Anything good to say about Windows Vista and Office 2007?

I haven’t yet upgraded to Windows Vista or Microsoft Office 2007. Still running Windows XP and Office Pro 2003 with every patch and update that’s been released. I do plan to upgrade.

However, the negative experiences of some people give me a bit of a pause for thought.

One experience that’s being widely commented on is from Jason Busch talking about his nightmare:

[…] Having spent approximately 25 of my last 40 waking hours trying to get Vista and Office 2007 to perform at the level of my previous operating system and desktop environment, I can honestly say that it’s an absolute travesty that Microsoft would have released such a half-baked product, having put billions into its development.

Then there’s Tim Anderson’s post about Office 2007, specifically to do with the new Outlook, and this comment in particular:

[…] I’m also disappointed that, for all the talk of user experience, the new Outlook does not slow down gracefully. You know the kind of thing: you start the application and an unresponsive, semi-painted window appears for a while. You click to change folders and the application appears to hang. You click to drop-down a menu and the application freezes for several seconds. Isn’t this the kind of thing that background threads are meant to help with?

I have that kind of behaviour already with Outlook 2003, especially working with Exchange Server, so don’t want it again with the 2007 version.

And Chris Pirillo is going back to Windows XP:

[…] I’ll give Vista a second chance when the first service pack is released later this year, but until then…

I’m hard pressed to find some positive commentary to match these negative ones (although there are some good comments in Jason’s post). I’m not looking for in-depth formal reviews, just opinions from real-world users.

Surely someone has something good to say on their experiences with Vista and Office 2007?

Related post:

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Chip Griffin

    I wrote a post about 10 days ago titled “I Got Vista Too Soon.” Obviously, it detailed a number of the problems I had, though it was more with other companies’ products rather than Vista itself.

    However, I did say then that I was a big fan of Outlook 2007. Ten days later, I still am. It takes a little getting used to because the user interface is entirely different, but I find that I do much less clicking and hunting for options than I did in old versions. So to me, that’s a big winner.

    As for the problems I had initially with Vista, some are still there. But things have become much more stable over the past 10 days and I have found that there are relatively few limitations on what I can do — but then I am fairly technical and can work around many problems I encounter. (For instance, I’ve been playing with Adobe Audition which is not supported on Vista, but I did manage to get it to work after doing some searching on Google.)

    If you have specific questions, I’m happy to do what I can to answer them. But there’s my updated review — a mixed bag, but more positive than some of the others out there.

  2. Stuart Bruce

    I’ve just bought a new laptop (Asus F3JA) and am entitled to a free Vista upgrade, which hasn’t arrived yet (bit worrying actually as the web form you fill in doesn’t send you an email confirmation or anything). I’m not sure I want to install it on the laptop (which has become my main machine) and am unsure about the legality of putting it on my desktop, which is what I’d really like to do.

    I’ve been running Office 2007 since an early beta and think it’s fantastic. The only bit I’m not sure about is PowerPoint. In Word and Excel the new ribbons are very intuitive and make it easier to do things. The PowerPoint ribbon is HARD. I’m constantly having to use help to figure out how to do something I could do easily in 2003. Also I run PowerPoint files on other people’s PCs more (at conferences and workshops where I’m speaking) and it’s too easy to forget to do the Save As.. on to the memory stick, so I end up taking a version I can’t open.

    As for Outlook 2007, I hate Outlook. Unlike Web 2.0 folk I’m a big fan of Microsoft products, but Outlook sucks. I use OfficeTalk (disclaimer, the publisher is a client – but I used OfficeTalk for years before I met Simon and Stuart who run Softalk). The main benefit is that it’s a proper database so contacts belong to companies and tasks, meetings etc belong to both.

    My one quibble would be Microsoft’s pricing/bundling strategy. The only way I can buy the products I want (Word, Excel, OneNote) is to buy the home/student edition which you aren’t meant to use for business. But the only alternative is to buy bundles with products I don’t want. Dumb. If Microsoft is reading this then yes I’m guilty of using the wrong version ;)

  3. Chip Griffin

    Stuart- until I read your post I didn’t realize that Microsoft actually restricted the use of the Home/Student edition. I just thought it was a name used for marketing purposes. Although it certainly makes things a bit confusing and is I’m sure frustrating to users like you, I actually appreciate that they are offering a suite at a lower price point targeted at that market. It would be nice if they offered products separately though. Since they have so many bundles now — 8 I believe if I counted correctly — it would seem that it wouldn’t be that much more confusing or inconvenient.

    As to your comments on the product itself, I actually like the new Outlook. It seems to be only a minor enhancement to the Office 2003 product, but it still has a lot of useful little features that make my life easier (like integrating a calendar view with the inbox). I have not used the new PowerPoint yet so I can’t comment on that. I expect to need to use it in the next few days though, so I hope for my sake you are wrong about its difficulty!

  4. Alex Manchester

    Hi Neville,

    There seems to be a lot of problems with 3rd party software and drivers as well as the extra beefiness needed from your computer.

    I don’t use Vista personally but two friends have had real success with having a dual boot system, having cloned their XP hard drives to an external drive and upgrading that one to Vista. Keeping both up to date as they work out any problems.

    it makes sense to me as that way if you do hate Vista or have endless trouble with it, you can just go back quickly and easily to the old one. An external drive of 100GB or so can be bought outright or put together for not much (you may even have one already of course) and I think in terms of protecting your data it’s a wise move.

    Of course, I’ve never had any trouble upgrading the various versions of OS X ;-)

    Good luck with it though and let us know how you get on.

  5. neville

    I read your post, Chip; bookmarked for later reference. Stuart, you’re breaking the terms of the license agreement!

    I was part of the Vista beta program and tested early betas. I also tried the Office 2007 beta. While I thought it was great, I ultimately uninstalled it after running into problems with Outlook (much as Tim Anderson described).

    However, I do want to install both products. I’m planning to do that – fresh install, not upgrade. Wipe the drive and start over. I tend to do that on all my PCs every six months or so.

    According to the Vista Upgrade Advisor, all my PCs (except my trusty old travelling ThinkPad T30 laptop) and attachments have more than enough oomph to support all the cool Vista features. Most of my apps will work with Vista although I have a few doubts about some.

    Either way, I will take the plunge soon enough. Alex, a Mac’s not an option for me. The only place I have a Mac is in Second Life :)

  6. Chip Griffin

    One cautionary note on installing Vista on an “older” machine. I tried doing that on 2 of my spare computers — yes I’m a geek and keep them around for testing — one laptop and one desktop, Both passed the upgrade advisor test and were beefy machines. No problem there.

    Unfortunately about 10 minutes into the install process in both cases Vista stopped and told me it couldn’t proceed because of problems with the hardware. In one case it didn’t like the Western Digital Caviar hard drive and I believe in the case of the laptop it didn’t like the display, though I’m less certain of my recollection on that one.

    So I wish you luck, but be prepared for it not to work, no matter what the upgrade advisor says. That’s why I capitulated and got it on a fresh laptop pre-installed.

  7. neville

    Yes, I have such things in mind.

    Little concern about my Dell XPS desktop, 18 months old and now with added memory. For my wife’s Sony Vaio desktop, three years old, I’m thinking about a beefy memory upgrade first.

    In both cases, though, I agree with you re being prepared for some unwanted eventualities.

    As for the T30, well, I’m not even going to try Vista on that! That situation presents the (currently unattainable) desire to buy a new dual-core laptop…

  8. neville

    Chip, a postscript re upgrading from XP to Vista as opposed to installing Vista from scratch, ie, a clean install.

    Tim Weber, business editor at BBC News, has a tale of grief today re his upgrade experience.

    Confirms to me – definitely do a fresh install, not an upgrade install.

  9. Chip Griffin

    Oh, sure, I guess it isn’t really good advice until the BBC agrees with it! I mean, with all you know about my technical prowess and our close, personal friendship of — well, ok, maybe I understand why you would want confirmation. :)

  10. Naftali

    I installed Vista Home Premium 32 bit on a new Compaq Presario V6120US Notebook with 1GB of RAM.

    Installation was basically following the prompts, and I also had an HP Upgrade Disc that I used. The biggest problem I had and which took me 45 minutes to resolve was that I could not read the Product Key for Vista! My eyesight is not that bad, and I do wear glasses, but I just could not get it. I dont know why Microsoft would print something so important in such a small font and one that makes it hard to decipher between an X and K and a D and an O. I finally had to ask a friend to read it off for me.

    I have a Base Score of 3.0 which is dragged down by my graphics card. I would consider myself a SuperUser and have been working with PCs since 1980 yet I am frustrated that I still have to try and figure out which drivers I need. Nvidia is really bad in this area and I have no idea which drivers I should be installing, or if there is even anything available for my card.

    UAC is a joke, everytime I run Device Manager or other tools/apps that I would do daily, I get it. Not only the fact that it prompts you, but that it blanks the screen for a few seconds before coming back and allowing you to continue. Big time waster.

    One small feature I kind of like is the Search capability within the Start button. I can just enter Word and it brings it up.

    So, to summarize, Vista looks very pretty, but I would not call it WOW. 5 years and Millions of Dollars should have produced something far more innovative.

  11. Joe

    (For instance, I’ve been playing with Adobe Audition which is not supported on Vista, but I did manage to get it to work after doing some searching on Google.) as posted by Chip…

    Hey Chip Griffin,

    Please tell me how you did this. I have the same problem with a Toshiba laptop running Vista and Audition 2.0 with RealTek HD sound.

    It keeps giving the message: Adobe Audition could not find a supported audio device. Please check your device settings.

  12. Joe


    I forgot to tell you that I already tried the ASIO4ALL driver and it had no affect.

    Adobe Audition 2.0 will not even start after the message: Adobe Audition could not find a supported audio device. Please check your device settings.

  13. Susan Stephens

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news — but I just bought this and Visa, I am told, will be all that is available from now on. There is a replacement to meet a deadline after this next one, and then a patch to repair THAT one.

    Deadlnes? Monopolies? This sucks over and over — we are all being slapped in the face — all the way to the bank. I need to afford a Mac and FAST.

  14. Stephen

    I’ve been trying to get Adobe Audition 3.0 working on Vista now for three days. First of all it wouldn’t let me install it properly. After I repaired the install it now say “Adobe Audition was unable to find a supported audio device. Please check your device settings” All of my other programs such as Sonar, Eastwest, Audition 1.5 etc work perfectly except this one!

  15. neville

    I have Adobe Audition 3.0, Stephen, and it installed first time and without error on my laptop which runs Vista Business edition.

    I’ve had zero issues with using it.

    You don’t say which edition of Vista you have and whether you have SP1 installed: I have seen a few reports of people having issues with SP1 when Audition ran fine on their system pre-SP1 (my laptop doesn’t yet have SP1).

    But your issue could be more to do with your audio device than anything else. As you probably know, audio and video issues have been among the most contentious with Vista.

    You might want to take a look at this Adobe Knowledge Base article on troubleshooting Audition 3 in Windows Vista:

  16. Stephen

    Thanks neville. I’m using a 32bit without SP1… over the past month I have also noticed other programs having problems. It took me about 3 hours to get Akoustik Piano working…now I’m back on this one!


  17. Michael Hambright

    The good thing about Vista is its short life. Windows 7 in ’09. Vista, Millenium and the Edsel- all great ideas.

  18. Brad

    I’m having the ” AA could not find a supported audio device” Message too—been trying to figure it out for 2 months now….
    I’m an audio engineer who depends on AA3 so this is really bad.
    If anyone came up with anything PLEASE—the adobe forums have nothing helpful–
    Vista home premium
    I know its not a good idea to use Vista for this but it working for other people so WTF??
    I have soundcards/drivers for my monitors…realtek HD in both monitors and in my computer—Adobe can’t even find my Presonus FP10…3 different audio devices with perfectly up to date drivers…AA3.0 cant find any of them?—–but 1.5 can and works fine????
    I installed the 64-bit fix.
    nothing works!

  19. Brad

    also to add to that…I’ve been using aa/ce for over ten years and have installed it on several systems…never had this much trouble—or any at all for that matter…
    I can’t very well “check my device settings” if AA wont open….assuming its talking about my device settings on the computer rather than inside AA itself—everything is fine—i’ve tried changing everything to no avail.

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