Windows Vista rocks (mostly) but Outlook 2007 sucks

Vista-buttonDuring the Easter weekend, I installed Windows Vista on my primary desktop PC, a Dell Dimension XPSGen5.

Ten days on, I have no real complaint at all about Vista. Some niggles, perhaps, but none are such that I’d even consider going back to XP.

Usability wise, it is excellent. I just love the Aero Glass interface and the immersive interaction you get with every aspect of the operating system and the programs you run.

Keith Combs describes it all extremely well. While he wrote his post last year based on a pre-release beta, all he says is valid for the release version I’m using.

Some specific thoughts from experiences so far with Microsoft’s new operating system:

  • Still trying to figure out the real value of the User Account Control (UAC) security feature. I use Vista with admin access yet UAC still pops up every time I want to do something that the OS thinks might be a bit risky (like install an app). It’s a nuisance so I’ve disabled it for now. This gives Vista XP-like behaviour from a security point of view. Glad to see I’m not the only one who finds UAC a pain.
  • The new system fonts (especially SegoUI) and font sizes are very elegant indeed and make for a visually pleasing interaction with everything you see on your screen.
  • As I have Windows Vista Ultimate edition installed, it comes with Windows Media Center. My PC’s not a Media Center PC by strict definition, but that matters no more as Media Center is now an integral part of certain Vista editions. I use MC to play DVD video. Wow, that’s an experience to relish. I especially like how easy it is to configure audio. A couple of clicks and everything is set up just right.
  • The image preview feature is brilliant. Just go to a folder full of images and preview them easily and quickly in a window. No need to have any graphics app installed if all you want to do is view images.
  • The major niggle concerns video. My video card is an Nvidia Geforce 6800 with 256 megs of video memory and the latest Vista-specific driver from Nvidia. I get weird behaviour from time to time with my screen which flickers sometimes and occasionally blanks for a second or two before returning to normal. This is sometimes accompanied by a complete computer freeze-up and hard disk activity for up to a minute. While I’m not experiencing serious issues as some people are reporting, it’s clearly something to do with the video card/driver. (Just spotted on the Nvidia site that an updated driver was released today.)
  • All the bundled games are very cool! I especially like Mahjong Titans.

So on balance, a positive experience so far.

I can’t say the same for Outlook 2007, part of the Office Professional 2007 suite I installed at the same time as I installed Vista.

In a word, it sucks.

Functionally, Outlook 2007 does everything I need. It keeps track of my diary, organizes my contacts and let’s me manage my email.

Yet it does something so annoying which is the reason I say the application sucks.

Almost every time I exit Outlook, I get the error you see here.

Outlookstoppedworking

When I start Outlook again, I sometimes see a system tray message to the effect that a data file didn’t close correctly the last time and Outlook is checking it for errors.

I’ve yet to have any issues because of this but I wish I knew what the problem was so cryptically referred to in the error dialog.

Not only that, often when I exit Outlook without this error happening, it doesn’t close completely (I can see a process in task manager still running, consuming an awful lot of memory).

So I then run Outlook again expecting to get the profile choices dialog, but it just loads back into the profile I was last in. Very annoying.

I’ve done a repair, I’ve searched high and low on the net and can’t find any info that will help me find a solution.

Could it be something to do with the different profiles I run? I have one for work email, which connects to a Microsoft Exchange Server, and one for other email which brings in emails from 4 different POP accounts.

Yet why would that be a problem? I had exactly the same set up with Outlook 2003 and never, ever, had problems like this.

Yes, it’s annoying!

So, on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1= yuk! and 10 = fab! I give Vista a 9. Outlook 2007 gets a 2. At most.

About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.