Windows Vista is so unstable!

Wait, I meant the other thing… You know, where it stays up for a long time.

Pictured below is the uptime widget for Windows Sidebar. In the time listed, my computer has seen heavy use and hasn’t been rebooted, put into suspend or hibernation.

21 Days


  • till says:

    Wow, that looks pretty good – even though ‘heavy use’ can mean many, many things. It’s really too bad that my laptop won’t be able to run Vista, or at least with any of the new optical features but I am thinking I’ll try it sooner or later at work, on my mac. 😉

  • Dan says:

    Heavy use means several MS Office apps open at the same time (I’ve got Outlook and Excel open right now, in fact), VMWare server running a virtual linux server, WinSCP, Firefox with many many tabs open at once, IM software, Zend Studio, the occasional Photoshop and constant music. I use this computer the same way I use my XP machine at home (except I run games on that one) and it’s proven to be far more stable than XP. It seems to be doing just as well as any Linux desktop that I’ve ever used.

  • And this is remarkable? Welcome to the 21st Century, in 2007!
    From Tuxomania,

    Survey of uptime among Linux computers:

    Highest uptime: 1 year (followed by 341,311,295,286,270 … days)
    Average uptime: 45 days (between clustered reboots)
    Average time
    of observation: 218 days

    Following this they state that 51% of reboots are due to updates, meaning Linux machines almost never need to reboot. OS X being based on Linux performs the same, the great thing about being a Mac user? Not having to know what uptime is because its just always perfect.

    Comiserations Till, that your laptop won’t run Vista? How old is it?

  • Dan says:

    You can’t criticize Vista for the instability of previous versions of Windows. I am pointing out that while many people say that Vista is unusable and unstable, that it’s quite the opposite in the real-world with heavy use.

  • Dan says:

    I might also point out that those linux results may very well be skewed by linux servers. I doubt that 51% of linux desktop reboots are due to updates. Just shutting down for the night would account for far more than that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge linux fan and I can’t wait for the day when I can use it for all of my computing needs. I use it for servers all the time because of its power and stability (and it lacks the absurd licensing costs that MS servers carry).

  • Joe says:

    My experience with Vista so far is that it is not very stable.

    However, I’ve used Linux on the desktop and was not impressed even though its price point cannot be beat. It was not as stable as its proponents like to pretend (apps hung sometimes). It is a pain in the ass to get even simple things to work, things that Windows-based desktops barely have to think about. The only reason people think it’s secure is because it hasn’t been a big target cause folks don’t want to ruin its reputation. Those who act like Linux has no flaws are just annoying.

  • Dan says:

    Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone’s Vista experience. Some computers might have vendor drivers that introduce extra instability, for example. All I can do is speak for mine. Since writing the follow up to this, I’ve restarted my computer twice. Once for a critical update and once because we lost power. That’s two reboots in nearly two months.

  • brian says:

    my vista ultimate falls over at least twice a day. I’m going to have to abandon it for XP

  • Nicolai says:

    I have a completely new Acer notebook with Vista. I crashes like once a day – just locks up… Sux.

  • Dan says:

    Sorry that it’s so unstable for you. I haven’t had good experiences with Acer hardware. Between three computers that I use Vista on (a laptop and two desktops), I haven’t had any major problems except the file copy problem. That problem has disappeared on the computer I installed SP1 on, though.

  • Dan says:

    To the gentleman who accused me of censorship in a comment that I did not approve, I did not post your original comment because you listed a bogus email address. Have fun being anonymous.

  • ProfessionalGun says:

    I really enjoyed Vista right out of the gates. . . (err. . . no pun intended.) However, a month into using it, I’ve discovered that it isn’t up-time that speaks to Vista’s instability (in terms of total system crashes, I’ve had not a single bit of trouble) – it’s programs that are normally very stable in XP that crash frequently. . . and more alarmingly, the Windows Explorer which has been crashing LIKE CRAZY. Just this morning, I attempted to open My Documents. . . 4 TIMES. It finally worked on the final attempt, having crashed and restarted (Windows Explorer, not my computer) each of the times before. Before anyone asks, I am not talking about Internet Explorer (I use Firefox – which hasn’t been nearly as stable in Vista as it has in XP). . . I’m talking about folder support and simple navigation between them. Crashes left and right. Anyone else having this problem?

    I’m growing very frustrated with Vista – and I’m hoping that once we hit service pack 2, it’ll be as rock solid as XP is today.

  • GP says:

    Vista is very unstable!
    i have a decent laptop T61 thinkpad with 2G ram, 2.2 GHz clock speed and 160G HDD @ 7200 RPM. It is not too bad. Am using Vista Ultimate. It crashes everyday atleast twice. Cant vista handle gtalk or Yahoo msngr atleast?? I really dont know, if Vista Ultimate can be call Stable.

  • Murph says:

    Vista is awfully unstable. I use several computers with it and it is universally crappy. Yes, the entire system rarely goes down (that is unless it wants to force an update on you and goes into suicide restart mode that deletes your open files — great feature, Microsoft).

    The issue is that Vista has heavy overhead. Take a look at its processing and chunking protocols. They are woefully inefficient. The way it directs tasks is disaster waiting to happen. One small problem happens in my Skype IE add-on and it cascades throughout the system. Word, Outlook, Stata — they all go down for the count. Then try reopening them and see the “memory sticking” that happens. Starting up IE has resulting in half hour-long hangs. It kind of just sits there with the cursor spinning, the screen resolution jumping around, and then the screen going black. It is clear that Vista isn’t actually doing anything.

    Another problem is that the Task Manager is feeble in Vista. So many processes are protected that disruptive apps can run with impunity. You can’t end that stupid Windows Media Player updater. Why is that so essential? Sometimes the Task Manager won’t even open. The spinning cursor just reappears.

    Then there are the 15 minute cold boots ad the 5 minute sleep/wake-up ordeals composed of Vista fighting with its own drivers to get going. My contention is that this further proof that Vista is always on the verge of crashing programs. It just needs a push.

    I hate to say this as someone who hates the Jobs cult, but Macs have been quite appealing ever since Vista appeared.

  • BL says:

    Agree with others – Vista is very unstable.

    I have Vista Business on an HP laptop.

    Was having about 3 crashes a day, so upgraded to 2 GB of RAM, which bought the crashes down to about once every 3 days.

    It’s ridiculous though. There is no common crash method, it last happened when pressing Ctrl+b to bold a cell in Excel. Though it also happens when opening explorer occasionally and the worst is when it happens when saving a file. The explorer process in task manager is particularly unstable.

    The type of crash is horrible too. Everything just stops including (after a while) the mouse. I have left the machine for 2 hours when this happened (thinking it might be doing something in the background) but on return found it exactly the same as when I had left it.

    I think Microsoft should really test their products before they release them. It sounds like people were having these problems in their Beta releases but Microsoft did little to fix them. Instead they should have pushed back the release date and actually released a stabel OS. As a software developer I know the success of a product is the quality of the product multiplied by it’s acceptance. Microsoft got the acceptance right, pity they couldn’t make a quality product.

  • Brad says:

    Murph put it pretty well. I’ve been sticking with Vista until now because of the sidebar and the convenience that comes with it: seeing the weather on your desktop, being aware of my ebay items via the desktop, etc. However, I just can’t put up with it anymore. It is constantly freezing and/or crashing, and even the simplest tasks will at times hose the entire system.

    I think I’ll be migrating more towards the Black XP warez versions, as I like the Vista-style interface but would prefer an XP OS for stability and reliability.

  • leonardo says:

    Vista very instable. I got blue screen 3-4 times a days. XP was much more stable.

  • Mark says:

    I’m glad someone else is getting the same issues with Vista ( the Windows Explorer ). I am unable to delete folders with lots of files – over a gig and it just sits ‘discovering’. Copying files is slow also slow. Expanding folders is poor. Normally I have to close windows explorer to refresh it once a file is deleted. I hate it. They should be able to get the basics right.. This is Vista Business!!

  • Adam Hampton says:

    I got a new HP G50 with Vista Home Basic, and everything from just copying/pasting to launching apps was freezing up and just giving the white screen and swirl (hourglass). So I thought this was due to it being home basic. I upgraded to ultimate, and still continue to get the same thing. It’s running the Atheros WiFi adapter, which doesn’t run native in Linux. And the system can’t downgrade to XP. So I’m stuck with this POS.

    • Dan says:

      That has a whole lot more to do with the piece of crap sub-$600 HP laptop that you bought. They shouldn’t sell those things with Vista.

  • Kyle says:

    You must be lucky. I bougt a brand new laptop with an intel core2 duo x64 processor, 6GB ram, and a 500GB hard drive, yet Vista can’t seem to run correctly out of the box. I’ve had it for two weeks, and ended up with blue screen errors caused by ntfs (verified using windows debugger to check the memory dumps). I re-iinstalled from the hard drive disk image, and now I feel like I need to be careful not to break it. I haven’t even installed the software I need for school yet.

    Please dear god, either let windows7 be amazingly better, or help the makers of my wireless card develop a linux driver! 🙂

    • Dan says:

      BSODs are generally caused by bad drivers from hardware vendors. As for Windows 7, I’ve been using it since the beta and haven’t had any problems with it. Now some co-workers and I are using the RTM and it seems to be working great. I even had to use video card drivers for Vista from nVidia at first, but now they have Win7 drivers out.

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