a mini docking station . Cool stuff and not your ordinary tablet by any means.

    http://www.tabletkiosk.com/tkstore/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=19&idproduct=184

  26. For all those interested in battery life, the Sahara i440D Slate tablet will have a 10 hour clip on battery out soon. This is cool as it has a couple usb ports on the unit too. If you need a keyboard, you can use a usb or blue tooth keyboard. There are some cool fold up units on the site too. With the battery clipped on it is still around 5 pounds…not bad. The Sahara has a hardware button to go back and forth between touch and digitizer too. We all want more battery life where ever we can get it. It does a great job with Vista, been running it on the tablet for over a year.

    Just finished the HIMMS show in Orlando and the tablet and battery got a lot of interest. Ignore the ugly woman in the video (me) here having a bad hair day doing the Vista dictation demo with no headset required. The picture shows the unit with the battery clipped on. There’s also a plug in for an external SATA drive and fire wire connection.

    http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2008/03/tabletkiosk-i440d-sahara-tablet-video.html

    Here’s more from the site on the 10 hour battery coming out. The stand shown on the picture comes off as well so you can use it as a mini docking station . Cool stuff and not your ordinary tablet by any means.

    http://www.tabletkiosk.com/tkstore/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=19&idproduct=184

  27. SP1 fixes a ton of sleep related issues. Also many sleep issues can be narrowed down to driver issues. We found one caused by the fingerprint scanner driver on some machines. Also for Loren I just want to let you know the clean image I built on M700 is almost trouble free, just an option. I like Toshiba hardware usually but their base images leave something to be desired.

  28. SP1 fixes a ton of sleep related issues. Also many sleep issues can be narrowed down to driver issues. We found one caused by the fingerprint scanner driver on some machines. Also for Loren I just want to let you know the clean image I built on M700 is almost trouble free, just an option. I like Toshiba hardware usually but their base images leave something to be desired.

  29. My Toshiba M700 Tablet PC has shutdown/startup issues too. I’m not sure which are Vista related and which are bios/driver. I have noticed that if I have a USB device connected at the time of putting the Tablet into hibernate, that if I unplug the USB device it partially wakes up the system–although it never fully comes up. I have to power the system down. So I’m always careful to unplug everything before hibernating/sleeping the system.

    I also like the battery life on the M700. I typically use an extended battery which gives me a good 5 hours. Great for plane trips. And this is with a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo, 7200 RPM drive, and lots of compiling.

  30. My Toshiba M700 Tablet PC has shutdown/startup issues too. I’m not sure which are Vista related and which are bios/driver. I have noticed that if I have a USB device connected at the time of putting the Tablet into hibernate, that if I unplug the USB device it partially wakes up the system–although it never fully comes up. I have to power the system down. So I’m always careful to unplug everything before hibernating/sleeping the system.

    I also like the battery life on the M700. I typically use an extended battery which gives me a good 5 hours. Great for plane trips. And this is with a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo, 7200 RPM drive, and lots of compiling.

  31. Malcolm: that was the situation where I had something bad. Apple replaced a bunch of stuff inside my Mac.

    I’m using a Mac Power Book 17-inch, so, yeah, I don’t get that many hours. Maybe three if I turn everything down.

  32. Malcolm: that was the situation where I had something bad. Apple replaced a bunch of stuff inside my Mac.

    I’m using a Mac Power Book 17-inch, so, yeah, I don’t get that many hours. Maybe three if I turn everything down.

  33. Controlling the platform is a strategic advantage of the Mac (but also a limitation). If Windows only runned in a single hardware platform all would be easy ;)

  34. Controlling the platform is a strategic advantage of the Mac (but also a limitation). If Windows only runned in a single hardware platform all would be easy ;)

  35. As Miles said, likely wonky drivers. I spent a day taking notes (7 hours cont. operation) on a HP 2710 Tablet*, all on std + the slim extn battery, and at the end it was still saying 2 hours power remaining. Bliss

    * To date it’s been restarting fine.

  36. As Miles said, likely wonky drivers. I spent a day taking notes (7 hours cont. operation) on a HP 2710 Tablet*, all on std + the slim extn battery, and at the end it was still saying 2 hours power remaining. Bliss

    * To date it’s been restarting fine.

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