Vista is Misery; Will Seven be Heaven?

An Open Letter to President Obama and Congress:

For the past year and a half I have been plagued with computer problems due to Windows XP and Vista. I couldn’t get my new Gateway running Vista to operate properly. I had the OS re-installed three times. Finally, I abandoned it and replaced it with a Lenovo with XP. When the Lenovo’s XP OS started crashing to a blue screen, I had the hard drive wiped clean and the Vista Ultimate OS that came with the machine was installed. I found out that Vista Ultimate has a very limited range of view and is not the ultimate of anything good. This operating system has more faults than California’s geology and the defects are obvious at every stage of trying to work on my computer.

First I wait for the computer to boot up. This is an inordinately long process–five minutes or more. There is no reason for the boot-up to be so slow; I limit the programs running in the background to the absolute minimum and I do not use Instant Messenger or music-sharing programs. Furthermore, this is a very new computer–especially since the OS was installed less than a month ago. Sometimes it boots and freezes.

Once this turkey is launched and lurching skyward, I wait to see if the laptop connects to my wireless router. Sometimes it does; sometimes it doesn’t. Often, I have a 10- to 20-minute process of “diagnosing” and “repairing” the wireless network connections, switching the wireless modem off and then on.

Having survived the ordeal of booting up and logging in, my computer works pretty well, although one program or another will suddenly stop working properly or crash. This happens with Microsoft programs–Outlook, Internet Explorer, Excel–as well as non-Microsoft applications. Sometimes it seems as if I have been transported back in time to the days of Windows 3.1. I switched from Mozilla Thunderbird and Firefox, which I really like, to Outlook and Internet Explorer because it was suggested that Microsoft programs should work better with the Windows OS. I have not found that to be the case.

Fortunately, Windows Seven is just around the corner. As soon as that becomes available, I can upgrade and my problems will be over, I am told. Yeah. Sure. We are talking about the company that inflicted Windows ME, XP and Vista on us. We are also taking about the company that transformed its office suite from a set of straightforward menu-driven programs to ones with weird “ribbons” that are not even consistent within the suite. I have no confidence that Microsoft is getting it right this time.

I am not a Luddite. I love new technology that works and I know when something works. Windows 2000 Professional was a jewel of an operating system and a huge relief from Windows 3.x. However, I am really getting tired of Microsoft’s screwed-up operating systems and wonky program upgrades; especially since the company forces computer users to purchase the new versions through its PC monopoly.

I will soon have to abandon Windows 2000 Professional on my desktop and workstations because so many programs have been engineered not to run under it. For example, I had to purchase an XP machine in order to use Microsoft Money to do my banking. Microsoft cut off internet accessibility for Money 2006 and later versions require XP or Vista. This is oppressive and monopolistic market manipulation.

If Microsoft’s OS and programs worked properly, the situation would be tolerable, but they don’t. Over the last year and a half, it has been necessary to wipe my computer and re-install the OS and applications five times! This is not due to viruses; just crappy Microsoft XP and Vista. Each reinstall cost me a week of productivity. Conservatively speaking these OS problems cost me at least $5,000. Multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of Microsoft customers who have been suffering through similar problems and you get a figure that approaches the cost of the toxic assets crisis or the real estate mortgage bailouts.

Microsoft XP and Vista are causing severe economic losses and it is extremely unlikely that the introduction of Windows 7 will solve anything. This country cannot afford another screwed-up version of Windows.

I call on you, President Obama, and Congress to hold hearings and consider legislation to curb Microsoft’s abuses. The government cannot enforce a requirement that Microsoft create a reasonably trouble-free OS, but it can require Microsoft and other software producers to build in backward compatibility and to continue to support programs that work. I am a small business person and the cost burden of software upgrades and OS re-installs is crushing me. Microsoft won’t care a fig about its customer’s problems until Steve Ballmer, the CEO, sits in a caucus room and is asked by members of Congress why his products are costing America’s small business operators billions in lost productivity.


John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
©2009 John B. Payne, Attorney

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